Archive for the ‘Xclusive’ Category

The first look of Anurag Kashyap’s new film, Raman Raghav 2.0, is out. The film stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal and Sobhita Dhulipala in the lead.

The film will have its world premiere at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.

Do check out the poster and the stills.

(click on any image to enlarge and start slide show)

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The 63rd National Film Awards were announced recently, and then we read all the reports in various newspapers and sites. Strangely, they all sounded the same without any homework, or didn’t even give any extra information other than what the official press release says. So we were forced to step in, do some homework, and BOOM!

Since we strongly believe that any award always say more about the jury and less about the film, we had to figure out this jury panel which went with Baahubali as the Best Film. A decision which was criticised strongly by many. In an era when most prestigious film awards brag about their strong jury, two desi jury panels are still kept as a secret – National Film Awards and the jury which selects India’s entry to Oscar Foreign Language Film. Strange. Why? We are scared of being answerable for making bad choices?

We met one of the jury member from the South panel, and he spilled out all the beans.  So here’s more on this year’s jury and the selection process. All the inside dope. #JanhitMeJaari

– At first stage, 5 regional panels were formed with 5 jury members in each panel. Every panel represented one region – like one for North, West, East each, and 2 for South as it has too many languages in which films are made. If North panel was responsible for shortlisting films/talent from Hindi, Punjabi, Haryanvi films, West panel was responsible for Marathi/Gujrati/Konkani language films, and East panel was responsible for Bengali/Oriya/Mizo/Manipuri and others.

– These 5 panels watched all the films which were submitted and shortlisted names in each category. These names were then sent to the Central panel.

– After the first phase of shortlisting was done, 1 member from each panel moved to the Central Panel. So that’s 5 members in Central Panel. 6 more members including the Jury Chairman Ramesh Sippy  joined the panel making it a panel of 11-member jury.

– So who were these 11 members who took the final call?

  1. Ramesh Sippy
  2. Satish Kaushik
  3. Munin Barua (from Assam)
  4. K Vasu (Andhra Pradesh)
  5. S R Leela (Karnataka)
  6. Shyamaprasad (Kerala)

– The 5 members who came from 5 regional panels are as follows

      7. Dharam Gulati (South panel)

      8. Gyan Sahay (East panel)

      9. Sanjib Datta (North panel)

     10. Gangai Amaran (West panel)

      11. John Mathew Matthan (South panel)

– When we asked how come Hindi/bollywood films bagged a whopping 22 out of 32 awards in main categories? The jury member said that it’s the case of old joke of Railway Ministry. Earlier they used to joke that from whichever state the Minister comes from, all the new trains start going towards the same state. It seems to be the same case this time. Look at the 11-member panel. More than half are from bollywood, and 2 senior strong members were there who dictated almost every choice. Rest were just yes-men. And that’s why some weird process was followed in the Central panel.

– The jury member told us that he was informed about the strict rules and regulations which clearly state that if you have any close relatives in the running, you shouldn’t be part of the jury. Now, Gangai Amaran is Ilaiyraaja’s real brother. And Ilaiyraaja won the award for the Best Background music in Tharai Thappattai. Hmmm. Either our jury member was misinformed or such rules don’t exist. Enlighten us please.

– In one of the acting category, the final choice that was made was not even recommended by any of the panel. The choices that were given was discarded by the Jury Chairman and he proposed a new name, and strongly struck to it. The chairman discarded one of the proposed names (who is easily one of country’s best actor) saying he is not in lead role in the film. When one of the members pointed out that by the same logic, the name that he is proposing is also not in lead role, the argument was dismissed blatantly.

-Similarly, in another acting category, the Chairman proposed a new name out of the blue and decided that she should win when her name was not recommended by any panel.

– The voting happened in only 2 categories.

– A film which got unanimous rave reviews (nationally and internationally) when it released, had got strong recommendation in 4 categories (debut, screenplay, best supporting and special jury). But none of them were considered. There was an unwritten rule that nothing will go to this film as one of the producers of the film had made headlines when he returned his previous National Award.

– Another film which had a great production design (for its period setting) and was close contender for best production design as it was strongly recommended by the first panel,  it was also dismissed because of same reason – the director was part of #awardwapsi gang.

– The Central panel went with the recommendation of regional panels for best film in various languages except for Hindi and English language.

– For Best Hindi language film, two two names that were proposed by first panel were discarded as one of the Jury member proposed a new name and strongly stood for it. The joke in the Central panel was the theme of the film must have resonated with the jury member as he has similar features like one of the film’s lead.

– An actress was in running for Special Jury Award for an unreleased film. But since she had voiced her opinion strongly about a recent news event, and had even written about it, her name was quickly dropped.

– A major talent who is not really pro government, has bagged an award this year. The jury member said there was no chance that he was going to win. Luckily, there was hardly any good submission in the category. And his work was exemplary in that category. So they had no choice but to award him. Last time when his film bagged few awards, his name was put in the “to be watched” list.

For complete list of National Film Awards, click here.

– Team mFC

UPDATE – As pointed out by @atlasdanced, it seems  Gangai Amaran has clarified that he abstained from voting when Ilayraja’s work was discussed. One more report here. Anyone has more clarity on the rule and the process?

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?

Since the time we saw Nagraj Manjule’s debut feature ‘Fandry’, we have been shouting out from rooftop that it’s a terrific debut and a must watch. Click here to read our recco post. This week, Fandry is releasing outside Maharashtra, and with English subtites.

The show details – Date: February 28 to March 6

Delhi NCR
PVR MGF Mall 9:10 PM
DT Cinemas Vasant Kunj: 3: 30 PM

Indore
PVR Indore 5:00 PM

After the film’s release and the acclaim it got all over, Nagraj wrote a piece for Maharashtra Times. Much thanks to @Shankasur who came up with the idea to translate it in English for wider reach, took the permission, and did it for us. Do watch the film if you haven’t seen it yet. And then read it.

Nagraj-Manjule-photo

Remembering   Fandry

Now that Fandry has been released, I am reminiscing all the memories that are linked with it. These memories have accumulated over a long period of time. The very moment someone mentions Fandry, I am reminded of experiences from
childhood and that of growing. I grew up with a strange sense of fear and a realisation that I was born into an under-privileged life. I was made aware of my limits since my childhood. I would go to watch Ramayana and everybody’s seats were fixed. While watching King Ram from a corner, the invisible “No Entry” signage that was in my mind was getting bold and clear. The surrounding social setup was up in arms that constantly kept reminding me of my deprived social status.

I don’t exactly remember when my innocent courage took a backseat and I became aware of my caste limitations at every step. I never realised when this impotent maturity became a part of my life. Whenever I uttered my or my mother’s name, or even make a reference to my caste while filling forms in school, the class would break into a faint yet violent laughter. To avoid these embarrassments, I would walk up to the teacher and whisper my name and caste into his ears. I made this into a habit since I was in primary school. When one’s identity becomes the reason behind his inferiority complex, he has nothing more to say. I don’t remember since when I feared telling my own name to others. All I carried along was a sense of fear that it would be criminal of me to do so.

When my father would address my friends as “saheb”, “sarkar”, my expectations for friendship, equality would seem unreasonable. If someone loosened the noose around our neck, we would celebrate that as our freedom. But that didn’t stop me from dreaming. Even in this gated social setup, dreams would find their own little ways. A simple jean pant, a sweet dish during a festival, electricity connection at home, a new pair of footwear would seem like dreams that could come true. The system I was living in would stack up these little wishes and desires and make them appear as dreams that were out of my reach. But dreams don’t have labels of caste and religion. They express their desire to be realised in most innocent manner which gives rise to a chaotic struggle between these dreams and our own inferiority complexes. Sadly, the later always wins over the former.

When I entered college, the old nightmare was in front of me all over again. I had expected that at least in college, I would be treated with some dignity. In my first year, we had a story by S. M. Matey in which the protagonist curses the villian as “Hey Kalyaa Wadaaraa!” (Wadar is a denotified tribe (DNT), while Kalyaa refers to a dark skinned man. It’s difficult to translate the heinous undertone of this phrase). I had this habit of reading through all the lessons and stories before the course starts.
When I came across this sentence in Matey’s story, I decided to remain absent in the class the day when this story will be taken for discussion. I bunked classes for a week and thought that the professor must’ve finished discussing this story. To my worst surprise, the professor started with the story the same day I chose to remain present again to the classes. Not to mention, when sir recited those lines, everyone looked at me, trying hard to control their laughter. I felt an immediate need to miraculously disappear from where I was sitting, like a god.

A man starts expecting such miracles to happen at times of these depressing encounters with life. Fandry reminds me of these episodes. It reminds of the haunting space called school. It reminds of those innocent dreams; reminds me of the dreams that were squashed and crushed by the might of my underprivileged caste identity I carried throughout.

“Fandry means what?” is a question that I’ve been asked numerous times. And I’ve refrained telling its meaning in one simple word. Fandry is a word used by a tribe, that lives around us, in their dialect. We do not know of this dialect nor about the tribe. We are unaware of their lives, their dreams, the pleasures and perils of their existence. When you will come searching for the meaning to the word Fandry and spare a moment to understand about lives of these people, I would consider my attempt to keep its meaning a secret a ssuccess.

Fandry is not a secret but an invitation for all of you. Please accept it and face the ugly truth that we always prefer to ignore. A truth that we’ve always been hiding like an epidemic. But when a vaccine to this epidemic would be discovered, we will have to accept that we are struck by it. It is only then I can dream of a clean and compassionate dawn in history of mankind.

– Nagraj Manjule

(Translated by Kaustubh Naik aka @shankasur)

As far as the reactions go, Imtiaz Ali’s new film ‘Highway’ is more or less on the same track like his last film Rockstar – completely divided between lovers and haters. And like last time, Ali was quite open and candid to discuss the strength and every weakness of the film, and took it all head on. We love and respect those filmmakers who are open to such dialogues. So thanks a lot, Imtiaz Ali. Whatever film you make, hope you remain like this.

We also hope more bollywood filmmakers will be open to such Q and As. Who really wants to read about the film pre-release, which is still quite the norm in the country. And post-release, they just vanish.

Also, it all happened because Navjot Gulati took the initiative, contacted Ali, sorted the logistics and made it possible. And thanks to Mihir Desai, Aniruddh Patankar and Sumit Purohit for the videos.

The film got over by 12:15 or so, and then the discussion went on till 2:30 am, and then it went on for some more time outside the theatre. It was great fun. Hope you guys enjoy the videos as much as we enjoyed the live session. Some questions might not be audible, so do use your headphones or speakers.

Thanks to PVR Andheri and Shiladitya Bora for helping us out with all the logistical support.

Ashim Ahluwalia’s film Miss Lovely premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 2012 and has been doing the fest rounds since then. Finally, it’s all set to release this friday.

The official synopsis describes the film as follows – Set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry, MISS LOVELY follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid-1980s. Some of us saw the film at Mumbai Film Festival and loved it. A great atmospheric film which makes you feel claustrophobic and displays great filmmaking craft which is so rare in Indian cinema.

In this post, Ashim takes us behind the scenes of the film and tells the story of making of the film through these 8 images. Do click on any of the pic to start the slide show and do watch the images in full size because even these stills capture the mood of the film so well.

PIC 1 – Nawaz (top left)

I was very lucky to cast Nawaz in his first leading role – he had struggled for ages and nobody would give him a lead, only character parts. I didn’t know who he was, but when he did the screen test he appeared so broken by the industry, so frustrated, with a lot of pent up anger, I was amazed. I realized that he was, in real life, just like my character Sonu Duggal – who is also very unfulfilled, working like a donkey for his dominating elder brother.

PIC 2 –  DoP, Horror film set (top right)

My DoP is Mohanan. He shot my first film, John & Jane. We are like brothers separated at birth. He gets me – we discuss stock, processing, colour temperature, texture, framing  – and we are almost always on the same page. Miss Lovely is in some ways about the end of celluloid, the end of cinema as we know it – so I didn’t want to shoot digital – it needed to be on film. I wanted Miss Lovely to look like it was shot on the (now unavailable) Indu stock of the 1980s. F**ked up, warm, grainy, with a very particular desi look. He thought I would ruin his career with all the Ramsay Brothers gels that we were using, but I think that he now feels very proud, like this is one of the more beautiful films he has shot.

PIC 3 – Cat fight. Crowd (2nd from top right)

We don’t have enough cat fights in our films anymore and I kind of miss that. This is a scene where two actresses – Poonam and Nadia – get rough with each other. Poonam is from a previous generation, she’s had her time, and Nadia is young and all set to replace her. Nadia is wearing an outfit straight out of a silk smitha film. Unfortunately, they actually started fighting and it got out of hand. Nawaz tried to separate them and got slammed into the mattebox of the camera. He was bleeding – it was stressful to shoot this scene.

PIC 4 – Movie on screen

Everything was shot on location. We were trying to recreate a Bombay of the mid-1980s that is also the Bombay of mid-1980s cinema. You will get it if you’re from a certain kind of background. I wanted quintessential Hindi cinema—the villains by the pool, the cabaret. Miss Lovely is an architectural film—it’s my kind of Bombay film, in a way.

It’s virtually impossible to recreate 1980s Bombay since there’s almost nothing left. Forty per cent of our locations have been knocked down.

The times were flash but also faded. We spent a lot of time dipping costumes into tea and deteriorating them. I wouldn’t let anybody take a shower or wash off make-up. I wanted things to look lived in.

 PIC – 5, 6, 7 (Nawaz on bed, Anil George with crowd, Legs on top)

Shooting a fake porn scene at the Darukhana ship breaking yard was not easy. We didn’t have permission and while we were shooting the police raid where Sonu gets arrested, all the dock workers showed up to watch the shoot. They saw cops (who were actors in costume) chasing a woman covered only in a bedsheet and a guy in his underwear and thought that there was something serious going on. They thought we were TV crews covering the real event. I decided to include the actual crowd in the scene without them realizing it – it was total madness, an almost riot-like situation, but I am most happy with this scene.

PIC – 8 (Niharika on the sets)

Both Nawaz and Niharika were frustrated with the industry when I met them. I didn’t know either – I just screen tested them. Niharika had shot two Himesh Reshimmiya films that had been shelved. She was fed up waiting to be a heroine and was ready for something new. Her character Pinky is a struggling actor, who is also very exhausted trying to make it – so like Nawaz her real life overlapped a lot with her character in the film.

 – To know more about the film, cast and crew, click here.