Archive for July, 2015

visaranaiThe fest news continues. After Toronto’s list, now Venice Film Festival is out with their line-up. Vetri Maaran’s Visaarani has been selected to premiere at the fest.

The film will compete in Orizzonti (international competition dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema) section of the fest.

Titled Interrogation in English, the 106 minute long film stars Dinesh Ravi, Samuthira Kani, Murugadas Periyasamy .

Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court was in the same section last year where it bagged two top awards.

Guru Dutt’s classic Pyaasa will be screened in the ‘Venice Classics’ section of the fest.

The other Indian film is Ruchika Oberoi’s Island City. This film will be at Venice Days which is an independent section at the Venice Film Festival, and is promoted by the Italian Association of Filmmakers and authors. The idea was to develop a parallel sidebar on the lines of Directors Fortnight at Cannes.

Starring Vinay Pathak, Amruta Subhash and Tannishtha Chatterjee, the film ties together three absurd stories in a modern-day Indian city.

The first story revolves around a diligent office worker who wins the office ‘Fun Committee’ award. The second is about the domineering head of a family who suddenly falls into a coma and how his family slowly replaces him in their psyche with the seductive hero of a popular soap opera. The third is about a girl who falls in love with a man who writes her love letters. The first two stories are black comedies while the third one falls into the tragicomedy genre.

Guru Dutt’s classic Pyaasa will be screened in the Restored Classics section of the fest.

Irrfan

The Toronto International Film Festival has just announced its line-up for 2015. And here’s the good news – two Indian films, Meghna Gulzar’s Talvar and Leena Yadav’s Parched have been selected for World Premiere in ‘Special Presentations’ section.

Starring Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sensharma, Neeraj Kabi, Atul Kumar, Gajraj Rao, Sohum Shah and Tabu in a special appearance, the film is a gritty investigative drama about the Noida double murder case. With Gulzar’s lyrics, Vishal Bhardwaj’s music & screenplay, and cinematography by Pankaj Kumar (Haider, Ship Of Theseus), the thriller is a fictional dramatization of true life events revolving around Aarushi Talwar murder case investigation.

Leena Yadav’s Parched has Tannishtha Chatterjee in the lead role. The official page has one line description – In a rural Indian village, four ordinary women begin to throw off the traditions that hold them in servitude, in this inspirational drama.

(Disclosure – One of our editors is closely associated with Talvar)

screenwriting-215x300National Film Development Corporation, India announced its selection of six projects for the Screenwriters’ Lab 2015, from submission of about 280 applications.

Previously hosted in Toronto, Locarno and Venice film festivals, Screenwriters’ Lab is going to be held in collaboration with the Sarajevo Film Festival this year.

Selected projects will travel to Sarajevo in August for the first part of the lab and then to Goa in November for the second, before being presented at Film Bazaar, the annual international film market, held alongside the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

The selection this year includes projects spanning across varied stories, styles and genres.

Scripts

Bombay Rose – Gitanjali Rao

City of Light – Shubhashish Bhutiani

Dastaan-E-Awaargi – Ankit Kothari

Mango’s Tale – Sidharth Gupt

The Return – Asad Hussain

The Sun Goes Round the Earth – Arijit Biswas

Writers

Gitanjali Rao is an animator and filmmaker whose latest project, True Love Story, premiered at Cannes Critics’ Week, 2014 in competition. Her other animation short, Printed Rainbow, received several awards including the Kodak Short Film Award, and the Young Critics Award at Cannes Critics’ Week, 2006.

Shubhashish Bhutiani forayed into filmmaking with his short film Kush which won the Orizzonti Prize for Best Short Film at Venice International Film Festival. He has previously worked as an assistant director in commercials and feature films.

Ankit Kothari is an emerging writer who graduated with a BFA in Applied Arts from MSU, Baroda. Kothari worked as an art director in the advertising industry before venturing into filmmaking.

Sidharth Gupt is a filmmaker who wrote and directed one of the segments in Shorts, a compilation of five short films, produced by Anurag Kashyap. As an assistant director, Gupt has worked in Dasvidaniya, Gangs of Wasseypur and Khoobsurat.

Asad Hussain’s journey as a screenplay writer led him to co-write Children of War, a film based on the war for Bangladesh’s liberation. He has written the additional screenplay for Bajrangi Bhaijan. Apart from these, Hussain has also worked for educational content in Afghanistan.

Arijit Biswas is the co-writer of Agent Vinod and Badlapur. He has also written extensively for Hindi and Bengali television.

10409588_391302141077650_8545138430389074028_nWith Vicky Kaushal getting rave reviews for his debut performance in Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan, it seems like the perfect time to launch the first look of another film starring him – debutant Mozez Singh’s Zubaan.

The film has Vicky Kaushal, Sarah Jane Dias, Manish Chaudhary, Meghna Malik and Raaghav Chanana in lead roles.

The official FB page has only one line description so far – Zubaan is a coming-of-age musical drama about a young man who has a fear of Music!

Do check out the trailer.

Trailer

Crew

Story & Directed by: Mozez Singh
Produced by: Guneet Monga, Shaan Vyas, Mozez Singh
DOP: Swapnil Sonawane
Editor: Deepa Bhatia
Action: Sham Kaushal
Sound Design: Anthony Ruban
Screenplay: Thani, Sumit Roy, Mozez Singh
Dialogues: Sumit Roy
Music: Ashutosh Phatak
Additional Songs: Ishq Bector-­‐Shree d, Manraj Patar
Lyrics: Surjit Patar(Punjabi), Varun Grover(Hindi)
Costumes-: Aki Narula
Production Designer: KhyateeKanchan
Choreography: Uma‐Gaiti

For more info, FB page is here, and Twitter feed is here.

If you are a regular follower of the blog, by now you must be aware of our association with this week’s release, Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan. That’s why it’s bit difficult for us to be impartial about it and so we haven’t reviewed the film.

Our friend Avinash Verma has come to our rescue, and hopefully, impartial too. Here’s his post on the film. (Mild SPOILERS)

Out now cover

How do you cope with someone’s unexpected loss who you imagined spending the rest of your life with? All those dreams come crashing down, tears pouring through your eyes incessantly for days and months. How hard is it to move on, to Fly Away Solo (which is the English Title of Masaan)

Whose moral is it anyway? Why is sex still a four letter word? Is ‘Jigyaasa mitaana’ (Curbing the curiosity) a sin even when you are a consenting adult? Is the people making love inside a rented hotel room less moral than the ones necking in a public park?

These are some of the questions that this film tries to grapple with. The title ‘Masaan’ means a crematorium, a place where life ends but this ‘Babel-ish’ film is about hopeful happenstances from which life reemerges.

Vidyadhar Pathak is an ex Sanskrit Professor scraping the bottom (of Ganga, quite literally here) to pay off the ransom to a corrupt police officer to prevent his daughter from becoming a YouTube ‘viral sensation’.

The daughter, Devi (Richa Chadha), is a computer teacher who is now looking for an escape from the narrow streets and the equally narrow mindsets of the citizens of Kashi, once the glorious abode of the omniscient sages, now a pit of greedy police inspectors and judgmental, vulgar MCPs.

Deepak, the guy who wants to get out of the rut of crushing dead bodies’ skulls at Harishchandra Ghat falls in love with poetry loving Shaalu (the cherubic debutante, Shweta Tripathi), the youngest one of the upper caste Gupta family who leave no chance to take pride in their family name, even if it is at a random Dhaba on the highway which has absolutely nothing to do with their clan. It might as well be someone way below their caste cooking the food inside the kitchen, but for them, the food is delicious coz the joint is owned by ‘Guptas’ (albeit ‘Salad baasi tha’ coz cribbing is our national pastime)

I wish the Guptas knew this before the tragedy.

 First love is special, for everyone, no matter how long or short does it last & to capture that innocence, charm and hormonal curiosity is what Masaan does exceedingly well. The heart shaped balloons, the glances exchanged in stealth mode, the endless conversations on CDMA phones, the insistence on calling each other ‘Tum’ & not ‘Aap’, the surprise bike/boat rides, the awkward, confusing yet celestial first kiss, the ingenuous gifts, the fights, patch ups and the determination to conquer the world coz she is not afraid to elope with you and you got to be prepared if it ever comes to that.

मैं हूँ पानी के बुलबुले जैसा, तुझे सोचूँ तोह फूट जाता हूँ … That’s exactly how fragile you are when cupid strikes you for the first time.

In ‘As good as it gets’, Jack Nicolson’s character pays a compliment to Helen Hunt’s saying “You make me want to be a better man”. Aren’t all love stories essentially that? The struggle to become a better person because deep down you know that the one who loves you deserves a way better version of you. Deepak’s struggle to become the better man before and after his personal apocalypse is what left me emotionally consumed.

It would have been very interesting the see what would have happened if Deepak-Shalu’s story had moved forward the way we were expecting it to but… well.

The grief is real. Deepak, Devi & Vidyadhar, all three are going through hell & it’s beautifully portrayed by Vicky Kaushal (Whatte brilliant debut!), Richa Chadha & Sanjay Mishra (I felt that Vidyadhar is just an extension of the good natured Babuji from Ankho Dekhi, and that is, IMO, perfect casting). The crying, the silences, the empty gazes into space imagining the various ‘What ifs’, sitting like a zombie in front of a TV that asks you to recognize an actor’s badly morphed face to win a lottery, the yearning for closure, the desperation that lets you risk a child’s life for money, the frustration that makes you smack your daughter and the helplessness that makes you cry in her lap, the uncontrollable wailing in the arms of friends who are clueless how to console you coz they simply don’t know how to and throwing away the things that doesn’t let you let go of the memories of your loved one and then immersing yourself into deep waters to find them back again.

The conflicts are real. The tears are real.

And that’s precisely why you should see Banaras & its four residents via Masaan’s lens. The silences speak volumes and some frames are more eloquent than some films could ever be in their entirety.

Except the oddly convenient intersection of both the narratives at the end, this film, rich with character, atmosphere and superb situational humor, is an extremely self-assured debut (of the director Neeraj Ghaywan, the screenwriter Varun Grover, and the editor Nitin Baid) and has so much to offer that the climax don’t bother you that much.

Bhor’ engulfs you by the time the lights come back in the theatre and all you want to do is to fly away, solo.

PS: Loved the fact that Inspector Mishra had a daughter. Wished that Sadhya ji got more screen time.

(Avinash is an Ex-MICAn. His full time job is to watch movies and in his free time he pretends to be a Digital Marketeer. He loves indie films and likes to be comfortably numb whenever he can. Also, hates all the ads Ranbir Kapoor is in. His earlier post is here.)

बस इतना ही कहना है कि आज पिंजरा खुल रहा है। 3 साल की चप्पल घिसाई, घुड़सवारी, हवाबाज़ी, खुद को बहलाना, आपस में लड़ना, ट्रेनों के दरवाजों पर बैठे गुज़रते हुए गाँवों को देखते हुए किसी उलझे सीन को सुलझाना और ये भी सोचना कौनसा साला ये फिल्म बनने ही वाली है, बार बार बनारस के चक्कर और हर चक्कर में कम लौंगलता खाना ये सोच के कि बनारस तो अभी फिर आना है – के बाद आज सबका कुल जमा देश भर में फैली 240 स्क्रीनों पर टूटते तारों सा बिखर जायेगा।

बस इतना कहना है कि कुछ खास नहीं है कि इस फ़िल्म में अनेकों लोग शुरू से ही जुड़े हैं (मैं, रिचा, अविनाश, नितिन) – नाबालिग़ उमर के आशिकों की तरह – कई फ़िल्मों में जुड़े होते हैं। लेकिन ये खास है कि उनमें से बहुतों की ये पहली फ़िल्म है – नीरज घायवान, नितिन बैद, श्रुति कपूर, विक्की कौशल, श्वेता त्रिपाठी, और एक तरह से मेरी और अविनाश अरुण की भी। पहली फ़िल्म का नशा एक ही बार होता है, यही नियति है। पहले चुम्बन की तरह। ठीक से समझ भी नहीं आता कि हो क्या रहा है पर बहुत डिवाइन लगता है।

पूरी याद्दाश्त और पूरी कायनात मिटा के फिर शुरू करनी पड़ेगी अगर पहली फ़िल्म का कष्ट-रूपी आनंद दोबारा लेना है तो।

और जाते जाते बस इतना ही कहना है जो एक बार संजय मिश्रा जी ने कहा था – उम्मीद तो अपने बच्चों से भी नहीं करनी चाहिए, तो फ़िल्म से क्यों करें। रिव्यूज़ सुंदर आ गए हैं, कुछ शहरों में लग गयी है शिवजी की कृपा से, मार्केटिंग का खेला अपनी गति और दशा से चल रहा है, और ले-देकर फ़िल्म अब हमारे हाथ से गैस से टंच भरे गुब्बारे की तरह छूट चुकी है।

बचपन में जितना मज़ा गुब्बारे को हाथ में धागे से लपेटे रहने पर आता था, उतना ही उसे छोड़ देने पर भी। एक बार दुःख होता था – बिदाई हमेशा कठिन होती है – लेकिन एक अजीब सी खुशी भी ये देखकर कि वो उड़ा जा रहा है दूर किसी ऐसे आसमान जहाँ हम कभी नहीं जा सकते।

आँख से ओझल होता हुआ… बड़ा सा गुब्बारा जो हमारे हाथ में था अब एक बिन्दु से भी छोटा। आँख बस एक बार हटाई और ग़ायब!

– वरुण ग्रोवर

(“Our Roger Ebert wins Pulitzer” – Remember that image of Ebert holding the newspaper with this headline? No? Here.  I always thought what immense pride that one word “our” must have added. Similarly, it’s time for us to say Masaan is by “OUR” Neeraj Ghaywan and Varun Grover. Do watch it in theatres. It’s limited release but if you try, you can manage for that odd show timing too. This one deserves that little effort. Also, we are posting here 4 beautiful posters sketched in Madhubani style by Grover’s better half, Raj Kumari.)

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Avinash Arun, the DoP of Neeraj Ghaywan’s ‘MASAAN’ and the Director/DoP of much acclaimed (and super-hit) Marathi film ‘Killa’ is a hardcore instagrammer, always clicking whatever catches his attention. Most of the times, it’s the nature or the mundane that makes a city.

And when that city is Banaras – even the mundane becomes stunning!  Check out these 22 shots by Avinash Arun, clicked during the months of October and November 2014, while shooting ‘Masaan’ in Banaras and Allahabad.

(Click on any image to start the slide-show. Move your cursor on the pics to get details)