Posts Tagged ‘Uday Shankar’

London Film Festival (LFF) has announced its schedule for this year. The 57th edition of the festival will run from 9-20 October and will screen 234 feature-length films & 134 shorts from 74 countries.

India seems to have a good score at LFF this year as seven desi films have been selected for the fest. The titles include Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa, Ritesh Batra’s fest favourite The Lunchbox, Nagraj Manjule’s Fandry, Richie Mehta’s Siddharth, Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran’s From Gulf To Gulf, Rituparno Ghosh’s Jeevan Smriti and Uday Shankar’s Kalpana. The Lunchbox is in official competition section of the fest.

But the one that we are most excited about is Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa (Sniffer). We have been hearing about it for sometime and now more details have come out.

ANWAR KA AJAB KISSA

sniffer-002

Master Bengali filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta teams up with India’s hottest indie actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui in this richly textured black comedy, set against a magical, surreal tableaux of the Bengali city and countryside that’s typical of Dasgupta’s eye. Anwar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is a well meaning if clumsy private detective, or ‘sniffer’, who can’t help getting personally embroiled with the clients he is spying on. His only true companion is an old dog. His pet and his regular drunkenness put him at odds with the local orthodox Muslim housing block, who want him out. At the same time, Anwar increasingly struggles to cope with his small-time sleuth work that shows him that, in the modern world, even love is for sale. When a case takes Anwar back to his rural homeland, he’s forced to confront his own love tragedy. Siddiqui lights up the screen, displaying a talent for deft comic timing that makes Sniffer a joy to watch.

– Director-Screenwriter : Buddhadeb Dasgupta

– Producers : Ajay Sharma, Archismaan Sharma

– With Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Pankaj Tripathi, Ananya Chatterjee

– Duration :132 mins

FANDRY

fandry

The ‘untouchable’ Jabya struggles to reconcile his status with his dreams in Nagraj Manjule’s uncompromising indictment of India’s caste system.

– Director-Screenwriter : Nagraj Manjule

– Producers : Vivek Kajaria, Nilesh Navalakha

– With Somnath Avghade, Suraj Pawar, Kishor Kadam

– Duration : 105 mins

– Production company Navalakha Arts and Holy Basil Combine

Nagraj Manjule’s film is a scorching indictment of the caste system that persists in modern India despite legislation introduced since independence. It is depicted through the eyes of an intelligent Dalit (untouchable) teenager, Jabya, who has a deeply rooted inferiority complex about his looks, caste and his family’s staggering poverty. These feelings prevent him from expressing his affection for his fellow classmate and cherished love, the fair-skinned Shalu, who is the daughter of a higher-caste family. His father is against him going to school and aspiring too highly and fellow villagers expect him to do menial work like the rest of his clan.

SIDDHARTH

siddharth-002

A modern-day quest to find his missing son leads Delhi tailor Mahendra on a perilous journey into the unknown in Richie Mehta’s cautionary tale.

– Director-Screenwriter Richie Mehta

– Producers Steven N Bray, David Miller

– With Rajesh Tailang, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Anuray Arora

– Canada-India 2013

– Duration 96 mins

– Production company Poor Man’s Productions

– Sales : Fortissimo

Director Richie Mehta returns to London with a powerful tale that is all too sadly a common story in today’s Indian cities. In Delhi, a door-to-door tailor, Mahendra, and his long-suffering wife, played by Tannishtha Chatterjee (Brick Lane), are struggling to make ends meet. They send their 12-year-old son Siddharth off to work illegally in a factory in Punjab, but when he doesn’t arrive back on the agreed date, the couple go to the middle men who arranged their son’s job and then the police. As they don’t have a photo of their son, identification is near impossible. As tales of child abduction are raised the desperate father borrows money from his fellow local street vendors and sets off on a quest to trace his son’s journey into the unknown.

FROM GULF TO GULF

from-gulf-to-gulf-to-gulf-002

Mobile phone video from the sailors who brave the routes between India and the Persian Gulf form the basis of grassroots true-life adventure.

– Directors : Shaina Anand, Ashok Sukumaran

– Producer CAMP

– India-United Arab Emirates 2013

– Duration : 81 mins

– Production company : Sharjah Art Foundation

‘A film based on actual events, and videos of actual events.’ Four years ago the Indian artists’ collective CAMP started to work with the boats that crisscross the Arabian Sea from the Gulf of Kutch between India and Pakistan to the Persian Gulf. This film draws from these years of dialogue, friendship and video exchange with sailors, most of whom are from Gujarat in India, Southern Iran and Pakistan. Rather than directing, the filmmakers act as editors, deftly compiling from the sailors’ mobile phone footage an authentic grassroots picture of the experiences of these usually invisible sea workers. But, with the impressive wooden boats and the joyous soundtrack (chosen by the sailors themselves), this humble material is ultimately transformed into a modern adventure on the high seas.

 JEEVAN SMRITI

jeevan-smriti-002

The swansong of the late Rituparno Ghosh is a fittingly personal take on the LFF favourite’s own inspiration, the poet-artist Rabindranath Tagore.

– Director-Screenwriter : Rituparno Ghosh

– Producer : Sanjoy Nag

– With Sanjoy Nag, Samadarshi Dutta, Raima Sen, Anirban Ghosh

– Duration 78 mins

– Sales : National Film Development Corporation

This is a sumptuous, very personal docu-drama about his own inspiration – the legendary poet and artist Rabindranath Tagore. Flamboyant Rituparno, with his camera team, set off from Kolkata in the monsoons to Tagore’s country birthplace, on a journey of love and poetic admiration. On the way they uncover the lesser-known personal life of this Bengali hero. A stunningly photographed dramatic story, backed by great actors like Raima Sen, depicts the inner struggles of the young, introvert Tagore who, in spite of his comfortable background, was constantly tortured but also inspired by love and terrible loss.

Kalpana is Uday Shankar’s classic which has been restored by World Cinema Foundation at Cineteca di Bologna/ L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in association with the National Film Archive of India.

Info and pics courtesy : BFI

We all know about Miss Lovely, Gangs Of Wasseypur and Peddlers going to the Cannes. But apart from these three films, there’s a very important Indian film which will be at the festival this year – Uday Shankar’s 1948 classic film Kalpana. The restored print of Kalpana will be screened in the Cannes Classics section.
The other important films in the Classics section this year includes Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a time in America, Roman Polanski’s Tess, Spielberg’s Jaws, The Ring by Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia and Runaway Train by Andrei Konchalovsky. Since we really don’t have a habit and culture of preserving our cinema, i was wondering how did this happen. Then through a common friend i got to know about ad filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, who is instrumental in making it happen. I asked him to share his experience on the same and he happily obliged. Read on.

I’ve been attending a festival called Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, Italy for the last few years. This is a festival of restored films and it really amazed me what fantastic work they were doing at the restoration lab in Bologna. They work very closely with the World Cinema Foundation (WCF) headed by Martin Scorsese, who have been doing remarkable work restoring films from all around the world. Last year one of the representatives from WCF mentioned to me that they had been trying to get an Indian film called “Kalpana” directed by Uday Shankar for restoration. They had been trying for almost three years to get the film cans out of India, but they had not been able to do it for various reasons and they had given up.

I had seen Kalpana at a private screening that I had paid for at the Archive in Pune and I knew it was an extraordinary film especially from the point of view of dance and the use of light. I promised the WCF that I would get the film for them to restore, but they were sceptical given their previous experience. Even I didn’t anticipate the extent that I would have to run from pillar to post for this.

I knew the Shankar family and that I was working very closely with the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) for my documentary on P.K. Nair called “Celluloid Man.” I met Amala Shankar (Uday Shankar’s wife) in Kolkata along with her daughter Mamata Shankar and daughter-in-law Tanusree Shankar . I had to request them to procure a legal opinion from their lawyer as there was some litigation regarding the rights of the film that needed to be clarified before WCF could go ahead with the restoration. After a lot of persuasion and several trips to Pune, the NFAI also agreed after I showed them a letter from Martin Scorsese stating that I represented the WCF in this matter and on the condition that I took the onus of sending the cans to Italy and ensured their return. So in a matter of a few months, I managed to send the film to Bologna from my office in Mumbai. In fact, I am responsible for the negative.

I’ve been hearing great reports on the restoration and the lab in Bologna worked round the clock to ensure that they could premier the restored version of Kalpana at the Cannes Classic section. The WCF have very kindly invited me and Amala Shankar for the premier and we will walk the red carpet at 6.30 p.m. on May 17 before the premier. Amalaji is 94 years old and she is thrilled to travel to Cannes and walk the red carpet to see the only film made by her husband in which she played the main role.

At Cannes I have also been invited to see the restored version of Sergei Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in America”. As I am a donor for the restoration of Hitchcock’s film “The Lodger”, the British Film Institute has invited me to a screening of their restoration of Hitchcock’s silent film “The Ring” with live accompaniment.

In the West, there is a strong culture of preservation and restoration of films that India completely lacks. This is a shame given what a great cinematic history we have. This is what inspired me to make my documentary “Celluloid Man” on P.K. Nair, the founder of the National Film Archive of India. Mr. Nair singlehandedly built the Archive. It’s thanks to him that film students from the Film Institute, Pune like me had the opportunity to see the work of great filmmakers like Ozu, Tarkovsky, Fellini, etc. My film is a tribute to Mr. Nair and his life’s work and somewhere I hope people will realize how important it is to collect and restore our films.

One of the main reasons, I pushed so hard for Kalpana to be restored is that I am hoping that other Indian films will also get chosen for restoration. As a matter of fact, the lab in Bologna wants to restore Ritwik Ghatak’s “Meghe Daka Tara” and have asked me to help them raise the funding. I am hoping the Indian film fraternity or corporate houses will come forward so we don’t have to rely on the West.

(PS – To know more about the film and why it’s such a big deal, you can read this and this post.)