Archive for the ‘Indie’ Category

Devashish Makhija’s new film Ajji will have its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival’s (BIFF) ‘New Currents’ section. And with the fest line up unveiled, the makers have just released the first look of the film. Check out its poster and the trailer.

Here’s the official BIFF program note  on the film –

When society fails to provide justice for the rape of nine-year-old Manda, her ailing and arthritic grandmother Ajji tracks down the perpetrator, the son of a local politician, and plots a brutal revenge to serve as a deterrent to all men.

Cast

Sushma Deshpande, Sharvani Suryavanshi, Saadiya Siddique, Abhishek Banerjee, Vikas Kumar, Smita Tambe and Sudhir Pandey

The 104 min film has been written by Makhija and Mirat Trivedi. Interestingly, Saregama ventures back into filmmaking with their new brand – Yoodlee Films.

With Anurag Kashyap’s latest film, Mukkabaaz, having its premiere at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival, more details are out now.

Here’s fest director Cameron Bailey’s note on the film, which tells you more about the film

A lower-caste boxer struggles to make his mark on the boxing world, in the highly anticipated film from Anurag Kashyap.

Vital, insightful, and thoroughly cinematic, Anurag Kashyap’s The Brawler follows in the tradition of the great boxing films of the past. But the director of Gangs of Wasseypur gives his take on the sweet science a boldly Indian spin. The set-up offers the genre’s familiar underdog hero, but this film lands a satisfying punch against the injustices and hypocrisies that keep India’s sporting underdogs exactly where they are.

Shravan (Vineet Kumar Singh) is a lower-caste boxer with a tempered edge, struggling to leave his mark and making the case with his fists that he deserves a chance to compete. His career is threatened after he delivers a nasty right hook to the face of Bhagwan — his employer, the local kingpin, and the top boxing promoter in the region. Following this melee, Bhagwan does everything he can to stop Shravan from ascending up the ranks, including preventing him from pursuing the woman he has fallen in love with, Sunaina. Bhagwan will go to any length to punish and humiliate Shravan. But what he doesn’t count on is Shravan’s tough-mindedness. He’s been an underdog all his life and will stop at nothing to go all the way to the Indian National Boxing Championship.

Based on a true story, The Brawler is an enthralling, action-packed tale about corruption and crime in Indian sports. But at the heart of Kashyap’s narrative is a smart and complex love story anchored by Zoya Hussain’s Sunaina.

Cast + Credits
  • director – Anurag Kashyap

  • cast – Vineet Kumar Singh, Zoya Hussain, Ravi Kissan, Jimmy Shergill, Sadhana Singh

  • Cinematography – Rajeev Ravi Shanker Raman Jay Patel Jayesh Nair

  • Editing – Aarti Bajaj Ankit Bidyadhar

  • Executive Producers – Ajay Rai, Kanupriya

  • Producers – Aanand L. Rai Vikramaditya Motwane Madhu Mantena Anurag Kashyap

  • Production Companies – Colour Yellow Productions, Phantom Films

  • Production Designer – Shazia Iqbal

  • screenplay – Anurag Kashyap, Vineet Kumar Singh, Mukti Singh Srinet, K.D. Satyam, Ranjan Chandel, Prasoon Mishra

  • sound – Kunal Sharma

  • Original Score – Rachita Arora

  • music – Nucleya, Prashant Pillai

Rima Das’ Assamese film, Village Rockstars had its World Premiere at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival. Interestingly, Rima is also the writer, cinematographer, editor and producer on this one.

Village Rockstars is the only Indian film to be screened in the competition section, DISCOVERY, which features directors from across the world to watch out for. The movie is about a girl, Dhunu, who has grown up in deprivation. She learns to fend for herself in the hostile surroundings while nurturing her dream to own a guitar someday.

The film was selected among the Film Bazaar Recommends at NFDC Film Bazaar 2016. From Film Bazaar the film got picked up by Matthew Poon and was officially selected for the 2017 Marche du Film (Cannes) Work-In-Progress Lab at the 15th Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum and won the WIP Lab project.

Long SYNOPSIS

Dhunu, a 10 years old girl lives in a remote village in Assam, India amidst raging deprivation. She is a free spirit and her mother, a widower, who struggles daily to bring food to the table and raise her children. However, that does not prevent her from having unrealistic dreams like owning a guitar for her tiny band of village Rockstars boys. Dhunu is a girl who considers herself as capable as boys her age. She and the gangs of boys want to form a rock band. But later the boys slowly stop perusing their dream, whereas Dhunu continues dreaming to own a guitar. Her faith becomes strong when she reads about the law of attraction in a newspaper article. Her unconventional and nonconformist mother raises her with steadfast determination, giving her full freedom of expression and encouraging her to fulfill her dreams. After her father’s death, her mother taking all the responsibilities realizes that it is important that a girl should be qualified herself.

But beyond the poverty of her living, attacks nature’s fury as her village is flooded and worse than that: the societal restrictions that assail her from the day she reaches puberty. Can Dhunu achieve her simple dream or will she, like hundreds of millions of girls in her situation across the world, have to give up on it!

CREDITS

CAST

Bhanita Das, Basanti Das, Kulada Bhattyacharya, Boloram Das,Rinku Das,Bishnu Kalta,Bhaskar Das, Manabendra Das

CREW

DIRECTOR- Rima Das

DOP-  Rima Das

EDITOR-Rima Das

SCREENPLAY-Rima Das

SOUND-Amrit Pritam

PRODUCER-Rima Das

C0-PRODUCER-Jaya Das

PRODUCTION COMPANY-Flying River Films

INTERNATIONAL SALES-Asian Shadows

LANGUAGE-Assamese

DURATION- 87 MINS, INDIA, DRAMA, HD, COLOUR

 

Drishyam Films has announced the winner of its initiative – Quest For Stories, which was open to aspiring Indian film writers from the heartland of India. The winning story called ‘Wah Bhai Ghulaam’ is written by Deepak Sharma, a screenwriter from Bhopal. The story is set in Old Delhi and is a heartwarming tale of a man and his struggle to be buried next to his beloved wife.

Deepak Sharma will be presented with a cash award and the story will be developed in-house at Drishyam in collaboration with the writer.

The winning story was selected from 700 entries submitted from all over the country. Stories of all genres were welcomed, especially from the young upcoming writers from smaller towns who do not have a platform for their voices. Drishyam Films has optioned the rights to the winning story to develop it into a feature film project. A dedicated fund has been set aside for developing the story into a full screenplay.

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has unveiled the first set of film titles premiering in the Gala and Special Presentations programmes in this year’s edition of the fest. Three Indian films will have there world premiere at Toronto. All the three films are part of Special Presentations.

Anurag Kashyap’s latest film Mukkebaaz is titled The Brawler for the fest edition. The 145-min long film is about a lower caste boxer struggling to make his mark on the boxing world. The film stars Vineet Singh in the lead role.

Hansal Mehta’s Omerta recounts the story of infamous British-born terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who kidnapped and murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. It stars Raj Kummar Rao in the lead and is 96 minutes long.

The third one is Bornilla Chatterjee’s The Hungry. It relocates Shakespeare’s bloody tragedy Titus Andronicus to modern-day India, where corruption, greed, and revenge run rampant at an extravagant wedding.

Well known cinematographer Shanker Raman makes his directorial debut with Gurgaon. Though Versova’s rumour mills suggest he might have ghost-directed one of the most acclaimed indies (insert wink-wink-nudge-nudge emoji). Produced by JAR Pictures, the film stars Akshay Oberoi, Ragini Khanna, Pankaj Tripathi, Aamir Bashir and Shalini Vatsa.

Here’s the official synopsis –

Kehri Singh, a real estate baron, runs his business ‘Preet Real Estate’ in his daughter’s name. She is his lucky charm and the apple of his eye. Kehri Singh’s oldest son Nikki Singh, is often side-lined by his father as a brash, insolent, good for nothing, who only brings bad luck. Driven by his need to pay off a large debt to a local bookie, Nikki Singh sets off a chilling chain of events, that unwittingly force his cold-blooded father to confront his buried past.

Gurgaon, is a cautionary tale that reminds us of the famous saying, what goes around, comes around.

It was selected at Work-In-Progress Lab of NFDC Film Bazaar in 2015, won the Prasad DI Award in the fiction feature category.

Here’s the film’s trailer :

Most of us saw Lipstick Under My Burkha at last year’s Mumbai Film Festival (MFF). Since then, the film has been doing the fest rounds and winning accolades internationally. On home ground though, it has been the exactly opposite scene. Battle with CBFC went for long, and then the task to find a proper release and distribution partner. Ekta Kapoor came on-board and gave the much needed boost to make it look visible. The film is finally in theatres this friday.

Here’s our recco post on the film, written by Raj Kumari. It was written last year after the MFF screening.

No Male Rescuers

Lipstick Under My Burkha (LUMB) was one of the best films I saw at MAMI 2016 – a bold & honest take on female sexuality. All four protagonists are females (how often that happens in India?) so it can be easily said that it is about female sexuality but I felt at the deepest level it is not. And I am so happy about it being not so.

But still it shows the different perceptions about female sexuality in four different stages of a women’s life through four characters Rehana Saeed (a college girl), Leela (a young lady of so-called marriageable age), Shireen Aslam (a middle-aged married women) and Usha Bua ji (an elderly woman).

The film explores their desires, fantasies, and struggle to own their heartbreaks with such honesty and poignant sensitivity that it’s impossible not to see your own secrets in them.

And even after crossing so many slippery alleys of this topic of female sexuality and repression when it becomes very easy (and even cathartic) to take sides by providing a rescuer for these characters, this film allows itself not to take such a decisive stand and sticks to its POV of just being a witness. The film doesn’t rescue them, it just lets them be. The focus remains tight on the process of suppression only, and hence the core of sexuality comes out blazingly clear.

And what is it?

Sexuality is never about body. And more primarily about male or female body. It can not be. As it involves both male and female energies, whatever be the outer form of the body, male or female or any other gender. Sexuality is about being free, being open, being whole in your presence which generally manifests as being with your own body. And of course, this openness and freedom can come through wearing what you like, smoking, being explicitly exposing or demanding sex openly (some of the tropes repeatedly used/reinforced in our films to show a ‘liberated’ woman). But being sexually liberated is further about understanding that these are just few symbols of freedom against respective symbols of suppression. They ALONE are NOT freedom. Yes, they do serve till some deeper grounds of being open with the self is found. And the film attempts to take us to that depth too.

(SPOILERS AHEAD) 

It defines the core of freedom in the scene where Bua-ji owns her desires, and her ownership of them in front of all who used to respect her. She didn’t feel any shame, grudge or pity. She showed courage to assemble all of her torn, broken, humiliated self in her arms and took shelter in her bedroom calmly and with the same ownership. There were male oppressors but there was no male rescuer in the film, and this itself says how deeply mature the intent of the film is. I loved the film a little extra for this one golden aspect.

And in the last scene, how beautifully it showed that such a place of courage becomes a platform for all such courageous hearts to identify with their struggle. A platform to make mistakes, comparing your struggles with others, and finally seeing the commonality of self ownership as the final rescue.
Do watch it. And let us know what you thought about the film.