Archive for January, 2015

Jaideep SahniFWA (Film Writers Association) members are cordially invited to a masterclass with the popular screenwriter-lyricist Jaideep Sahni, in which he will talk about the why (the socio-political concerns which motivated him) and the how (the art and craft of writing, the practicalities of getting people on board, creative collaboration) of the films he has written. Jaideep will be in conversation with Rajashree.

We would suggest that the people who want to attend the masterclass revisit the films written by Jaideep Sahni – their understanding of the points which Jaideep makes about his films would be much sharper if they have watched these films recently.

Jaideep Sahni is an eminent screenwriter, songwriter and creative producer. He has written thought-provoking popular entertainers like Chak De! India, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Company, Bunty Aur Babli, Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year and Shuddh Desi Romance. He won the Filmfare Awards for Best Dialogue and Best Story for Company, followed by the Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay for Khosla Ka Ghosla. He also won the IIFA award for Best Story for Chak De! India.

Rajashree, who will be moderating the event, studied at FTII before assisting Mansoor Khan and Sanjay Bhansali. She has written and directed a film called The Rebel which won a National Award. Her debut novel, Trust Me, is the biggest-selling Indian chick lit book. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Film Writers’ Association and the convenor of the Events Committee.

Entry Fees : Free. 

The admission is restricted to FWA Members. First-Come-First-Seated.

Time: 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Day/Date: Saturday, 31st January, 2015

Venue: Film Writers’ Association Office
2nd Floor, Richa Building,
Plot no B – 29,
(In the lane opposite Citi Mall),
Off New Link Road,
Andheri (West),
Mumbai – 400 053.
Phone: 022-2673-3027/ 022-2673-3108

The Censor Board chief, Leela Samson, has quit. And then the entire Board members have also followed her steps. Reason? A new film titled MSG : Messenger of God, by a controversial religious leader who plays himself in the film. Not only that, according to reports, the Baba of MSG can cure AIDS, bring a dead man back to life, and so on. So why exactly did the Censor Board Chief and the members quit? Because going by the way the film was cleared, it made them completely useless.

The Tribunal has all the rights to clear a film which the Board objects to. But there is a protocol to be followed – how the film goes from where to where, who is informed, who is kept in the loop, the issues Board members had with the film, and many more. In the case, none of the guidelines were followed. Again, going by reports, seems the Board Chief wasn’t even kept in the loop about how things went. And the film quickly got a clearance. Pulling strings always works, right? Especially when there is a political connect and clout. In that scenario, the Censor Board chief really has no role to play. The Board members followed the same route soon.

Yes, they were appointed during the previous Government. But the members had major issues with the previous Government too, in terms of transparency and making the system better. Every Government tries to put their people at various capacities. The members had given many recommendations to make it better and more independent. But none of it was followed. Their letter sent to previous Government is also embedded. That issue was going on, and then the final nail in the coffin by this Government. All gone with the wind!

Hail Baba’s film! Hail Babas rule!

The Minister of State,

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting

Government of India

Shastri Bhavan

New Delhi

 

Respected Minister,

With this letter, we the undersigned are submitting our resignation from our position as Board Members of the Central Board of Film Certification with immediate effect.

The events that led to the Chairperson Ms. Leela Samson resigning from her position are merely the proverbial last straw. Since the time that we first occupied seats on the Board, we have been asking for some critical changes, which are imperative if the functioning of the CBFC has to be reformed. However, in spite of sending numerous recommendations and appeals, and having several meetings with the Secretaries and senior officials of the ministry, and even one with an earlier Minister, not a single positive step has been taken by the Ministry. We had also sent a letter to the then I & B Minister in December 2013 making several recommendations that would strengthen CBFC as an institution, and that we were willing to work on with the government. The earlier letter is attached to this mail. None of the recommendations that we made in that letter have been taken on board, and there has been no engagement with us on crucial issues that we were raising.

The Advisory Panel continues to be filled up with people of questionable credentials appointed directly by the Ministry, without taking the Board’s recommendations into account. No funds have been released for conducting orientation workshops for the panel members. Officers from other departments, who have no understanding or experience in cinema are appointed as officials. Furthermore, there are several positions in the regional offices that do not have regular appointments There has been no Board meeting for the last one year for us to discuss developments and make recommendations, as we were told that there are no funds to organize it! It seems that the CBFC Board is not required at all.

This Board has consistently attempted to make the certification process more uniform, transparent, consistent and sensitive to the freedom of filmmakers’ right to expression with responsibility. The struggle to do so has been extremely frustrating and disappointing.

It is our firm position that given the cavalier and dismissive manner in which the CBFC is treated by the government, it is impossible to perform this duty with even a modicum of efficacy or autonomy. We also object to the way in which the Chairperson has been treated by the Ministry which we feel has been humiliating for us all. This is not the way in which the head of an organization ought to be treated, and it is certainly not one that is conducive to any productive relationship.

We do hope that the new Board will find the government more responsive than we have.

With regards.

Ira Bhaskar

Lora Prabhu

Pankaj Sharma,

Rajeev Masand,

Sekharbabu Kancherla

Shaji Karun,

Shubhra Gupta,

T.G.Thyagarajan

And here is their letter to previous Government

 

‘Om Dar Ba Dar’ fame Kamal Swaroop is ready with his next documentary and if these teasers are any proof, then it looks quite fascinating.

Banaras, Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal, and the biggest democratic exercise on this planet – seen through the auteur vision of Kamal Swaroop should be a heady mix.

Over to the two teasers of “Dance for Democracy”:

P.S. – The BGM is kick-ass!

movies-bafta-stephen-fry-with-trophies

After numerous fest rounds, Ritesh Batra’s critically and commercially acclaimed debut feature, The Lunchbox, is still making news. And for all the right reasons. This time, the film has bagged a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) nomination. The film is nominated in the Foreign Language Film Category (or Film Not in the English Language). It’s a tough category as the other four films are much acclaimed too.

Film Not in the English Language

Ida
Leviathan
The Lunchbox
Trash
Two Days, One Night

So, except the FFI, we guess everyone saw the potential of the film.

Congrats to the team Lunchbox! Click here to see the full BAFTA nomination list.

And if you want to read the script of “The Lunchbox”, click here.

As we have done in the past, this year too we are trying to source the scripts of some of the best films of the year. As most of you know, the scripts of Hollywood films are easily available online, even the unreleased ones. But we don’t have any such database of Hindi or Indian films. So that has been the primary reason for this initiative. And it has been possible only because some of the screenwriters and filmmakers have been very supportive about it. It’s only for educational purpose and much like the spirit of the blog, is a complete non-profitable exercise.

Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely was easily one of the best films of the year. A film so strong in its atmosphere, it makes you feel you are in the middle of that era where the story is set. And that’s what sets this film distinctly apart from the rest. Smoke-filled rooms, garish costumes, sleaze in every corner – you could almost smell the walls and feel the claustrophobia of the B-movie world created by the filmmaker.

So thanks to Ashim Ahluwalia, we are the sharing the script of Miss Lovely. This is the original English version, without the Hindi dialogues.

In our “Best Of 2014” series, here are the other film scripts that we have shared so far – Ankhon Dekhi is here, Queen is here, and for Dedh Ishqiya, click here.

Film : Miss Lovely

Director : Ashim Ahluwali

Story : Ashim Ahluwalia

Screenplay : Uttam Sirur and Ashim Ahluwalia

Do click on the “Scripts” tab on the top right corner of the blog page to access all the other scripts that we have posted in the past.

Like in the last few years, Rajeev Masand has done a series of roundtable discussions this year too. And the one which has the best panel and which interests us the most is the directors roundtable. This one had Vishal Bhardwaj (Haider), Rajat Kapoor (Ankhon Dekhi), Vikas Bahl (Queen), Imtiaz Ali (Highway), RajKumar Hirani (PK) and Abhishek Varman (2 States).

Finally. Chaitanya Tamhane’s much acclaimed debut film, Court, has finally got a trailer. If you are regular reader of the blog, you must be knowing that some of us managed to catch the film at Mumbai Film Festival and we really liked it. An assured debut, with no frills, and a vision without any compromise. No wonder it’s still doing the fests round. And much like the film, the trailer also maintains the minimalist approach – in tone and even in its font. Have a look.

Cast & Crew

Cast: Vira Sathidar, Vivek Gomber, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Pradeep Joshi, Usha Bane
Directed by: Chaitanya Tamhane
Produced by: Zoo Entertainment
World Sales: Memento Film International – Artscope

Official Synopsis:

A sewerage worker’s dead body is found inside a manhole in Mumbai. An ageing folk singer is tried in court on charges of abetment of suicide. He is accused of performing an inflammatory song which might have incited the worker to commit the act. As the trial unfolds, the personal lives of the lawyers and the judge involved in the case are observed outside the court.