Mumbai Mantra, the media and entertainment division of the Mahindra Group, in collaboration with Sundance Institute, has selected eight Indian Screenwriters and their feature film projects for the second annual Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab scheduled from March 10-15.
– This year’s Screenwriting Fellows are: Sarthak Dasgupta (The Music Teacher); Pratim D. Gupta (Ink); Nitin Kakkar (Black Freedom); Abhijit Mazumdar (Delirium); Terrie Samundra (Betamax); Renuka Shahane (Tribhanga); Kavanjit Singh (Television); and Neha Sinha (Forgiven).
– Creative Advisors include: Bill Wheeler (The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Hoax), Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace), Asif Kapadia (The Warrior, Senna), Habib Faisal (Do Dooni Chaar, Ishaqzaade – Born to Hate… Destined to Love), Sabrina Dhawan (Monsoon Wedding), Anjum Rajabali (Rajneeti, Aaraakshan), Marti Noxon (Mad Men, Glee), Carlos Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Rudo Y Cursi), and Malia Scotch-Marmo (Hook, Once Around).
– Mumbai Mantra received over 500 applications for the Lab from Indian screenwriters across the globe. After intense debate and deliberation and consultation with the Sundance Institute, the final 8 projects were decided.
– The Selection Advisory Committee included Dev Benegal, Ira Bhaskar, Pubali Chaudhuri, Uma Da Cunha, Rashmi Doraiswamy, Habib Faisal, K. Hariharan, Deven Khote, Prakash Kovelamudi, Ram Madhvani, Neeru Nanda, Sriram Raghavan, Anjum Rajabali, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Mahesh Samat, Meenakshi Shedde, and Anahita Uberoi.
PROJECTS AND SCREENWRITERS SELECTED
The Music Teacher / India
The life of a small town music teacher takes a sharp turn when one of his ex-students, now estranged, a big celebrity in the far-away city today, is slated to visit the town after many years. The teacher, now lovelorn, prepares to meet her not knowing if she still bears the same feelings about him as she did those many years back.
Writer/director: Sarthak Dasgupta
With a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, a Master’s degree in Business Management, and five years in the corporate world of Mumbai, Sarthak Dasgupta realized life needed a different definition than the one he was living. Sarthak left his cushy job and set out to become a filmmaker. His debut feature The Great Indian Butterfly has screened at various international film festivals.
Ink / India
A struggling journalist chances upon a scandalous story which has the potential to rock the world of showbiz.
Writer/director: Pratim D. Gupta
Pratim D. Gupta has been the resident film critic for The Telegraph newspaper in Kolkata, the largest selling English daily in east India, for eight years. His screenplay The Deaths of Ray was selected from India for the Binger Script Lab at the 2009 Locarno International Film Festival. Paanch Adhyay (Afterglow) was Pratim’s first feature film as writer-director.The 2012 romantic drama was selected as the Centrepiece Premiere at the South Asian International Film Festival in New York and was picked as the New Voice in Indian Cinema at the Mumbai International Film Festival. It also won the Best Film Award at Kalakar Awards, one of the oldest and most prestigious award ceremonies in India.
Black Freedom / India
Black Freedom is a collection of five short stories woven in one film. It is dedicated to the memory of Saadat Hasan Manto. It’s about his dream of a sub-continent where people will still live as people, irrespective of religion, caste or color, where hatred shall stand abolished, where religion shall only ennoble those who follow it, not divide them into warring tribes. Sixty-five years after independence, Manto’s dream remains a dream…
The 5 short stories of Manto that the film is inspired from are Toba Tek Singh, Khol Do, Tetwaal Ka Kutta, Sharifan and The Last Salute.
Writer-director: Nitin Kakkar
After gaining experience as an assistant director for various Hindi movies, Nitin Kakkar made his directorial debut with the award-winning short film, Black Freedom (2004). Since then, he has worked on a number of television projects including Prayaschit, Jersey No 10, and CID. Nitin’s debut feature film Filmistaan received a Special Jury Mention during its World Premiere at the Busan International Film Festival. Thefilm also won Nitin the Best Debut Director at the International Film Festival of Kerala and Jaipur film Festival
Delirium / India
A story about six people and their manic missions…six specs of dust crisscross paths, ready to raise a storm in the endless city of Mumbai.
Writer/director: Abhijit Mazumdar
Abhijit Mazumdar is a Direction graduate from Film & Television Institute of India, Pune. He has made a number of short films, documentaries and commercials. His films have received both national and international awards. His latest medium-length film Vanishing Point is an official selection in Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013, Glasgow Short Film Festival (Competition Section “Adrift”) 2013, International Film Festival of India (Indian Panorama) 2012, International Documentary & Short Film Festival, Kerala (Focus Section) 2012.
Betamax / India-US
With the release of the first home video camcorder, a teenage Sikh boy and a squatter Punk girl become unlikely friends and filmmaking collaborators as London sits on the brink of race riots and a youth uprising in the summer of 1976.
Writer/director: Terrie Samundra
Terrie Samundra grew up between a rural village in India, a small farming town in Missouri, and the California coast. She is the director of the award-winning short ﬁlms Kunjo and A Short Tale of Xuanand is co-writer of Pooja’s Honor, the ﬁrst screenplay in The Ballad of Pooja trilogy. She is a Princess Grace Award recipient, a National Geographic All Roads Seed Grant recipient, and is currently the Head Programmer at the 2013 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.
Tribhanga / India
The film Tribhanga is a story of three women, from the same family, of three different generations. The lives of these three women overlap each other’s like concentric circles… each determining the shape of the other… each contributing to the other’s life in a very deep manner… each becoming the other’s strength in key times in their life. Their lives are like ‘Tribhanga’, the Odissi dance pose that is so disjointed, yet so beautiful, magical and mesmerising.
Writer/director: Renuka Shahane
Renuka Shahane has been an actress in Indian theatre, television and film for the past 25 years. Her work in television includes Lifeline, Surabhi, Circus, Imtihaan, Sailaab, Close-up Antakshari, Kora Kaagaz and the celebrity dance competition Jhalak Dikhla Jaa. In her film work, she is best known for the Bollywood blockbuster Hum Aapke Hain Kaun? Her first feature as director was the critically acclaimed Rita for which she won Best director for a Marathi film at the 16th Nokia Star-Screen Awards 2010. She also received the Best Screenplay Award in Marathi Films competitive section of the 8th Pune International Film Festival.
Television / India
Television is a story about three men – Vijay, who is about to get married and start a new life; Ravi, who wants best for his 3-year old son and must decide between his principals and the ways of world; and Malik, who is now retired and wants to live a peaceful life.
Unforeseen circumstances have put these three men at crossroads. They must decide what path to choose.
Writer/director: Kavanjit Singh
Kavanjit Singh is a screenwriter and director from Pune, India. Kavan started his film career at Whistling Woods, graduating in Film Direction. A former Infosys Project Manager with an undergraduate degree in electronics engineering, Kavan is pursuing his passion for cinema.
His short film Jagjeet has won nine Best Short Film Awards across the world.
Forgiven / India
Amidst the socio political unrest of 1987 in Kerala, a rebellious daughter from an upper caste family and her impressionable young niece set into motion a series of events that lead to betrayal and a dramatic death. 16 years on, with the patriarch on his deathbed, the disintegrated family is forced to come together, re-visit their past and find forgiveness.
Writer-director: Neha Sinha
After studying Philosophy at Lady Shri Ram College and film at the National Institute of Design, Neha Sinha has worked as a documentary filmmaker and as art director at the advertising firm JWT. She has also been a creative assistant to adman Ram Madhvani on various commercials, including the Cannes Lions 2007-winning ‘Palace’ for Happydent White, and assisted Abhinay Deo on Aamir Khan Production’s acclaimed film Delhi Belly. Currently, she works with Siddharth Basu in Big Synergy where she develops content and fiction based TV shows. Forgiven is her first original screenplay.
(via official press release)