Archive for March, 2015

WWI-FWA Workshop 2015

WHAT : 5-Day Screenwriting Workshop

by Anjum Rajabali

and

Vishal Bhardwaj (Haider) , Sriram Raghavan (Badlapur), Jaideep Sahni (Chak De India), Juhi Chaturvedi (Vicky Donor), Ritesh Batra (Lunch Box), Vikramaditya Motwane (Udaan, Producer: Queen), Shridhar Raghavan (Dum Maro Dum), Akshat Verma (Delhi Belly), Sharat Kataria (Dum Laga Ke Haisha), Anand Gandhi (Ship of Theseus), Navdeep Singh (Director: NH-10), Sudip Sharma (NH-10)

WHEN : April 29 – May 3, 2015

WHERE  : At Whistling Woods, Film city, Goregaon (East), Mumbai – 65

Presented by Whistling Woods
(in association with FWA & Living Bridge Pune)

WORKSHOP : The last few years have marked the beginning of an exciting era for Indian screenwriters! More films are breaking the conventional mold, based on bold scripts. Badlapur, Udaan, Haider, Dum Lagaa Ke Haisha, Queen, The Lunch Box, Vicky Donor, Ship of Theseus, Delhi Belly, Chak de India, NH-10.. the list goes on. What’s more, the audience is welcoming these with pleasure.

Gradually but steadily, the scriptwriter seems to be moving centre-stage!

This workshop will not only cover all the basics of the screenwriting craft, encouraging you to develop competence as a screenwriter, but also expose you to how these stalwarts let their imagination fly with conviction. So, here’s your best chance to learn, via rich interactive sessions with writers who are redefining Indian screenwriting today!

WORKSHOP INSTRUCTOR: Anjum Rajabali (Drohkaal, Ghulam, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Raajneeti): Heads the screenwriting departments at Whistling Woods Mumbai and FTII Pune, and is an activist with FWA. Conducts screenwriting workshops, and script labs and fellowships for screenwriters.

FEE: For FWA members: Rs. 7500/- (Inclusive of taxes, tea/coffee, lunch)
For non-FWA members: Rs. 10000/- (Inclusive of taxes, tea/coffee, lunch)
*If you wish to become an FWA member, please visit www.fwa.co.in

REGISTER : To register for the workshop, please call 30916003 or email: kanchi.parikh@whistlingwoods.net

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When there is no competition, you generally don’t get good products, because sooner or later, producers of those products would hallucinate and think they are Gods, and their consumers are insignificant. This theory fits perfectly when we think of film music in our country. If you don’t believe me, try to remind yourself of 5 film albums which you liked last year. Got my drift?

We live in times when everything should make money for the makers. Music has to be catchy enough for caller tune. Who cares if people forget about the music 3 days after the promos end! Last year, it was Haider, a music album that enveloped the feel of the film and not compromising with the melody in the process. The first quarter of this year has ended and Dibakar Banerjee has given us Detective Byomkesh Bakshy.

The album starts with immensely talented Madboy/Mink jiving on Calcutta kiss. I don’t know about you but I never thought we will witness such vibrancy and joie de vivre in a film song. The song kicks it and does a kick ass job at it. It has a deliciously flirtatious vibe, and my God, it is amazing! Saba Azad is a Goddess and I love the way she economizes her vocal spend on Hindi film songs. A wise man told me long time back that Sneha Khanwalkar might create good sound but she has a long way to go for making a melodious song that sticks in your head. Now I don’t know how they will use all songs in the film, but if used well, I challenge you to come out of the hall and not have ‘Bach ke bakshy…tu jhoootha hai makkaar playing in your head. With this song, Sneha builds a villa on the already cemented spot that she occupies – one of the few, very few good musicians of our times whose songs will outlive us all and future generations will try unsuccessfully to find out the ‘formula’ behind the varied sounds she produced in her lifetime. I don’t know Sneha but I would love to know the questions she asks the maker when she is given the brief on the song that she has to make for a particular film. She gets it right every time!. Double pat to the lyricists of the song (Sneha and Dibakar, we are told)…whoever came up with beh gaya jo khoon uska kya blood type hai?!! The ‘bach ke bakshy tu jhootha hai makkar‘ has the same deadness to it, which some of us would remember experiencing when we heard kiley ka rahasya‘s title song.

I have always had a bone to pick with the non-film music scene in India, which has more often than not tried hard to bollywoodize itself to get validation (read recognition and money). The almost disgusting attempts at aping our innovative and rich neighbors’ music scene have failed because we try to put a bollywood touch to everything, and the sound gets hijacked. In comes ‘Byomkesh in love‘, and you feel not everything is wrong after all. The song has been fused well and in spite of English words in between, you will surely smile at the thumri-sque complaints of the singer asking her beloved to stay with the ‘other’ woman. The only other time it was done so beautifully was when Ram Sampath created this beautiful song. That was 13 years ago. In spite of somewhat average lyrics, what will arrest your attention in jaanam’ is the tripping Synth arrangement in the song. Suryakant Sawhney does a great job at giving us a retro but not dated love song.

There was a time when to make your film song ‘hep’, you had to have a song from Suraj Jagan. It worked but not totally, may be because the songs always wanted mass acceptance from Bollywood music lovers who are overfed with silly items songs and template of rondu-rotlu songs. Thankfully ‘Life’s a bitch’ by Akshay De is NOT at all like that. The song doesn’t try to pander to ‘General population’ and keeps the death metal ( is it?) feel alive. Akshay de is angry and his rough (yet never out of tune) singing makes it up for a song which you will either love, like I do or hate! Nothing grey here. Chase in Chinatown marched passed all of us in the first trailer of the film. The music and the mood of this track is elevated a great deal by Vyshnav Balasubramaniam. The rap is rough and much like ‘life’s a bitch’ this might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the track is trippy and one that fits the stealthy title to the T. Yang Guang Lives – is a meandering track that has interesting sound to it.  IJA has created this more like a background score with occasional commentary. Thanks to the superb pace of the entire O.S.T., this track might wear you out because it breaks off a lot in between. It won’t be wrong to conclude that the track is more a film piece than a song piece. That said, the track will give multiple orgasms to bass junkies.

Dibakar got 7 composers to make 7 songs. I am not the most vocal advocate of bringing hajaar composers in one O.S.T because I feel that the sound of the film gets compromised and doesn’t stay uniform. Thankfully, it is not the case here. For all we know, Dibakar would do a ‘kahaani’ and not include any song in the film. Even then, every note that you encounter in this album wraps itself around the feel of the film so well that it makes you want to see the film immediately!

We dont know what the film has in store for us. All we have got so far is just an eerie anticipation of something sinister which is about to unfold and the music just enhances that feeling. I cannot ask for anything more from an O.S.T..

Super like!

Let us know which song worked for you and which one didn’t.

@rohwit

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Here’s the good new for film buffs. If you missed Chaitanya Tamhane’s much acclaimed debut feature, Court, at Mumbai Film Festival, you can catch it in theatres now. The film is all set to release on April 17th, 2015.

A new terrific trailer of the film is out too. Have a look.

It’s been doing the fest rounds for quite some time and bagged some of the international prestigious awards at Venice and other fests. At the recently announced National Awards, the film has been adjudged the Best Feature Film. For a debut feature filmmaker, this is a dream run and it can’t get better than this.

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.

POTD : Tumhare Paas Kya Hai?

Posted: March 24, 2015 by moifightclub in cinema
Tags:

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Via Sanjana Kapoor on FB.

flyer-bigPITCH YOUR STORY/SCRIPT TO PRODUCERS

Do you believe that you have a wonderful story or screenplay? Either for a film or a TV serial or an Animation film, documentary or a children’s film? Or even a gaming idea? And are you keen to pitch it to leading production houses?

The Film Writers’ Association (FWA) and FICCI FRAMES bring you an opportunity to do so in a programme called ‘Frame Your Idea’.

– Venue: FICCI FRAMES, Renaissance Hotel, Powai, Mumbai.
– Dates: March 25-27

MARCH 25: PITCHING FOR FILMS
MARCH 26: ANIMATION, GAMING, KIDS PROGRAMMING
MARCH 27: PITCHING FOR TV PROGRAMMES

Production houses who will listen to your pitch are:

* Film
Dharma Productions
Disney India Studios
Excel Entertainment
Sikhya Entertainment
Phantom Films
ROMP pictures

* Animation
CFSI
Cartoon network
Pogo
Nickelodeon
Disney kids
Sonic
ZeeQ
Discovery kids

* Gaming
Reliance Games
Nazara

* TV
Star Plus
Zee TV
Life OK TV
Channel V

– Our advice is that you should have at least a written story before you decide to pitch it at these producers. (If you already have a script, all the better. But, at least a story.)

– You will get 10 minutes to pitch your story to each producer, before you move on to the next producer.

– Do remember that you will have to pay a registration fee. FICCI has to meet its cost, and it is their rule. So, make sure that you extract maximum value by throwing your best work at them.

Here’s what you have to do:
1. First go online and register for Ficci Frames. (Registration charges for ‘Frame Ur Idea’ are actually Rs. 5000/- per day. However, for FWA members there is a 50% discount. So, for FWA members, the fees are Rs. 2500, plus service tax.)

2. Fill the ‘Frame Ur Idea’ form online, and receive a confirmation email.

3. Turn up at Ficci Frames on the day of your pitch and go for it!

– Online registrations close at 7 PM on March 23.

– If you’re unable to register online, then just land up at the venue on the relevant day at 8.30 AM, and register on the spot. Bring your membership card along.

– For those who are unsure about how to pitch, FWA has organised a Pitching Workshop where senior writers will guide you with the help of examples. At FWA office, on March 23, 5-7 PM.

– For any further queries, write to the Film Writers Association filmwritersassociation@gmail.com and they shall forward your mail to the relevant person.

– For more info, click here

NH10 : Girl, Interrupted

Posted: March 14, 2015 by moifightclub in bollywood, film review, reviews
Tags: , , ,

NH10

SPOILER  ALERT

So i watched NH10 at the 2:50 show at PVR Phoenix mills yesterday. The hall was almost 60% full.  I was extremely excited about Navdeep Singh’s second directorial venture after Manorama Six Feet Under, so i armed myself with a large popcorn and coke, i munched my way through the national anthem and the anti tobacco campaign waiting with impatience and anticipation for the movie to begin.

A RED CENSOR CERTIFICATE set up the mood for what was to come.

Before everyone is up in arms about similarities with Eden Lake, the plot line is applied to a completely different context and therefore doesn’t account as plagiarism because artists are allowed to steal because  “its not about where things are taken from, but where things are taken to” (Jim Jarmusch said it so you can take it up with him),  From utopia to dystopia, Navdeep takes us for a creepy drive through Haryana, the experience of which we are unlikely to forget for a long time to come. All the moments are familiar yet original and the result is a stylish, contemporary and brilliant piece of storytelling.

Navdeep creates  a  mature modern Indian heroine that one can relate with and look up to.
Anushka’s look is fresh, dewy,  her face does not look ducky and she has taken this role by the balls and performed the hell out of it. I have never been an Anushka fan per say, initially, put off by all her bubbly cockiness.
But i am a true blue convert now because she makes the rest of the lot of the leading ladies look childish, glossy and superfluous. With one bold stroke she has knocked Kangana down to number two in the list of brilliant  mainstream female actors.

Anushka’s portrayal of Meera was so nuanced and balanced, and her descent into darkness was so effortless and easy that it is truly laudable. She was vulnerable yet steely, sensitive yet power packed. She is a heroine you are rooting for from the word GO. In comparison, her husband’s character makes me want to whack him a few times for being so silly and immature.  I hated the villians, which means there were absolutely effective.

It is fantastic to see a film of this caliber coming from a  “male director”. Especially in the wake of  all the high brow debates , Navdeep sets an example  with this work.
Now the people who are stereotyping and generalizing all Indian men, can shut up. The film entirely dealt with the idea of male gaze and yet there was no male gaze in the showing of the film at any point. There was respect for every character from its creators which is rare to find in a Hindi film.

The starkness of the rural urban divide, and the multiple manifestations of patriarchy are handled in an almost video game kind of manner.
Things get progressively harder and harder for Meera’s avatar, its almost like she takes on a virtual reality in the film, the banal is bizarre and things are just about hanging between real and surreal at all times. The moments are hellishly entertaining and suspenseful with just the right amount of comedy (mama-ji gets left behind!) which truly is a superb achievement in the Hindi film context.

I loved that there was minimal dialogue and great use of sound, all the information was relayed and never spoon fed and the images looked just right. Everything looked authentic and beautiful and dark- almost to a Hitchockian pitch.The added bonus was that the interval point came at the right time. The pace of the film was maintained with finesse through the second half and the film ended on the right pitch, without going into the “melodrama and maatam” over her husband’s death that could have followed.The loose reference to republic day where the cross-dressers are performing (to a homophobic audience), which is also Meera’s birthday in the story, and references to Ambedkar and the constitution, are interesting. Meera is a Salim Sinai kind of character. Everything revolves around her in a nationalistic kind of way, though i am glad that all this information  is just there and wasn’t pressed further. I didn’t think it was a matter of convenience on the part of the director as some reviewers have put it, but cleverness, this is a great example of a pulp film, a true ode to anime and Amar Chitra Katha.

I was not a huge fan of the music, apparently it is a demand of the industry, but one could’ve totally done without it, or maybe something other than what was.

In the end, i was happy that she got to kill those bastards with relish, i am happy she mowed them with her own car and beat them with their own sticks. There was karmic retribution, tragedy, hope, albeit it was bleak and dark but real life is much worse. I was sucked into the zone, and i’m yet to shake it off.
My experience as an average film viewer was truly satisfying,  and as a hopeful film maker, it was inspirational. The cast and crew deserve every accolade and more!

Sakshi Bhatia

Exactly two years ago, the crew of Coffee Bloom was doing their last minute prep in Coorg, to prepare for the shoot. Within me the moths in my stomach were ready to be butterflies soon, as it will probably the first time in my life I will be calling the words “Action” in front of a professional crew. Looking back, with a perspective of an outsider, I am really a nobody who had got this opportunity to make a feature film, thanks to Harish Amin and Sharath Parvathavani. It feels too good to be true that an outsider without any experience of making films or assisting anyone, besides few DIY short films, managed to be on that shoot calling action. Thanks to an incredible team who gave me a fair chance and believed in the script we wrote. Over the next two years with many passionate creative arguments and reworks, Coffee Bloom gradually assembled itself part by part, thanks to a producer, who unconditionally continued pumping money into it believing in the film. We all knew as a team, it wasn’t perfect, there were issues we were all aware, but with whatever resources we had given it all and the film that was ready to go out. We had done our best with whatever we could do.

The MAMI screening gave us a lot of encouragement, but the beast called Distribution was sleeping on our path. When things had hit a lull, Shiladitya Bora, one day sends me an SMS saying, he wants to see the film. The next thing I know within weeks we were getting a release, Shiladitya along with Harish Amin, was on ground tackling the beast and clearing the path for us to move. Is it for real? I am probably living a dream, and the dream had goodies, it included US and Canada release. Very soon, the PR and marketing activity started, giving back to back interviews, cluelessly posing in front of flashbulbs to screwing up the first media interaction fumbling for words. Seeing your own name on the hoardings, makes up for the all the silly little struggles, that every film maker complains of. All this while, I kept pinching myself, it’s a dream ok no maybe it’s real, regardless enjoy the ride dude. The committed cast (Arjun, Sugandha, Mohan and Ishwari) and crew members, pull all stops to make a premiere happen and before you know, it is the morning of March 6th. So far the flight was fine, but rough weather and turbulence is part of every journey.

The reviews started pouring in, for your first film to be called Awfully pretentious, self indulgent, “Shouldn’t have been funded”, to some glowing reviews from the best critics who saw merit in the film calling it “well acted drama”, poetry in motion, “complex relationship film that couldn’t have been smoother”,” with an arresting soul” and comparison to Ray etc. it was emotionally overwhelming from where I come from. They say you have to be thick skinned, I admit my skin needs to get thicker, cause this emotional roller coaster has changed a part of me forever. I sincerely hope it never affects my writing or film making. Many comments and feedback were genuine, many people called personally to tell me, a part of them had connected with the film and they were not able to shake off the experience. Every time I see any merit in the criticisms, be it good or bad, a part of me wishes I want to relive these two years of my life and rework things. I always regretted I couldn’t go to film school, I still do have plan to go in future, but Coffee Bloom has been the best film school, I have experiences and lessons for life. To all my family, friends and fraternity, it happened because all of you gave the film a fair chance and I am again and again forced to repeat the most cliche words sincerely, cause there is no better way to say it “Thank you from the bottom of my heart” for helping me get the buzz out there to taking the effort to making it to theaters and personally sending your feedback and love.

Every morning is a high, to know the film you worked on is playing in theaters. As Oscar Wilde puts it, “Life is never fair and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not”, the dream may soon end, by Thursday,economics will decide the fate of the film. It may or may not cross the Thursday bridge, the number of shows might go down, life is unfair, it’s probably a secret message from the universe, “do better dude”, internalise the lessons of Coffee Bloom, the weapons for the next battle is already being polished with this message. To those who haven’t caught the film, I am hoping you will give me the privilege of your time and a part of you over the next three days cause the ride will soon end. Thanks in advance smile emoticon

Humbled, Sincere Love and Thanks to all who were closely and remotely part of this journey (Yes, this moment I am living “now” is bigger than any award in this world.)

Manu Warrier

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Whenever there has been a film worth having a conversation, we have always tried to get the creative heads involved, and get them talking. We have been waiting for a long time to get Sriram Raghavan do the same. Finally, we got him for post-screening Q & A of Badlapur. Much thanks to Sriram, who not only obliged for it at a short notice, but he also got his co-writers Arijit Biswas and Pooja Ladha Surti for the discussion, whom we rarely get to hear.

Thanks to PVR Cinemas and Shiladitya Bora for the venue.

And a big thanks to Mihir Desai, Aniruddha Patankar & Anusha Singhania who recorded the entire event in poor light, edited it all, managed all the sound fuckups, and uploaded the videos for you all to see.

(PS – If you like our blog and are film fanatics like us, do like our FB page for all the cool cinema related stuff and discussions)

Indian Express recently did a feature on the new Censor Board. They interviewed all the Board members on films, violence & sex in films and other such related stuff. It’s difficult to imagine from which stone age  they picked up these fossils who will now censor and certify the films. Except Dr Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, everyone’s IQ seems to be the same. Click here to read the feature.

Today the news is out that the Censor Board had asked the makers of Dum Laga Ke Haisha to mute the word “lesbian”. Ghanta, haramipana, haram ke pille and haramkhor words have also been replaced (see the image).

wbaDaHoo

Well, nothing surprising there. But “lesbian”? What’s wrong with the word? or in what context is it wrong? We called up one of the Board members who was against it and we got to know the exact scene.

When the female lawyer is consoling Sandhya at the court and touches her face lovingly, her younger brother says – ‘Mummy…didi lesbian toh na hoti jaari..‘ Mummy says ‘Ye kya hota hai?‘ and then the brother says ‘Bade shehron ki bimaari hai..

The_L_Word_logo

Aing! The “L” word. What’s so scary there? Since it was shot in such a way that the makers could not mute the word, so they had to remove the entire dialogue.

Will someone please enlighten us what was so wrong with “lesbian” or its context in the scene?

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After a long time, a sexy love story.
I wish to share the joy I felt seeing The Dum Laga Ke Haisha race as a metaphor for sexual love.

Of course throughout the film, sex has been spoken about – real sex, real problems and some harsh realities.
Hurtful things have been said, like
“Let alone making love, I do not even feel like touching her, a man who had to be in the same bed as her would know what hell means.”
The narrative allows her to give him a (well-deserved) slap.
He has said hurtful things and she has borne the rejection.
There can be nothing worse for a woman to hear that the man she loves has spoken so derogatorily about her.
She has been hurt and angry.
She has slapped him in anger.
He has slapped her back in anger, in retaliation.
In guilt?
In love?

What love, we may ask
“S&M?”                                                                                                                                                                                     We may sneer with the shallow labelling that people who think they know all about sex fall back upon?
Yes, we know the terms and we throw them around in our endless conversations about sex, which we are so busy having that we have forgotten how once, just in the way that is contained in those two slaps, we felt hate and love all mixed up.
We fight for the right to depict sex in our films, our writing.
We think of twisted narratives, and explicit scenes which will prove us bold.

And while we sexualize every story, every argument, a seemingly simple story not only speaks bravely about sex without using a single expletive, and without vulgar visuals, in an evocative way makes us feel the sexual love.
Kya aisi hi filmein hai jisse kranti aayegi?

I congratulate (and envy) the writer of Dum Laga Ke Haisha.

To the race.
It is flagged off by a singer whose fan Prem has been all his life.
Unsuccessful, loser Prem.
Taunted and laughed at for his one obsession.
All he did was listen to the voice of a distant singer.

Today, when for once, he has dared to take on a challenge, when he needs it most, his idol is there.
Not any machine here, but Prem’s Deus himself- in person.
But that is another story, another one of those many nice things in this film.
The race- yes, first they have to be convinced to participate.
Bua knocks on the door.
Come in, they answer- of course –for they are not together- that is emphasized.
Bua enters the room.
Nain Tara Bua has something to say.
Death has forced her to leave behind, finally, a dead marriage.
The one-sided marriage that she had bitterly kept alive, and yet not lived.
She comes to the couple not with advice from someone who has made partnerships a success, but as someone who knows what it is to be alone.
She has been alone, and perhaps that is why she knows the importance of being together.
She comes as a person who has nothing.
Perhaps that is why she says -When you have nothing to lose, why not dosomething which is not aimed at winning?
For its own sake.
Why not do something together?
For each other? She asks.
From this point the Dum Laga Ke Haisha race is a metaphor for sexual love.
Beautiful sexual love. Beautiful it is and am not going to spoil the subtlety of it by drawing parallels to any acts so to speak.
Let us just go through the various stages of the race and feel it in our hearts.
The race begins. This couple has not, unlike the others practiced.
She encourages him, tries to erase his fears – why are you so afraid, she asks.
Initially, they are awkward, a little slower than the rest.  Then slowly, establishing comfort with each other, they dare to go faster.
She knows his weaknesses and advises him accordingly.

While the other couples are making a beeline for the finish, we see Sandhya gently instructing him.
Not to rush over the obstacles. Put both feet in one tyre, then taking time, go to the next one. This takes longer, but he obeys her gentle instructions and sure enough, even as others stumble and fall, our couple makes their way across.

Finally what makes them eligible to compete for the last lap is the fall in a muddy puddle.
The competitor couple falls too. The competitor couple who roughly pick themselves up, in a hurry to make a beeline again.
Sandhya and Prem take the time to look at each other, even laugh at each other first, then at each of their own selves, and finally at themselves as Us.
Most important is the fact that we see that of the competing pair, the girl is injured, but paying no heed to this, her husband pulls her and literally drags her to achieving the end.

Prem on the other hand has asked Sandhya whether she is okay – her well being is more important to him than setting the record.

They are concerned about each other, laugh together and then run together. We already know who will win.
The screenplay too has won – has succeeded in being sensual while telling a simple story, has succeeded in being feminist while telling ‘just a ‘ love story.

The most beautiful , triumphant finale comes while they have to come out of this fall, this puddle.
She emerges stronger – as she has in the narrative.
She is stronger and holds out her hand.
Again, as I said, let us not disturb the subtlety of this fine writing, so I am not mentioning their earlier discussion on prepositions.

He is still struggling and she holds out her hand , and with an expression of utter pleasure – pride and pleasure on his face, Prem allows himself to be supported out of the obstacle .
And they are off on their way.
Together now, but for that crucial moment, much to his happiness, she has clearly, been on top.

Nadi Palshikar

(An MBBS doctor by training, Nadi has done screenplay writing course at FTII, is currently doing Gender Studies at Pune University, and is a published author. Sutak is her first novel.)