Archive for October, 2012

If you have been following this blog regularly, you surely do know Kartik Krishnan. If not, you must google him. Because not many people in this world have the distinction of playing the lead character in a film and having the film’s title with their name in it.

Back to the post. This post is to make your life simpler if you are going to attend Mumbai Film Festival at Jamshed Bhabha Theater (NCPA) and INOX. Also, this is day/date wise schedule which is much better than the official schedule. If you are planning to go to Cinemax (Versova/Sion), then it’s of no use.

The document has the screening schedule with the film’s titles highlighted in yellow for easy navigation and planning. Take a print out, plan your day and say thanks to KK.

For our previous recco post on World Cinema section, click here. And for the complete screening schedule, click here.

The screening schedule of Mumbai Film Festival is out. Have a look and start planning your day. Btw, if you are much confused, click here for our first recco post in the series which covers world cinema category.

From press release

~ Three final projects will be funded with rupees one crore each~

~The completed projects will premier at the Venice Film Festival 2013~

NFDC Labs, the training and development division of NFDC (National Film Development Corporation), announces the launch of a very exciting partnership with Venice Biennale, Venice Film Festival and Gucci. This partnership has been formed with an objective to reach out to the filmmakers community across the globe, with NFDC Labs reaching out to the filmmakers in India.

While the entire initiative will be sponsored by Gucci and Venice Biennale, Gucci will fully cover lab costs and accommodations for the resident workshop(s) and include the possibility of travel scholarships for successful teams selected from outside of Europe.

The initiative is a unique incentive for micro budget films from across the world, which will support teams of directors and their producers to make their first or second feature length audio-visual work. A community of selected film makers from around the world will work alongside an invited team of international experts and tutors to the aesthetics of micro-budget filmmaking and the new integrated models of production, which engage with an audience from the outset.

Modalities: After a first 10-day workshop in Venice for 15 selected projects in January 2013, up to 3 teams will be invited to a second 15-day workshop between February and March and supported with 150.000€ in order to produce and screen the projects at the 2013 Venice International Film Festival.

Commenting on the launch of the partnership, Marten Rabarts, Head- Development and Training, said, “It’s a very exciting initiative that we at NFDC Labs have partnered for with Venice Film Festival, and Gucci. With this we will leverage our platform and network to reach out to filmmakers in India and give them a brilliant chance to get work with a international experts and get funding for their project, once selected. Venice

The Call for Applications is open from the 30th of August 2012 to the 22nd of October 2012 only to teams of directors making their first or second feature and producers with varying degrees of expertise who must have produced at least 3 short films distributed and/or presented at Festivals. 

To know more about all the details, click here.

And it looks so damn good! Have a look.

The treatment and the mood reminds me of Johnny Gaddar meets Manorama Six Feet Under. Also, like the fact that the makers have realised that their films have the potential to go beyond Maharashtra and so have subtitles in the trailer. Hope from Marathi filmakers start doing the same.

And here’s the official synopsis…

In this engrossing thriller, Amar Apte is a private detective who gets his business from suspicious spouses out to catch their cheating partners in the act. When a femme fatale client enters his life, Apte snaps out of his uninspired domesticity-complete with a nagging wife and mounting bills-and finds himself in dangerous territory.

Set in Pune and against the backdrop of the financial reforms in 1992, Pune 52 juxtaposes the impact of globalization on a city with one man’s inner struggle. With a nod to Raymond Chandler and a hypnotic and ferocious performance by Girish Kulkarni, Mahajan’s debut fiction feature explores the aspirations and frustrations of a small man dreaming big.

The film will be screened at the Mumbai Film Festival where it will compete in India Gold category. It will have a theatrical release on 12th December.

Cast & Credit :

Starring: Girish Kulkarni, Sonali Kulkarni, Sai Tamhankar, Kiran Karmarkar
Editing: Abhijeet Deshpande
Sound Design: Baylon Fonseca
Director of Photography: Jeremy Reagan
Produced by: Abhay Gadgil, Shrirang Godbole, Girish Kulkarni, Umesh Kulkarni
Original Story, Screenplay and Directed by: Nikhil Mahajan

It’s produced by the makers of films such as Valu, Vihir, Deool and Harishchandrachi Factory and is the debut feature of writer/director Nikhil Mahajan.

To read the director’s note, click here for our previous post on the film.


With every independent film release, we hear the same questions again and again – why are the tickets priced so high? Why there are no shows in my city? Why there’s no show at my time of preference? It’s always the story from our side. So here’s Shiladitya Bora of PVR Director’s Rare telling us the story from the other side. And the bigger question – why haven’t we seen a breakout indie in a long time? Are we just making indies and not the good ones? (Maybe we need to learn it from the French on how to do this. More here). Over to him.

I am a film programmer.

I earn my livelihood by handpicking independent films for theatrical release.

As a part of my job, I receive, on an average, 3-4 independent feature film submissions/requests every week. Out of these 12-16 films we receive every month, about 90-95% films are very bad and do not even deserve a release on DVD-release, forget theatrical release.

With the advent of digital technology, making an independent film has almost become child’s play. So this 90-95% films that I refer to, are mostly experiments by amateurs in the digital medium. They record footage that is more than 60 minutes in length and feel they have made a feature, and a theatrical release is their birth right.

If every man with a video camera is Steven Spielberg, then I am surely Harvey Weinstein. But, then, I am not.

The remaining 5% of indies that make the cut, they get a small theatrical window in the form of a limited release in selected cities.

Now, an indie getting a limited release does not imply that it is the next best thing to happen after Citizen Kane, all it means that…

1. It is one of the better ones of what is available

2. There is a little bit of awareness of the film

3. It simply got lucky

4. It is backed with very strong recommendation. This may sound unfair but this is how the world functions. Otherwise, how do you think some of the disastrous films make it to the prestigious festivals?

And then, there are some genuinely good indie films that are unlucky.

What I consider my biggest failure was not being able to get a show for Kshay at a regular multiplex in Delhi during its theatrical run.

If Good Night Good Morning was made with Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, it would have been a super-hit. This doesn’t mean that Seema Rahmani and Manu Narayan are any less talented but this is how things are.

In addition to the above, there is one more type of indie films in our country.

These are made by people who started their careers as members of the crew/technicians and finally graduated into directing. Such indies mostly have known cast, technically and quality wise also are superior to the first timers, and when it comes to release, they generally get more number of shows than the others.

Now the big question is

How many shows per day a multiplex should give to an independent film?

If we go by the thumb rule of any business – that profit making should be the primary objective of the business –  indies should NOT get a single show in multiplexes.

A mainstream film will any day earn more than an indie programmed at the same slot. Then why do multiplexes take initiatives to showcase indie cinema even by incurring losses?

The answer is corporate Social Responsibility. It’s a way of saying thanks to your ecosystem. It’s a goodwill gesture. Most of the independent filmmakers whom I have interacted with, they all loathe the mainstream, but one thing we all fail to realize is that indies can even think of getting a theatrical release only because multiplexes earn their revenues from the mainstream.

Now, let’s have a look of the costs involved in running one show at a multiplex in Mumbai irrespective of whether one person is sitting inside or a houseful show.

1. Mall Rental Charges

2. CAM – Common Area Maintenance charges

3. Electricity Charges

4. Xenon Lamp charges – this is calculated on the average life of the projector lamp

5. Human resource costs

6. Miscellaneous costs – this may include the huge volume of complimentary tickets that needs to be given to law enforcing agencies every month for running a multiplex.

In addition to the above we should also note the 31.03% applicable tax (Mumbai) on Gross Box Office (45% of Net Box Office receipts).

As per the data available, the occupancy percentage for the best performing/well-known indie films is not more than 25%, making screening of indies a direct loss making proposition for multiplexes.

The setting up of a multiplex is a highly CAPEX driven business and tax rebate/holiday is given as in the case of other infrastructure based industries.

The main idea is to attract investors/foster entrepreneurship and I am not very sure how much valid a reason it is to demand a dedicated auditorium showing indie cinema only.

Initiatives to support the cottage film industry of the country should be voluntary decisions and demanding it from corporates who are already doing their bit, seems unfair. I am sure we do not want reservations in our highly talent-driven film industry.

The next big question : Is there a scope of dedicated theatres screening independent films only?

To be honest, I do not have an answer to the same right now. The answer lies in finding the latent demand for indies. Instead of emotionally supporting anything that sounds like a rebel, sometimes without a cause, we need figures to arrive at an answer.

How many DVDs of independent films actually sell? How many legal and torrent downloads? How many actual tickets sell when these films get a limited theatrical release?

What needs to be our primary focus is how to make good/great indies. This is where we are lacking the most. Films that breakout through important international festivals, win awards and accolades which will automatically lead to buyers in other countries too. Crack that code and we will survive here too. Still in doubt? Scroll up and read the French link again.

Shiladitya Bora manages Director’s Rare, a PVR initiative to promote Independent Cinema.

Pic Courtesy – Independent Film Festival of Boston 2009





Mumbai Film Festival has unveiled its complete line-up. This is where the confusion starts – what to watch and what to skip. And so here we are going to help you out. This is the first post in this film recco series where we look at the films in the World Cinema section.


1) Love (Amour) – First reason : Michael Haneke. 2nd reason : Cannes Palme d’Or Winner. 3rd Reason – 5 star review by Peter Bradshaw.

2) Stories We Tell – Filmmaker Sarah Polley puts the camera on her family members as they look back in this documentary film and family secrets come out of the closet. Venice, Telluride, Toronto. Another 5 star  review by Peter Bradshaw. Do read.

3) Reality – By Matteo Garrone, the director of Gomorrah. Eough? Was in Cannes competition where it won the Grand Prix. Though the opinion was divided on this one, Indiewire called it a horrific spin on ‘Big Brother’ obsessions.

4) Beyond The Hills – 1st reason : From Cristian Mungiu, the director of 4 Months, 3Weeks, 2 Days. 2nd/3rd Reason : Premiered at Cannes where Mungiu won the award for Best Screenplay, and Flutur and Stratan shared the award for Best Actress. And 4 stars by Bradshaw. (Have we quoted too much of PB? Oh, we love him)

5) Gebo And The Shadow (Gebo et l’ombre) – At 103, Manoel de Oliveira is still making films. He is the oldest living and working filmmaker of our time. Doesn’t it count as rarest of rare case? More about the film here.

6) On The Road – Walter Salles’ film based on the Jack Kerouac cult classic novel of the same name.  The story is based on the years Kerouac spent travelling the United States in the 1940s with his friend Neal Cassady and several other figures who would go on to fame in their own right, including William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. (from wiki) Though the reviews have been mixed, it was in competition at Cannes.

7) Snow White (Blancanieves) – The film is intended to be an homage to 1920s European silent films and seems quite delicious. Read more about it here.

8) 7 Days In Havana – One week in Cuban capital Havana. 7 segments. By 7 filmmakers – Julio Médem, Laurent Cantet, Juan Carlos Tabío, Benicio del Toro, Gaspar Noé, Pablo Trapero and Elia Suleiman. Not great reviews so far but wouldn’t you want to watch Emir Kusturica on screen? See the trailer here.

9) Children Of Sarajevo (Djeca) – It competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes where it won the Special Distinction award. Selected as the Bosnian entry for the Best Foreign Language at Oscar. Bradshaw described it as “strange, haunting film, the Bosnian war keeps bubbling up from where it has been buried”. More info on TIFF page.

10) After Lucia (Después de Lucía) – Competed in the Cannes Un Certain Regard section where it won the top prize. Also selected as the Mexican entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar. More about it here (wiki).

11) Robot & Frank – sounds like a delicious plot – Set in the near future, it focuses on Frank, an aging jewel thief played by Frank Langella, whose son buys him a caretaker robot. Resistant at first, Frank warms up to the robot when he realizes he can use it to restart his career as a cat burglar. It won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Trailer is here.

12) The Angels’ Share – Competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and Loach won the Jury Prize. Also, Bradshaw’s 4 star review where he calls it “whisky Galore!-influenced comedy”.

13) Antiviral – Brandon Croneberg’s debut film which competed in the Cannes Un Certain Regard section and gives a complete new twist to both its subject – of celebrity obsessed society, and its genre – horror, in which a company harvests diseases from celebrities and injects them into paying clients

14) Cannes Catalogue – Apart from these films, there’s an entire catalogue from Cannes. So if you can’t go to Cannes, the films are all here.

– Like Someone in Love : Abbas Kiarostami’s latest film which was Cannes competition

– Night Across the Street (La noche de enfrente) : screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section. Read more about it here.

– Mystery : From Un certain Regard section. Peter Bradshaw’s 3 star review here

– The Hunt (Jagten) : Cannes competition. 4 star review by PB.

– A Royal Affair (En Kongelig Affære) : Was in Cannes competition

– Renoir  : In Cannes Un certain regard. A review here

– Three Worlds (Trois Mondes) : from Cannes Un Certain

– You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet! (Vous n’avez encore rien vu) – Alain Resnais’ film which was in Cannes Competition. Indiewire review is here.

If we have missed anything that you have seen and you would like to recco, please do let us know in the comments section. For the complete list of films which are being screened at the festival, click here.

After its premiere at the Telluride Film festival, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s documentary, Celluloid Man will soon be screened at the Mumbai Film Festival. Here’s the first teaser of the film.

Here’s more on the film from its official FB page…

Celluloid Man is a tribute to an extraordinary man called Mr. P.K. Nair, the founder of the National Film Archive of India, and the guardian of Indian cinema. He built the Archive can by can in a country where the archiving of cinema is considered unimportant.

The fact that the Archive still has nine precious silent films of the 1700 silent films made in India, and that Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema, has a place in history today is because of Mr. Nair. He influenced generations of Indian filmmakers and showed us new worlds through the prism of cinema.

As Mr. Nair speaks, we see the history of Indian cinema unfold. What emerges is a portrait of a man so in love with cinema that even his family had to take a backseat to his obsession. Mr. Nair is not just the founder of the National Film Archive, but a living, breathing museum of cinema. Even in retirement, he chooses to stay across the road from the Archive watching over his legacy. The fact that India has a cinematic heritage at all is the singlehanded achievement of this man.

He is truly India’s Celluloid Man. There will be no one like him again.

Cinematography: Santosh Thundiyil, K.U. Mohanan, Avik Mukhopadhyay, P.S. Vinod, H.M. Ramachandra, R.V. Ramani, Vikas Sivaraman, Mahesh Aney, Kiran Deohans, Ranjan Palit, V.Gopinath

Editor: Irene Dhar Malik

Sound Design: Mohandas

Music: Ram Sampath

Titles/Online: Huzefa Lokhandwala, Santosh Sabherwal

Associate Director & Research: Manju Parvathy Iyer

Post Production: Pixion, Prime Focus. Processing: Kodak, EFX Prasad

– 35mm; English with Subtitles; Duration: 163 mins

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; Dolby 5.1; Colour / B&W

To know more about the film, click here for its Facebook page.