Posts Tagged ‘Onir’

Since the last two years, FFI or Film Federation Of India has suddenly changed its stance. Earlier all the jury members used to be in the presser to announce the name of the film selected as India’s entry for the Oscars. Now, it’s all a big secret. And that’s quite baffling because nobody says why it’s a secret. More because none of the renowned film festival or prestigious film awards keeps its jury a secret. I can’t think of any. In fact, most take pride in announcing the names of their jury members. It becomes more important when a controversy like this happens – why can’t the members publicly endorse and fight for the film they picked to represent the country? I don’t have any answers.

So here’s the list of the 19 FFI jury members who picked “The Good Road”.

1. Gautam Ghose – Filmmaker, Chairman of the jury
2. Rupa Ganguly – Actor
3. Agni Mitra Paul – Fashion/Costume Designer
4. Sujoy Ghosh – Filmmaker
5. Onir – Filmmaker
6. Bharthiraja
7. N Shankar – Filmmaker
8. K P Kumaran – Filmmaker
9. Mahesh Kothare – Actor/Director
10. Suhasini Mani Ratnam – Director/writer
11. Indraneel Bose
12. Sanjay Verma
13. Kamlesh Pandey – Screenwriter
14. Ramadoss Naidu
15. Kavita Lankesh – Director/Writer
16. Vijay Patkar – Actor
17. Aarti Anand
18. Vidya Sagar – Music Director
19. C V Reddy – Filmmaker
Strangely, we spoke to at least six of them and all are repeating the same lines – it was unanimous decision to pick The Good Road. 19 people and all felt that TGR was better than everything else. or all have been told to say the same thing? Now that the names are out, am hoping at least some people will speak up why The Good Road is better than other films. Seriously, forget The Lunchbox. Just tell us what we are missing. They need to enlighten us and make us see what’s great about TGR. Some of the names are quite well known and they know much more about cinema than all of us. So it will be good to know what’s good in their books and why. Waiting.

The 13th Mumbai Film Festival, a Reliance Entertainment initiative, will be held in Mumbai from the 13th to the 20th of October 2011.

The festival has just announced its jury for this year’s edition. The jury members for the international competition section are…

1. Academy Award nominee director Hugh Hudson (Jury President, International competition),

2. Roger Spottiswoode – director of James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and the Arnold Schwarzenegger starrer ‘The 6th Day’

3. Acclaimed Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski

4. Young Korean director Na Hong-Jin who received numerous awards and acclaim for his films ‘The Chaser’ and ‘The Yellow Sea’.

VENUE :  This year the main hub for the festival will be Cinemax Versova and other venues include Cinemax Sion and Metro BIG cinemas.

 – Basu Chatterjee, director of films like Gudgudee, Chameli Ki Shaadi amongst numerous others, is the Chairman of the Harmony Celebrate Age Jury. Harmony Celebrate Age aims to encourage filmmakers to look beyond the stereotypes of old age and to look at the positive side of ageing.

– The Dimensions Mumbai section of the festival include young directors like…

1. Kiran Rao (Dhobi Ghat) (Chairperson- Dimension Mumbai Jury)

2. Vikram Aditya Motwane (Udaan)

3. Nishikant Kamat (Mumbai Meri Jaan)

4. Onir (My Brother Nikhil)

5. Renuka Shahane

Dimensions Mumbai, a short film competition open to Mumbaikars below the age of 25 years, where a short film depicting any aspect of life in Mumbai can be submitted.

This isn’t a tale of heroic feats. It’s about two lives running parallel for a while, with common aspirations and similar dreams.

-Ernesto Guevara de la Serna

I am bad with names. I guess, terrible. And am very good with excuses. So, it gets compensated mostly. And that’s why whenever I save a new contact in my phone, I always add a suffix or prefix to the name. It makes life easier. Because whenever I am searching for anyone, if not the name, the suffix or prefix will help. Either place, profession, common friends, where we met, how  we met, why we met, and noun, pronoun, adjectives, verb (don’t pick) of all kinds.

Before I started writing the post, I quickly searched for PFC in my phone’s contacts list and believe it or not, the number of contacts with PFC as suffix is 44 – covering almost every alphabet from A(shish) to W(B), even Z if you count Zoorya (Surya) as I call him. And in the last few years some of them have become 4am friends too. And am not counting any filmmaker, producer, writer or celeb here, with them it’s always aspirational, at least to start with. Talking about mere mortals like us. Friends from across states, nations and even continents. Many of us have met each other, shared our stories and bonded over everything that’s life. At the end of the day,  I guess, that’s what PFC has done. Internet, you beauty. Add cinema, and we are alive.

PFC started in August-September 2006. I guess I joined in December. How, why – don’t remember exactly. I wasn’t in a boring cubicle and my day job wasn’t boring either. Then? Must have been a google search for ‘Anurag Kashyap’. Because there was a time when PFC = AK, which wasn’t true but the industry always thought so. “Oh, AK’s mouthpiece. So much negativity on that site!”. Well, that’s the way it was.  Just because we had endless rounds of biryanis and drinks at his place with access to some of the best world cinema, it didn’t mean that we had to worship him or his friends. Criticise him and he will listen. He will argue, fight, try to make fun of you, put his favourite question to you, “tune kya likha/banaya hai?“. But that’s just him, trying to figure out if you really know your shit or just blabbering. And yeah, No Smoking had equal number of posts on both the extremes. Let me also confess that there were times when many comments which attacked AK were moderated and without telling anyone I used to approve them. If it’s about cinema, if someone is making a point that AK might not agree with, there is no point in blocking that comment. The general policy was to keeps the trolls away from filmmakers, keep the site clean but what’s life without some cheap thrills. If it’s AK’s cinema, his post, let him face it.

There was also Suparn Varma, Hansal Mehta, Pavan Kaul, Sourabh Usha Narang, Sam Longoria, Ramu Ramanathan, Bhavani Iyer (Onir, Navdeep Singh came onboard later) and some 30-35 bloggers from across the world. Forget everything else, we had no clue about each others names also. Some of us used to write posts with nicknames/handles and we used to address each with those handles. Honhaar Goonda, DPac, RK, Ranga, Macchar Kumar, Dabba – some of the handles that I can think of right now. Once a friend was visiting London and he needed some cash urgently. The first name that came to my mind was Honhar Goonda and I had to ask another friend for his real name. There were mele-mein-bichhde-huye-bhai too, Pavan Saab and Subrat: where Google fails, they come to the rescue. Do you know Chic Chocolate?

Then there was Kartik Krishnan (KK) – the face of PFC in Mumbai. He would go to any length to do anything for PFC, would travel any distance to meet any new author of PFC. With Vasan, three of us soon became the point persons for all kinds of activity. And the invisible brain, the hand, the man behind everything else was Oz. PFC was his idea, his intiative. Log milte gaye aur karwaan banta gaya.

For the first few years, it was all smooth. We never bothered to ask how the site was running, how much space, what the readership was and  other such technical details. That was all Oz’s headache. A bunch of 10-12 editors, including three of us, used to take editorial calls and we were busy blogging – shouting, screaming, fighting – all for cinema.

I might be completely wrong but I think the first time we had some kind of disagreement when a filmmaker gave the idea of turning PFC into commercial venture and someone decided to do it. Since it was mostly one man control as far as any cost was concern, it was all his call. Rest of us were foot soldiers. Discussion soon moved from club to chain mails and many of us expressed our discomfort about the way the decision was taken. We were blogging because we loved it, there was no intention of making it IndiaFM or any such commercial venture.

Of course there was ample space and time given to everyone to debate, discuss and put forward all kinds of suggestions in Club. Those days authorship wasn’t open to everyone, but by invitation only. We had a club for the authors which was not visible to the rest of the world. And countless nights have been spent on random discussion threads in that club. Those were the Club days too!

There was Review contest (Yes, Thani), One minute short film contest, Poster design contest, Pitcher contest – Oz was always the man to go and we would execute it in best possible way. TOI gave us half page coverage too, with some of us happily posing for the camera in the middle of  a busy road in Dadar’s Hindu colony. Aha, the cheap thrills. Every mention of PFC in the media was one step forward in making it more visible, making it more mainstream. The industry slowly took notice and mostly loved to hate us.

Krsn Kavita Kasturi (I hope I have got her name right) – She was one of the  respected blogger at PFC who knew her cinema quite well. As it mostly happened in the club, once she disagreed on some point which we all were gung-ho about. We were quick to brand her as PFC-Drohi and me and KK got into an altercation with her. I Still can’t remember what was the reason, the exact topic. Blame it on age. But we were PFC-Bhakts and she was PFCDrohi soon. She quit PFC after that. KKK, if you have Google Alert on, apologies from me. Because all this seems too trivial now.

And what a surprise, in the next two years, I was in her shoes. As a dozen of us  met last night  at a friend’s place and we started talking about PFC, we could not agree on one version of the story – how it started? Was it this or that? And there were alternate versions too. Why we could not agree on few things?

Among many other things (man with an agenda, conspirator), I was even branded racist. I could not figure out the reason then and discovered it much later that I had put a comment saying “firangi” or something like that in one of the threads in the Club and by that time one of us had got married to someone for whom that was racist remark or kind of. I tried the search option in my gmail, went through some mails, and gave up. Too tedious, too kiddish. There must be hundreds of those mails, may be we will tell our grand kids about it.

Like every story has my right side and your wrong side, it was the same for PFC. Also, it was “Catfish” syndrome for some of us. “Dude, he is so boring. Come on, we can’t say it to him. We have to meet him. No, you go away, I will skip.”  We also realised that the set-up was becoming too feudal. One man would control it all, he would not listen to anyone except those who  agree with him and celebrate him. We asked questions, raised our voice and it made things worse. The reason given was, “I quit my job, I gave my life and soul to it, my space, my time for it. How dare can anyone ask me what i want to do?”.  And we thought, “But who asked you to do so? We all have our jobs, we all still contribute”. The ping-pong game continued.

By that time, the commercial venture keeda had done the trick too. The critic we had no respect for and who is known for his extremely biased reviews, was asked if he would blog at PFC. Posts/blogs were done in tie-up with films/directors. The aim was to get more page views, more readership and thus generate revenue.

Things started piling up. All kind of decisions were taken on the basis of MBBS (Miyan-Biwi-Baccha-Samet). Many bloggers were finding an excuse to quit it.  Or as Roger Ebert wrote in the review of Blue Valentine, “I’ve read reviews saying Cianfrance isn’t clear about what went wrong as they got from there to here. Is anybody?” When in doubt, trust Ebert.

Oz also used to run DesiTrain.com, his personal blog. And there were some incidents where personal things got mixed up with PFC. It involved his family, he felt that some of us said/did something nasty about someone related to him, he wrote a post on it, we commented there, he was hurt, attacks, counter-attacks. And back to Ebert. Since there was no professional set-up for PFC, it was again Oz’s call. So, if he was pissed off with someone because of some personal reason, that also meant that it’s the end for him/her at PFC. You can take any side here and have your arguments, and we did the same. As I wrote earlier, I am not sure if this was the correct flow of the events. Flashbacks are not so smooth always as they show in movies. I might have missed many things but I am writing whatever I can remember now.

What else? I am still trying to think if there was any big reason apart from “making PFC commercial”. We tied up with Tehelka for PFC Awards, some felt we were moving too hastily,  some felt it’s better to do something rather than ponder over it and make powerpoint presentations. Few calls and more miscommunication – ‘how dare you hang up the phone, it was ISD call and so must have been the time difference my and your voice, you sent such a nasty SMS when I was going through a family crisis’, ‘But that was a joke and how am I supposed to know that you had a crisis at home..’ – everything that counts for the lovers’ tiff, we had it all. And like in every lovers’ tiff which ends in separation, this story is from one side, the other side’s story might be completely different.

I quit. KK quit. And for similar reasons some 20 authors also quit one after another. And we all felt strange that nobody thought that this was strange – if 20 active bloggers decide to quit one by one, there has to be some reason, some logic, some problem. Someone must be wrong somewhere. Naah, by that time it has straight forward – we are right, they are wrong. It was Us Vs Them. Those who stayed Vs Those who left. Those who stayed – we stayed at the worst period of PFC, we are friends, we saved him, saved PFC. Those who left – they don’t make any sense, it’s feudal approach, it’s MBBS, power drunk, dropping names, enough! It might have been lil’ bit of this, lil’ bit of that, some ego here and there, and that was the end for us. But I/we never thought that it would end in such a bitter way.

I started writing this as a Goodbye post and soon realised that it might not be a goodbye after all. But I thought it’s better to complete it.

So, Dear PFC – Cheers for all those 40 friends and 4am buddies, and apologies for all kinds of ugly spats, intentionally or otherwise, it just seems so funny now, or may be it was all for cheap thrill. May be we all were in our best possible Natural Born Killers avatar and part of that secret club. It was great fun till it lasted.

But no apologies for watching the 2nd half of Contract before the first half and then again going to the other screen to catch the first half, no apologies for asking Ramu, “Do you think you have lost it?”, no apologies for not liking No Smoking and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and million other such things.

(PS: Questions have been raised many times about exclusive authors/filmmakers. Why don’t they write more often? They come only for their film promotions. But let me clarify – most of the time we wanted them to blog. Except few, it was us who approached them. They were not dying to blog. We wanted them and they had a film for release, they had something to say, so they blogged whatever they could. There is no point in putting the blame on them. We were eager to get them onboard – always!)

(PPS – Hansal – Sirjee, I have never cooked for anyone.)

What else? Lots, but can’t remember. Told ya, the age.

Yours,

Phoenixnu

RK now runs Cinemanthan,  Sameer went full time with his CinemaaOnline, Shripriya’s site is Tatvam, Mitch’s work can be seen at Bokehchaser, Fatema reviews films for Indiaentertainment and blogs at filmsandwords, and Pavan still runs GulzarOneline. Also, Indraneel can be found here, Sudhir is here, Jahan Bakshi writes here, Dipankar is here, and Srinivas here . And a bunch of us still create nuisance here at mFC. 🙂 For the rest, they are all on Facebook and Twitter.

The first trailer of Onir’s I Am is out. It stars Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala, Nandita Das, Rahul Bose, Sanjay Suri, Purab Kohli, Abhimanyu Singh, Arjun Mathur, Shernaz Patel, Radhika Apte, Anurag Basu and Anurag Kashyap.

To quote from the official release, I AM is about people with fractured lives held together by unbroken dreams.

Click on the play button to watch the trailer..

And here is the official synopsis…

I AM is about issues and dilemmas that bruise the modern Indian society. Unraveling and exploring these tribulations, the film unfolds many a tale of individuals struggling to find their identity, and uphold their dignity in a world that is callous, cold and unsympathetic.
Shot in four different cities across India, I AM is a fusion of stories where the protagonists share a common dream – a desire to regain their lives, to regain an identity which has been taken away from them.

I AM AFIA is the story of a single woman who feels her identity will be made whole through the singularly feminine experience of motherhood. Unable to trust or even wait for a man, she is frustrated by a society that demands a “husband” to have a child. Thus her search is defined – does motherhood necessarily require the burden of a man?

I AM MEGHA is a story of two friends – a Kashmiri Pandit woman and a Muslim woman – separated by conflict.  Against the backdrop of the ethnic cleansing in Kashmir in early 90’s, this story tells of loss of home and identity. If your own home rejects you, where do you go and where are you “from”?

I AM ABHIMANYU is the story of a broken man, with a proud mask. Abhimanyu is trapped by the demons of his past, a past of sexual abuse. To move forward he must first go back, into a world where hi childhood was stolen from him.

I AM OMAR is a horrific tale of sexual discrimination; blackmail and prejudice is part of the torrid fabric. It reveals how the police use Article 377 (law under Indian Penal code which criminalizes homosexuality) to harass and blackmail gay men. In the current climate of media sensationalism, perhaps this story gains even more poignancy.

And having seen the film, we definitely recco this one. Our favourites – Afia and Megha. You don’t need a Lamhaa to know the Kashmir story, you can do it in a much simpler and better way, and without all the dhoom-dhaam-dhadaap. Megha proves that.

Afia is a story about unique friendship between two strangers. Nandita Das and Purab Kohli bring  such a natural charm to it, and bet you never knew that Anurag Basu can act too. Do watch.

Click here to know more about the film.

Our friends at DearCinema.com are trying something new. A dialogue series, and the first one is on November 18th, 2010 (Thursday). Read on for more details.

What : Sadak Chhaap Films presents DearCinema Dialogue Series on “Crowd-funding: Raising Money from Public for Your Film”.

Meet and interact with Onir, Sanjay Suri and Sudhir Mishra and get all your queries answered on Independent filmmaking this Thursday,

When : November 18, 2010.

Where : Screen 5, PVR, Juhu

How : Registration begins at: 9:30 AM at Level 3, PVR Cinema, Juhu

Registration Fee: Rs. 500/-

For more, you can write to: registration@dearcinema.com

The registration fee might seem bit much but if it works out well, things might change from the next event. So, do attend and spread the word. See you there!

We had put out the announcement details of the NFDC’s Screenwriters Lab for 2010 here. And now here is the final list of the six scripts which have been selected for the ScriptLab at Locarno Film Fest.

Into the World –  Ben Rekhi

D End –  Shlok Sharma

Shab – Onir

Lovely Insane – Vasan Bala

Untitled – Seema’s Story –  Madhvi Purohit

Four Colors – Bikas Mishra

The ScriptLab is oganized by National Film Development Corporation of India in association with Binger Filmlab, Netherlands and Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland.

The sessions in 2010 will run from August 7– 9 at the Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland and from November 23 – 26 at Film Bazaar Goa, India. Congrats to all the writers! Enjoy.

anurag kashyapHis “khooni” cameo in Zoya Akhtar’s Luck By Chance got the loudest laughs. And he will soon be seen in a full fledged role of a UP gangster in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Shaagird. And then there is Sudhir Mishra’s Tera Kya Hoga Johnny.

And it seems Kashyap’s keeda will continue for some more. He has been signed to act in Onir’s short film Abhimanyu, part of the five short films that Onir is planning on sexual abuse. Sanjay Suri, Rahul Bose, Shernaz Patel and Radhia Apte also star in it. Anurag being himself a victim of child sex abuse, has been very candid about it and has always raised his voice on the issue.

Whats more, we have heard that he is also writing one of the five stories and he isnt taking a single penny for his acting-writing. He is also contributing to the budget of the film as co-producer.

BTW, if you want to contribute to Onir’s film, click here to read more.