Posts Tagged ‘shekhar kapoor’

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)

So what happens in a script lab? Does it really help? If so, in what way? – These are few questions that i have been asked many times since i attended the NFDC-Locarno script lab. Have been thinking about writing a post for a long time but never managed to do so. And so here’s Vikas Chandra‘s post about his experience at Mahindra-Sundance script lab. His script Toothache was one of the eight scripts selected for the lab this year.

To give you a better sense of  this post, am putting a synopsis of his script from the official release – Toothache is a bittersweet tale of a North Korean expat wife named Kim who lives in Delhi during the Emergency of 1976 with her husband – the couple yearns to be back in North Korea, but struggles to find a new and different idea of home in Delhi. Toothache celebrates of the tenacity of the human spirit, and re-affirms that the dawn approaches only after you have lived the darkest hour.

It’s bit long but a great insightful post. Read on.

When he was hired by director Walter Sallas to adapt Che’s memoirs into a film, Jose Rivera began, as he always does, by searching for an image that would propel him into the screenplay. Finally he got one, of a young Ernesto swimming across the river that separated the two societies of the San Pablo leper colony, which led to the central question of The Motorcycle Diaries – Which side of the river do you want to be on?

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This year saw the launch of the prestigious Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab in India with the support of Mumbai Mantra, the media &entertainment division of the Mahindra group. (details here)

After a rigorous evaluation of more than 550 applications from Indian screenwriters across the world, 8 screenplays were selected to be mentored at the lab. The writers of these screenplays along with 11 highly distinguished advisors were then whisked away to an enchanting resort overlooking the Pavna lake near Lonavla, to lead a cocooned existence where the only thing that mattered was an unbridled exchange of ideas.

Over a span of 5 days, the screenplays were discussed threadbare by the advisors and the fellows in one-on-one meetings. Each fellow or writer was assigned 6 mentors, who would go on to give detailed feedback and initiate free-flowing discussions with the writer about their story.

It’s tough to encapsulate everything that transpired in those 5 days, but here I will try to give a brief lowdown on my experience at the lab.

Your donkeys are not carrying enough load!

In the beginning I had no clue on how to prepare or even what to expect from the lab. Worse, I was gripped with the fear that in no time I would be exposed as a writer!

What’s the inner motivation of your character? What’s her outer motivation? Can you draw the Story vs Character Arc graph? Who plays the Shadow archetype? Where is the Belly of the Whale scene? Where have you done foreshadowing in the script?

I expected to be bombarded with questions I had no answers to, at least not at that moment. With such apprehensions, I approached my first session, which was with Audrey Wells.

Thankfully nothing of the above happened.

We started talking about the central character in my script. Why did I choose my protagonist? What do I like about her? Can I connect her to my personal life?

Soon it became clear that the exercise was only about finding the spine of the story – my story. The discussion was rigorous. We went back to the genesis of the idea, the news article that sparked the film in the first place, and how it evolved over various drafts.

I am here to help you tell the story you want to tell

Once we managed to pin down the spine of the story in one line, it became a filter to sieve through the scenes and decide which of them were not working.

Audrey has a simple thumb rule for scene construction. Each scene is like a donkey, which has to carry the load of your plot.

“Is this scene giving me any new information about the character… Is it progressing the plot”

Well…umm….it further shows the cute husband-wife relationship

“It’s a beautifully written scene… but it doesn’t deserve to be here”

In a Kitty Party scene – What should the secondary characters chat about so that the scene doesn’t meander and remain relevant to the plot?

The protagonist’s problems. Other women will talk about their son’s achievements while your protagonist misses her son, they will talk about their wonderful marriages while your character puts up a brave smile. Whatever the others say has to drive another nail in the coffin of your main character.

Audrey is the writer of The Truth About Cats & Dogs &The Kid and writer/director of Under The Tuscan Sun, starring Diane Lane. Most of her stories have been about “sick people getting well”, in some way or the other.

The most valuable advice she has to offer to upcoming writers is – “Be kind to your back. Stand and write.”

Audrey is slated to begin shooting for her next film The Fugees, about a team of refugee soccer players coached by a Jordanian woman, and who go on to become an unlikely success. I cheekily told her that we already have a Bollywood version on similar lines!

What’s the last thing you would change about your story?

Asif Kapadia is a BAFTA award winning filmmaker, known for the visually striking The Warrior and the beautifully crafted biopic Senna. He describes himself as an outsider, making films that explore the live of “outsiders” living in time less, unforgiving landscapes.

“Why a North Korean couple? Why can’t they be a Punjabi refugee couple living in Delhi?”

This is the question I dreaded the most. My script Toothache is about a North Korean expat wife named Kim who lives in India with her husband – the couple yearns to be back in North Korea, but struggles to find a new and different idea of home in Delhi.When I had begun to write it, the question for me was not why.. but why not!Gradually though, as my investment in the story increased, I realized what an uphill task it is to get this kind of a film made.

So when Asif asked the same, I started to buckle..

Umm.. may be.. it’ll definitely make it easier to get produced…

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If the city of Delhi is under curfew, what can you show to convey that effectively..?

For a writer/director its important to breakdown the screenplay into images that imply more than what’s necessarily said in the plot and give the required emotional thrust to the narrative.

In The Warrior, there is a sequence when the army of warriors led by Ir(r)fan Khan attacks the village that had requested for waiver of loans. The otherwise frantically paced sequence ends with a long-ish shot of an earthen pot smashing into the ground and water seeping into the parched earth. Kapadia chanced upon this shot through pure logic – the most precious thing in a desert is water, and hence the loss of water signifies the real extent of loss.

For Kapadia, it is a string of images like these that helped him craft a minimalist film like The Warrior. The genesis of the film itself lay in a solitary image that was derived from a footnote in a short story about a samurai kid who is shown a severed head and asked if it was his father’s.

Before ending the session Asif threw his final salvo at me –

“What is the last thing in your script you would compromise on?”

I hesitated. I knew I had to take a stand. I went back to the beginning, to figure why I had even wanted to tell this particular story.

The fact that the couple is North Korean… is the last thing I would change in my story.

“Good.. that’s a beginning at least”

What do you mean by a hopeless, pathological optimist?

I hate it when I have to describe my characters. I would rather you read my script and draw your own inferences. And I also hate to admit it, but articulation is not one of my strongest points. I still haven’t figured what my primary language is… Hindi? English? Hinglish?

Shekhar caught me not once but several times.

“Yeh teri bhasha nahin lagti..”

“Tu apne hi shabdon mein ulajh raha hai”

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Would you like to watch a film like this?

“That’s irrelevant. Would you want to make a film like this?”

Yes.

Then go ahead and make it.

Shekhar Kapur has directed Masoom, Mr India, Bandit Queen & Elizabeth, apart from other films. He was the only Indian advisor I had on my panel.

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Research. Research. Research.

“Which school in Delhi does the Korean kid go to?”

Umm.. she stays in Jangpura.. but definitely can’t afford Bluebells International.. then.. may be.. Kendriya Vidyalaya.

“Then she should be speaking fluent and not broken Hindi.. Every student from KV is good with Hindi”

“What car did the Korean ambassador to India use.. was it an ambassador or an Impala?”

“How long did it take to get an Indian passport in 1976.. how long did it take to get a phone connection?”

“Why do your protagonists have a landline in their house.. why can’t you make them dependent on the neighbor’s phone for receiving their calls, which was a common practice in those days..”

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God lies in the details.

What do characters talk about in a scene?

Themselves.

It helps to know the back stories of each of your character, even beyond the scope of the script, in as much detail as possible, as those back stories will tell you what the character will say in any damn situation.

What does a man who’s been shot and thinks he’s going to die, say?

“Main jaa raha hun Phoolan, tu apna khayaal rakhna..” OR “Meri chinta chhod, tu bhaag, apni jaan bacha..”..?

In Bandit Queen, when Vikram Mallah is grievously injured near the pond, he falls into Phoolan’s arms and sensing that his death is near, blurts out,

“Maa se kahi, doodh pee liyo maine..”

You are a land of cobras and tigers.. your country is fierce.. where’s the ferocity in your story..?

I sat across Guillermo Arriaga, author of Amores Perros & Babel, while he drew 9 concentric circles on the title page of my screenplay.

“Where is your protagonist right now?”

Arriaga was referring to Dante’s 9 circles of hell as laid out in Inferno, the first part of his epic poem Divine Comedy.

I hesitated… maybe in the 2nd circle.. at the max 3rd..

“Why can’t you push her to 7th.. 8th.. 9th..?”

But she’s such a nice person…

Nice is boring

The deeper your protagonist is inside the circles of hell, the stronger will be her journey back, and the greater will be the pay off.

Arriaga is a hunter who works as a writer. He doesn’t believe in the 3 Act structure. He hates outlining his story. He doesn’t do research. He draws mostly from his own life, and keeps re-writing drafts of the story till the story has found itself.

Drafts – NOT revisions. Each draft is a draft from scratch.

The Babel that we saw on screen was his 72nd draft.

“Who wants to see the story of a 60 year old woman looking for a medicine.. That’s boring.. I want to see a 19 year hot chick on screen..”

He asked me to rewrite the screenplay with the husband’s POV. Then another draft with their son’s POV. Then another, this time changing the protagonist to a 19 year old girl. Then another…

My heart sank.

Be rigorous with your story. Kill the dearest. Only then the truth in the story will come out

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Our meeting did have a silver lining for me though.

Arriaga admitted that he liked my dialogues, and said that my writing has a sense of rhythm. I couldn’t have asked for a better return gift from him. It was March 13, his birthday. I gifted him a DVD of Manirathnam’s Yuva – albeit with a poker face.

This is the story about a woman WHO…

Howard Rodman’s was the 5th advisor meeting I had on my schedule, and he stressed that he wouldn’t want to repeat what the others had already said. Each morning the creative advisors had an extensive meeting where they recounted the sessions of the previous day and shared notes among each other. So, even though each one of them brought their unique perspective to the individual sessions, they also took care to build upon what had already been discussed.

Rodman is a screenwriter, novelist, and educator. His feature adaptation of the book Savage Grace, starring Julianne Moore, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for the Spirit Award for Best Screenplay. Rodman is also the Vice President of the Writers Guild of America, West.

“Who do you write your screenplays for?”

The Actor. They are a writer’s best friend and the most important medium – who will project your scene.

Write your scenes for an actor – not necessarily for any particular actor. Get into an actor’s shoes and the re-read your scenes to figure out how they might approach the scene.

Take acting workshops – to understand actors’ motivations, to see what they seek from a scene, what’s going on in their minds while acting.

Rodman is 61. Conversations with him are delicious, peppered with a lethal sense of humor.

“Let’s play a game.. Finish the sentence – This is the story about a woman WHO..”

He sums up movies in one line – Bad things happen to not-so-good people so that they become good.

I countered that.. in Hindi cinema, goodness is a virtue heroes are born with – they don’t need character transformation. Apart from other things I also gave him the example of a future blockbuster during the shoot of which the superstar refused to run after the baddies, saying the goons need to come to him to be bashed up.

Quick came the repartee,“I would take that as – Bad things happen to good people and they become better!”

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As a writer, I often get stuck after a scene wondering what scene to conjure up next. Is there a formula that can help you decide that?

Rodman let out a secret that was shared with him by the creators of South Park – In every screenplay, there are only three bridges that connect the scenes.

Therefore.

But.

And then.

Sc 1. Therefore. Sc 2. But. Sc 3. And then. Sc 4. Therefore…

If you find that there are more “And then” in your screenplay than “Therefore” and “Buts”, you know your pace is sagging.

Elementary, I now say!

In any situation, where she puts her attention – is her personality

Malia Scotch-Marmo wrote Steven Spielberg’s fantasy Hook, and also served as associate producer on the film. She is an adjunct professor at Columbia Graduate Film School. Recently she co-wrote a script with Sundance Institute Lab alumna, Sabiha Sumar. The film, Rafina, was shot on location in Karachi in 2011.

With Scotch-Marmo, I had the last of the 6 advisor meetings, and surprisingly, the longest one. Even at this stage, when a lot of water had already flown under, she had something new to offer.

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I asked her the same question I had been asking everyone.

Would you like to watch a film like this?

“Of course. Why do you even ask?”

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The Screenwriters’ Lab has been a core program of the Sundance Institute since its inception. Spearheaded by Founding Director Michelle Satter and Associate Director Alesia Weston, the lab is about their support of writers’ community that embraces originality, risk taking and exploration of common humanity in authentic and distinctive ways.

Bringing the Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab to India is indeed a laudable initiative by Rohit Khattar, Chairman of Mumbai Mantra. Rohit, along with his team led by Aparna Purohit, ensured that this experience was an unforgettable one for all of us.

I missed having one-on-ones with other advisors like Jose Rivera, Anjum Rajabali, Kasi Lemmons, Michael Goldenberg & Marcos Bernstein, but even post-film-screening & dinner-table interactions with them were enriching. It’s humbling to see such stalwarts offer their valuable time and insights into their craft so generously and unconditionally. In a profession where people customarily wear their oh-so-fragile egos on their sleeves, it was liberating to be in the same room as them. It made me look within the petty me – a couple of years in the profession, hardly any achievement to write home about, and yet shards of arrogance had already been creeping up inside me.

I could do nothing but cringe.

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It’s hard to put in words the feeling you get when you see someone else’s eyes light up for your story. That’s why we want to make movies in the first place – to make connections with some stranger in some god-forsaken part of the world, to light up his eyes, to make his day. For me, this lab was about learning to make those connections. It isn’t about scripting the next blockbuster, or finding the right film for the market. It’s about finding the right choices for the stories you’ve been dying to tell. And realizing that somewhere along the line you’d forgotten that these were the stories you’d been dying to tell.

Jose Rivera has a simple explanation for what is known as a Writer’s Block – It’s your inner-self telling you that you lied somewhere in your writing. You have to go back and fix it.

I would like to extend it further to something that can be termed as a Filmmaker’s Block – when I know I’m stuck in the middle, stagnated at a point, not sure of the choices I’ve made in the past, don’t know what choices to make next…It’s time probably to go back and fix my share of lies.

It’s time to swim to the side of the river I want to be on.

(PS – To know more about the Mahindra-Sundance script lab, click here. To know the details of next year’s call for entries, click here.)

As far as my limited cinema knowledge goes, I think there is a big difference between a trailer and a montage. And as the trailer of Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told (Who thought about this title?) was out, it was a perfect #Facepalm (for lack of better expression) moment. It even forced Screeny to come out of his slumber and puke out this rambling post. Read on…

Respected Sir,

I’m a Big fan of Mr India, Masoom & Bandit Queen. Have been following your blog on and off. Untill today when I saw the trailer of the documentary which has been produced by you and co, and directed by the “acclaimed director” (have seen him at conferences and am sure he regards himself as one, for having gifted the people of this country THE seminal film – Rang De Basanti) Mr Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra.

Needless to say, I was thoroughly, thoroughly disappointed.

Why? Because the trailer (so is the film I’m sure) is- as usual- selling Bollywood exotica la-la land to the west. The incestous, celebratory, mutual admiration society which regards Aishwarya Rai and Katrina Kaif as ‘icons’ who will talk about Hindi Cinema to the “goras” and tell them in effect – “One billion people are enjoying this. See, this is so special. This is India! This is Indian Cinema! Come, Watch it. And fall in Love. NAMASTE. Achcha Lagta Hai.”

The first half is virtual showreel for the Bachchans, another attempt to sell Aishwarya to the west. The same song and dance routine which we are (in)famous for. The DDLJ clip, the rain, the matrix style shots, the same ghisa-pita bakwaas.

And of course, it contains generous footage from the magnum opus Rang De Basanti. After all Rakeysh (Is the spelling correct? Am a bit confused) Omprakash Mehra is the co-director & UTV is the producer. And the exact same clip when people land up at the India Gate with candles in their hands (the prophetic subtitle below is “This country will change. We will change it”). Yes sir, we will.

I wish you had produced a 2 hour documentary on Kerala or Goa Tourism instead.

Or helped produce any of the films from the “new wave” of Indian cinema, which I’m sure you must be more aware of than me.

At a time when Indian Cinema is taking baby steps towards maturity, and managing to gain a foothold in the international arena, slowly changing “their” perception of “our films” by coming up with IN COMPETITION FILMS like Udaan, Peepli Live, Dhobi Ghat, Harud, Gandu, Shor in the City, Gabhricha Paus, Aranya Kandam, Paruthiveeran, Subramanipuram, the new Wave Tamil & Marathi Cinema; this self congratulatory AV on Bollywood films actually is taking us two steps back, reinforcing the stereotypes. Forcing us to be still perceived as the audience which enjoys 3 hour long musicals embellished with the garangutan setpieces, laughable action sequences & antics, titillating item numbers and melodramatic rejoice.

I was hoping to find some echo in the comments section of this post but clearly, I’m the minority here.

http://shekharkapur.com/blog/2011/04/bollywood-the-greatest-love-story-ever-told-at-the-cannes-film-festival/

I shudder to think how I would react if I would ever meet a “gora” who sees this film and recognises by my skin tone, that I’m an Indian. Will he be overjoyed at what I’m embarassed at ? Will he be like the Japanese tourists from Munnabhai who only want to shoot “dirty, hungry, poor Indians” ? Will I be asked to dance at the Visa interview if (and when) I travel to Europe ?

My nightmarish thoughts aside, I request you to read a post written by you, Sir. Your blogpost on Black Friday and why it is the film which should have gone for Oscars submission instead of Paheli.

http://shekharkapur.com/blog/2005/10/oscar-hoo-haaa/

Yours disappointed,

Screeny

(PS1 –  Have you heard about a documentary film called Videokaaran? Watch it.)

(PS2 – Screeny forgot to mention that if the film turns out to be any good, he will be the first person to say it and will apologise for the post.)

(PS3 – Screeny’s previous posts can be read here, here and here. )

We don’t like Olive branches. Fest films don’t make money in India. We are still not sure about how to say it – is it Cann, Kans or Cannes? French people are rude. There are enough excuses for not making it to the official Cannes list. Or as Balki put it here, “There are no Cannes films in India! Ask why? The day one of those films will be enjoyed by us, our films will be enjoyed by them.” I wish Balki had seen the ruckus during the screening of Biutiful at MAMI last year. And  the organisers were forced to have  two more shows of the film. “Our” number might be less but that’s no reason to be so dumb and dismissive about it. Not that we ever had any doubts about Balki’s take on cinema (Kill a kid, let the lovers unite – Cheeni Kum/Paa), but this reason puts him in a different league all together.

What’s on the Cannes menu this year?

Well, Aishwarya Rai, Sonam Kapoor and Freida Pinto will walk the red carpet, not for any film but for L’Oreal Paris. This is the perfect combo – an almost has been actor who never earned any points for her acting skills, a daddy’s girl who was last seen in Anees Bazmee’s atrocious Thank You, and the third one whose middle name should be ladyluck. Apart from the brand that they are endorsing, there is only one common factor that all three share – lack of any acting talent. Imagine someone talking to Sonam Kapoor at the fest – So, what was your last release? That’s True Grit.

Blame it on the Fest too? They are all about stars, about sponsors, about big money, but they are also about cinema. About finding that independent and unique voice and putting it on the world cinema map. Even with all the goss and the glamour, you can’t deny that credit.

What else?

Mallika Sherawat has also been thereatening to make her presence felt like she did last year and the year before that. Peek a boo-b with some Hisss and you will always get some pics clicked. BTW, have you noticed her twitter handle – it’s MallikaLA. Conspiracy theorists believe that she is trying hard to belong “there” and detach from here. She even got a pic clicked with Barack Obama (Ssshhh..she has new film coming up called Politics Of Love. But it might go direct to dvd. Oops) Or is that just good ol’ photoshop? So MallikaLA, how about changing the handle to MallikaCannes?

Films in competition?

Someone please help me here. When was the last time a desi film made it to the competition section of Cannes? Ok, let’s make the base wider. Competition section of any of the top six (Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance, Toronto, Locarno) film fests?

Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan was in Cannes Un Certain regard section last year. Bit of googling and you will know that all those countries which are so small that they are difficult to locate on a world map and with names which are difficult to pronounce, even they are  making that Cannes cut.  Why and how? Blame it all on our bollywood musical and melodrama? Or go back to Balki’s bolly-gyaan.

Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told?

And this isn’t helping much. If we can’t qualify, let’s make a film for them. According to official release….

Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, is the title of a feature film produced by Shekhar Kapoor exclusively for the Festival de Cannes. It will be screened out of competition during the 64th Festival that runs from the 11th to the 22nd of May.

 It all began with a conversation with ShekharKapoor, a member of the Cannes Jury in 2010. Why not make a film that brings together the most beautiful moments in the history of Indian musical films, with all their moving pageantry and dance? A few months later, there was Bollywood, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told. It is a swirling and poignant montage in which Shekhar Kapoor, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
 and
 Jeff Zimbalist pay tribute to this cinema genre that has contributed to establishing India’s identity in the eyes of the world and to making Mumbaione of the world capitals of film history.

 “We love it. We hate it. We see it as regressive. We see it as modern. We need to breathe it to feel alive. Some say it is the only culture that holds India together. Some say it gives identity and individuality to 25 million Indians that have left her shores and who’s third generations that are still addicted to it. That’s Bollywood!”

Direction Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
 et 
Jeff Zimbalist. Production : Shekhar Kapoor &
UTV Motion Pictures with Ronnie Screwvala and Trishya Screwvala. India, 2011, 81mn)

That’s Bollywood! Well, that’s the baggage too. At a time when filmmakers are trying to find their voice, trying new ideas, this montage/documentary/film will reinforce every cliche attached to the cinema of Bollylalaland.

Shekhar Kapoor has written a post about it on his blog – How it started, why and where. And i still can’t sense anything substantial in it except for some razzmatazz on the beats of dola re dola. The intention must be honest, but how about championing a film next time at the Cannes?

( PS – Dear Shekhar, have you seen Aaranya Kaandam?)

After lot of psycho-blabbering, Shekhar Kapoor finally making headlines for the right reasons. First, he made it to the Cannes Feature Film Jury and now the news is that Oscar winning actor Chritoph Waltz might be one of the leads of his long-in-the-making-magnum-opus Paani. Wow! This is what Shekhar Kapoor tweeted recently –

Christoph Waltz, who won the Oscar for his brilliant performance in Inglorious Bastards is very likely 1 of lead parts in Paani

And talking of Christoph Waltz, have you seen this brillant hump video featuring him. If not, do watch it!

Moving from SK to SRK. The news doing the rounds was that Shah Rukh Khan has patched up with Vidhu Vinod Chopra and will soon will be starring in VVC’s next production titled Ferrari Ki Sawaari.  To be directed by Rajesh Mapuskar, the script of the film has been ready for quite sometime. But recently Shah Rukh Khan denied the news on twitter. He tweeted…

have not been asked for ferari ki sawaari/mukesh mills havent shot there for a while/business decision only based on passion/

Yes, SRK’s tweets are always like MCQ’s, rather Answers. One tweet, multiple answer. So, focus only on the first answer – have not been asked for ferari ki sawaari.

And the third casting news is about Amitabh Bachchan & Mohanlal. Lots have been said about these two acting giants coming together in a film to be directed by Captain Ravi. But to spoil the part a  bit, it seems Bachchan’s role in the film is only guest appearace. Seems Bachchan is  Teen Patti’s Ben Kingsley this time. This is what Amitabh Bachchan blogged recently…

Its a small guest appearance and I had agreed. They had come over to officially sign me on and make payments etc.. Ha..!! Payments ? Fees ? Remuneration ? For a guest appearance of 3 days ? With MohanLal who has always had my greatest admiration ? No way !! I don’t charge money for such acts. And told them so.

I shall just gloat in the honor that I shall derive by working in a Malayalam film and that too with the exceptional MohanLal !! Respectfully declined their offer, gave them some home made tea, shook hands, embraced and saw them off. It will probably be shot in Ooty, the picturesque and quaint hill station in the beautiful Nilgiri Range of mountains down south.

imran khanImran Khan is the latest bollywood celeb to join Twitter. Karan Johar introduced him to it. Imran can be found at http://twitter.com/1mrankhan .

We have also updated the list of other bollywood celebs on twitter. Take your pick.

Actors

Priyanka Chopra – http://twitter.com/priyankachopra

Uday Chopra – http://twitter.com/udaychopra

Sonam Kapoor – http://twitter.com/sonamakapoor

Ritesh Deshmukh – http://twitter.com/Riteishd

Mallika Sherawat – http://twitter.com/MallikaLA

Gul Panag –  http://twitter.com/gulpanag

Dino Morea – http://twitter.com/DinoMorea9

Ayesha Takia – http://twitter.com/Ayeshatakia

Lara Dutta – http://twitter.com/DuttaLara

Anushka Sharma – http://twitter.com/ANUSHKASHARMA01

Rahul Khanna – http://twitter.com/R_Khanna

 

Directors

Ram Gopal Varma – http://twitter.com/rgvzoomin

Shekhar Kapur – http://twitter.com/shekharkapur

Saket Chaudhary – http://twitter.com/sakiboy

Karan Johar – http://twitter.com/kjohar25

Hansal Mehta – http://twitter.com/hansal

Sujoy Ghosh – http://twitter.com/sujoy_g

Tarun Mansukhani – http://twitter.com/Tarunmansukhani

Madhur Bhandarkar – http://twitter.com/mbhandarkar

Kaizad Gustad – http://twitter.com/kaizadgustad

 

Music

Vishal Dadlani – http://twitter.com/V1SH4L

 Shreya Ghoshal – http://twitter.com/shreyaghoshal

 

Others (Producer s/ Writers/ Magazine)

Pritish Nandy – http://twitter.com/PritishNandy

Shridhar Raghavan – http://twitter.com/ShridharR

Amit Khanna – http://twitter.com/amitkhanna 

Bobby Bedi – http://twitter.com/bobbybedi

Filmfare – http://twitter.com/filmfare

We are sure, have missed many others. Do let us know.

Mr India 2 – details

Posted: May 10, 2009 by moifightclub in bollywood, etc, News, writing
Tags: , , ,

Bollywoodhungama’s Devansh Patel has done a long interview with screenwriter Kamlesh Pandey. Though he hasnt revealed much details about the sequel but Kamlesh has spoken about the plans for Mr India 2 (Mr India’s sequel), how they are going about it and about his interactions with Shekhar Kapoor ( director of Mr India).

Here is the link to the interview. Do read.