Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Filmy Very Filmy

A quick update, for a while I was thinking of sharing some Bollywood Trivia and thoughts, but felt it will be better if I'll do it in a separate Blog Dedicated to Bollywood.

To Tamam Gavaahon Ke Bayanaat Aur Sabooton Ko Maddenazar Rakhte Huye Adaalat Is Faisle Par Pahuchi Hai Ki Mulzim Yayawar Ko Ek Dedicated Bollywood Blog Banane Ki Saza Di Jaaye.

I have started a parallel blog on bollywood called Filmy Very Filmy.
Will request you guys to visit it and let me know if you liked it.

PS: Having a new Bollywood Centric Blog doesn't mean this blog will be deprived of Bollywood Masala, so keep visiting both the blogs, I'll be waiting for your feedbacks.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The CanMan* or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Make a Film in 48 Hours

[*The CanMan is a short film (approx. 6.55 minutes long) made by us for India’s First 48HFP Competition. The story was inspired by a real life serial killer called The Beer Man. Made on a shoestring budget by first time filmmakers, film was adjudged The Best Film of Mumbai 48HFP and is now India’s entry for International 48HFP.]

Here is a post, reminiscing the adventure called The CanMan.

The CanMan was made between 2nd & 4th May 2008, but actual story starts almost a month back when I was bedridden, thanks to an uninvited Chicken Pox attack.
There are three bad things about this highly contagious disease:

  1. One cannot go too close to other people (esp. who don't have it yet).
  2. All one can do is sulk and worry if s/he will start looking like Om Puri.
  3. I don’t know.

Thankfully a chicken-pox mareez can go online because online jaaney se chicken pox nahi failta..aise to pyaar failta hai.

I had no intention of spreading love online, but had nothing to do so went online, where I stumbled upon something that had something to do with my first love Films/Film Making. There was this info about a Film Competition called
48 Hour Film Project, where you have to write, shoot, post produce a film within 48 Hours. The best part was, this competition was supposed to be held during a weekend.

“48 Hours – A Weekend.. Sounds cool” I thought and called up my partner in crime the ever busy Saumin The Kickass Patel.

“Kya Bolta Hai Partner..” I said.

“Making a short film in 2 Days sounds cool re…I think we should participate..”

“Soch Lo Thakur…”

“Sochna Kya Hai..Loha Garam Hai Maar Dete Hain Hathoda…”

“But we need to have a name for the team…”

“Hmmmm…Kuchh Desi Naam Hona Chahiye…”

Beep Beep Beep…Bad Network…Call Disconnected

He calls back.. with a
name for our production.


“Tumhe Yahaan Bula Kar Maine Koi Galati Nahin Ki…”

So we registered for the competition and by now I was more or less bhala changa with some 4-5 minor spots on my face. We started meeting and discussing the way we gonna approach our film. First time filmmakers, we wanted to leave no stone unturned and once all the stones were turned upside down, we realized we still don’t have a cast-crew, a location and post-production setup.

48HFP was an International Competition, and unlike Indian Competitions, here the participants were supposed to fill some hundred forms for location release, talent release and what not and had to get them signed by the team members.
To go thru ‘Bhai Tum Sign Karte Ho Ya Nahin…’process, one needs a Bhai, in our case we didn’t had a Bhai i.e. the team members. This is when we realized we have to assemble a team.

The rules said cast & crew should be unpaid. This was a huge problem for us as professionals in Mumbai religiously follow the thumb rule advocated by The Joker - If you're good at something, never do it for free.

Anyway singing Mitwa song from Lagaan, we started meeting and convincing people. Dhirendra, our music director was the first one to join the team (and last to deliver the music). Some friends (who turned out to be fiends later in the story) promised to help us with Editing/post production.

So with a team more or less in place now, all we had to worry about was the genres. There are
14 genres and its kind of a (un)lucky draw every team has to go through, one member from each team has to pick a chit from a hat & have to make a film in the genre mentioned in the chit.

“Dude..what if they give us Romance as the genre and we have to make a romantic film??”

“Oye…That means we have to have a girl/heroine/actress in our team.”

Tumhara Naam Kya Hai Basanti AKA Actress / Heroine Hunt!
It was an adventure to meet girls in shopping malls and convince them to work in our film. In a ‘Paisa Phenko Tamasha Dekho’ Mumbai, we were looking for a classy girl who can say “Main Aaj Bhi Phenke Huye Paise Nahin Uthati” and work in our film for free.

[A lesson that we learn in our 2 days long Heroine-Hunt : 90% of the girls can’t act, out of 10% who can act 90% are working with Ekta Kapoor, that means we are left with 1% and they wont entertain anybody who isn’t going to pay them.]

Anyway thanks to Aman Uppal, a clo
se friend, who himself is an actor, we met Smiling Shweta and finalized her.
This is when Raj messaged asking if we need any help. Going by the Ek Se Bhale Do…formula I told him we are looking for an actress for our film. Next morning he sent some contact no.s.

Called up the 1st no. It was Girija. Told her our problem and she was ready to work with us..

“Can you please mail me your portfolio Girija…”

“Haven’t you seen me??”

“Ummm…Actually I rarely go for plays..so… ”

“Hmmm…Have you seen Taare Zameen Par??” She asked.

“Haan Haan…Do Baar Dekhi Hai..”

“I am the girl with Aamir in Tulip School..”

“Ohh that's you!!"

“Yup..that's me…”

Girija is in team Limboo Mirchi.

Saumin calls up to confirm one of his Dad’s friends Bedi Uncle has a
SONY DSR PD 170 Camera and we have a DOP in team now.

2nd May 2008

10:00am :
We have a team and two female actors with us. This is when our post production friends ditched us. The competition is gonna start at 7:00 pm and we are yet to finalize a location and now we don’t even have an editing set up.

2:00pm A friend Devang helped us by introcing us to The Great Kanu Bhai who has a FCP set up in Andheri. Kanu Bhai agreed to help us. Meanwhile Saumin also discovered two beautiful locations (now you know why I call him Saumin The Kickass Patel).

5:00pm We are ready to go to PVR, Juhu & get the Genre, Line of Dialogue, Characters & Props for our film. (The give a Genre, a line of dialogue, character/s & a prop that one has to incorporate in the story of the film).

We got Detective/Cop genre.

We cracked a scratch story.

Click here to read a badly written account of next 48 Hours/How we made the film. 3rd May 2008 Saumin working on Graphics for the film

4th May 2008

7:00pm The CanMan is submitted on time, with all the forms duly signed. (Thankfully nobody in our team had a tattoo on his/her arm & everybody signed the forms without recreating that legendary Jaao Pehle Us Aadmi Ka Sign Le Kar Aao...scene)

16th May 2008: The Award Function

The CanMan bagged
7 out of 10 awards and was adjudged the best in categories including, Acting, Direction, Writing, Editing, Use of Line of Dialogue, Use of Prop and Overall Best Film. Jury included, Shabana Aazmi, Ashutosh Govarikar, Vinay Shukla (National Award Winning Writer & Director- The Godmother), Sudhir Mishra, Baba Aazmi and Soha Ali Khan.

Award Function Chitrahaar:
Thakur sahab, Shayad hi koi aisa jail...I mean Award ho jis me ye dono naa gaye ho. ye Veeru hai aur ye Jaydev. dono ke dono pakke badmaash. ek number ke chor .Chhate huye gunde hain Dono.
Kitna Inaam Rakkhe Hai Sarkaar Hum Par

Mujhe Toh Saare Awards Ki Shaqalein Ek Jaisi Lagti Hain

Iski Toh Aadat Hai Bakbak Karne Ki

The Media : Tum Dono Ye Kaam Dhandhe Kab Se Kar Rahe Ho?

Yun Ki Yeh Kaun Bola...

PS : Gonna upload The CanMan in next post.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eternal Ramblings of A Restless Mind

Just finished writing something. I was looking for an English equivalent for the word अमानत in some context, but after banging my head for almost an hour I wasn’t able to get /come up with a correct English word for अमानत. The closest I could get was ‘Safekeeping’. But I feel as a word ‘Safekeeping’ lacks the emotion and attachment, it sounds bit impersonal as compared to the charming अमानत. IMHO Englishmen never had that sort of feeling towards anything that was kept with them for 'safekeeping' and that's why their language also lacks such words. Do let me know if you already know/come across a word that is equivalent to अमानत . Anyway this isn’t the topic I wanted to talk about.

Before I start let me tell you right now I am….

Listening to: Dil Chahta Hai (Title Track)

Wondering: How somebody can pen an eternal dilemma so beautifully -

कैसा अजब ये सफ़र है..सोचो तो हर एक ही बेखबर है..

उसको जाना किधर है..जो वक़्त आए जाने क्या दिखाए…

Admiring : Javed Sahab

Thinking of: Random things in retrospect.

I still remember exact four years ago I was standing on NH 6 (in Orissa), waiting for a bus like everyday (I used to be an Accountant cum Hindi Tutor back then) and if I remember correctly 14th August 2004 was a Saturday. It feels bad, when you need a break and a national holiday like Independence Day cheats you by coming on Sunday. But on that very day, it was the last thing on my mind. I was worried about my future because everybody else seemed to be more worried about it than I was.

College days were over, I was a Graduate now! And this was the time when I realized how much this sadistic society loves nagging a fresh graduate. I was surrounded by people with their unsolicited suggestions and advice on what I should do next and like their moronic concern wasn’t enough I was also hounded by more than a dozen AMWAY Network Marketing guys everyday.

I was unable to understand why almost everybody was ‘so very concerned’ about my future! One thing I was dead sure about was, I am definitely not going to spend rest of my life correcting इ की मात्रा or tallying Balance Sheets.

The Bus was on time for a change (I have observed this strange thing about buses, they always arrive on time when you are not in one of your good moods). On my way back I kept thinking about the publishers I'd already sent submissions to, calculating the time they will take to say a final Yes or NO. Will they get back if its a NO, was the yaksha prashna!

On reaching home I found this white envelope waiting for me…

It was ‘THE’ Offer Letter from Gotham Comics.

My Precioussssssss…. The Gollum in me screamed!!!

Trust me no bestseller can match the excitement one gets while reading The First Offer Letter.

I had little more than a month in hand, so finished all my pending work, packed bags and read as many comics as I could and the day came when I started my journey with dreamy eyes. Never ever thought or imagined that this journey is going to be an unending journey of unlimited dreams. Every journey has its ups and downs and this one isn’t an exception.

I worked in Comic Books till Radio lured me. Got into Radio to find my calling in TV. Worked with TV Channels to realize some stories can only be told in animation...आगे जो वक़्त आए जाने क्या दिखाए!

६२वे स्वतंत्रता दिवस की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं ।
P.S. My cell isn't working for past two days..those who know me offline and trying to reach me, please bear with me. I am trying to get a local number ASAP.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

That Baritone Voice & Film Trailers

More often than not, when we see the trailer of a movie (esp. Upcoming Hollywood Biggies), mind-boggling visuals play on the screen whilst that baritone voice narrates the basic plot/random lines in the background. Kind of clichéd, but this is the way they make a trailer. The Baritone VO is one of the best dramatic devices to grab the attention of an audience ever since the art of storytelling originated. But it also has its pros & cons.

Biggest DEMERIT:
Going with the overtly accepted norm, Hindi Film Makers (rather Indian Film Makers..I must say) have started aping their Hollywood counterparts and we are forced to see Hindi Movie Trailers in a voice that convincingly mimics the same baritone voice that our ears are used to hear on HBO/Apple Trailors for ages.

Anyway have a look at the trailer for the movie COMEDIAN (2002) where Jerry Seinfeld spoofs such Trailers, have fun:

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