Posts Tagged ‘Manoj Bajpai’

One of the best things about your favoutite film is that you are never tired of reading about them. And if it’s a landmark film, then with every passing year as its cult grows bigger, stories surrounding those films became urban legends. Satya is one such film. And though we have heard so many stories about its making, one is always interested to read more. So as its editor Apurva Asrani  started writing about its making on his blog, we thought it would be nice to share the post here too. Over to him.

Satya

My name is Apurva Asrani. I am a film editor. My job profile includes receiving shooting rushes and putting together a cohesive film. I attempt to choose the most honest moments in the material to string together a tableau of scenes. I try to work at proper punctuation. i.e moving around silences, action, music and dialogue to flow rhythmically. I try to clean up the rough edges in performances, sometimes cheating moments to bring on the desired effect. ‘There is no one above the film’ is a motto that I have tried to follow in a career spanning 17 years, 13 films, 5 tele-films & 3 theater productions, often confronting ego’s that were infinitely bigger than the film.

When factors bigger than the film were in control, i.e stars, marketing gimmicks and/or producers with no real love for cinema, the films found no audience. Some were appreciated in part, but not in whole. But several times, the power of the story was above all involved, and the crew worked selflessly, leveled under the radiance of good intention. For me, Satya , Snip!, Chhal, Jalpari-The Desert Mermaid & the yet to release Shahid are all examples of good teamwork.

I spent my 20’s thrilled like a kid in a celluloid store. I have had intimate creative relationships with incredible film personalities like Ramgopal Varma, Hansal Mehta, Anupam Kher, Basu Bhattacharya Bhupen Hazarika & Nagesh Kukunoor. My joy knew no bounds when I spent days with legends like Mehmood & Shammi Kapoor while putting together a show for TV. I have even worked with some incredible people who I could never relate to, like Vashu Bhagnani. This blog is my attempt at documenting memories from some of those relationships.

Ramgopal Varma & Satya

In 1997, when I was a teenage promo producer, a mad-man named Ramu asked me to edit a film called Satya. Mani Rathnam’s Iruvar was about to release and I had heard that it had been cut digitally, i.e on Avid. I had already befriended the digital editing system through my TV & promo work and found that I had an ally in Ramu in going digital. Ramu was high from the failure of Daud and the man mesmerized me. Instead of getting crushed by rejection of his biggest budget film to date he was reveling in its failure. He knew that he was garnering a cult following, and was being admired for making the offbeat comedy the way he wanted to. He carried the creative air of a man who had produced & directed the biggest musical hit of those days, Rangeela, and soon his revelry was to became rebellion against the popular grain.

Ramu, me & Avid Media Composer spent one year in a 6 by 8 foot cabin while editing Satya. I met a man who gambled with life and had a mischievous disposition while doing it. ‘Ramu’ truly wanted to tell Satya’s story. He was living vicariously through the character. The South Indian producer penetrating the Bombay market was a striking parallel with Telegu cinema’s Chakravarti penetrating Manoj Bajpai & Saurabh Shukla’s underworld in the film. In the film, Chakravarti ordered the sudden killing of ‘Bollywood star’ commissioner Paresh Rawal, and Ramu had made his point. The fact that the film found cult status only cemented the man’s journey thus far.

 Ram-Gopal-Varma

The Team

Ramu had put together an incredible team for Satya. There was the unlikely writing duo of Saurabh Shukla & Anurag Kashyap, both chipping into the film with more than just their writing roles. There was the American director of photography Gerard Hooper, who closely collaborated with his Indian counterpart Mazhar Kamran to bring us grit like never before. There was the Industry veteran Krishna who has over a 100 film titles to this credit, but only one as Art Director–for Satya. There was Vishal Bharadwaj, at the start of his juiciest creative phase.

I remember riding with Ramu in his red Maruti Esteem and we were listening to the songs of the Chandrachur Singh starrer, Betaabi. The film was a wash-out but Vishal’s powerful music fueled this car to the Versova sea side office, where Ramu was putting together a team for his underworld film. ‘You like this, Apurva?’ Ramu had asked me, a gawky 19 year old, still numb from the opportunity that had been presented to him. Having been a fan of Vishal since Maachis, I vehemently supported his decision to go with him. I was beginning to feel the onset of a magical phase in my life.

Anurag Kashyap was the irreverent mischievous kid on the set, often getting into sulks with Ramu about Saurabh’s involvement. I remember this huge stand-off about whose name should appear on top, when I had cut the first promo of Satya. Ramu used good humor and leveraged the awe each team member had for him, to manage the ‘children’ on set. I was younger than Anurag, but I was the more serious kind. Diligently trying to prove myself on-set and in the editing room. I knew nothing about film editing, but I would trip-out on the wild material in the darkened room, sometimes not going home for hours and days on end. I seemed to enjoy telling stories & after writing, I found only editing to be an uncorrupted creative space. Besides, the rushes for Satya were honest and ‘ballsy’, unlike the cinema of the day. You couldn’t help but become consumed by the material.

Editing Satya

‘Stay out of the room’, I’d shout, sending my assistant Pradnya to stand as a barricade to the studio door, so that Ramu’s curious eyes couldn’t see what I was cutting. I had a desire to shock and I knew early on that directors must wait till the cut is complete, before they can see it. The Ramu of 1997 was a humble man. Like a child, he would plead to watch it, try and peer through a small window in the door, but he would wait outside till he was allowed in. Most often, the results would please him to no end, and there would a deluge of film personalities who would be invited to see the brewing magic.

Two meetings that I will never forget are with Gulzar, also the lyricist of the film & with Shekhar Kapoor, high on the success of Bandit Queen. When Gulzar walked in, a nervous Ramu forgot to introduce me to him (Ramu always introduced me to his guests), I was also very nervous to turn around and look at the legendary kurta-pyjama clad auteur. Then I distinctly remember there was a soft touch on my shoulder, I turned to see Gulzar who smiled at me and said hello. I was floored. Shekhar Kapoor was all chatty and excited. He couldn’t stop raving about his editor Jill Bilcock who had just cut his film Elizabeth and I was already feeling jealous.

Ramu allowed me break up, re-align, mold and reshape the film the way I wanted to. I believe that’s how he dealt with the writers, actors and camera crew as well. Allowing everyone he trusted to interpret his vision. I never really understood then, how rare it was to find great teamwork. I think Ramu also soon forgot.

Satya was never intended to open the way it did. The opening scene was written with Satya’s character’s arrival in Mumbai. I remember thinking that the opening was flat. What was needed was a fiery and sinister set-up, the correct atmosphere for the silent Satya’s arrival. I wrote an opening voice over about the city of Mumbai and cut it to a montage of city shots. I got actor Aditya Srivastav to correct my Hindi and dub a VO on the avid. I used climatic shots of the long-haired gangster Sabir Masani shooting angrily at a newspaper right at the start of the film, and inter-cut shots from Vidya’s (Urmila Matondkar) fathers funeral pyre (from later in the film).

The sequence got its desired reaction. Ramu jumped up from his seat and clapped in awe. I knew in that moment, that there was no other industry I’d rather work in.

(To Be Continued)

( You can follow Apurva Asrani on Twitter here and his blog is here)

Ah, finally. The way Viacom18, the producer of Gangs of Wasseypur, was reluctant to share even on location images of the film after the Cannes announcement, we were thinking if they were going to lay some golden eggs.

The trailer, poster and the official synopsis of the film is finally out. Let’s go one by one. First, the trailer.

Loot, coal mines, volatile people in volatile land, zindagi ka ek-e maksad – badla, jail, chop shop, Tishu, Bihar ke lala, cuss words, Richa attacking the same man who has been killing everyone, sex, goggles-wala-pyaar, dhoom-dhaam, more cuss words, more earthy and punchy dialogues, more abuses and some more dhaam-dhaam. And everything is inherited! E toh poora ka poora dabang haiabki badke Kashyap ki baari.

But why is the text font so bland? Bad font always bores me.

As far as the trailer goes, this is as mainstream as it can be. But i think the trailer serves more masala than the film will offer. Might be wrong. But Kashyap without his indulgences? Jiyo o Bihar ke lala. The trailer doesn’t tell you much about the film but it gives the ambiance and the mood of the film and tells you what to expect – you connect the dots. And if you can’t, scroll down for the synopsis.

My fav bit – Pankaj Tripathy. Bahut-e kamaal ke actor hai. Agle Yashpal Sharma hai jo hame bahut-ey pasand hai.

Now, the poster.

Superb art work. Like the colours and the treatment. But why such a bad finish? The film posters on the right and left hand side looks so weird. As if at the last moment they asked some intern to put two posters. Just doesn’t gel with the rest.

And now the official synopsis…

Towards the end of colonial India, Shahid Khan loots the British trains, impersonating the legendary Sultana Daku. Now outcast, Shahid becomes a worker at Ramadhir Singh’s colliery, only to spur a revenge battle that passes on to generations. At the turn of the decade, Shahid’s son, the philandering Sardar Khan vows to get his father’s honor back, becoming the most feared man of Wasseypur. In contemporary times, the weed addicted grandson, Faizal Khan, wakes up to this vengeance that his family has inherited. Staying true to its real life influences, the film explores this revenge saga through the socio-political dynamic in erstwhile Bihar (North India), in the coal and scrap trade mafia of Wasseypur, through the imprudence of a place obsessed with mainstream ‘Bollywood’ cinema.

The film stars Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Jaideep Ahlawat, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Aditya Kumar, Reemma Sen, Richa Chadda, Huma Qureshi, Piyush Mishra and Syed Zeeshan Qadri.

The film is directed by Ajoy Varma and stars Manoj Bajpayee in the lead, along with Asrani, Dilip Prabhawalkar, Govind Namdeo, Aarti Chhabria & Bharti Achrekar. The music is by Sandesh Shandilya and lyrics by Gulzar.Warner Brothers have produced the film.

Ajoy also directed another film for Warner Brothers – SRK starring Vinay Pathak. Warners have been sitting on it for a long time and there are still no signs of it release. And if we are not wrong, both the films are remakes of Malyalam hits.

Two new trailors are out. One was a popular sitcom which is now a feature film and the other is based on the epic Ramayana – in 3D.

Praful, Hansa, Himanshu, Babuji and Jayshree  – the madcap Gujju family is back. And this time on the big screen. Khichdi is written and directed by Aatish Kapadia and  produced by Jamnadas Majethia.

The other trailer is of the animation film Ramayan which is in 3D. Produced by Ketan Mehta, directed by Chetan Desai, it has voices of Manoj Bajpai, Juhi Chawla and Ashutosh Rana.

Here it is. The multi-starrer of the year. Produced by UTV, Prakash Jha’s Raajneeti stars  Ajay Devgan, Katrina Kaif, Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Vivek Oberoi, Nana Patekar and Manoj Bajpai. Check it out! WTF! why so much voiceover!!!!???? Guess few things will never change!

UPDATE – As soon as the promo was out today, Prakash Jha was furious. It seems he wasnt aware of it. The director doesnt know that his film’s first theatrical trailer is already out. Surprise! What’s more, it was out on UTV’s official channel on youtube. Talking about the head not knowing where the arm is! Few phone calls here and there and the promo was pulled out. But the good word had spread by then. And so here it is. We also had to replace the video. Jhaji, ek trailer ke liye, pehle VVC aur ab itni raajneeti ?

The first official poster of Raajneeti is out. The film is directed by Prakasha Jha and stars Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, Ajay Devgan, Manoj Bajpai, Arjun Rampal, Ranbir Kapoor & Katrina Kaif.

Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab KahaniIts that day of the week which we love the most! Filmy Friday! This week there are two new hindi releases – Ajab Prem Ki Ghajab Kahani (APKGK) and Jail. Or as they are saying, its Ranbir Kapoor VS Neil Nitin Mukesh, now that Imran Khan is miles and miles behind!

APKGK is directed by Raj Kumar Santoshi and stars Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif. And here are the early reviews…

Taran Adarsh(Indiafm) – On the whole, APKGK entertains majorly. At the box-office, the fantastic pre-release campaign coupled with the terrific chemistry between Ranbir and Katrina, excellent music by Pritam and tremendous appeal for youth should ensure a big start for the film at the ticket window – 4/5

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani, a comedy set in a comic book universe, is a frustratingly uneven film. Some of it is genuinely funny and delightful and some of it is repetitive, and annoyingly tedious – 3/5

Raja Sen (Rediff) -Honestly, it’s just good to watch a film with memorable comedy again. Heaven knows its been a while. And one that takes us back to a different, more wholesome kind of cinema. Even as the climax drags into predictability, Santoshi ensures that even divine intervention — to pull it all back on track again — comes with laughs. Gotta love that – 3.5/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – You look through this hollowness, and sense there is not a comic bone at all. There is certainly no romance either. Good boy (Ranbir Kapoor) fumbles and chases good girl (Kaif) through multiply tiring sequences. Saawariya for a debut was a poor practical joke on young Kapoor. This humourlessness, if at all, is infinitely sappier.

Gaurav Malani(Indiatimes) – The one thing you can’t overlook noticing in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani is how Rajkumar Santoshi takes liberal references from every popular prem kahani of Bollywood and ends up with an ajeeb (weird) jumbled screenplay – 2/5

Nikhat Kazmi(TOI) – Gazab comedy, this one. Really, Ranbir is a revelation, Katrina is full of beans and the newly formented Ranbir-Katrina chemistry sets the screen on fire in this mad hatter’s tea party that takes you on a roller-coaster ride as Raj Kumar Santoshi tries to retrack his way to his Andaz Apna Apna days – 4/5

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Despite its hiccups, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani is not an entirely unwatchable film, and the credit for that goes squarely to its leads who invest sincerity and genuine enthusiasm while attacking their roles. Katrina Kaif breezes through her scenes, endearing you to the vulnerable Jenny; striking up a radiant chemistry with her co-star. As for Ranbir Kapoor, he is the brightest spot in this ordinary film, rising above the script’s many holes, occasionally even making the stupidity work – 2.5/5

Khalid Mohamed (PFC) – The kid’s brilliant. So watch it Hrithik Roshan, Shahid Kapoor and all the big and small Khans. At the rate he’s going – by sheer evidence of his screen charisma, technical felicity and youth power – Ranbir Kapoor is more than likely to be the Next Best Thing, if he isn’t one already. He’s RK Jr and he’s more than super A-Ok -2.5/5

Shubhra Gupta(Indian Express) – Once upon a time, Rajkumar Santoshi made a lovely little film which was all fun and games. ‘Andaz Apna Apna’ (1994), which came at a time when neither Aamir nor Salman were Superstars Inc., has traveled well—its unfettered joyousness delights at every fresh viewing. The same cannot be said for Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani – 1/5

Kaveree Bamzai (India Today) – The movie sails because of Kapoor’s effortless ease. He dances like a dream, looks good enough to take your eyes off Kaif, and raises a lot of laughs with his goofiness. And guess what, he looks pretty in pink too. Ad he has a memorable no sorry, no thank you dialogie as well: all he wants is to be Kaif’s friend, no complaints, no demands. This one, ladies and gentlemen, is a stayer. See you around, Ranbir – 3/5

Minty Tejpal (Mumbai Mirror) – For the most part of the film, you do drool, mostly over the totally delicious lead pair, and often enough over the ridiculous dialogue in this absurd, mad comedy being played out on screen. Ha ha and a hoot. In fact, the first half of the film just rocks all the way – 3.5/5

Anand Vaishanav (Buzz18) – With such a gorgeous pair, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, could have been a charming joyride. But instead it settles for a routine, time pass watch. Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif’s chemistry shines long after the curtains fall down – 2.5/5

Jail is directed by Madhur Bhandarkar and stars Neil Nitin Mukesh,  Mugdha Godse and Manoj Bajpai.

Rajeev Masand (CNN IBN) – Because it’s well-intentioned and settles for a hopeful message, you stay with the film despite the fact that it’s never quite compelling. It’s got its heart in the right place, but sometimes that’s not enough – 2.5 /5

Anupama Chopra (NDTV) – Bhandarkar’s cinema has often been called hard-hitting but the trouble with Jail is that it simply doesn’t hit hard enough. See it if you must – 2.5/5

Taran Adarsh(Indiafm) – On the whole, JAIL is a well-made film from an expert storyteller. At the box-office, the film will appeal to those with an appetite for hard-hitting, realistic fares, but its clash with APKGK will affect its business to an extent – 3/5 

Khalid Mohamed (PFC) – Okay, okay, for heaven’s sake this is a Bhandarkar, Madhur Bhandarkar movie. Get real, appreciate Jail for being as rough, real and dammit, outspoken. Sorry guys, want to..however it’s anything but. It’s just not in the league of the eye-opening Fashion, Traffic Signal, Page 3 and Chandni Bar, which have their loyal admirers including the National Film Award juries. Yeah – 2/5 (there’s nothing here that you don’t know or haven’t seen already)

Raja Sen(Rediff) – The detailing is shoddy, the characters cardboard and the dialogue plain laughable. Jail is a formulaic, below average Bollywood headache, slowed down to lugubrious dullness. Groan. Leave it be, this prison of cardboard and cliche. We all deserve better – 1/5

Mayank Shekhar (HT) – What we may have liked to know, like with any story, is something more about the hero himself — his past, his conflicts, his shattered dreams. It could’ve greatly helped with the sorely missed empathy. But that’s not to be. I guess, only in a film-culture as less evolved as ours, would a movie with merely a setting, pride itself so much on realism alone – 2/5

Kaveree Bamzai (India Today) – There’s a sense that we’re sitting in on a reality show, that it’s Bigg Boss Season 4 set inside a jail. You find yourself wishing Mukesh’s ordeal ends, not so much for him as for you. Hey Mr Bhandarkar, it’s time to think of a new formula, or choose a subject that thrills like Fashion- 2/5

Gaurav Malani(Indiatimes) – Compare Jail to Madhur Bhandarkar’s earlier works and you would be disappointed to a degree. Nevertheless, compare it to many other mediocre movies of today and Jail is still a step ahead. Jail is captivating but not consistently – 2.5/5

Minty Tejpal (Mumbai Mirror) – The movie itself is more like a well-researched documentary that teaches you a few new things about life in jail, so it’s pretty instructive for anyone planning on landing up there. The promos of Jail read, ‘sentenced on November 6’. Yes, ‘sentenced’ is right – 2/5

Shweta Parande(Buzz18) – If the film works, it will only be because of Madhur’s execution. Otherwise, Jail has nothing new to offer – 2/5