Posts Tagged ‘Udaan’

If you have not seen the “making of” Udaan, you have missed the best “making of” (film) made in recent years. Quickly go here and here and watch it. It’s as good as Udaan and is a film in itself.

Cut to

Lootera.

Again. Hope no controversies this time 🙂

Lootera making

Since they started teasing about it, we have been keenly waiting for Lootera making. Good news is it’s out. Bad news is it’s just 5 minutes. But it looks good – unlike others it gives a real sense of “making a film”. We hope they soon release the full making of the film.

Pune 52

If you have been following the blog for a long time, you know our take on “sharing scripts online”. And going with the idea of creating a database of Indian film scripts, we are adding a new one to the list – Pune 52. Most probably the first Marathi film script that we are sharing on the blog.

All thanks to its director Nikhil Mahajan.

To check out other scripts that we have posted on the blog, follow the links “here” :  click here for Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani script, click here for Sriram Raghavan’s Agent Vinod script, here  is Shaku Batra’s Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu script. Click here for Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan script, here is Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D script and click here for Dev Benegal’s Road, Movie script.)

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. )

The real battle in storytelling is with the cliches. You sit down to write a different ‘coming of age’ story. You pick a female protagonist, an unlikely location and you paint a grim picture of life addled with addiction, poverty and a fierce sense of kinship. You think that’s distinct – the trunk and branches that should hold the narrative seem real – so, you start arranging the leaves of the tree. It is then the hard work begins. These leaves look no different from the leaves you have seen on many other trees. Then begins your battle with the cliches. Fortunately for us, this is a battle that Debra Granik wins with aplomb in Winter’s Bone. In her dual role as writer and director, she scripts and brings to life on screen a searing coming of age story that’s original, disturbing and filled with arresting details.

There are two templates of coming of age story in modern literature. The most famous of them is Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield’s three days in New York after being expelled from his school where he confronts his sexuality, reconciles to his delusions of being the saviour of his generation, deepens his relationship with his sister and discusses life with his former teacher is the most adapted mould. There is no specific external event that triggers Caulfield’s actions. In fact, most of the external world is actually inert to his condition. The strife of Caulfield is internal as his soft idealism dashes against the granite hard reality that is the world outside. As Caulfield hurtles through the three days, the reader is constantly searching for a motive for his martyr without a cause behaviour. There’s none except you discover at the end that the motive was to have him accept adulthood – that living for cause than dying for it is the mark of coming of age.

The simplest example of the other template is ‘Barn Burning’, a short story by Faulkener. Here the catalyst to the coming of age of Sarty Snopes is his disgust at the life of crime and pyromania his father leads. Sarty has to question the only way of life he has known, discover his moral compass and break free. Again, there’s no added motive to Sarty’s actions. It’s his journey of self discovery; of finding his innate idealism in conflict with the principles (or the lack there of) that have reared him.

The second template is the closest that Winter’s Bone gets to as a coming of age tale. It’s a template that Udaan, one of the finest coming of age tales in Indian cinema, follows as well. What Winter’s Bone does beyond the template is to invest in a motive that would have been a story in itself.

Ree Dolly, the seventeen year old protagonist, has her hands full managing her two younger siblings and her ‘not quite there’ mother. There’s a certain elan and economy with which the Granik eases you into the film. There’s a folk song about Missouri that’s playing at the back as the film opens and the radio cackles with the newscast talking about a spell of really cold weather in the area. The stark landscape of Ozarks is quickly established as is the poverty of the families living there through the opening montage of run down houses, disposed cars and the lack of options for feeding the Dolly family dog. Ree is a woman too early – as she takes charge of the breakfast for her siblings, combs her mother’s hair and then walks the siblings to the school while testing them on their spelling and math. This is unlike any America you have seen on screen for a long time. There’s poverty of the kind where the next meal is uncertain, lurking lawlessness around and the class that’s running when the teenaged Ree reaches her school is on parenting which sums up the social environment. There’s also a strange kind of kinship that’s established quite early when the neighbour brings in meat and potatoes for the Dollys with the purpose of knowing why the police (or the law as it’s referred to through the film) had visited them that afternoon. There’s benevolence in here as also a fierce instinct of self preservation; two forces that drive the story forward. Ree accepts both these forces with a line that sums up her own view about the kinship – ‘never ask for what ought to be offered.’

The arrival of the law sets the things in motion. Ree’s father, Jessup, who’s out on bond on charges of ‘cooking’ meth has gone missing a week before his court date. This wouldn’t have meant much to the family except he has pledged the house and the farm to the court. Finding Jessup is the only thing that will keep the family from being out in the cold. The motive for Ree is established. She has to find her father before the week’s up.

This isn’t an easy task. As Ree goes looking for him, she finds an almost mafia-like code of silence pervading the community. She’s constantly advised to stop looking for him for her own good. There are ruses set up to leade her to believe he may be dead including a burnt barn (that’s when you first think of Faulkener) which seems to have gone up in flames because of the meth exploding while cooking. The reactions to her search range from angry but well meaning advice from her uncle Teardrop to active support from her friend (a teenager who already has a baby which makes the parenting class shown earlier in the film quite appropriate), threat of violence from others involved in the meth trade and finally, violence at the hands of women of the house of the local ringleader. Through all this Ree doggedly pursues in her quest. On the surface this is for her family and for a roof on their heads in this particularly harsh winter. But underlying it is Ree’s desire to understand the lives around her and her own life as it would be. By the time Ree finds her father you know she won’t remain the girl she was before she started this search.

This is an incredibly nuanced film. The cold weather and the landscape of Ozarks are used to create a cold, detached mood through the film. Meth is an all pervading character in the film. You see people addicted to it, dying of it, peddling it and living off it. There’s a matter of fact acceptance that eventually everyone will take to it when you find Teardrop asking Ree if she’s developed any taste for it. There is also chauvanism of the kind that would make khap panchayats proud. The distinct sense of discomfort is not only from the nature of Ree’s questions but the fact that she is a woman who is going about seeking such information. And, when things come to a pass, it is the women of Thump Milton’s house (the local ringleader) who get violent with Ree. The men couldn’t bring themselves to be harsh on a girl.

The film rests on Ree’ shoulders and, this is, quite possibly, the best written female character seen on screen for a long time. Ree is remarkably assured and level headed for the kind of world she lives in. It was easy to make her precocious but she isn’t. She has preserved a set of ideals that she lives by and they give her the fortitude to shoulder on as well as the vulnerability to break down when she finds the seizing of the house by court imminent. You could almost see they way life could have turned out for her when she goes to the Army recruitment centre. The singularity of purpose in the face of odds and the moral courage that she demonstrates would have been attributes of a fine young soldier. Those attributes aren’t lost. They eventually help her discover the truth in a test of grit that’s almost mythical.

Winter’s Bone is a poetic film. There’s lyricism amidst dirt, hunger and betrayal. There’s hope and optimism at the end that juxtaposes with an eerie sense of what Ree might become eventually. It’s poetry because it doesn’t wait to explain. It flows and takes you along till the final sequence. Ree on a rowboat on a pond on an inky cold night along with Thump Milton’s women. There’s a surreal beauty around that pond that hides the macabre truth that Ree already knows but is about to ascertain.

The water’s icy cold and the moment the chainsaw cuts to the bone, you know why this is a mould-breaking coming of age film. You also discover why it’s titled Winter’s Bone.

 

Those of you who religiously follow the movement of film scripts in blogosphere, must be aware that the script of QT’s Inglourious Basterds was out almost a year before its release. And that’s not a rare case. There are blogs and websites dedicated to script reviews/news/sales. And since last few years they have the Black List too.

Compare this to the script scenario here. Writers/directors guard it as if it’s life and death scenario. Almost scared to give it out to anyone to read. The fear of bad (or honest) feedback  is too much to bear! If only someone can explain it to them that you cant hang your film on your drawing room walls like you treat your paintings! Plus, there is no concept of professional readers.

Even after the film has released, there is no way to source the script online. So we are trying to change the scenario with a small intiative. Asking directors of all the best reviewed films of 2010 to share their scripts with us. Its purely for non-commercial and educational purpose.

The first in the series is the script of Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan – the much loved and one of the best reviewed films of 2010. You can read it and download it too. We have attached three drafts – shooting script (in Roman Hindi ), the second one is slightly polished draft ( In English – 2004/2005) and the last one is the very first raw draft ( In English – 2003 ).

We will soon be putting out the script of Goal too. It’s also written by him and has always baffled us that how can a filmmaker go so wrong with a sports genre film! Till then, enjoy Udaan.

Shooting draft –

Slightly polished draft –

First raw draft –

PS – We are also trying to source the scripts of LSD, Peepli Live, Ishqiya, Do Dooni Chaar, Phas Gaye Re Obama, Striker, Band Bajaa Baarat, Tere Bin Laden and more. If you have the script and want to share it with our readers, do write to us at moifightclub@gmail.com. This is stritcly for non-commercial purpose.

WHAT : “Cannes in Mumbai” film festival programme at the Alliance Francaise Bombay. It is a selection of Indian films that have been selected by the Cannes Film Festival over the years. It includes shorts, animation films, diploma and feature films.

WHERE : Alliance Francaise, Opp USIS/American Center, Theosophy Hall, 40 New Marine Lines (near Churchgate railway station)

DATES : January 10-14, 2011

Q n A : There will be a question-answer session with the films’ team members after the daily screenings. The guests include Vikramaditya Motwane (director of Udaan), Sooni Taraporevala (screenwriter of Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay), Gitanjali Rao, director of the animation film Printed Rainbow (which won many prizes at Cannes) and Shubho Shekhar Bhattacharjee, head of Planman, producer of Rituparno Ghosh’s Dosar.

Discussion : The festival concludes with a round table discussion on Friday Jan 14 on “Making the most of Cannes: Maximising opportunities at the film festival” with Vikramaditya Motwane and Sunil Doshi (who has bought world cinema films at Cannes), and will be  moderated by Meenakshi Shedde ( curator of the fest).

ENTRY : FREE and Open to all. First come first served basis.

TIME : The screenings are daily at 6pm

CONTACT : 022 – 22036187/22035993.

SCHEDULE :

Monday 10th Jan 2011 : A Very Silent Film – Manish Jha ( 2001. 5′). Udaan – Vikramaditya Motwane ( 2010. 138′)

Tuesday 11th Jan 2011 : Tetris by Anirban Datta ( 2006. 30′). Salaam Bombay by Mira Nair (1988. 110′)

Wednesday 12th Jan 2011 : Printed Rainbows by Geetanjali Rao ( 2006. 15′). Khoj by Tridip Poddar ( 20o2. 26′). Piravi by Shaji N Karun ( 1988. 110′)

Thursday 13th Jan 2011 : Chinese Whispers by Raka Datta ( 2006. 28′). Dosar by Rituparno Ghosh ( 2006. 120′)

Friday 14th Jan 2011 : Marana Simhasanam by Murali Nair ( 1997. 57′) & Round table discussion

Our Recco – If possible, do catch all the films. If not, Printed Rainbows is a must watch. We do make gorgeous animation films.

Message from fest Curator Meenakshi Shedde : Above all, I’d like to emphasise that most of the films are FIRST FILMS by Indians–and include feature films (some of which won the Camera d’Or for best debut feature), shorts, an animation film and student diploma films. The idea is, I wanted young people to know you don’t have to be old and grey in the hair for your film to be selected at Cannes. You can make your first film and–BOOM!–end up at Cannes, as these other Indian directors have. Also, I specially chose films from all over the country–in Hindi, Bengali and Malayalam, including Shaji Karun’s Piravi (the Birth) and Murali Nair’s Marana Simhasanam (Throne of Death), both in Malayalam, Rituparno Ghosh’s Dosar (The Companion, Bengali) and Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan (Flight, Hindi).

Will Udaan survive ? Will it manage to fly ? Cannes is great, and that too after so many years, but,  can We, The (Dumb) People, give the film its due ?  Will the bitch called box office be on our side for a change ? And how many bums does it require to get that elusive “hit” tag ?  Do we count ? And if we do, how much ? Since the time we saw the film, all of us had the same questions and doubts but nobody knew the answers. Only one thing was common – we all LOVED the film.

By now, am sure lot many have seen Udaan.  Its easily one of the best rated films of the year so far. So, it seems some people out there are writing good scripts, making uncompromised films too, though far and few in between, but have we been able to crack the “budget” ? And  even after doing so, how will the film reach the theatre ? And if it does so, will it manage to get those valuable bums who turn “shit” into “hit” ? Aah life. Ooh cinema! So, here it is all……after the art & craft of cinema…the arithematics of Udaan….. by someone who has been there, done that and seen it all.  Anurag Kashyap. Am sure, he doesnt need any introduction. And if he does, you are on the wrong page. Read on….

Udaan has finally been declared a success. It was the only film amongst others in the week which garnered the same box-office on Monday to Thursday, as it did on the first weekend.

Faith, in the end, has won.

There was no-way a film like Udaan could have got this kind of a release. Amidst the speculations and accusations on Twitter and Facebook that the marketing of Udaan was bad, it has survived.

Well, Udaan was not an easy film to sell. We racked our brains on it, Shikha and her team at UTV, Vikram, all of us tried coming up with every idea we could to sell it. Most of them had nothing to do with the film, so were rejected. The pressure on the team was so much, because of what they did with Dev.D. But the idea was not to do anything that would give the wrong perception of Udaan.

We also wanted to release the film the way it was cut. For once we had a film that everyone thought was poetic and had its own pace. All those decisions became a big no no for exhibitors. No one wanted to give many shows to Udaan, because the film smelled strange.

Hard negotiations followed. Gaurav from UTV armed with biggies like “Thank You” and “Tees Maar Khan” negotiated with theatre owners, got us two to three shows.

UTV similarily negotiated the TV rights. Who knew the fate of Udaan, but we had faith on good old word of mouth. In the second week, our number of shows have reduced to one or two shows but on Friday night in some theatres, it  was packed yesterday.

Here is hoping it continues its silent march through the theatres. For all the people screaming bad marketing, the truth is we just did’nt have the budget, we had to make do with what we had.

The fact is Udaan could very well have been “Firaaq“. A good film that got lost. But it isn’t. Today we sold our TV rights for 3.5 crores, film is released on Warner’s VOD , which has access to 20 million homes in the US. The same site where most of the indies and international arthouse films are releasing in the US today. Disney has got the homevideo rights for around 75lakhs (Plus T-Series has the music rights). And our first week net is 2.5 cr. It makes us profitable by around 25% of the investment and makes a film like Udaan a viability in the future.

If the film continues like this and just the box office starts to show us that so far elusive ‘Profit Margin”.. we are here to stay.

Today, I can say, after seeing him struggle with the industry, the market, himself and fate.. that Vikramaditya Motwane has truly arrived, and thank you Sanjay Singh and UTV for that.

Pic Courtesy – Making Of Udaan

PS – If you can read hindi, click here and read the post by Mihir Pandya…a different perspective and one of the best pieces on Udaan.