Posts Tagged ‘Umesh Kulkarni’

Umesh Kulkarni, the acclaimed Marathi filmmaker, is conducting a filmmaking workshop in Mumbai. He’s been doing similar workshop in Pune for the last 4 years.

Date : 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th January, 2016

Time : 9:30 am to 5pm

Venue : Sathaye College Auditorium, Dixit Road, Vile Parle East, Mumbai

Eligibility : Open to all

Fees : Rs 10,000 (includes Tea + Lunch)

For students, there’s 10% discount on the fees

– To register and for further details, call the numbers given in the embedded poster below.

Or can mail shootashort@gmail.com

This is Jamuura‘s intiative. And click here to read an interview of Umesh Kulkarni on shorts and filmmaking.

shoot a short poster

Q and Umesh Kulkarni – two daring film-making voices from two different corners of the country, and whose films we always look forward to. And this time both of them seem to be trying something new which they haven’t done before. Q’s film is called Ludo and Umesh’s film is Highway Ek Selfir Aarpaar.

Q has directed the film with Nikon.

LUDO

Trailer :

Official Synopsis :

Four desperate teenagers. A night of sexy mayhem. The big city. Or so the plan goes, until a series of misadventures later, Babai, Pele, Ria and Payal end up in a locked shopping mall in the dead of the night. Alone at last… until an old couple appears out of nowhere with a piece of folded leather and a glass container with two dice made of bone. A game. Simple, but deadly. They call it Ludo. A game defiled by a young couple centuries ago. An unbreakable curse, a living board, eons of bloodbath spanning the subcontinent. A game that has reached this city. Not just monsters, but prisoners of fate. Immortal lovers existing under a curse that will not die. They live within the game. Blood must spill. Bone must shatter. Beware the rattle of the Ludo dice.

Cast & Crew

Rii, Tillotama Shome, Kamalika Banerjee, Joyraj Bhattacharya, Ananya Biswas, Murari Mukherjee, Ronodeep Bose, Soumendra Bhattacharya, Subholina Sen.

Directed By: Nikon, Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee)
Produced By: Celine Loop, Nandini Mansinghka, Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee), Tilak Sarkar
Screenplay : Nikon, Surojit Sen
Story Writer :Nikon, Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee)
Production Company(S) : Overdose Joint, Idyabooster, Starfire Movies

HIGHWAY

Trailer :

Official Synopsis

Highway is a film of that escape which all of us yearn for. It is an attempt to see our own reflections in today’s time.

Cast :
Girish Kulkarni, Huma Qureshi, Tisca Chopra, Renuka Shahane Rana, Vidyadhar Joshi, Mukta Barve, Sunil Barve, Mayur Khandge, Shrikant Yadav, Kishore Chaugule, Kishor Kadam, Vrishali Kulkarni, Purva Pawar

And it looks so damn good! Have a look.

The treatment and the mood reminds me of Johnny Gaddar meets Manorama Six Feet Under. Also, like the fact that the makers have realised that their films have the potential to go beyond Maharashtra and so have subtitles in the trailer. Hope from Marathi filmakers start doing the same.

And here’s the official synopsis…

In this engrossing thriller, Amar Apte is a private detective who gets his business from suspicious spouses out to catch their cheating partners in the act. When a femme fatale client enters his life, Apte snaps out of his uninspired domesticity-complete with a nagging wife and mounting bills-and finds himself in dangerous territory.

Set in Pune and against the backdrop of the financial reforms in 1992, Pune 52 juxtaposes the impact of globalization on a city with one man’s inner struggle. With a nod to Raymond Chandler and a hypnotic and ferocious performance by Girish Kulkarni, Mahajan’s debut fiction feature explores the aspirations and frustrations of a small man dreaming big.

The film will be screened at the Mumbai Film Festival where it will compete in India Gold category. It will have a theatrical release on 12th December.

Cast & Credit :

Starring: Girish Kulkarni, Sonali Kulkarni, Sai Tamhankar, Kiran Karmarkar
Editing: Abhijeet Deshpande
Sound Design: Baylon Fonseca
Director of Photography: Jeremy Reagan
Produced by: Abhay Gadgil, Shrirang Godbole, Girish Kulkarni, Umesh Kulkarni
Original Story, Screenplay and Directed by: Nikhil Mahajan

It’s produced by the makers of films such as Valu, Vihir, Deool and Harishchandrachi Factory and is the debut feature of writer/director Nikhil Mahajan.

To read the director’s note, click here for our previous post on the film.

In the last few years Marathi cinema has done everything that Hindi cinema wasn’t doing. And most importantly, tackling subjects which are rooted. As they say, if we don’t tell our stories, who will? A good marathi film is not a surprise any more. The question is how good it is? Here’s a trailer of a new film called Pune 52. And it looks damn interesting.

To quote from the official release, Pune 52 is a noir thriller about a private detective living in Pune circa 1992, whose life undergoes a dramatic change when he takes up a case that is both dangerously complex and deeply personal.

Starring national award winning actor Girish Kulkarni, Sonali Kulkarni and Sai Tamhankar, Pune 52 is set to release by the end of 2012.

It’s produced by the makers of films such as Valu, Vihir, Deool and Harishchandrachi Factory and is the debut feature of writer/director Nikhil Mahajan.

Here’s a small note by the director on the making of the film..

Like most middle class Maharashtrian brahmin boys, I went to do engineering after std. 12th. Took me 2 years to realize that I suck at it and another 2 years to convince my parents that I have to get out of it. So I dropped out and went on to work at Ramu’s factory as a screenwriter on a project that never took off.

I then went to Sydney and graduated in Film and came back. Got a job with the Hinduja Group’s In Entertainment as a writer where I was writing Tamil superhero films for a living. As much as I enjoyed doing that, I had to write a film about someone who aspires to be a hero. So started writing Pune 52.

Girish was the first person I approached to act in the film. He had doubts because of the content, but still was game for it. They were still shooting Deool then. I went to around 40 producers who all turned it down because it was too adult for the conventional marathi audience’s taste. Eventually Umesh and Girish decided to produce it themselves. And luckily the script got selected at Primexchange at IFFI. Then there was no looking back.

Its being shot by Jeremy Reagan, my friend from Film School and is edited by Abhijeet Deshpande. Stars Girish Kulkarni and Sonali Kulkarni and has background score by Hyun Jung Shim ( who composed for Oldboy) The film has 2 songs, composed by Atif Afzal who has done the music of the soon to release Prague.

For more information, film’s FB page is here.

Since the day MAMI unveiled its line-up for the Mumbai Film Festival 2011, we all have been waiting eagerly for it to start. Just back from the screenings of Day 2, more cinema, better company and some more conversations. Today’s score – five films, five burgers, tea-coffee, cold drinks and few gallons of water. Dead tired now and so it will be mostly short and sweet ( read copy-pasting the tweets). Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly report of Opening ceremony, Day 1 and Day 2.

Registration  – The online system worked fine. Even the registration desk at the venue is quite efficient. Though heard about some bad experience on the first day but when i went, it just took 5 minutes to get my registration done. Also, good job with all the updates through the festival twitter handle – @mumbaifilmfest.

Opening Ceremony – Whoever came up with the idea of this shortest possible opening ceremony in the history of film festivals, he/she deserves applause. Late year it was a mess. This year the venue was Cinemax Versova. There is no place for the ceremony other than the lobby. So a small dais was created at the centre and sitting arrangements were made in all three directions. By the time we entered the lobby there was no place to sit or stand. But since the wait wasn’t long, we were happy. The main issue was the pass – opening film Moneyball was by invitation only. But thanks to those good souls who helped us out. All of us managed to watch it.

Moneyball – Good film to open the fest with. You have the stars but not completely hollywood and there’s a good buzz around it. The film was so little about Baseball and more about one man’s persistence. Jonah Hill stole the show. With such a fine command over his craft director Bennett Miller is surely going to have a long run. Capote and Moneyball – there is no common ground but both brilliantly directed. The best part of the film was the way it’s shot. Not sure how you define it technically, it was dark, moody, half-lit frames, atmosphere that you can breathe in. Or as Ebert wrote, this is a melancholy movie.

Opening Day Highlight – We suddenly saw that Hong-jin Na, director of Chaser and The Yellow Sea, was sitting in front of us. Varun Grover almost kissed him.

Post-film – Thanks to those good souls again, we went to Sun n Sand, Juhu for the opening ceremony party. As expected, it was too crowded. And the cinema bakchodi continued till late hours.

Day 1

Recruited Love (Zwerbowana Milosc) – Police, prostitution, politics and the politics of love. It’s like Polish version of Lives Of Others which is absolutely brilliant and do watch it if you still haven’t. This one turned hollywoodish thriller mid-way and then redeemed itself a bit in the end.

The Turin Horse (A Torinoi Lo)- We managed to catch the first 20 mins, some without subtitles, bit of it in wrong aspect ratio and then it stopped suddenly. The Horse was killed. We had no choice but to walk out. It was re-scheduled for 10pm.

Deool (Temple) – It was the opening film of the Indian Frame and its director Umesh Kulkarni is one of my favourite filmmakers. He goes to the other extreme with this one, far departure from all his shorts and features. Revolves around the madness, mess and marketing of religion, and Godly affairs in a small village. The stamp of Kulkarni is very much there – characters, humour, plot, but with item numbers and dhol-nagadas going dhoom-dhaam-dhadaap, it went into the Peepli Live zone. Always thought that Kulkarni loves playing with silence, this time it was the opposite. It could have been another kind of Ghabricha Paus too (a brilliant black comedy on farmers suicide issue) but Deool is too ambitious, wants to deal with too many affairs, reflect too many sides and it’s too noisy. It’s easy to understand what the film is trying to do but it’s difficult to endorse this one completely. It’s releasing soon in the theatres. Do watch it.

The Salesman (Le Vendeur) – There is something surreal about an old white man with white hair struggling in a completely white background (snow + sun) on a sunny day. But it could not go beyond the obvious. Too long and offers too little. The lead actor carries the film on his shoulder. By the time it ends, you just want to hug and comfort him.

The Turin Horse (A Torinoi Lo) – We tried our luck again. This time it was a bad copy with time code running on it. The subtitle was correct but it again stopped suddenly after 30mins or so. They killed the dead horse again. We had no choice but to leave. It was re-scheduled again for Day 2 at 10pm.

There was problem with the screening of My Little Princess too. The technical head of the screenings needs to wake up, smell the coffee and check the prints and the projection before showing the films. Don’t embarrass yourself so badly! Day 1 and major problems in three screenings – wow, that’s some score!

DAY 2

The Slut (Hanotenet) – With a title like this, it’s bound to get some attention. But with a female director who also plays the lead role, the gaze is completely different. Takes its own sweet time to unfold and the worst thing you fear, the director goes for it, ending it on a very disturbing note. Has male and female nudity and a long sex scene.

Distance (Distancia) – I thought NSP (Needs Some Patience) genre will be enough to describe some of the films selected for the fest. But this one is NLP where L is for Lots, and lots and lots more. There is so much story that you just hear but don’t see on screen. Was dead by the time it got over.

Generation P  – Quite a heady cocktail of art, culture, religion, pop, politics, philosophy, advertising, consumerism and Che Guevara. Who better than Che to answer some advertising questions. After all who sells more T-shirts than him? A trippy experience where it’s difficult to get all the religious and political context but worth a watch. It’s like an installation art of our pop-culture.

Generation P – Q & A – A QnA session with Victor Ginzburg, director of the Generation P was scheduled after the film. But since the poor soul was lost as there was nobody to do the Q and A, we decided to do an informal discussion. We tried our luck at The Artist but the queue was so long that it went up to the Landmark store on the next floor. We thought QnA was a better idea. The Artist was given another screening at 10pm. The director of the film VG told us that big brands (Coke, Nike and many others which feature in the film) gave him money to make fun of the brands in the film. That’s rare and what a fun it was. He was also unhappy about the bad projection of his film.

Chinese Take Away – We wanted to watch it but it has been re-scheduled on Monday 10am Screen 3.

Michael – We knew that this was the Uneasy film of the fest but had no clue that it would turn out to be so bloody brilliant. Waited in queue for almost 1 hour and it was worth it. Inspired by real life incidents, Michael looks at the day-to-day life of a paedophile who has locked up a 10 year old in a cellar. It sounds creepy and disturbing but the film is completely non-judgmental. Who are these paedophiles? How do they look? Do they come from a different planet? The director doesn’t go for the shock value but gives it a human face and captures the predatory relationship in a unique way that will stay with you for a long time after the film gets over. Easily the best of the fest so far. Must watch.

The Artist– We tried our luck again. As soon as Michael got over, we ran through the exit to be in the queue for the film. But by the time we reached, the queue was already about a kilometer long. This time we managed. A delicious love letter to the silent era, the film not only sets the story in that period and captures the era beautifully, but it also uses all the film-making tools of that era to tell a simple love story that we have seen million times. But the magic is in “how” and not “what”. With almost no dialogues, the lead actors don’t just act, they make you fall in love with them. Easy to understand why it was the Cannes favourite earlier this year. Aha, the magic of movies!

DAY 2 HighlightKartik Krishnan suddenly spotted a actor who had played the role of a Don in Bobby Deol’s Bichhoo. Remember? Nobody does. But we still tried to capture him. Varun went to him and asked him about Bichhoo. Kartik was right. Check out the pic – the bald guy in the background.

Enough for today. Tomorrow is another day. Mihir Desai‘s film Aakra-Man is playing with George Clooney and Ryan Gosling’s The Ides of March, and he is trying to copy their act as you can see in the picture. Good luck, Aakra-Man!

See you at the movies!

(PS – It’s been great fun meeting all those people whom we know only by their twitter handles. The world is indeed small and round.)

( PS1 – To read more about the festival films, click here to read Varun’s blog who is trying to write a fest diary.)

If you are not familiar with Umesh Kulkarni’s cinema (features and shorts), you surely are missing something. And you also don’t have the right to crib about the state of the Indian cinema.

Starting with his FTII diploma film Girni (which bagged three National Awards), Umesh has been constantly making shorts between his features. Here’s Three Of Us, the film which bagged two National Awards ( in Non-fiction category) last year – one for direction and another for cinematography.

Now that the post header has made you curious enough to book your tickets, do give the film some time and space. Its not your corn and cola cinema. For that you can wait for pottymaker’s Housefull!

As I returned home after the screening and looked at the bucketful of water in the bathroom and the reflection of the light on its surface, I could not look beyond. A bucketful water never meant so much. Never held my attention. When you go to a theatre to watch a film, its entertainment but when you come back home with a cinema inside you, you know its a masterstroke.

Vihir is one such cinematic masterstroke. Directed by Umesh Kulkrani and written by Girish Kulkarni & Sati Bhave, its devastatingly gorgeous, warm and heartwrenching tale of two freinds and their adolescent days. Of lost and found. Of life and death. Of hide and seek. Of love, lost and longing.

According to the official release, the synopsis of Vihir is as follows…

A story of two adolescent boys Sameer and Nachiket (cousins who are best friends) standing on the crossroads of life… to choose between the life that leads to petty worldly small existence or the life of free existence that would let them spread their wings and soar high in open skies…

They play a game of hide and seek in a rather unusual way. Where one cousin hides in death and the other is looking for him in the life around him. . . . Samir’s search leads him towards the experience of oneness where he can unite with Nachiket again!

Scratch the surface and you will find that the water runs really deep. There is family politics, pain of growing up, existensial crisis, chinese whispers, detachment and finding that “best friend” during one of the most difficult & exciting time of life – adolescent days. When suddenly one day you spot some soft hair strands slowly making a thin line just below your nose, you dont remain the same anymore. You want to talk to someone who belongs to the same club. You try to make sense of the world.

And like me, if you have spent your summer vacations at your nanihaal or mamabadi or mamaghar or Grandma’s place, you will instantly connect with it. Uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents – all under one roof. Things that you should not have known, tales that you should not have heard and incidents that you should not have been part of – you grow up then and there. You become Adult. Vihir moves in similar territory as Sameer & his Nachiketdada try to decipher the meaning of life around them. They are not only cousins but best friends too. One (Sameer) idolises the other but the other is lost. He is also trying to find himself. And its through one’s loss, that the other discovers himself.

But what kind of loss is it ? Is it just being invisible ? Or more than that. Here comes the maturity in the writing and direction part.  And now slowly all the dots connect. The simple game of hide and seek & chinese whispers dont remain the same anymore. Dont want to write more here to spoil the experience for you.

The character actors are all familar faces of marathi cinema. Lead actors Madan Deodhar (Sameer) & Alok Rajwade (Nachiket) say it more through the silences and gestures than the dialogues. Alok was also the lead in Siddharth Sinha’s FTII diploma film Udhedbun which bagged the Silver Bear at Berlin Film Festival in 2008. Shot gorgeously by Sudheer Palsane, the camera takes you straight inside the family affairs. The acting across the board is so natural that it looks like someone just put a camera there. Am not sure if the actors spent some time together before the shoot or what lead to such strong bond on screen but its pure magic.

When the first half got over, I was bit lost wondering if its the end of the film. And it could have been a superb end there. As i came out and met few other film buffs, realised that others also felt the same. So now what ? What will he do in the second half ? How will he wrap up ?

Fuck Syd Field and fuck all plot points. Umesh Kulkarni’s second half is pure visual delight. Mood piece. At one point, some 20 minutes of the film is complete silence. No dialogues. And once you are with the character, you know what that silence means. If you have ever loved and lost someone, you know its difficult to find a way out.  You dont want to hear people talking. They just dont make sense. You need no gyaan. You need that journey to nowhere. Remember last year’s Dev D ?

In the secod half, I felt the same once again. When “the well” scene comes, I thought here is one more end. But then there is some more. Its a journey of self-discovery. So, no point trying to figure out an end to join the dots. Let it go on.

And as a killer line in Rocket Singh song goes…Uljhe nahi to kaise suljhoge…bikhre nahi to kaise nikhroge. Nobody grows up in years, its always in deeds.

Water is life. And death too. In every drop. Everywhere. The subtle hints, the subtext and the layers – by the end it seems nothing is as simple as it looks.

(PS – Its great that AB Corp produced it. All respect. Hope they do more such films. And those of you who still think that am biased against the Bachchans, doesnt this post say enough to shut you up! We all love to champion a film that we like. Rest doesnt matter. It seems Jaya Bachchan was the key person for making this happen. This surely is one tight slap on the face of Raj Thackeray and his supporters who claimed Guddi buddhi zali, tari ajun akkal nahi aali. And do watch it on big screen. You need to dive into that water. The dark theatre and the big screen sets the perfect mood. )

Click on the play button to see the opening scene of Vihir

For more on Vihir, click here.