Posts Tagged ‘Sulemani Keeda’

What happens you see a story on screen which seems like pages from your life? You hate it? You love it? Over to Navjot Gulati who writes about Amit Masurkar’s film Sulemani Keeda.

Sulemani Keeda

Disclaimer: I’m a struggling writer/filmmaker for over six years now, so I will be biased towards a film that tells my story, and in the process, will overlook its shortcomings because….

…I’m Vacuous Versova too!

So here it goes. I will now list some incidents which have happened with me or my writers friends lives as it is shown in Sulemaani Keeda. And this should be reason enough for you to not miss Sulemaani Keeda at any cost.

because This SHIT is REAL BRO!

The film is essentially about two friends – Dulaal (Naveen Kasturia) and Mainak (Mayank Tewari) trying to make it as screen-writers in Bollywood, where you really need one talent to be big – to be someone’s son/nephew. If you are an outsider, then all the best. Allah hi aapka maalik hai.

SPOILERS ALERT (But they hardly matter. Read it anyway)

Dulaal gets a call from the girl he is in love with, and she tells him, ‘I met someone’. Boom! His world comes crashing down.

Earlier this year, something similar happened with a friend of mine. He was madly in love with a girl and they were in a complex relationship where the girl would never commit to him, and keep giving him hope that one day they will be together as a couple. But then his world came crashing down just like Dulaal’s. One day she told him, ‘I met someone’, and life was never the same for him. He did use her as an inspiration in many of his stories just like Dulaal did.

The film has a hilarious appearance by Anil ‘Gadar’ Sharma and he sends Mainak and Dulaal to meet Gonzo Kapoor, the son of Sweety Kapoor, who wants to get launched in a film that is East European in sensibility.

Not long ago, a friend of mine was in a similar position. He was called to write the debut vehicle of a famous filmmaker of yesteryear who wanted to launch his son in a cool and contemporary love story (basically it involved a rich boy, poor girl and a college in Mumbai as the backdrop). I hope you get the contradiction – A cool and contemporary love story about a Rich Boy and Poor Girl. My friend was not talented enough to write it, so he said no. They did make it, and surprise – the film BOMBED!

Mainak goes to a party where he meets Oona from Poona, played brilliantly by Ruksaana Tabassum. She asks him to drop her home after the party. Mainak thinks he will finally get some action. But….

Aah, well. What follows next – A hot stud is waiting for Oona (from Poona) inside her house. Mainak’s dreams of getting laid are shattered. Yet again. I’m sure this has happened with almost every guy reading this.

The white handkerchief used as a metaphor for life.

Go hang out in any coffee shop in Versova, or Adarsh Bar, or even the (not so) new hangout of (wannabe) film people – WTF. You will find many out of work stalwarts who can change your life instantly with their pop philosophy, however they have not been able to change their own life.

Mainak and Dulaal are asked to go to a farmhouse to write the screenplay.

Farmhouse writing?

Yes? Yes!

This remains an unfulfilled dream. Once upon a time, a B-grade filmmaker of an unreleased film offered me to come to his farmhouse for fifteen days. He said lets finish the script and then he will take me to Aditya Chopra. Yeah. Right. I guess he meant in his dreams. In reality they won’t even let him cross the security gate of YRF.

Mainak and Dulaal have an argument with their tv-writer friends.

TV writers make a LOT of money but ALL of them want to write films. Film writers want to make a LOT of money but CAN’T write TV. #TrueStoryBro

Dulaal is asked, “which film have you written?” He says, “ek likh raha hoon..Aamir Khan kay liyein..bas milna baaki hai unsey”.

The identity of a filmmaker/writer in this B-town is only from the work that has come out. Spare a thought for thousands of us who have been working our asses off to get that one film made. And trust me, to have a solo film credit as a writer is nothing less than a miracle. After years of trying, one miracle happened in my life which is yet to get released. If there are no fault in my stars, hopefully, it should release next year. I wait that day when I can tell people that I’m the writer of that good film that you saw. And not only me. I’m sure everyone reading this is itching for such a thing to happen.

These are some of the similarities between the film and the life we lead.  However, our lives are not as funny as the film. Kudos to the writer-director Amit Masurkur and his team for making it look so real and yet so funny. The performances by Naveen, Mayank and Aditi Vasudev are exemplary. The writing is brilliant. Efficient direction by Amit. And yes, even the songs are really good. I love the one sung by Namit Das. It’s called the Colaba song. That’s so rare in a desi indi-bhindi!

To cut the long story short, Sulemaani Keeda is one of the best Indie films made in India, and it deserves your ticket money so that people like Shiladitya Bora (of PVR Directors Rare) can continue to support films made with heart and not just ones with big budgets and bigger stars.

(P.S – I know the film will have difficult show timings and high ticket prices but please do watch it. If you don’t have the money, ask me. I will book the ticket for you. I can surely spare 300 rupees from my hard earned money to make sure people see what we go through everyday 😛 )

Offer Valid for 10 tickets only, on first come first serve basis.

Navjot Gulati

SKeeda

We saw the film Sulemani Keeda at last year’s Mumbai Film Festival. To repeat what we had said, it’s the bonafide Versova indie – of versova, by versova, for versova (and hopefully beyond). It’s honest, charming, funny, and tells all those Versova tales which hardly travel beyond the walls of Aaram Nagar. If Luck By Chance was the big budget portrayal of the bollywood insanity, Sulemani Keeda is the opposite – of those who are on the fringes, of writers and their struggle with actors, producers, landlords.

And here’s the good news – PVR Director’s Rare will release the film on November 28th, 2014. Do check out the trailer.

Official Synopsis:

In this slacker bro-mantic comedy, writing partners Dulal and Mainak dream of shaking up the Bollywood with their script “Sulemani Keeda”. When they’re not being rejected by producers who refuse to read their script, they lurk around bookstores and poetry slams shamelessly hitting on girls. They find some hope when the drug addled, cat-obsessed Gonzo Kapoor, the son of a famous B movie producer, hires them to write an art house film billed as “Tarkovsky with orgies” for his directorial debut. All seems well until Dulal meets Ruma, a beautiful photographer who makes him question his choices in life.

Cast & Crew:

Title: Sulemani Keeda

International title: Writers

Writer & Director: Amit V Masurkar

Countries : India, USA

Year : 2014

Language : Hindi

Runtime : 90 minutes

Producers : Datta Dave, Chaitanya Hegde

Associate Producers : Deepa Tracy, Sailesh Dave, Suresh Mhatre

Production company : Tulsea Pictures in association with Mantra/Runaway Entertainment

Cast: Naveen Kasturia, Mayank Tewari, Aditi Vasudev, Karan Mirchandani, Krishna Bisht, Rukshana Tabassum

Cinematography: Surjodeep Ghosh

Editor: Khushboo Agarwal Raj

Sound Design: Niraj Gera

Music: Arfaaz-Anurag

Location Sound: Shailesh Sharma

DI: Post Blackbox

Line Producers: Deepak Arora, Arvinder Gill, Rakesh Singh, Navit Dutt

First Assistant Director: Omar Nissar Paul

Marketing Consultant: Rahul Merchant

Publicist: Mauli Singh

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Amit V Masurkar, the director of “Sulemani Keeda”, a self-proclaimed “Versova indie” that was released to much acclaim at last year’s Mumbai Film Festival. More about the film here.

Four years ago, a friend shared his hard disk with me which had gems such as Whit Stillman’s ‘Metropolitan’ and Noah Baumbach’s debut feature ‘Kicking and Screaming’. Google and tastekid led me to more gems from a similar world- young, urban, scruffy, real and often funny. That’s when I discovered (pretty late in life) true blue American Indie Cinema. I’m not counting Jim Jarmusch and Richard Linklater, I’m not talking about Larry Clark, I’m talking about young people like you and me who were actually taking their cameras and telling their own stories. In most cases, their courage and honesty was more inspiring than the film itself.

Here amongst my fellow cinema geeks I would like to share my ten favourite mumblecore-ish films. I’m sure atleast three filmmakers here will object to being bracketed here but it is with utmost respect and love for their films that I present this list.  Hope you enjoy watching these films as much as I did! The numbering is random and not ranking.

Note1: I was tempted to add Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha” which in my opinion is his best but I’m desisting simply because he’s now a famous millionaire and his film cannot be considered low budget indie even if it is one!

Note 2: Also, I am not adding  some famous first-films made on celluloid which were my inspiration for my debut feature film, Sulemani Keeda. Films such as Kevin Smith’sClerks’ , Jon Favreau’s Swingers and Indian classics like Saeed Mirza’s Arvind Desai ki Ajeeb Dastaan’  and Awtar Krishna Kaul’s  ‘27 Down’. I want to limit this list to films made on the digital format in the last six-seven years.

1) In search of a Midnight Kiss (2007): Semi-autobiographical film by Alex Holdridge who made this film based on an experience of meeting a woman on Craiglist. Of course the other parts of them walking around the decrepit areas of  Los Angeles on New Years’ Eve seem inspired by the template of Richard Linklater’s ‘Before Sunrise’  but everything else is fresh. They chose to go with Black and White to avoid the ‘digital look’ that SLR cameras give if not exposed correctly and it works for this movie. Watchout for the slight twist in the end, something not seen frequently in this genre. Also, one of the first leading roles of Scoot McNairy who pitched in the money for the film and went on to get better roles in films like Andrew Kaulder’s ‘Monsters’ which is a sci-fi fantasy about an American rescuing his ex-girlfriend from South America when aliens come attacking.! Monsters was shot guerilla and the director and his friends sat at home and made the mindblowing CG that studios spend millions in making!

2) Computer Chess (2013): With his earlier films, Beeswax and Mutual Appreciation, Andrew Bujalski proved that he was a formidable player in this sub-genre. But Computer Chess is where his ambitions and skills are shown in full bloom. This period black and white film explores the subculture of chess nerds who are fighting computers in duels.

3) Drinking Buddies (2013): My absolute favourite from this list. This one attempts to answer the famous question that has baffled psychologists and philosophers: “Kya ek ladka aur ladki sirf dost ho sakte hai?” Made by Joe Swanberg- the Dadamoni of the mumblecore movement who has made more than a dozen films in half a dozen years. IMDb lists some six films alone under his name in 2011. Most of these are not available online but the ones which I thought were worth mentioning include ‘Uncle Kent’, ‘All the Light in the Sky’ and ‘Alexander The Last’.  After watching these films, like a fanboy, I had added Swanberg on Facebook and asked him for technical advice under the guise of making his acquiantance. Swanberg politely told me that he was quitting Facebook to focus on his films and asked me to check one of his many interviews on the web for the answers! I am ashamed to admit I haven’t watched his best known film, ‘Hannah Takes the Stairs’ starring the uber talented Greta Gerwig and if anyone has a DVD (since we don’t promote piracy here), I would love to do a swap.

 

 

 

4) Quiet City (2007): The most unassuming film in this list. Another film that follows the ‘Before Sunrise’ template- of a couple walking the talk, this time in New York, over two days. The film actually makes you feel how easy and free you feel when you shoot digital. However  Aaron Katz, the director followed up with the disappointing mystery, ‘Cold Weather’.

5) Tiny Furniture (2010):  Lena Dunham’s female (and better) version of ‘Wake up Sid’- ok, I’m not great at pitching, but this is a “I wanna figure out life after college” film and a masterstroke at that! I guess this is where she got noticed and got signed to make ‘Girls’ for TV.

6) Puffy Chair (2005): I’m tempted to add this handycam film! It’s grungy and the video quality is puke but the film purely works because of the underplayed performances by the lead pair. It’s about a guy played by the co-director Mark Duplass who goes on a road trip (another favourite template in this genre) to deliver a second hand chair to his father on his birthday. Accompanying him on this journey are his girlfriend and his good for nothing brother.  Directed by The Duplass Brothers—Jay and Mark, who are veteran gareebon ke Coen Brothers of Mumblecore, they followed up with a horror comedy, “Baghead”. Mark satisfied his acting urges with the hilarious “Humpday”, directed by Lynn Shelton where two buddies attempt to shoot a gay porn film for some critical acclaim. Post these films, Mark has become a bada aadmi with starring roles in  films such as “Your Sister’s Sister” and “Safety Not Guaranteed”.

7) August The First (2007): After its debut at SXSW and Karlovy Vary Festivals, Lanre Olabisi’s drama about a Nigerian father returning to New York at a familiy reunion with a hidden agenda has been waiting for the recognition it deserves. Lanre has now started The New York Film Collective and is directing ‘Somewhere in the Middle’- a crowd funded ensemble film.

8) Les Amours Imaginaires (2010): A simple French-Canadian story about a love triangle- M1 loves M2, F loves M2. But whom does M2 love? This one as wikipedia tells me was made on a budget of Canadian $6,00,000 (that’s roughly Rs. 3 Crores) and doesn’t qualify to be in this list. But STILL, I want it here because it’s a film you have to watch! I have no words to describe how beautifully it’s shot. My butt burnt (direct translation from the Hindi phrase) when I found out that the director Xavier Dolan was only 21 years old when he made this and… this was his second film. Such graceful direction and writing!

9) Gandu (2010): I went for a screening of Q’s Gandu at Film Republic which was cancelled as the manager feared an attack from some bigots who had found out about the notorious sex scene. But soon, I downloaded the film and watched it. I haven’t seen a better slacker film from India which puts the reality of our banal existence in a more brutal and straight forward way. It reminded me of another film with a similar theme which I had liked despite the poor projection quality at the MAMI festival, Srinivas Sunderrajan’s The Untitled Karthik Krishnan Project’.

10) Mumbai Cha Raja (2012): The most senstitive depiction of Mumbai’s slum kids after Salaam Bombay. What inspired me most was the fact that I knew Manjeet Singh for years and I never expected him (Sorry Manjeet!) to make such an amazing jewel. I saw him make it on a shoestring budget and directly hold him responsible for making me believe that good cinema can be made without big monies.

film bazaar2

– Early buzz on Kanu Behl’s Titli : Titli is the most stunning, daring, solid Indian film i have seen this year. Nothing like Indian cinema has seen ever…not a single wrong frame. Too depressing and suffocating at times…but man, this MUST go international. Animal kingdom ka baap hai! And all actors just at their career best roles. (via a friend who saw it). Titli is produced by Dibakar Banerjee and Aditya Chopra. To know more about the film, click here.

– Kanu Behl’s Titli also won the DI Award for the Best Work-in-Progress Lab Project. The DI Award sponsors the completion of the Digital Intermediate process at Prasad Labs.

– New York-based BGP Film has picked up the North American rights of Gyan Correa’s film The Good Road.

– Abhay Deol will star in the UK-set thriller, Bounty Hunter, to be directed by brothers Sunandan and Yugesh Walia. They will also co-produce the film rough their UK-based production company Endboard Productions.

– Q to make English-language debut with Brahman Naman, to be produced by Steve Barron’s UK-based Riley Productions.  Set in Bangalore in the 1980s, the film is a comedy about a 17-year-old who tops his class but also has whisky addiction, filthy mouth and a porn collection. Q’s Kolkata-based production company Overdose Joint will co-produce.

– France’s ASAP Films to produce Rajesh Jala’s The Spark (Chingari). It was selected for NFDC Screenwriters’ Lab and Co-production Market. The script also won the Incredible India award at Film Bazaar. The Award comes with a cash price of Rs. 1 mn for the best project in the Co-Production Market and is presented by the Ministry of Tourism.

– Ashim Ahluwalia’s film Miss Lovely is set to release in India in January 2014. This will be done through the start-up theatrical distributor Easel Films and Eagle Movies.

– Guneet Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment has announced two new films – Amit Kumar’s Give Me Blood and Vasan Bala’s Side Hero.

– Nikhil Mahajan (of Pune 52) has announced his new film Dainik which will star Rajkummar Rao (Yes, RajKumar Yadav is now Rao). DAR Motion Pictures, IME Motion Pictures and Nikhil Mahajan’s Blue Drop Films will co-produce Marathi action adventure Baji, starring Shreyas Talpade.

– Varun Grover’s film Maa Bhagwatiya IIT Coaching will be produced by Nikhil Mahajan. The script was selected for Screenwriters Lab.

– DAR Motion Pictures, IME Motion Pictures will co-produce Nikhil Mahajan’s Marathi Superhero film Baji starring Shreyas Talpade.

– After Qissa, filmmaker Anup Singh is working on adapting UK author Paul Pickering’s novel Over The Rainbow. The film will be produced by Switzerland-based Saskia Vischer Productions.

– Channel 4 has picked up four titles – The Good Road, Sulemani Keeda, Fandry and B.A. Pass.

(Via various News sources)

Our Day 1 report of the ongoing Mumbai Film Festival is here. And this post has reports of Day 2, 3, 4.

The-Great-Beauty

All Is Lost – Robert Redford has no name in the film. He is called “Our Man”. And we hardly know much about our man. He is stuck at the sea and struggling to survive. A one-man show, the film begins with a voice-over, and then has no dialogues except one “Help”. Not your usual fare, needs patience, and at 77, Redford shows he can still be the tour de force. The sea and survival never rarely looked so real and scary. This isn’t your pocorn-ish Life Of Pi.

Locke – Tom Hardy is our man here. He is stuck at the driving seat. A experimental affair in which he loses his wife, family, job in just 2 hours as he faces a personal crisis. Everything happens on the phone. Good fun.

Qissa – Strange, fascinating and ghostly tale. A detailed post here on this gender-bending and genre-bending film. One of the most exciting films at the fest. Must Watch.

Liar’s Dice –   Set in difficult weather and tough terrain, Kamala (Geentajali Thapa) is looking for her missing husband. From moutains to plains, from Delhi to a single-bed room in a shady hotel, her companion is a selfish and untrustworthy stranger Nawazuddin (Siddiqui). A stark, grim and almost unsentimental portrayal of urban migration. Has a charming kid too. Looking forward to Geethu Mohandas’s next.

Before Midnight – Linklater ends the third installment in the best possible way. A rare achievement where the third one is better than the second, and the second one was better that the first installment. He burns down every notion of ideal love and relationship that he sets in the first two parts. Linklater, Hawke, Delpy – it’s hard to believe that they actually “wrote” this film, and they were “acting’ the parts. You mean Hawke and Delpy are not a couple yet? That has to be the biggest cinematic lie ever told. Must Watch.

The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) – Easily the best film of the fest. Smart, charming and entertaining. Of vacuous people amidst art, culture, history, and beauty of Rome. Decadence was never so poetic, caustic, beautiful and surreal at the same time. Or as friend described it “debauched shot of caviar existentialism”. Once you are out of the theatre, can bet that you are going to quote the lines non-stop. And if you could not figure out why the tourist dies in the opening scene, go here. MUST MUST WATCH.

Fandry – It’s Beasts Of The Maharashtrian Wild. The pains of growing up, of dreaming about the girl from upper caste, trying to get fair skin, and buy a pair of jeans. About a family of pig catchers who are considered untouchable in the village, and of adolescent days. The harsh reality might seem like poverty porn, but a line from The Great Beauty came to my mind – you can’t talk about poverty, you have to live it. A daring film where the entire film seems to be set-up for the powerful last 20 minutes.

Mood Indigo Gondry in top form with his insane ideas and visual madness on screen. The amount of creativity he has packed in one film, most don’t achieve in their entire filmography. My favourite game is what-prop-do-you-want-from-Mood-Indigo? Scientists should seriously pursue this one. I am booking the crawling alarm clock. Must Watch.

Mamay UmengPure vegetative porn. The 84 year old man wakes up, eats, walks, stares and sleeps. Only exciting thing in his life is skinny dipping. Long shots without any camera movement. There’s so much thehraav in every shot, i get lost in such vegetative porn films and get philosophical. That’s why i went for it even when i knew what exactly i was getting into.

The Immigrant – Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix – two great actors and just a boring dead film. Avoid.

The Past – Farhadi is still going strong after bagging the Oscar for The Separation. It’s not  a clear knock out like his last one, but still a strong film with all the usual Farhadi elements. A relationship drama which becomes a thriller, and as you get lost in the maze trying to find out the real culprit, he slowly peels his story, one layer at a time. Terrific opening credit and haunting closing shot. It’s worth the price. Must Watch.

Sulemani Keeda – Of versova, by versova, for versova. The bonafide Versova indie that doesn’t look like bhindi-indies. Honest, charming and funny, it’s best when it sticks to Versova tales, the romantic track is neatly done but am generally bored of boy-meets-girl-blah-blah-blah. Liquor in plastic glass, flat owner’s son asking for rent, kabootarkhana, no money for screenwriters, another Kapoor struggling for break – it gets some of the small details so bang on. So Versova-ities, do watch this one. Well acted and directed, a good CV for debutant Amit Masurkar to pitch a bigger film. More about the film here.

Blue Is The Warmest Colour – The explicit sex scenes in the film were so long that you could fall asleep while watching. And the moaning sounds were so loud, you could go deaf. Strangely, these sex scenes were the only scenes which seemed out of the place in this terrific coming of age tale of intimate first love, heart break and loneliness. And that impossible task of getting over it. To get all those emotions right without any background score, quite an achievement. Long takes, all conversations in close ups, and director in no hurry to wrap up things, this is uncompromising individualistic stamp of filmmaking which doesn’t mind going to the extreme. I guess that’s the reason why Spielberg and the jury members decided to hand Cannes Palm d’Or to it. Here’s the video where he explains. Adèle Exarchopoulos is a complete show stealer and owns the film. Remember, orgasm precedes essence. And sex and snot before Sartare. Must Watch.

– cilema snob

(ps – Kartik Krishnan managed to catch many more movies than us.  But his internet is down, or so he claims. So please pray for his internet connection. We will get more posts)

(click to start the slide show. Right click to open in a new page)

The much awaited Versova Indie (coined by the director, not us), SULEMANI KEEDA will have its premier at Mumbai Film Festival this year. It’s shown in the ‘New Faces of Indian Cinema’ section. This is a film about writers, star writers, is directed by a writer, and produced by guys who manage writers.

SYNOPSIS:

Mainak (Mayank Tewari), an optimistic hustler, and Dulal (Naveen Kasturia, the new Vodafone guy whose mom keeps calling him), a brooding poet, are writing partners who are struggling in Bollywood with their screenplay which no one bothers to read.

Perennially hungry and horny, they lie around, drink, smoke weed, name drop, lurk in bookshops and attend poetry readings to cling on to unsuspecting women.

They see a ray of hope in Gonzo Kapoor (Karan Mirchandani), the industry’s oldest new comer and son of a famous B movie producer who is not only interested in their work but also wants them to write a European style dark and sexually explicit art house script for his launch film.

But a witty and beautiful photographer, Ruma (Aditi Vasudev) enters Dulal’s life and Mainak is not too pleased by his friend’s new distraction.

This is a slacker comedy about three days in the lives of Mainak and Dulal which test their friendship and make them re-valuate their life plans. Besides exploring the world of migrant writers in the city’s western suburbs, the film also talks about their hopes and ontological anxieties in a brutally commercial world.

Sulemani Keeda (International Title: Writers)

CAST AND CREW :

Writer & Director: Amit V Masurkar

Countries : India, USA

Year : 2013

Language : Hindi

Runtime : 90 minutes

Producers : Datta Dave, Chaitanya Hegde

Associate Producers : Deepa Tracy, Sailesh Dave, Suresh Mhatre

Production company : Tulsea Pictures in association with Mantra/Runaway Entertainment

Cast: Naveen Kasturia, Mayank Tewari, Aditi Vasudev, Karan Mirchandani, Krishna Bisht, Rukshana Tabassum.

Cinematography: Surjodeep Ghosh

Editor: Khushboo Agarwal Raj

Sound Design: Niraj Gera

Music: Arfaaz-Anurag

Location Sound: Shailesh Sharma

Line Producers: Deepak Arora, Arvinder Gill, Rakesh Singh, Navit Dutt

First Assistant Director: Omar Nissar Paul