Archive for February, 2015

screenwriting-215x300WHAT : Manish Mundra’s film production company, Drishyam, in partnership with Sundance Institute, is organising Drishyam – Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab 2015 to be held in Goa April 12-16.

The Drishyam Sundance Screenwriters Lab will provide an opportunity for writers to develop their work under the guidance of accomplished international advisors in an environment that encourages storytelling at the highest level. Srinivasan Narayanan, the former Festival Director of Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI) will be heading this initiative in India.

The Lab is inviting applications as part of its Open Submission Process.

LAST DATE :

The deadline for submission of scripts is March 5, 2015.

ELIGIBILITY :

– The Lab is for filmmakers making their first or second narrative feature;

– Co-writers, writer/directors, or writer/director teams will be considered, and the scripts should be independent in terms of story and spirit, and also in terms of budget.

LANGUAGE :

The film can be in any Indian language. However, for the lab, the screenplay should be submitted in English only.

APPLICATION:

– In order to apply, filmmakers must submit a complete draft of a screenplay as well as supporting materials (cover letter, artistic statement, bio, synopsis, and directing sample if applicable).

– There is no word limit or format requirements.

– Directing sample, if any, should be submitted as an online link

– Send complete application docket to drishyamsundancelab@sundance.org

CONTACT :

– For any queries/doubts, do write to – drishyamsundancelab@sundance.org. Or you can check their FB page here.

So happy writing!

 

Coffee Bloom

After having its premiere at the last edition of Mumbai Film Festival, Manu Warrier’s indie feature Coffee Bloom is all set to hit the screens on 6th March, 2015.

Directed by Manu and produced by Harish Amin,  the film will now be receiving a major international release as it releases simultaneously in India, USA and Toronto.

Here’s the official synopsis of the film –

Coffee Bloom’ is the story of Dev Anand (Arjun Mathur), who is a self proclaimed wise man and has given up on life as a result of a love gone wrong. A life changing event takes him on a journey to a coffee plantation. There he meets Anika (Sugandha Ram), his long lost love, currently his boss. Love blooms in an idyllic setting, bringing Dev out of his self imposed funk and Dev finds a new reason to live. Coffee Bloom also stars veteran actor Mohan Kapoor and Bengali actress Ishwari Bose in supporting roles.

Starring Arjun Mathur, Sugandha Ram, Mohan Kapoor and Ishwari Bose, Coffee Bloom is all set to hit theatres in India (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune, Jaipur), US(San Francisco, LA, Seattle, New Jersey, Chicago) and Canada(Toronto).

And here’s the trailer –

Anup Singh’s Qissa is finally releasing in India. It’s a limited release in 5 cities with just a few shows. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see the release details. But here’s the good news – even if you are not in any of the 5 cities or you are outside India, you can watch it on VoD. Click here to go to NFDC’s VoD link and enjoy the film. The film is in Punjabi with English subtitles.

We are re-posting an old recco post on the film. Don’t miss it- it’s a must-watch and has made it to our mFC Recco List.

Qissa

If the header of the post seems loaded, you will be surprised more when you watch the film. Yes, there’s gender-bending, it’s genre-bending, and a ghostly tale. Add partition, identity crisis, sexuality, female foeticide, sibling rivalry. It’s a baffling cocktail that you have never tasted before.

The ghostly part might be considered a spoiler, but since the film’s title already tells you that, am not sure if it should be counted as one. The film is titled “Qissa – The Tale Of A Lonely Ghost”. I think that’s a smart choice to let the audience know what they are getting into, and be prepared for it. On a similar tangent, it was a mistake which Talaash makers did by not getting the spoiler out.

Varun Grover saw the film at TIFF where it premiered, and reccoed it in a post here – “A film based on partition, in Punjabi, starring Irrfan and Tillotama Shome and Rasika Duggal and Tisca Chopra! I was already sold. And though it deals with partition in a more symbolic, metaphoric, allegorical way – I was moved immensely by it. Many friends had issues with the logic and amount of suspension of disbelief it demands (basic premise of a father who brings up his daughter as a son without letting anybody else know is a bit of a stretch, yes) – but it still managed to disturb and involve me probably because of the magic realism zone it enters in the 2nd half. And also because of Rasika and Tillotama’s terrific performances. Probably it’s only me but I think the film gives a solid theory on why Punjab has the maximum cases of female foeticide/infanticide. (Qissa won the NETPAC Award at TIFF)”

So i was already prepared for it. But i had no clue that it will be such a fascinating ride. The film starts with a voice-over that feels like a folktale. But it soon jumps into the reality of partition and ethnic cleansing which forms its backdrop. In the aftermath of partition, Umber Singh (Irrfan Khan) is forced to move to Punjab with his family. A loss of identity, roots and that place you call home. Do you ever get that back?

And from the politics of the land the film moves to gender politics. Having already three daughters, Irrfan forces the forth daughter to grow up like a son. The gender identity part is strange and you might question its believability factor. But i have always felt that never let the truth (or logic/reason/whatever you call it) come in the way of a great story telling. Let the filmmaker be your guiding torch in this new dark room that you have never entered. Just hold his hand tightly and enjoy the ride. Leave him only if he trips over something. In that dark room, the only thing that matters is the conviction with which the filmmaker guides you, and how much are you willing to trust him. I live to enjoy this cheap thrill, and trust me, most of the times the experience has been rewarding. It’s easy to spot the ones who know their craft and can direct. Qissa is one such dark room which you have never entered. It’s strange, it’s weird, it’s unique. You need that torch and that trust. So as you buy into the premise of its gender politics, you realise that this strange tale is becoming weird, and you keep wondering where it will end up.

Then comes the magic realism bit which wraps up the story and completes the circle. The sudden tonal shift feels slightly jerky but it’s a minor quibble in an otherwise brilliant film. Anup Singh captures the sights and sounds of the land beautifully. The arid landscape, the rustic rituals, the folksy sound, and the dialect of the region, there’s not a single false note in Qissa. Backed by strong acting talents – Irrfan Khan, Tilottama Shome, Rasika Dugal and Tisca Chopra, they manage to pull off this difficult film with much ease. Describing anything more of the film will spoil the fun for you.

Qissa is an audacious film, and all credit must go to Anup Singh for stepping into this rare territory which we hardly explore, and for delivering such a brilliant film. This is the reason why it might alienate some audience too. You are not sure how to tackle this film. So remember the dark room and hold that torch. You will be fine. Don’t miss this one. It’s rare to find such a gem. Because it’s rare to find a desi filmmaker who takes such an untrodden path.

@NotSoSnob

Qissa

The Ghanta Awards, 2015 – Nomination List

Posted: February 19, 2015 by moifightclub in Awards, bollywood, WTF
Tags: ,

Pic 1The 5th edition of the Ghanta Awards is here and the team behind the awards have come up with this year’s nomination list. The East India Comedy (Sorabh Pant, Sapan Verma, Sahil Shah and Kunal Rao) will host the Awards in Mumbai on 8th March, 2015.

1. Worst Film

Action Jackson

Humshakals

Kick

 

2. Worst Director

Farah Khan: HNY

Sajid Khan: Humshakals

Anant Mahadevan: The Xpose

 

3. Worst Actor

Ajay Devgn in Action Jackson

Saif/Ram/Riteish in Humshakals

Akshay in It’s Entertainment

 

4. Worst Actress

Bipasha: Creature 3D/Humshakals

Sonakshi Sinha: Holiday/Action Jackson

Sunny Leone in Ragini MMS 2

 

5. Worst Song

“Photocopy” from Jai Ho

“Icecream Khaungi” from The Xposé

“Callertune” from Humshakals

 

6. Worst Debut

Shekhar Suman in Heartless (as Director)

Mannara in Zid

Mika & Shaan in Balwinder Singh Famous Ho Gaya

 

7. WTF Was That!

SRK learning to dance from a bar dancer in Happy New Year

Jackie Bhagnani ‘inheriting’ the PMship in Youngistaan

Ajay Devgn’s genitals being a good luck charm in Action Jackson

 

8. Anything But Sexy

Sonakshi Boxing/Playing Rugby in Holiday

Randeep Hooda & Nandana Sen having sex in paint in Rang Rasiya

Deepika Padukone animated in Kochadaiyyaan

 

9. Most Controversial Controversy

TOI’s Deepika Cleavagegate

Ridiculous demands to ban PK

Ali Zafar insulting Afridi in Total Siyappa

 

10. Worst Couple

Ajay Devgn/Sonakshi/Yami/Manasvi in Action Jackson

Arjun & Ranveer in Gunday

Akshay Kumar & a Golden Retriever in It’s Entertainment

 

11. Worst Miscasting

Priyanka Chopra as Mary Kom

Alia Bhat & Arjun Kapoor as MBA’s in 2 States

Sonam Kapoor as a Physiotherapist in Khoobsurat

 

12. Worst Brand Endorsement

Shreyas Talpade for Red Bus

Hrithik & Sonam for Oppo Mobile

Viveik Oberoi for Swacch Bharat Campaign

 

13. Worst Supporting Role

Suniel Shetty and a tank in Jai Ho!

Everyone (Except SRK) in Happy New Year

KRK in Ek Villain

 

14. Shit Nobody Saw

Sholay 3D

Ungli

Dhishikiyaoon

Bey Yaar – It was a small budget Gujarati film that nobody had heard about. And then something magical happened. Again, something that nobody had heard about. The film’s writer Niren Bhatt tells us about the making of the film, the hurdles it faced, and its amazing journey – how it not only recovered its cost but went to earn almost 10 times its budget.

Bey Yaar

Any Gujarati (I hate the word Gujju) reading this blog is (I assume) aware of ‘Bey Yaar’, for others – it’s a small independent regional film which recently completed 25 Weeks in cinemas. It’s beyond belief (even for us) considering the fact that it directly competed with all major Bollywood releases for almost 4 months now, in a market conventionally strong for Hindi films, and in a space where regional content is absolutely non-existent in multiplexes.

For decades, Gujarati cinema was on ventilator. It was far away from urban diaspora. It was as if it did not exist. It was looked down upon, and urban audiences strictly stayed away from it. There were a few notable attempts to change the state of affairs by some maverick film makers, but somehow the outcomes were quite inadequate. Finally, things started changing after 2012 due to the success of Kevi rite Jaish.

That’s when we (Me and co-writer Bhavesh Mandalia) decided to give it a shot. We knew that taking a plunge in a nascent industry was commercially an imprudent decision. We also knew that tangible remuneration would be negligible. But what the heck, it was for the love of the language. And we had a big in-suppressible urge (i.e. chool) to do it. We had a few ideas and over the period of time, zeroed down on ‘Bey Yaar‘ with director Abhishek Jain.

We wanted to break free of mainstream Bollywood’s infinite commercial constraints.  The attempt was to organically create a story. We did not want anyone to tell us ‘iss mein love track kaha hai?’ or ‘iss mein item number daal do’. We wanted the freedom to let the screenplay take shape by itself.

As both of us (Me and Bhavesh) were doing screenwriting for a Gujarati film for the first time, it was an alien territory; we were not quite sure how it would pan out. But as they say, ‘a writer’s purest expression is always in his mother tongue’. We started realizing it as we started writing. The flair of the language, colloquial words, vernacular slang gave a whole new perspective to the narrative. The title ‘Bey yaar’ itself is a quintessential slang of Ahmadabad. Colloquially, it’s a short form of ‘Abey Yaar’, and literally it means ‘2 friends’.

Almost all the characters came from our real lives. They spoke our language; they had dialects, they had our sensibilities. There were no inhibitions; direct references were made from Van Gogh to Picasso, from Stanislasky to Pachino and from ‘Cubism’ to ‘Pop art’. Script’s requirement was fulfilled without anyone telling ‘apni audience ko ye sab nahi samjega’.

At the end of it, we knew that we had a winner on our hands. Since the story had a universal appeal, some producers advised us to directly make it in Hindi. But that didn’t tempt us a bit because it had to be in Gujarati. Its not a secret that real work is happening in regional cinema, especially in Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali. We were simply in awe of films like Deool, Fandry, Aaranya Kandam, Aadukalam, Lucia and many many more. These guys were masterfully telling their own stories in their own languages. We had to tell our story in our language first. We had a belief – ‘if it can be done in other languages, it can be done in Gujarati too’.

We had certain actors in mind while writing the script. Convincing them wasn’t easy either.  Some actors straightaway refused because it was a Gujarati film. But after multiple narrations, frequent meetings, and relentless efforts, finally we had our desired cast in place.

The film was shot in Ahmadabad, in 35 days flat, in a modest budget. Marketing and distribution were always going to be the biggest challenges. Regional television is also going through the crisis similar to regional cinema in Gujarat, not having a viewer base in urban spaces. So tv was not an option. We relied too heavily on social media. Sachin Jigar’s music was a big plus for us. Songs immediately went viral and caught the attention of youth. FM channels generally don’t play regional songs in their regular slots; we had to buy special spots to play our songs.

There are no established distribution channels for urban Gujarati films. So exhibitors had to be coaxed and cajoled individually to screen the film. Exhibitors showed very little interest initially and we had a humble release in about 35 screens across Gujarat and 4 screens in Mumbai. But the initial response was really positive and more screens were added over the weekend. For a month we went go to cinema halls to interact with audiences and ask them to spread the word. Local media supported us really well; TOI gave a 4 star review. Chitralekha – the most popular Gujarati magazine helped us in a big way by doing a cover story about the film. The most popular columnists of Gujarat wrote about the film and highly recommended it. And then the magic happened happened – the most potent and effective ‘Word of mouth’ started spreading. Film’s FB page was flooded with compliments. Screens started adding up, and rest as they say is ‘history’.

In Mumbai, the film was out on 3rd week, then re-released in 5th week in 2 screens, after a week again it was taken out due to release of Haider and Bang Bang. Again re-re-released after a week, and then it had a dream run, uninterrupted for about 15 weeks. At one point, Bey Yaar had more than 60 shows in Mumbai.

Bey Yaar became a global phenomenon, the first Gujarati film to get screened in 4 continents, received rave reviews from Australia, New Zealand, US, UK, UAE, Belgium etc.

For us, it was our own little effort to change audiences’ perception about Gujarati cinema. Without being modest, I think this film has achieved that.

But this is an ongoing process. The success of this film is just the beginning. We desperately hope this trend continues. We hope new voices, new story tellers, new film makers will emerge now. And we hope they express themselves with utmost conviction and integrity.

– Niren Bhatt

Like us, if you have been playing the song Moh Moh Ke Dhaage from Dum Laga Ke Haisha in non-stop loop, and love to sing along, here’s something you will like – the full lyrics of the song which includes 2 unused antaras. The music is by Anu Malik and lyrics are by apna Varun Grover.

Moh Moh Ke Dhaage  
VOCALS : PAPON (Male version) and MONALI THAKUR (Female version)
SONG ARRANGED AND PRODUCED : HITESH MODAK
GUITAR : ADITYA BENIA
FLUTE : NAVEEN KUMAR
SHEHNAI : OMKAR DHUMAL

And here’s Varun Grover’s note about the song – why and how –

शरत कटारिया की लिखी स्क्रिप्ट ही इतनी दमदार थी कि शुरू में ही समझ आ गया था गाने लिखने में बहुत मज़ा आएगा। सबसे ज़्यादा मज़ा वैसे सामूहिक विवाह वाली सिचुएशन पे ‘सुन्दर सुशील’ लिखने में आया जिसमें बचपन से पढ़े हुए ढेर सारे मेट्रिमोनियल इश्तेहारों का ज्ञान काम आया, लेकिन म्युज़िकली देखें तो सबसे भारी सिचुएशन यही वाली थी। प्रेम रूठा हुआ सा है, बिना खाना खाए अपने ससुराल से निकला है नयी दुल्हन को लेकर, और दोनों के बीच तनातनी सी है। ऐसे में, रात को स्कूटर पर जाते-जाते दोनों को पहली बार साथ एक सफर पे जाने का मौका मिल रहा है।  शरत चाहता था यहाँ एक क्लासिकल गीत आये। अनु मालिक साब ने बहुत सी धुनें सुनायीं और हम सबको करीबन सब अच्छी लग रहीं थीं लेकिन एकदम (अनु जी के लफ़्ज़ों में) ‘ठाँ कर के लग जाए’ जैसी नहीं मिल रही थी। फिर एक दिन अनु जी ने ये वाली सुनाई जिसे सुनते ही सब कूद पड़े। गज़ब कम्पोज़ीशन, जो अन्तरे में जा के और निखर जाता है।

गाने में सफर, रात, प्यार और गुस्सा, सब है इसलिए लिखते वक्त ध्यान दिया कि ऐसी उपमाएं हों जो थोड़ी डिस्फ़ंक्शनल हों। उलझे, गिरह, तेरी झूठी बातें वगैरह। और क्यूंकि सफर का फील देना था इसलिए शब्दों को रिपीट किया – मोह-मोह, रोम-रोम, टोह-टोह। रिपीटीशन से एक स्विंग सा आता है गीत में, जैसे स्कूटर के पीछे बैठने से आता है।

मुखड़ा

ये मोह मोह के धागे,
तेरी उँगलियों से जा उलझे,
कोई टोहटोह ना लागे
किस तरह गिरहा ये सुलझे।

है रोम रोम इक तारा,
है रोम रोम इक तारा,
जो बादलों में से गुज़रे।

अन्तरा १

तू होगा ज़रा पागल
तूने मुझको है चुना
कैसे तूने अनकहा,
तूने अनकहा, सब सुना।

तू दिन सा है, मैं रात,
आ ना दोनों,
मिल जाएँ शामों की तरह।

अन्तरा २

के ऐसा बेपरवाह मन पहले तो ना था
चिट्ठियों को जैसे मिल गया,
जैसे इक नया सा पता
के ऐसा बेपरवाह मन पहले तो ना था।

खाली राहें, हम आँख मूंदे जाएँ,
पहुंचें कहीं तो बेवजह।

(मोनाली ठाकुर वाले वर्ज़न में अलग अन्तरा)

अन्तरा ३

के तेरी झूठी बातें मैं सारी मान लूँ,
आँखों से तेरे सच सभी,
सब कुछ अभी जान लूँ।
के तेरी झूठी बातें मैं सारी मान लूँ।

तेज़ है धारा,
बहते से हम आवारा,
आ थम के सांसें लें यहां।

And two unused antaras for Moh Moh Ke Dhaage:

आ ऐसे भर जाएँ रहे खाली ना जगह

घोल दें इक सांस में आ सारा फासला
कि ऐसे भर जाएँ रहे खाली ना जगह
झील किनारे
आजा ना खेल बिछा लें,
और जोड़ें साड़ी कौड़ियाँ।

***********

कि जैसे पानी का इक मीठा सा कुआँ
हाथ जो तू थाम ले, तो छंट चलेगा धुआँ
कि मिला पानी का इक मीठा सा कुआँ।
झूठ कहानी
तेरी है सारी मानी
तू भी इशारा सुन ज़रा।

If you can’t read Hindi, click here to go to Varun’s site to read it in Roman. Also, it has the lyrics of rest of the songs.

In Their Shoes

After making his debut with Hindi feature Aurangzeb, and TV series, Powder, Atul Sabharwal is now coming out with a documentary  titled “In Their Shoes”.

Centered on the shoe industry in Agra and the people who are engaged in it, this feature length documentary is set to get a limited release in 5 cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Agra and Pune) on March 13th, 2015, through PVR Director’s Rare and Long Live Cinema  in five cities

And here’s the trailer

In the docu, filmmaker Atul Sabharwal goes on a quest to find out why his father pushed him away from
joining their family business of shoe material trading in Agra. With a runtime of 92 minutes, this film navigates through the narrow alleys, crowded slums and giant export houses of the historic city of Agra, India, exploring certain answers through the interviews of footwear artisans, traders, manufacturers, exporters and government officials. Through their voices this film pieces together the tale of the industry and the men who built it and sailed it through or got sunk with the global events like India-Pakistan Partition, rise of the USSR, Solidarnosc movement of Poland, the collapse of Berlin Wall, opening of trade economies.

Shot by Ansar Shah and edited by Parmananad Kumar, this film allows the filmmaker to unravel the history of the footwear industry in Agra, and discovers how the global events of his growing up years impacted his relationship with his father.

For more info, FB page is here. Twitter account is here.