Archive for September 6, 2013

shuddh-desi-romance copy2

Since we have become a generation of Buzzfeed and because “listicles” are still not dead, am going to pick the easy route. Here are the top 10 reasons why i loved Shuddh Desi Romance and why you shouldn’t miss it.

1. Jaideep Sahni – I was wondering if he will deliver or not. This is a virgin territory for him – a full throttle romantic film. And more suspicious because he was talking like my another favourite screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman. Love versus love portrayed in films, expectations versus reality and all that jazz. Well, he not only delivers but pushes the envelope and sends it out of the park. Terrific lines all over, all that which seems so natural that it’s difficult to believe someone actually wrote it. And especially at a time when everyone is taking this dialogue route, at least in mainstream hindi cinema space.

2. Morality is Dead – A friend got a sms from a veteran journalist – SDR’s morality is falling faster and lower than the rupee. Not surprising. This film might be shocking for the conventional theatre going crowd and especially when it’s not set in any Tier-1 city. Aha, what fun, to piss of those old holy cows.

3. Marriage is Dead – Commitment is fine. But why do we need the shackles to remind us that we are “committed”. Ironically, this one comes from the same production house which is in shaadi-binness. U-Turn? Hell yeah! Mommy, are you listening?

4. Parineeti Chopra – Mommy, if you still insist, can you try her. I have been skeptical about her main-chulbuli-always-smiling-full-on-enthu avatar in the last two films of her. Are they going to typecast her? But three films down and i think we can easily brand her as “show stealer”. Put her in any film, she is bound to walk away with all the glory while making it look oh so easy. Girl, you are going far.

5. No Melodrama – It’s never been our strength. To keep it minimum, to keep it subtle and yet pack a punch. Now, just see what all can a “thanda” do in situations where there is huge scope for such drama. Am not going to explain the scenes here to kill the fun. But i wanted to get up and applaud in the first “thanda lao” scene. I don’t remember when was the last time someone played it so smoothly in such a loaded scenario.

6. So much silence – Again, another rarity in mainstream bollywood. What do you write on those blank pages where your characters look into each other and say nothing and give those strange expressions that is difficult to define. It comes only with those weird situations that you get into. SDR is full of those and director Maneesh Sharma knows how to capture them.

7. No dil-jigar-dard-tukda song – what a relief. Dil hi toh hai saala, tutne do. Devads is over and out. To quote Sahni from another favourite, Rocket Singh, bikhre nahi toh kaise nikhrogey, uljhe nahi toh kaise suljhogey.

8. Climax – 2 couples and 4 characters – what a masterstroke. The way 4 characters are stuck at the same crossroads and the dialogues were criss-crossing, it reminded me of my favourite scene in That Girl In Yellow Boots – two telephonic conversations going on at the same time. Also, the climax doesn’t try to follow the conventional route. It sticks to its core idea that its prescribing from the beginning.

9. The “repetitive” tool – I read some comments saying that lot of it is “repetitive”, especially the dialogues. I thought that was brilliant writing – to use the same stuff with different characters. You know the lines, the character doesn’t. It happens more than once and the funniest is when Sushant and Parineeti try to find out about each other from Rishi Kapoor.

10. Pigeons, Monkeys and Milieu – As the film started, i kept on smiling as it played the montage filled with these various creatures. It’s been a while since our kabootar did ja ja for Mister Saajan. They are not just props, they slowly construct that rare thing which is difficult to achieve – milieu. And being aware of the world around you always helps.

All hail Jaideep Sahni! At a time when the market is flooded with fucking remakes and sequels with the sole intention of making money, here’s the one with the original voice and daring content.

Chanchal mann, ati random
De gayo dhoka sambhal gayo re
Phisal gayo re…

– Posted by @CilemaSnob

film bazaar2

Film Bazaar, the promotional arm of NFDC (National Film Development Corporation) has announced call for entries for its the Work-in-Progress (WIP) Lab and Viewing Room programs of the year.

– The submission deadline for entries is September 30th 2013.

– Film Bazaar will be held from November 20-24, 2013 at the Goa Marriott Resort, alongside the International Film Festival of India 2013.

Work-in-Progress (WIP)

– In the WIP Lab, five projects in their rough cut stage are selected to be presented to a panel of international film experts for their feedback.  Feature length films and documentaries at the rough cut stage are invited to apply.

Viewing Room

– The Viewing Room aims at presenting films seeking finishing funds, world sales, distribution partners & film festivals to investors, world sales agents and film festival programmers. Films of all genres and lengths in rough or final cut are invited to apply.

– Here films are viewed on individual computer terminals in private booths.

– These terminals provide details of the film as well as contact the director or producer.

– The films that were a part of the previous Work-in-Progress Labs have had their world premier at leading international films festivals and some even successful theatrical releases.

– Some of the films which were part of earlier editions of WIP and VR include Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely (World Premiere, Cannes Film Festival in official competition section-Un Certain Regard), Manjeet Singh’s Mumbai Cha Raja and Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus (World Premiere, Toronto Film Festival 2012), and Ajay Bahl’s BA Pass (World Premiere, 12th Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival), Gyan Correa’s The Good Road (National award for Best Gujarati Film)

– For more details and application forms, click here, and for further queries you can write to:

Since crowd-funding is in vogue these days, it’s good to see the trend going beyond Hindi indies. If our friends are to believed, Lucia is the first Kannada film to be crowd funded. We don’t have much clue about this one but it surely looks interesting. It’s written and directed by Pawan Kumar and will release with English subtitles. The film is released by PVR Directors Rare.


Official Synopsis

From the director of smash hit Lifeu Ishtene, comes Lucia, heralding a new direction for Kannada cinema, being the industry’s first crowd funded film. An usher at a decrepit cinema suffers from insomnia. His life changes when he starts getting weird and wonderful dreams but with a caveat. Set in the teeming young metropolis that is Bangalore, the film is a turbulent ride where the lines between dreams and reality are blurred to delirious effect. Please don’t reveal the ending after you’ve watched the film. Prepare to be surprised, very surprised.


Show Timings


– To know more about the film, click here.

– To read the filmmaker’s blog, click here.

We have been thinking about having some filmmaking workshops on a regular basis. It started with our cinematographer friend Mitch aka Mithun Gangopadhyay taking the initiative to conduct a basic cinematography workshop. It was going to be free of cost but logistics always requires money. Thankfully, the nice guys at Babble Fish Productions and LighNLight helped us with the venue, cameras and lighting gear for the workshop. Mithun put out the details on FB group “Crew Call India” and it was open to all on first come first serve basis.

Now that we have tasted blood and it was quite awesome, we have been thinking about making it a regular feature – with screenwriters, cinematographers, production designer, sound designer and the usual suspects.

This is where we need your suggestion and help. The idea is to invite the talent (hopefully there are enough interested souls who would like to share their knowledge) and we figure out the rest. The idea is to keep it free and do it regularly. Suggest and help us with answers to these three questions.

1. What we need – place (at least for 20/30 people to sit) – Do you know anyone who can help us with a place? Either for free (best possible solution) or with nominal charge (we split the cost). Ideally between Bandra and Andheri.

2. If the place is free, a big headache is gone. If we have to pay for it, how much you guys are willing to pay for, say 4-6 hours workshop?

a) less than Rs 500 b) Rs 500 c) Rs 1000 c) more than Rs 1000

3. Any more ideas/suggestions that you have in this regard that will help us make it possible.

Please reply in the comments section under 1, 2, and 3.

Coming back to the first workshop, here are some of the notes that Kartik Krishan managed to take down. Hopefully it will help you.  Over to KK.

Our dear cinematographer friend Mitch held a Basic Cinematography Workshop for aspiring directors at Bablefish compound in Lower Parel. It was meant to be an educational non-profit workshop. Have taken few notes and thought it would be good to share it here. Apologies in advance if I have wrongly quoted him. In case you are interested, Mitch is doing another one on Aesthetics this weekend (he is busy or pretending so).

It’s a very interesting yet difficult time to be a filmmaker. Interesting because Technology is cheap and resources are easily available. But difficult because anyone and everyone can do it. Earlier it took a certain journey to become a filmmaker. Now anyone with a camera claims to be one. To be a filmmaker one has to have something to say and one has to know the tools. For eg: if the camera breaks down, I can’t fix it. But I know how to use it.Cinematography cannot be taught in a day and I will not get into aesthetics at this stage. I will try and cover the gear – how to use it. And also how a director should try and communicate with the DoP. Sometimes even great directors cannot communicate their thoughts/ideas to the crew. Simple things like – framing, headroom etc. Does he want tight controlled frames or loose frames? A DoP should be told what is needed. Eg: A Dir says ‘I need a 4 shot’. So I understand that he wants four people standing in a shot. So I accordingly light it up. But then later he says no just all their faces in a tight frame. I just spent 30 min on lighting when it could have been done in 15 min. What will make a frame/scene look good ?Not just the cinematographer. But production design is 90% of ‘good cinematography’. Then Lighting. A white wall cannot be made to look good. I need character. Eg: Graffiti etc. I sincerely recommend all Dirs & aspiring Dirs to put money in Production Design. Lighting can be done in china bulbs if it is a great looking set. Most of the daily soap sets on TV are so bad that no matter what you do, it won’t look good. Get a good production designer. There Will Be Blood’s DoP thanked the Production Designer in his Oscar Thank you speech. Something looking great to eye can be easily made to look great in camera. Something looking shitty to the eye, it’s quite tough to make it looking great in camera.ASPECT RATIO – CURRENT/RELAVENT4/3 – like the Old TV screens – full gate academy aperture. Everything started with 4/3. Most TV was 4/3. Nowadays even most commercials are in 4/3 safe. I recently did a commercial for Govt of India for which I shot on Alexa – 16/9. But the master went in 4/3. Because the target audience was rural India. ‘No’ – the recent Chilean film was done in 4/3 – shot in a Beta Cam – retro look. Andrea Arnold the director of Fish Tank shoots in 4/3 and she makes great films. I completely agree with her decision to shoot her films 4/3.16/9 – standard HD aspect ratio for all digital cameras. Red, 5D, Sony, DSLR, Alexa – AD films, TV. The standard format.

CinemaScope – 90% of the films shot in India is reduced to Cinemascope (anamorphic  2.35/1). Nowadays if you don’t have cinemascope format the distributors say ‘Picture mein scale nahi hai, hum nahi khareedenge’. We cannot dictate terms on this. I remember Dilli 6 was shot in 1.85 aspect ratio but the distributors raised a hue and cry about it. But the makers said ‘we’re going to go with this format only.’ So the distributors relented. Another example is the great Vittorio Storaro. I learnt cinema by watching his films. In the past 10 yrs he has proposed a new aspect ratio of 2/1 which is somewhat akin to the Renaissance paintings but no avail. Even he couldn’t change the system.

Super 16/35 vs 16/35 mm – in the latter they use a little bit more of frame (from sound). Look of super 16 is grittier-raw. I feel it is a pretty good format. Before DI, earlier super 16 used to be blown up in 1.85/1 (abroad format). 1.78/1 & 1.85/1 are quite similar. The difference is negligible.

There is no point shooting anamorphic if you are shooting in a classroom. Ever since DI has come they don’t rent anamorphic lenses (because they are slow, heavy and expensive). They usually shoot 16/9 and crop it to anamorphic.

Faster lens means smaller F stop. 1/3rd lets more light in lens than 5/6th. The minimum opening of a lens determines how fast or slow it is.

Roger Deakins hates RED cameras. Both the eyepiece and monitor cannot be played at the same time without an additional component. The Alexa is a closer transitional phase camera. Bhaag Milka Bhaag was shot on Red epic. Matru on Alexa.


Super 8 – lots of films. For the vintage look.

Super 16 – Dhobhighaat. Zinda. Good for costs. My fav format ever. Nowadays 50D or 500T is available.  Fuji 160D was the most beautiful stock available earlier. Now it’s no longer there.

Just coz it’s on film,  doesnt meanit’s good. I’ve seen stuff shot on 5D which looks better than most films. What you put in front of the Lens is more important than what is behind it. The Production Designer, Actors, Lighting etc is more imp than what camera you are shooting in.

While shooting Day for Night – just ensure some basics are taken care of – like not pointing to the sun, take care of the shadow detail.

Most DoPs are not involved in Grading. It’s much easier to grade an Alexa/Sony image than a Red image.

Days of Heaven was shot only on Magic Hours. Magic hour for film is usually 15 min, for digital it is 20 min.

Upstream color is a great looking film which I believe is shot on GH3 cam (Cheap) but still it looks better than 80% of the films. There’s no hard and fast rule.

Half the film Biutiful – is shot in 1.85. The minute the workers die in the warehouse, the film shifts to Anamorphic.

35/Super 35 mm – Alexa, Red, C300/C500 have super 35 sensor. It is the default camera sensor size.

65/70mm & IMAX


SD – Standard BetaCam/PD 170. 640X480 is SD. Most of the films on TV are SD.

HD – High Definition >= 720p. Has a progressive image. The i in HDi mean interlaced image. All film is 24fps. All TV in India is 25fps. Hobbit was done on Red 3D 48fps. All HD broadcast in India is 720p

True HD – 1080p and above

Ultra HD – 4K and above. The future is Ultra HD.


CCD – Older Technology. Not great in low light

CMOS – used in High End cameras. CMOS sensor is better. 5D has a CMOS sensor. The problem with Rolling Shutter is – the image wobbles when you pan fast. The new Sony Cam has Global Shutter.

US is NTSC. India is PAL 25fps.

5D – 5D has a full frame sensor. It was always a stills camera for photo journos. Then they asked for a video recording facility. Over time one could control the camera. Pretty soon everything changed. Docus, Music videos, low budget ADs were shot on 5D, because of the shallow depth of field.

I was shooting a documentary on kids in foster home (where the kids were talking about the physical/emotional abuse they have suffered in their lives). I kept telling the Dir to shoot on a 1/3 Inch camera to capture all action and movement, but he insisted on 5D. The kids were talking extempore. The Dir wanted tight cuts. What will you do with a shallow focus in a classroom ? Most still lenses are not parfocal lenses (Zoom karne par focus chala jaata hai). The truth is that though most Docus are staged but sometimes doing extempore on 5D is tough. One has to be mindful of these things.

Most of the trade off in filmmaking is this – you will only get two of the three factors right at a time.

Rule of filmmaking

Earlier when using Film, there would be in camera rehearsal. Nowadays there’s no rehearsal blocking done. That is the reason most Indian films look flatly lit. Because the Dirs say – ‘lighting kar de, blocking baad mein dekhte hain’. Making films is a crew making/management deal. Right person and right tools.


Spherical (95% of all lenses) & Anamorphic (Special lenses – heavier, expensive, time consuming). Usually spherical lenses are used most of the times. Super Wide, Wide, Normal, Telephoto, Super Telephoto Lenses.

Usually 85-135 lens is a long lens, used more portraits. Exception- in Amelie, all CUs are shot in a wide angle lens!

Cooke lenses – (British) good romantic high end lenses. Used in Drive.

Zeiss – Used in Skyfall

Master Prime – the sharpest lenses in the world. Soft, sharp, Bokeh, depth of field, flares

Film is a SOFT medium. The old lenses will flare (no coating).


Color Temp – Each light has a color temp. Daylight is 56K Kelvin. Tungsten household bulbs etc are 32K.

Sony F65 has a tungsten sensor, Alexa – Neutral Sensor, Red – Daylight Sensor

You can mimic daylight with HMI (white light). 100 KV HMI = 10,000 volts light

Tungsten light – if you want a face to look good, this is the best light. Although it is inefficient as it becomes very hot. It has 92-93% Accuracy Color Indentation Index (average ‘good’ is considered to be 85-94%).

Florescent Lights – eg Kinoflows – can give you both Tungsten light & Daylight. Has 89% Accuracy Color Indentation Index.

LED Lights – Not as powerful. Color Tones are also inconsistent. It’s basically an array of lights. Portable and can run on a battery for an hour. Cheap. No clean shadow. The smaller LEDs are called Rosco lights.

You can dim down HMI & Tungsten but you cannot dim down Florescent/CFL. Tree of Life – was shot completely in natural light.

HMI – most popular. 575 HMI is equal in power to 2K Tungsten Light. Though more expensive to rent. But it is more versatile. A ‘joker’ is an 800 Watt HMI.Half Light – only one side of face is visible

Hard Light – gives a very pronounced shadow


FRONTAL HOLLYWOOD LIGHTING – to make everyone look good. The shadows are below the face. With a bounceboard (thermocol) below the actor’s face. This is the best way to light an actress.  In Fashion photoraphy – uppar se soft light aur neeche se reflectors.

Frontal Hollywood Lighting
CTO – makes daylight into tungsten

Diffusion – makes light softer (Tracing paper)

In Godfather one cannot see Brando’s eyes (managed by Top light). There’s always skunk eyes (dark shadows on eyes)- that’s the idea.

In Scandinavian countries – it’s always gloomy, rainy, cloudy. The natural light is soft light, diffused.

Always put color before diffusion paper

REMBRANDT LIGHTING –  Light is on the right or left side (45 degree to face). Most classical paintings. Dramatic High Contrast.

Rembrandt Lighting

BUTTERFLY LIGHTING – In between Hollywood & Rembrandt.

Film Noir is usually Hard Light. Like Sin City. A Rom Com is usually Soft Light.

Let the Right One is great because for a horror film, everything is so brightly lit

* Check out the Light ka swash book (similar to the color palette that Art Dirs carry)

THREE POINT LIGHTING – Key light to light your actor/product. The most imp light on the key side of the face. It is what gives illumination to the scene. You want to shoot mostly in the Fill side not the key side. Camera is facing Shadow side and then you put a fill light to show the face. There’s usually a 2 stop diff between the Key & fill.


If the fill light is behind the actor then it is Backlight/Edge. South Indian films are back lit heavy.


A shot list is important so that everyone in the crew knows what you want. Storyboards are a MUST on low budget films as opposed to Big budget films. The idea is that first actors blocking & camera rehearsal is done only with the HoDs and then the actors can be sent for makeup/costume while lighting can happen in the background.


Artemis (Viewfinder) – you can save it and print it out too

Helios (for DoPs) – Tells you the position of Sun

P Cam (for DoPs) – Lighting Software

Tech Scout (for DoPs) – Lighting Requirement