Posts Tagged ‘Kamal Swaroop’

Tilt Shift Labs is organising its first ever certified workshop with National film award winning director Kamal Swaroop. The workshop titled ‘Grammar of Film Direction’ is a two-weekend intensive workshop for amateurs/students of cinema who are looking towards making a career in films.

– In two short weekends, students will be instructed on the basics of writing, directing, camera, and each student will write a short film project which will be guided and mentored by Kamal Swaroop.

– About the director:
Swaroop is a well acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter. He graduated from Film and Television Institute of India in 1974, and later on did his postgraduate studies at the Institute. In 1982, he assisted Sir Richard Attenborough in the filming of Gandhi. His feature, Om-Dar-B- Dar (1988) is still considered a path breaking film, and it has a massive cult following among cinephiles.
Swaroop’s career, spanning 42 years, covers a broad range of films, channel promos for Channel V India, ads and Radio Spots. In 2014, he directed The Battle of Benaras, produced by Medient, and went on to release Tracing Phalke in 2015 for Films Division of India. Later on, he made Pushkar Puran (2016), and Atul (2016), based on the world renowned Dadaist artist Atul Dodiya.
Battle for Benaras premiered at Cinema Du Reel, Paris, while Atul premiered at the Cochin Biennale. He is currently working on a musical, Miss Palmolive All Night Cabaret and The Third Police Man, a metaphysical murder mystery.

Weekend I 

Session I
Camera Angles
Scene, Shot & Sequence
Types Of Camera Angles: Objective, Subjective, Point-Of-View
Objective Camera Angles
Subjective Camera Angles
Subject Size
Subject Angle
Camera Height
Extreme Long Shot
Long Shot
Medium Shot
Typical Two Shots
Close-Up
Inserts
Descriptive Shots
High Angle
Low Angle
Angle Plus Angle
Dutch Angle
Selecting Area And Viewpoint
Other Angles

Weekend I

Session II
Continuity
Cinematic Time And Space
Filming The Action (Controlled And Uncontrolled)
Filming Techniques (Master Scene And Triple Take)
Screen Direction (Dynamic And Static)
Neutral Shots
Reverse Shots
Screen Travel
Pictorial Transitions (Fades, Dissolves And, Wipes)
Sound Transitions

Weekend II

Session I
Process Of Writing
Back Story
Internal Need
Inciting Incident
External Goal
Preparation
Opposition
Self Revelation
Obsession
Battle
Resolution

Weekend II

Session II
Process Of Writing
Discussing Individual Scripts
Story Boarding Process
Production Planning
The Need For Story-Telling
Visualization Strategies
Dramatic Strategies
Characterization Strategies
Dialogue Strategies
Melodrama, Docudrama, Hyperdrama
The Experimental Narrative

Dates : July 29 – 30 | Aug 5 – 6 |

Time : 10AM-5pm

Seats : Only 15

Venue : Lowfundwala Productions, Andheri (West)
Bungalow No.96, SVP Nagar, MHADA, 4 Bungalows,Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400053

Fees : Rs 8470

– For further details, and to book your seat, click here.

 

‘Om Dar Ba Dar’ fame Kamal Swaroop is ready with his next documentary and if these teasers are any proof, then it looks quite fascinating.

Banaras, Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal, and the biggest democratic exercise on this planet – seen through the auteur vision of Kamal Swaroop should be a heady mix.

Over to the two teasers of “Dance for Democracy”:

P.S. – The BGM is kick-ass!

Still haven’t seen Om Dar-B-Dar? Want more reasons? Well, listen to Anurag Kashyap, Imtiaz Ali, Amole Gupte, Kiran Rao and Resul Pookutty to understand what the film means to them and why.

And here’s Rajat Dholakia on its music madness

ODBDT

Are you done with watching Om Dar-B-Dar? No? what are you doing here? Go, watch the film and then come back to this post. If you have seen the film, you can read this post by Varun Grover to clarify all your doubts. Read? Got it? Your mind has opened up a bit? Great. Now watch these 3 videos where Kamal Swaroop talks about the film and his idea of sense and nonsense.

Thanks to Deepti DCunha, she recorded these videos when the restored version of the film had its premiere at Rome Film Festival in November, 2013.

The video quality is not great but the audio is clear and we can promise that it’s worth it. So do watch.

Kamal Swaroop’s cult film Om Dar-B-Dar has been restored and its finally in the theatres. Don’t miss it.

DON’T .  MISS.   IT.

And we are going with the mood of the film, so recycling an old post by Varun Grover which was written 3/4 years ago. Don’t worry, it still reads new just like the film and its ideas. If you have seen the film and are still wondering what the real story is, this post got all your answers.

ODBD

Death and mythology in a small town

बबलू बेबीलॉन से, बबली टेलीफोन से  (Bablu calling from Babylon, Babli listening on telephone)

Om Dar-B-Dar.  Om here and there. Or more precisely, Om here and there, helpless. That’s the name of a film I first heard about around 10-years back. It sounded like a typical wannabe ‘Indian Parallel Cinema Movement’ film of the 80’s. Though the ‘movement’ never went beyond the occasional film festival screening in India then (and now, much later, beyond the difficult-to-find DVDs in malls with bad architecture and heavy security) – it did give the otherwise angry-for-no-reason 70’s and colored-clay-pot strewn 80’s some credibility. Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihalani, Basu Chatterjee, Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani and with a much lighter hand, Sai Paranjape made cinema which was sometimes as local as a small stretch of highway in north India (Uski Roti (Our Daily Bread), Mani Kaul, 1970) or a residential chawl in a Bombay suburb (Katha (The story), Sai Paranjpe, 1983). In fact, they were the only people making cinema with a very strict sense of time and place – love letters which started with a date and place on top.

But then, art cinema movement too had groupies trying to pass off as the real rockstar. Films with dim lights, grim faces, and half a social issue (invariably leftist in thought) would instantly be termed as ‘parallel’, get the government of India funding, and be sent to film festivals abroad. Om Dar-B-Dar sounded like that kind of film, especially after one article I had read which described the film as some kind of existential study into the life of a teenager in a small town of Rajasthan.

Watching it recently for the first time, I realized, it is anything but me-too. Or even close to ‘art cinema’, as we know it. It exists in a league of its own. And though that may not be intended as a high praise, but that’s the only way it can be described.

मिथ्या है संसार – माया है संसार  (The world is a lie – the world is an illusion)

Kamal Swaroop, a scientist with DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization) of India, turned a filmmaker, graduating from FTII, Pune, to debut with Om Dar-B-Dar. He calls his only feature film to date a kind of spoof on ‘art films’ of the time. “If anything, I wanted to make an anti-intellectual film. I didn’t want to make a film on some social issue or sad people. I just wanted to make a film about a small town”, said Swaroop in a personal interaction after the screening a few months ago. Having stayed in Pushkar in Rajasthan, famous for its annual Hindu mela (fare), probably helped him nail the setting of the film. His love for science and mythology admittedly helped in deciding the next two important aspects – the central character of teenaged Om and the basic conflict points in the story.

But is there a story in Om Dar-B-Dar? Kamal Swaroop insists there is – though the group with which I watched the film was clueless. Swaroop calls it bad conditioning – looking for story and only story in cinema. He says cinema is not necessarily mass communication, it can be a personal expression too; a painting or a poem. Though many were not convinced, Swaroop claims that the film, when screened in small villages of Rajasthan, was completely ‘understood’ and enjoyed by the simple villagers. Reasons being – less conditioning and more connection to the vibes and idiosyncrasies of a small town.

Next question – does the film have a form, a structure? Swaroop’s crisp answer – even deform is a form. What about accessibility? Comprehension? Head and tail? Again – Swaroop’s answer – why should cinema be objective? Why a film should be only one of the two things – I got it or I didn’t get it?

That raises some very valid debate points – story, form, and accessibility in cinema. Indian cinema, traditionally has been a story-driven exercise in videography. Starting off with mythological tales in the 30’s and 40’s, and evolving into equally simplistic good vs. evil (Hero vs Villain) cinema of the 60’s and 70’s – there is a long and deeply ingrained history of accessible stories pushing ‘cinema’ more and more into the ever-expanding space of ‘mass-media’. Rumor has it, two of the greatest films of Hindi cinema (Mughal-e-Azam, Guide) had their endings tweaked to accommodate popular tastes. (Anarkali being given a safe passage by the emperor and rains arriving on Raju’s death respectively).

The third aspect – form or structure, was also rarely played with in popular cinema, with the most adventurous of the lot taking the ‘flashback’ route as the only standout narrative element. It can be noted here that most of the art cinema movement films too had a strong focus on story-accessibility couple – they differed majorly in the structure/form department. In addition to having more realistic settings and acting, they succeeded in creating a new cinematic-clock for themselves – a form where time moves slower and hence more details are visible, and vice versa.

And here lies the most distinct element of Om Dar-B-Dar – cinematic clock, here, moves as fast, if not faster than a regular commercial Hindi film while the other two aspects (story and accessibility) are given the least respect. In fact, it would be much enjoyable to watch it as 20 short films (a lot of them very funny, and an equal number completely nonsensical) about Om’s family and friends, stitched together with music, surreal dreams and a mythological back-story. So, for the math-minded – ODBD is an anti-art, anti-commercial film moving at the pace of a commercial film and having the details of an art-film.

टैडपोल से हम (We are like Tadpoles)

After the film screening is over, and after heated debates on whether it can even be called a film in the first place are done with, Kamal Swaroop smiles and asks whether anybody still wants to know the story. A few hands go up and Swaroop relents.

(SPOILERS) Om, a teenager, is blessed with a magical power and he can hold his breath for any desired duration of time. This results in him putting up a show at the holy place of Pushkar (ascribed as the only heaven on Earth in Hindu mythological texts), where he goes inside water and holds his breath. Once, to protest against Brahma, the Hindu God credited as the creator of the world, who has decided to remove the ‘heaven’ status of Pushkar, the locals decide to put up a non-cooperation movement against Brahma. The only non-cooperation they can do to Brahma is to stop breathing, as that’s the only gift he has given. But since Om’s natural tendency is to not breath, for him, the non-cooperation would be the act of breathing. At the time of protest, Om happens to be inside the pond where he puts up his show. He breathes, to support the non-cooperation, and dies. (spoilers end)

But then, one has to watch the film many times to get this story – and as I said, there are at least 20 more stories, all equally layered, and delivered at a crazy pace. At times, it looks like an MTV Production, with the kind of visual liberties, caricatures, and abrupt cutting involved. (No wonder, Swaroop later helmed the launch of Channel V in India, playing a crucial role in defining the ‘funky’ auro-visual space it’s known for now.)

 कसप (How do I know)

In a crucial scene in Hindi novelist Manohar Shyam Joshi’s ‘Kasap’, the male protagonist’s naada (thread of pajamas) gets stuck in a knot in front of the girl he is wooing. In Om Dar-B-Dar, a similar thing happens when a young man is about to start making love to his girlfriend. Funny, sad, frustrating, and deeply observational at the same time – moments like these make ODBD a watch to remember.

Whether it’s a film with story, structure, accessibility, or (latest buzzword) ‘take-homes’ is a debate worth drunken nights with friends. The film released in 1988, and has been getting buzz (positive, negative, both) at regular intervals. Though that doesn’t guarantee a great, path-breaking, or cult status to any work of art (or mass-media) – it surely means there are enough cinema crazies in the world.

As for whether you will like it, the only answer is ‘कसप’.

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Few years back when i was searching for a copy of Om Dar B Dar, every search ended in disappointment. Everyone had heard about the film, few had seen it and nobody had a copy. As the chain spread through friends, and their friends and more friends, we finally got to know someone who had a copy of the film. But he wasn’t willing to give it to us for the screening. He said he will come with the copy, screen the film and take it back. And that made sense because who would part away with something so rare. This is what you call a cult classic.

Thanks to NFDC and PVR Directors Rare, the film has been restored and is getting a release this friday. Don’t miss this one in theatres. Can bet that you haven’t seen anything like this in Indian cinema. As i keep repeating myself, i remember it as mixed media art installation. It’s esoteric, funny, trippy and yet completely accessible. If you have any apprehensions, don’t worry, just enjoy the ride. And remember, Kamal Swaroop made frogs cool much before P T Anderson discovered them.

Recently Kamal Swaroop posted a status on FB asking for fan posters. And entries have been pouring since then. We are sharing some of the fan posters. The last one is the official poster of the film. Click on any pic to start the slide show.

– To check out more fan posters, click here to go to its FB page.

– To check out the film’s new trailer and more info about it, click here.

Kamal Swaroop’s cult classic Om Dar B Dar has been restored and will have a release on 17th January, 2014. PVR Director’s Rare in association with NFDC is doing the release. Don’t miss this film. A new trailer of the film is just out.

ODBDOfficial Synopsis:

As Om rides a bicycle, scissor-legged, the landscape (Pushkar-Ajmer) resounds with distinctive voices: his father’s rebellions against the world, his ‘bold’ sister, her gentle suitor, the searching eyes of the runaway actress, the local businessman trying to protect the diamonds he has shat…the rebellion of the tadpoles. The filmmaker takes on the frightening, beautiful energy of adolescence – to joyfully shake open the landscapes of his own childhood, unearthing, and mixing politics with mythology and techno music with biology for Alchemy.

Director’s statement:

I was assistant on Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi. The scale of production had made extras of large sections of the population of Delhi: the whole exercise had become an army operation, and we the big general’s lieutenants, the ring master’s sidekicks, arranging those masses on the sides of the roads so that the story of Gandhi could walk and blossom forth. The tear in the upholstery of my hotel room chair became a glad reminder of human life as I knew it. Inspired by the missing piece of cloth, I began spinning a parallel story about a town I grew up in and an adolescent who rode his bicycle scissor legged. The story grew and wanted to take on the larger production within which it was incubated. The boy therefore had to be called Om.

Cast & Crew

Cast – Anita Kanwar, Aditya Lakhia, Gopi Desai, Manish Gupta

Running Time – 101min

Year- 1988

Screenplay – Kamal Swaroop

Cinematography – Ashwani Kaul

Editing – Priya Krishnaswamy

Music – Rajat Dholakia

Sound – Kamal Padmnabhan

– To read more about the film, click here and here.

– Fan poster by Kabir Chowdhry.