Archive for July, 2013

UPDATE – Since there was some confusion about what we really wanted to say in the post, well, i just changed the header and made it clear. That’s how we talk in Versova. (Earlier it had the header “Bereft Of Colours is weirdly similar to 1/3 Ship Of Theseus”)

We came across this short film called “Bereft Of Colours” and it looks suspiciously similar to one of the three stories of Ship Of Theseus. At least on the concept level. Have a look and let us know what you think. Do post your views in the comments section.

We are not exactly sure when the film was made. If anyone knows more about it, please do inform us in the comments section.

Sonali Cable was on our radar because it was selected for Mahindra Sundance Screenwriters Lab in 2012. It’s the debut film of Charudutt Acharya who has been writing for the small screen for a long time.

His bio from Mahindra site – Charudutt Acharya is an award winning writer of Indian TV drama shows like Haqeeqat, Kagaar, Jassi Jaise koi Nahin, Siddhanth, Rajuben &Crime Patrol. He has also co-written Hindi feature films Dum Maro Dum & Vaastushastra. Charudutt is a graduate of FTII, Pune and Royal Holloway, London.

FIRST LOOK OF SONALI CABLE 001FIRST LOOK OF SONALI CABLE 002

 

About the film (from release) –

SCIL (Super Cassettes Industries Limited), Ramesh Sippy Entertainment and NextGen Entertainment announces the release of their film ‘Sonali Cable’ on 3rd January 2014.

Sonali Cable is a ‘David versus Goliath’ story, in the thick of the cable internet turf war in Mumbai. An ordinary girl puts her love, life and survival at stake, when she and her ragtag team come in the way of the expansion plans of India’s largest corporation. The film wants to establish the growing corporate crushing small businesses without any scope for co existence.

The film is written and directed by debutant Charudutt Acharya with an ensemble cast that includes Rhea Chakraborty, Ali Fazal, Swanand Kirkire and Raghav Juyal (aka Crockroaxz), supported by accomplished veterans Smita Jayakar and Anupam Kher.

The film features a varied soundtrack showcasing the talents of Devi Shri Prasad, Ankit Tiwari, Mikey McCleary and Falak, with lyrics by Kausar Munir.

RIP Jagdish Raj – the man in khakee

Posted: July 28, 2013 by moifightclub in bollywood, RIP
Tags: ,

Jagdish Raj

Back in the 1960s, a big Hollywood casting director called Harvey Wood came and selected me for a police inspector’s role. Although I had done many films before as hero and villain, I don’t know why I found popularity only as police inspector. I got a lot of acting assignments, but all as police inspector. Twenty years later, I bumped into Harvey Wood again. He looked at me and said, “Bloody hell! You’re still in the same uniform.” He asked me to mail him the details of all my films as I was onto a world record for the most occupational role. Later the Guinness book people sent a team to Bombay to verify facts before they entered my name in their book.

Jagdish Raj, actor, born Sargodha, Pakistan, 1928

Text/pic from here.

TOI report on his death is here. He played cop in 144 films. Yes, 144.

We hardly cover box office related news on the blog. But this is really becoming ridiculous, and in epic proportions. If you don’t track the box office numbers closely, let us explain what we mean.

Nikhil Advani’s D-Day released last friday. After its one week run, here are some of the box office number floating around. First one is by Taran Adarsh, who is a well respected trade analyst if you go by the tweets of B-townies. Also, well endorsed by most Bollywood people. Here’s what he tweeted about D-Day’s 1st week collection

TaranSo the figure given by Taran is 26 crore net.

Now, check out the figure given by others who also track box office. Amul Mohan edits another well known and respected trade magazine called Super Cinema. Here’s what Amul tweeted

AmulBy Amul’s report, the total box office collection of first seven days is 16.5 crores net. As you can see in the tweet, he has given the daily break up too.

So that means a difference of about 10crores (9.5 crores to be exact). A difference of 10crores! Is this a joke? Such a big industry and there’s no accountability of box office figures. Let’s check out the figures given by other sources too.

BoxOfficeIndia has given the same figure of 16.5 crores net.

BOIGirish Johar, who is with Balaji’s distribution wing and tracks box office on daily basis, has also tweeted the figure of 16.5 crores net. Komal Nahata, Editor of trade magazine Film Information, has pitched it far less at Rs 15.75 crores.

UPDATE – Box Office India magazine, which is another reliable source for numbers, they have also finally released the 1st week total of D-Day and it’s Rs 14.6 crores. Ooh la la.

This difference in the figure actually started from its opening weekend. Going by Taran’s tweet, D-Day opened with a collection of Rs 13.69 crs net. For the same three days, Amul tweeted the figure of Rs 9.65 crores net. And strangely, the figure given by DAR Motion Picture (Producer of D-Day) is something else – Rs 12 crores as quoted in this report. If you compare Taran and Amul’s numbers, the opening day collection is still close (Rs 2.94/2.50), but looks like Taran’s figures suddenly got wings from saturday.

Everyone in the industry knows that many trade analysts inflate/deflate box office figures based on various other factors – the kind of reviews they have given to show that they were correct in assessing the film’s potential, relationship with the star/maker, and other ulterior motives. A difference of 1 to 5 crore is almost the accepted norm every week. With no central body that does the job of tracking box office numbers, it’s left to the whims and fancies of trade analysts who play around with them the way they want. Strangely, when they endorse a film and it doesn’t manage to get good numbers, they sometimes don’t even reflect the numbers in their box office report. More generic terms like “not up to to the mark”, “above average” (when you don’t even know what average is), “good not great”, are used to cover up the numbers. Well, all this is for a bigger post some other day.

But CAN SOMEONE FIRST PLEASE EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE OF THIS 10 FUCKING CRORES ?

– Posted by @cilemasnob

Through this blog we have always tried to spread the good word about various crowd-funded (Kickstarter, wishberry and such) projects. Here’s one more film which looks interesting and you can contribute to its making.

Have a look at this trailer –

And here’s one more clip –

If you find the trailer and the clip interesting, you can help the filmmakers complete the film. Click here to go their IndieGoGo page and fund the film.

If you want to know more the film and the filmmakers, over to the team for all the other details.

  1. design_final Who are we

Adam Dow (Co-Director, born and raised in Seattle, and is currently settled in Mumbai) has been making films since the age of twelve with his father’s old VHS camera. He has written and directed several short films that have been circulated in the US festival circuit. He received the Mary Gates Scholarship for leadership in 2001 and started the University of Washington’s first improvisational theatre troupe. Upon his move to Mumbai in 2007 he founded India’s first Improv Group known as Improv Comedy Mumbai and in 2011 was nominated as one of the people to watch in Mumbai by CNN.

Ruchika Muchhala, (Co-Director, is of Indian roots, born and raised in Indonesia and Singapore, and is currently settled in New York). She has worked on several documentary projects as an editor and television series as a writer and director. Her directorial debut was “The Great Indian Marriage Bazaar”, a documentary in which she navigates through the complex system of arranged marriages in modern-day India. The film aired internationally on various television channels, including BBC World, and at women’s and international film festivals in 2012.

 2. Story behind Beyond Bollywood

Both of us were complete “outsiders” to the world of Bollywood, when we came in 2007 to Mumbai to work on a web series about the different facets of Bollywood. During the making of the web-series, we came across 4 very interesting characters – Pooja Kasekar (dancer), Harry Key (Australian “white” extra), Ojas Rajani (make up artist) and Prem Singh Thakur (Union Leader) – and when we approached them with the idea of making a film on them/their lives, they readily agreed.

So, the Beyond Bollywood journey began in 2008 and we decided to finish shoot after 4 years of filming, in 2012, which is when we decided that it was time to now start putting the film together. We realized, while filming, that in order to capture their journey’s in the industry (and of their lives), we would need to spend time with them. Only then the audience will be able to see some character growth and development – but more than that, their real stories. Both of us truly believe in storytelling and wanted the audience to feel that they were watching a film, and not snippets of their lives, being narrated by a voice over.

3. Why should you support “Beyond Bollywood”?

 We decided to follow these characters because we felt a certain connect with them and found them to be extremely passionate about what they were doing – Pooja Kasekar, whose idol is Madhuri Dixit, came to Mumbai to become a dancer and through sheer hard work, moved on from being a background dancer to a lead dancer and also got a role in a film as the lead actress.

Prem Singh Thakur, who a lot of our filmmaker friends would know, is meant to be one of the most honest men in this profession and has been elected Vice Chairman of the Union over and over again.

Ojas Rajani has been in the film industry for more than 20 years now (is considered one of the top make up artists in the industry) and has done make up for some of the biggest names in the business.

Harry Key, a complete outsider, came to India to travel and possibly find some work, landed up on a film set the day he arrived in India. Initially it was tough for him to find work here, but again, through sheer hard work and perseverance, he decided to stick around, kept trying, and managed to do TV Commercials and Films (as an extra). He also got a major role in a small hindi film, which unfortunately didn’t release.

They all came from outside the film industry (most from outside of Mumbai), had a dream of making it BIG (a subjective term), were extremely passionate about what they were doing, and each one through sheer hard work and determination was able to do something that they (and everyone around them) would certainly be proud of. They did something BIG in their own right!

We want to tell their stories, which are similar to the stories of most people that come to Mumbai (from across India and the world) to try their luck in Bollywood! We also feel that this film will help a lot of people that are not part of the industry, understand the space better (especially our very own family members, who are asking us all the time – Beta, aap karte kya ho? / Child, what do you really do?)

 4. What do we need the money for?

So far, we have funded the production and post production on our own and now we have run out of funds (and our parents have stopped supporting us too!). We need US$ 12,000 to complete the film – sound, picture and some licensing fees for the film/music clips we are using in our documentary. We are running a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo (link here) to raise the funds to be able to complete the film. Please watch the trailer and visit our Facebook site and help us by contributing and/or passing on the trailer/fb link to your friends and family who might be able to contribute.

CREW:

Producer:                Manas Malhotra

Co-Producers:         Adam Dow & Ruchika Muchhala

Co-Directors:          Adam Dow & Ruchika Muchhala

Cinematographer:   Adam Dow

Editor:                    Monisha Baldawa

Sound:                    Kamood Kharade

Additional Editors:   Darren Lund & Atanu Mukherjee

Music Composers:  Tarun Shahani & Vinayak Manohar

The Act of Killing

This was long before Tehelka had done any expose. I think the year was 2006. A junior from college had gone on to become a yogi of sorts – a spiritual guru who over the next few years would gather a bunch of powerful politicos as his disciples and put an Orkut profile photo showing Narendra Modi reading Time Magazine with him, in his Yogi costume, on the cover.

I had shifted to Bombay to become a writer and his phone call started with respect for this ‘brave’ decision of mine. Over the next few phone calls during the week he told me about his vision for India and his love for cows, both quite reasonable, and I listened out of curiosity and courtesy. Then, after his self-praise ran dry after multiple ejaculations over 4-5 days, he came to the asli mudda.  He wanted me to head the national cultural wing of some organization/movement he was launching soon, in association with Bajrang Dal or VHP (my memory fails). I asked him what are his views on allegations on these organizations being responsible for Gujarat riots, and pat came his monologue which came back to me right after I started watching Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing.

He said of course it’s a matter of pride and an act whose time had come. It’s a happy situation that we still have youth who can put their lives on line for their nation. He said he is in fact sitting with two bhai jis who murdered a few people, including a pregnant lady and her child, with their own hands. Sensing my shock he said he and bhai jis can explain everything if I meet them in person just once. And then he handed the phone to one bhai ji when I cut the call in horror. College junior/Yogi called back saying he can understand the fear of rationals over such acts but he is sure that once I know the full story, I will not just accept but hug and applaud these people who murdered muslim women and children on the streets. A more heroic me would have gone to the cops or some TV channel, but I just cut the phone and never took his call again. (He called a number of times over the next month or so.)

This nonchalance puzzled me, kept me awake for many days. I rationalized that he might have been bluffing only, or trying to test me on something. It was too difficult to believe that people could boast about their crimes so easily, that too to almost strangers.

While watching The Act of Killing, in which gangsters hired by Indonesian military regime to kill more than 15 Lakh alleged ‘communists’ in the country revisit their acts with pride and glossy rationalization, I kept swinging between the two extreme emotions. One was the feeling of shock at this bizarre scenario – gangsters were told to re-enact the murders in whatever cinematic genre they want to and they obliged by enthusiastically recounting the methods, madness (sitting on a table placed on victim’s neck and jumping while singing), and ‘reasons’ (“God hates communists”) behind via many genres including musical, war film, crime drama, and comedy. The other was the feeling of familiarity – the feeling of having lived among such people, known them (and we all have known them in India who say ‘Sahi kiya Modi ne!’), and hence feeling no shock at this kind of behavior. It was like looking into the future if we have a Hindu-Military regime someday. The same guys I spoke to on the phone might be calling me   again to write songs for the film they would be making to celebrate their own acts of 2002.

So yes, there was a third feeling too. Feeling of ‘Is it okay if I laugh at this scenario?’ Very few films can put you in that space, that uncomfortable space between humaneness and detachment. I did laugh in a few scenes, in spite of being brain-shocked by it.  It was farce performing cunnilingus on reality.

The story unfolds through Anwar Congo and his sidekick Herman Koto. Anwar was a gangster (he says gangster means a ‘free man’) in 1965 and killed more than 1000 people in his ‘office’ by his own admission. He loved watching movies, looked like Sidney Potier, and ran the ticket business of cinema halls, and hence appears most earnest about this project presented to him by Oppenheimer. His sidekick, a present day gangster, clearly has acting ambitions as he puts his soul and direction skills in this fractured, b-grade production they are making. The film keeps switching between extremely violent and surreal recreations of 1965 killings, present day life of these gangsters (sometimes watching and critiquing their day’s work like big stars would), and moments of serene silence. And the silences are the most uncomfortable, as they should be.

Is there some moral redemption at the end of this “high-fever dream”? I don’t think there is much. Though director in an interview said of Anwar and his friends’ casual justifications for killing while recreating the scenes as their “desperate attempt to justify what they have done,” and thus, we see their ultimate humanity. If they have to cover it, they must know they have something to cover. In the recognition is the humanity. But redemption is not what the film seeks to achieve. Its attempt, in my opinion, is a much simpler one. It just wants to push these bad men into doing something decent (making cinema), and us into doing something bad (watching murder in a lighter vein, almost like they watched when they committed them). A two-way documentary, in a sense.

Not for the faint-hearted, but this is as explosive a mix of documentary, cinema, human condition, and horrors of prejudice as you will ever see. GUT-WRENCHING is an understatement.

– by Varun Grover

VOTD : Ask a Filmmaker – Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Posted: July 24, 2013 by moifightclub in cinema, VOTD
Tags: ,

Thanks to BFI for making this possible because we hardly get to see and hear Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

Info from BFI account – Only two filmmakers from India have won the BFI’s Sutherland Trophy for most original and imaginative film — Satyajit Ray and Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Adoor has won the International Film Critics Prize six times, and in 2002 the Smithsonian Institution honoured him with a complete retrospective of his work.

Adoor pioneered the film society movement in Kerala and formed India’s first film co-operative for production, distribution and exhibition. Here he answers questions from Twitter, Facebook and email, as part of our Ask an Expert series.