For the past few months, I’ve been co-writing a screenplay with an old friend from college, author Varsha Dixit. Together we adapted her Bestseller ‘Right Fit Wrong Shoe’ into a screenplay for a Blockbuster Hindi love story a la ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’.
Think Bollywood Rom-Com, with tons of humor, sass and family drama. We are actively seeking producers who want to make our screenplay into the next Big Bollywood Hit ; )
The prolific Varsha has written four books in the past 5 years. She is a popular fiction writer, whose books are meant to entertain. She has a massive fan following amongst young women in Delhi, Kanpur, Chandigarh and Patna. Her fans have been clamoring for a film script, since her book first came out in 2009. Her tagline describes her style best – ‘I think deep and write light.’
When we started writing together I told her upfront that she would have to drive the pace and push me along. She took her job of pushing me very seriously, in her inimitable sweet style 🙂 Beneath Varsha’s kind, funny demeanor is a thoroughly disciplined and very hard working professional. Her dedication to her craft is inspiring.
Working with Varsha over skype, laughing late into the night, making up funny dialogues, arguing about how to spell Hindi words in English and digressing into long ‘heart to hearts’, has been more fun than I’ve had in a long time.
This genre is as far away from Indie as they come, it demands a big studio and stars. But, the stretching has been a nice change. Writing with Varsha has inspired me to write my own script. I’ve learnt that it’s better to row the boat and keep moving, rather than stagnate as you wait for perfect wind conditions. There is no perfect time, perfect place and perfect amount of knowledge. Life is about DOING – now!
A few weeks ago, while scouring the internet for ‘meaning’, I came across a warmly lit image of a little Indian girl in a black burkha, standing in front of a yellow-green wooden door. The image tugged at my heart, so I delved deeper.
The image led me to a film in the works called Leeches, about child marriage, written and directed by the lovely, Hyderabad based filmmaker, Payal Sethi. Payal is a writer-director and co-founder of FilmKaravan, a company that produces and distributes South Asian speciality content to a global audience. Films they have supported in the past include, Superman of Malegaon and Sita sings the Blues. Last Wednesday I interviewed her about her journey in film and how she came to write this story. I was happy to find an impassioned and eloquent, kindred spirit. I have pieced together some parts of our conversation in audio files throughout this piece. I hope you enjoy listening to this wonderful, emerging filmmaker from India.
Before I get too far, I want to give my readers the most important message first, Leeches needs your help. They have already raised about $11,500 for principal production they need only $6500 more by August 14th for their post-production budget. For as little as the cost of a latte, $5/Rs. 250 you can be a part of a very special project by an award-winning woman filmmaker from India. Please contribute here, if I’m not convincing enough by the end of this article or if you don’t want to read any further just watch her video and read her pitch on the funding site. I feel certain you will want to support this special and meaningful project.
Leeches is a narrative short about the practice of contract child marriages in Hyderabad. Payal chanced upon a story in a local newspaper that revealed an intricate web of poverty, greed and exploitation that makes girls as young as 12 vulnerable to being ‘married off’ to rich older men, sometimes for as little as one night. The men pay poor muslim families money in exchange for ‘marriage’ to their virgin daughters. Sickened by what she read, Payal began to research more deeply.
“I would go to Charminar and see an Arab man with a young girl and wonder if she was his daughter or his wife.”
Her research brought her to Shaheen an NGO set up by a woman called Jameela Nishat. Shaheen gives girls from 20 slums in the Charminar area an alternative way to earn money for their families. In some cases Shaheen helps rehabilitate girls who have been cast off after a marriage or several marriages for being ‘too old’ or for being ‘married too many times’. Payal was inspired by Jameela’s courage and limitless compassion, that persists despite the countless horror stories she witnesses every day. Leeches is a way for Payal to raise awareness about the issue of child contract marriages and garner support for Shaheen.
About Payal Sethi
Payal grew up in Bangalore, India and went to school at the progressive and holistic Rishi Valley Boarding School. She grew up watching B&W Hindi films, British and American classics, thanks to her film buff parents. At 17, after high school, she went to Vassar College in upstate New York. At Vassar she was exposed to world cinema through an in depth film studies program. A deep appreciation of French cinema led to a semester in Paris, where she dreamed of becoming a French new wave filmmaker. Her visual education continued to grow at the Tisch School of the Arts’ in New York city, where she spent one semester. Despite a deep appreciation for French and American films, when Payal wrote, she always wrote about India and Indian characters. As luck would have it, in her last month at school, a friend from NYU asked Payal to replace her as an intern at MiraBai films, because she wanted to pursue an acting career instead. Payal willingly accepted and came to assist the legendary Indian-American filmmaker Mira Nair. Payal was with Mira through five films, including the post production of Monsoon Wedding, and the making of Hysterical Blindness, Mira’s short film about 9/11, Vanity Fair and The Namesake.
After 5 years of receiving arguably the best film education possible under the tutelage of Mira Nair, Payal wrote and directed her first short film, ‘Grant Street Shaving Co’,
The film went on to win several awards and has been shown at 12 festivals worldwide. You can watch this poignant short film here for a limited time. Mira continues to be a great supporter of Payal and her work. Here is an excerpt of our interview, where she talks about her mentor Mira Nair.
Payal returned to India about 5 years ago and now lives in Hyderabad. Early on, her foodie husband and her would go to the Old part of Hyderabad called Charminar to get a dose of culture and hunt for the best biryani in town. Walking through the narrow gullies of the Charminar was like visiting a place in a time capsule, stuck in the past. She enjoyed the old world charm of the architecture, the burkha clad women, the bangles of Laad Bazaar, the quaint street names…Her rose tinted glasses came off when she discovered the sordid practice of ‘one-night child brides’.
Listen here for excerpts from our conversation about her discovery of this practice in Hyderabad and how it led her to write LEECHES.
Remember YOU can help get this film funded! They need just $6500 by August 14th. Here’s the link again to fund Leeches: https://www.wishberry.in/campaign/leeches/
Listen to Payal talk about contract marriages and the intricate social web that perpetuates the practice.
It is Payal’s hope that the completed film will be shown to women in the bastis of Charminar. To show them that they have options. To let them know that they are more than just a commodity. She hopes the film will reach a wider audience at film festivals and will through a visually and emotionally stirring narrative plant a seed in them to do something to address this injustice in the world,. She hopes to raise funds for the great work Jameela is doing with Shaheen to care for and treat these child-women with dignity.
It was a pleasure to talk to Payal, I hope you enjoyed meeting her too. I apologize for the patchy quality of audio in some places, there were a lot of dropped calls the night we talked and hence there is some inconsistency in the sound. I hope you can ‘see/hear through’ the issues and focus on the issue. 🙂
Please consider funding and being a part of this special film.
Over the past weekend I was lucky to attend the Adobe Premiere Pro World Conference in San Jose, presented by Future Media Concepts and Adobe. The only reason I was able to go was because I won a free spot in the ‘Re-tweet’ sweepstakes and stayed with a friend! While Indie Nari is still primarily a passion project, saving real dollars is always lovely 😉
The three day conference about the Hub of Adobe Premiere products for video professionals was eye-opening and inspiring. Even though I signed up for Creative Cloud two months ago, I haven’t explored the full potential of ALL the tools available! You can write your script/story in Adobe Story, which uses Metadata to create production schedules, prop lists, locations, cast names etc. On set you can start ingestion with Adobe Prelude, in which you can sort, select in and out points, make series or stitch many takes of the same shot into one long series. Then use Premiere Pro to edit footage from ANY camera in one click, PrePro CC figures out codecs and matches footage from different cameras on one timeline! Audition and Speed Grade for Audio mixing and vision processing, Adobe AfterFX for special effects. I also learnt about a ton of plug ins that are easily usable in the Adobe ecosytem, some awesome ones like RedGiant are free.
The first day was an introduction to the History of Adobe Premiere Pro by the incredibly smart and sincere engineers, testers and marketers at Adobe. There were jokes galore about how far Premiere Pro has come as a NLE since 1983. Since the start there have been 50 releases and 30 million lines of code written! Mind boggling!
Day 2 was when the sessions with experts started. I had a very hard time deciding which sessions to attend, there were 4 classes a day, with 4 sessions playing at the SAME TIME! That was a bummer, as it really was luck of the draw..so out of a potential 16 sessions I only did 4 per day. I had that old familiar feeling, I have at Film festivals..am I at the best possible film, I could be at, right now? Oh Well, that aside, at least I got to do 4 sessions on each day.
I got to meet a brilliant editor from LA, Christine Steele who has done countless commercials, docs and narrative films. She is also a teacher who makes videos at Lynda.com. Her class ‘Beyond the Basics’ was fantastic, she talked about, you guessed it, going beyond the basics! We learnt key board short cuts and workflows from her. She is very organized and her session was packed with useful information. I meant what I said in my twitter post about her
— anjalika sharma (@indienari) July 13, 2014
The session with Luisa Winters about key framing in PrePro was very informational and helpful. Luisa’s great sense of humor and self-generated sound fx were very entertaining!
Another highlight was the Keynote by Adam Epstein the Editor for Saturday Night Live, ads and promos. Their team makes a new short film every week, concepts are thrown about on Monday, final script is on Wednesday. Pre-production starts on Wednesday evening, shoots are generally on Thursday or Friday, for a Saturday night show!!! Edit starts on set with ingesting and logging on Adobe Prelude, while the shoot is going on. Final ‘picture lock’ is a hurtling train to the finish line..sometimes the East coast doesn’t even get to watch the final graded version because when its 11:30pm on the East Coast..it is an immovable Deadline! In the past he has played live to broadcast right off the timeline!! Can you imagine that stress?
Other great sessions were with Eran Stern, a visual special FX designer from Israel. He gave us a lot of great ideas for plugins that work seamlessly with Premiere Pro, he didn’t speak too much, his style was restrained, but the amount of useful stuff he packed in was huge!
Jarle Leirpoll a filmmaker and editor from Norway shared the ‘Cool Stuff in Premiere Pro’, he is writing a book soon with the same name, that should be out in October. I am definitely getting myself a copy. His website has many free graphics and title templates that can be imported and used in PrePro. Jarle said, “If one person in the world has created something, it should be shared, so no other editor has to waste their time to create that effect again.” Way to build community 🙂 Check out his website.
Another super informative session was by Jeff Greenberg, he teaches regularly with FMC and has written books on Premiere Pro. He is awesome!
I couldn’t believe I was hob-nobbing with all these pros on a weekend away from the family. One moment I’m complaining about how alone I am and the next I am surrounded by all these amazing professionals!
Kanen Flowers, the creative Director of That Studio a media house that has produced a slew of extremely popular podcasts in the industry. From ‘That Post Show’, to Snarky TV, ‘Ruining it for Everyone’, they are also working on two feature length narratives Hero Punk and 18:20 a sci-fi feature. Mr. Prolific shared so many useful things about how he successfully runs a company, that is practically as diverse as the UN! With talented ‘makers’ from across the globe. He was very candid, approachable and really all about the community. A creative genius, who I sense has a LOT more to come. They are working on two original features with a ton of special FX, podcasts, commercials, vlogs…whew. I did say prolific.
I was sad to have missed out on Rich Harrington, Maxim Jago and numerous others for want of time…
But all in all I am feeling very empowered and ready to take my business to the next level!
This ad is brilliant and brought a tear to my eye. Excellent!
Don’t you just love it when a simple message can cause a wave around an entire nation? This time, Kaun Banega Crorepati enters its’ 8th season with a heart-warming launch commercial. The script is based on a great insight that is specific to India and is flawlessly weaved in with the show’s format.
A message like this, when delivered by a show that’s won a million hearts and a man that has captured a billion, was sure to induce a tear or two.
And that tagline at the end – goosebumps.
Watch it here:
Summer break is upon us. I haven’t signed the kids up for summer camp..surely, this a sign of insanity.
I had rose tinted images of us running around in parks together, building sand castles, and visiting art museums – connecting in a way that school days don’t allow.
The reality is far from that. I am driving them around from one class to the next, breaking up fights over markers, rainbow loom and the cat, and feeding them about six times a day.
There are good parts, I always exaggerate for comic effect. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are great days because we have a routine in place. The kids have swimming lessons for an hour in the morning, then a friend and I teach our kids Hindi, after that, it’s home for lunch.
Post lunch, I get two hours to work on my writing and my documentary, while the kids do their homework and watch a show. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have nothing concrete planned, we go on errands, playdates or visit parks. These are the days, when finding time for my creative work becomes more challenging. It is easy to make excuses and find ways to avoid the page and the laptop, yet all the more critical to persevere. Unless I do something everyday, I fall into a lazy pattern and a funk.
Last Thursday, I took the kids to the library, there I found a book called ‘Women of Words’ about thirty-five important women writers. I was inspired by this snippet from the introduction by the editor, Janet Bukovinsky, it made me stop complaining about stolen time and keep creating.
“Stealing time was an essential skill for creative women of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and remains so today. Time has always been a great luxury for women, the traditional housekeepers and family caretakers, and only in quiet hours was the peace and quiet necessary for writing to be found. Women writers, didn’t let housework, depression, childbirth, war, madness, disapproval or poverty stand in their ways.”
Today I saw an amazing piece by Sa’ adat Hassan Manto on Scroll posted by a friend on facebook, and was inspired some more. You have to keep expressing in the midst of life, there will be no perfect time or place, it just has to be done and re-done. Keep expressing.
An Indian Film and Theater Director, writer and actor that I have admired for many years is, Rajat Kapoor. He has an impressive, and prolific body of work. In April, I had the pleasure of watching his latest film Ankhon Dekhi, at IFFLA, which I loved and wrote about here.
A few lucky people in America will have the opportunity to watch his theater troupe perform ‘Hamlet The Clown Prince’, an interpretation of the Shakespearean play by six clowns – it promises to be brilliant! Please check the links for detailed listings of the play in the Bay Area, Chicago and New York. Details for the New York shows are on the poster below. UPDATE: I just saw on Rajat’s facebook page that his US tour has been called off :(. No idea why, but its our loss.
I spoke to Rajat about his latest work and also his journey as a filmmaker/artist. I was moved by Rajat’s candor and saddened to know that a film as original and well made as Ankhon Dekhi fared badly at the box office in India. It is a pity that people didn’t make the effort to go out and watch it.
Why is it that audiences will go out to watch a Dhoom 3 or an Ironman in large numbers and totally ignore an original, very creative film like Ankhon Dekhi? The Producer Manish Mundra believed in this beautiful script, its gifted Director and his extremely talented crew of award winning technicians, Cinematographer Rafey Mahmood, Oscar award winning Audiographer Resul Pookutty, National award winning editor, Suresh Pai and Production Designer extraordinaire Meenal Agarwal. But the dismal box office response will most likely make him weary of taking a risk on a non-mainstream film again. If we want meaningful content, each of us has to support films when they release, go out there and buy your tickets and let your voice be heard at the cash register.
As ‘market forces’ race towards the greatest common denominators that sell stories, clothes, movies, music, lifestyles and foods to the largest number of people, a few artists, writers and creators try to preserve what is unique, quirky and non-main stream about India.
Here are some excerpts of my conversation with Rajat Kapoor, a visionary auteur who doesn’t shy away from cinematic work with clichés and caricatures, but takes the time to create well rounded, honest to the core, real Indian people. It’s films like this that we will turn to in the ‘future new shining India’ to remember our Baujis and Bittus.
Anjalika(Anj): I watched Ankhon Dekhi at IFFLA. I thoroughly enjoyed it and got totally into it, laughing out loud! Great work!
Rajat Kapoor(RK): Thank you, thank you..
Anj: The typical categories of ‘yeh experimental hai’, ‘yeh alternative hai’ or whatever don’t apply to you I feel like you are creating your own vision and your own way, that’s what’s really interesting to me as a film maker and a viewer. I loved the very talented ensemble cast and the dialogue was pitch perfect. You must be feeling happy about how the film turned out?
RK: Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the film, we all worked very hard…You know Anjalika, now, right now..I am going through a phase..I’m fighting it, I’m trying to not give in, but the fact is, its pretty depressing. Ankhon Dekhi didn’t do well at all. Right now I’m not in a very happy state..I’m trying to fight it, trying not to give in, but I’m pretty low. Every morning I try to wake up gung-ho but then by the end of the day I’m down again..Ankhon Dekhi didn’t do well at the Box office at all. It was completely ignored at the National Awards, it didn’t win anything. The Producer lost a lot of money, so the prospects of my next film are very dim..I don’t know when I’ll make it, after 6 months, one year, 3 years, ever again..I don’t know, I have no clue..and that’s not a happy thought..
Anj: I’m sorry that you are feeling this way..but it just doesn’t add up in my head. You know I don’t know what they are thinking in India..it doesn’t compute, this is a great film!
RK: No, it’s like that and it’s always been like that, for the past fifteen years that I have been trying to make films. You would think that things would get better, you know after 5 films, 6 films..but they don’t and they haven’t, at least for me…
Because I‘ve tried very hard to be in this space where I am, in terms of my films to make exactly what I want to make, its been very gratifying and I have no regrets and I would do it all over again. But the journey, even though it has been exhilarating, has not been easy ever…
You know if AD had done well, even a little better, I would have been making my next film by the end of this year, but now I have no clue, when, who, how…? I have two and half scripts with me and 2 are ready and the third one I’m working on and I have to start the whole process all over again.
RK: I don’t mean to sound sad, because this is something that I have chosen and I have no regrets…but I’m just stating facts.
I’ve got a lot of love for Ankhon Dekhi and I’ve got incredible amounts of love for this film, random people have come up to me and said, “Sir can I give you a hug?” I mean its just beautiful, and people on the internet, on twitter people just flowing out love, and I’ve not experienced this kind of love for any of my other films, so its been very gratifying and all of us are very proud of the film, the whole team the camera man, the Production designer, the music director, the actors, we all know we have made something really good.
And, I also know that the film will live and blah..blah..blah..blah …but..(laughs lightly)..in spite of all that, in the day to day working, trying to reach producers, trying to get them to call you back…that can be kind of frustrating.
Anj: I don’t know how to say this in a delicate way…you know ‘kadar nahi hain’ India mein, I don’t know why?
RK: Kaheen bhi nahi hai..yaar..kaheen bhi dekh lo, if you look at the box office hits in the US the top 10 grossers, its all Captain America and Thor and blah blah…it’s what’s working, you know that kind of crap…anywhere in the world it’s the same, maybe in India it’s a little bit worse. For instance last year, I really loved the American film ‘Inside Llewellyn Davis’ completely ignored everywhere, at the box office, the Oscars, everywhere…what a film…we’re in good company so I’m ok.
Anj: I really appreciate your candor and honesty…I am often plagued by insecurity myself. Half the time I don’t know what the f*&% I’m doing, wondering why I’m doing this? Why don’t I just go get a job in a bank or something but I think an artist, can’t help but express themselves and we are all the richer for that…
RK: Yeah, I often say it’s a sickness that you can’t get rid off. You have to make films, you know it’s a sickness so you have to…Very often I’ve asked myself this, ‘why, why? Why do you want to do this when it’s a daily humiliation, really, at least trying to make the film and then trying to release it and its huge it takes…a lot. 20% of my time is actually making the film and then 80% is trying to get it off the ground. And I ask myself, why? The only answer is, that it’s a disease…there’s no way out, so you have to do it…
Anj: I think that your core team that you surround yourself with, you work with the same people over and over again, and they are all incredible. How long have you been with them?
RK: Rafey was one year junior to me at film school, in FTII and I assisted on Mani Kaul’s ‘Nazar’ and Rafey assisted Piyush Shah on camera, so that was the first time we worked together and we’ve worked together ever since. It’s very nice to grow together in a way, with your collaborators.. that’s one thing that I like, in theater people I’ve worked with 25-30 years back, I’m still working with them and we’re still creating together. I think it’s fabulous.
Anj: I am so envious of that, you have no idea. In my mind, that is success.
RK: I think so, I take great pride in these relationships, we go through shit also you know, not with Rafey but with many others…we’ve fought, we’ve not talked to each other for a year …and after that we’ve come together and still worked on things together..I think that’s great!
Anj: I admire that, you’re creating your life on your own terms, and you’ve found the people that believe in you ..whether the box office registers it or not..the fact that you’ve worked with these people for so many years, that’s incredible to me, I would give an arm and a leg for that!
RK: I feel so good right now!
Anj: You should! To have a close community of artistic collaborators, what is more important than that?
RK: You know Anjalika, I often say this and I really believe it that in fact the truth is, there are about 15-20 people in the world whose admiration and love and respect I crave and if these 15-20 people like my work, it’s done for me. If it’s a box office hit, great. If it gets awards super, and if it doesn’t that’s ok too, if these 15-20 people like my work. My essential thing is my film should please me and after that these 15-20 people. And I want them to say, ‘Wah wah wah! Kya film banayi hai aapne!’
Anj: Wah wah wah kya film banayi hai aapne!
Anj: Your artistic journey had been so prolific, and I’m counting Theater and film Directing, writing, acting..all this stuff, you have such a great body of work. Where do you get the energy? Where does your spark come from?
RK: I am driven that’s for sure and I am disciplined. I do manage to put in time for writing,. When I’m not shooting, I put in at least 3-4 hours a day. I look at Woody Allen and I am envious of that! That guy has made a film every year, that is something! How does he do that? He writes, shoots, does post and starts writing the next film. I mean he goes on and on, and he makes good films. It’s amazing! So that’s my inspiration, I have a long way to go. 48 films in a 45-year career! I’m a big fan and I’m still discovering his films, I saw ‘Celebrity’ two days back. Wow. Wow, what a film!
Anj: You talked about the importance of discipline in your creative work.
RK : If I don’t spend 3-4 hours a day, doing something worthwhile, I start feeling very restless. I also spend a lot of time with my kids and my wife, a lot of time. I think I spend more time with my kids than most fathers do, but I still manage to find time for writing. A few days ago I was travelling to Poona to go to FTII with a film. The journey was 4 hours. For two hours we were talking and the rest of the time I spent working on my script. I was trying to find solutions to problems in my film..
Anj: Can you share what you are working on? Or is it too early?
RK: Sure, there are three things I’m working on, one is a gangster film, which is ready which will need at least 6 crore to make, which is big by my standards, I don’t know where that money will come from. The other one is one I like very much..its a mad kind of film, its more in the space. Its called RK RK, which I like very much..and I want to do it fast, but it will also need about 4 crores, but I’m thinking if this money Is not going to come easy, I’ve started writing the third one, which I think can be made in 1.5-2 crores, which is like a horror film.
Anj: What is the theme of RK RK?
RK: RK RK bata doon kya aapko ?
Anj: Aapko batana hai, to batayiye.
RK: Its with me, I’m playing RK, a film director, I’ve just finished the shooting of a film and I‘m editing it and its not going well at all. And I’m also acting in that film, the one that I’ve shot and I’m editing in the film. Then I find out from my editor that the character has run away from the film. The film is about getting him back into the film, so that I can finish the film. That’s what it is. I’m so excited about this film, but I don’t know how to get money for this film? Who will finance it..blah blah blah blah..
RK: I am very excited about my upcoming trip to the US with my new play. We will be playing in San Francisco, Chicago and then we will play in a small theater in the Village in NY. I am so excited! You would like the play, if you like my films…it’s a mad play it has 6 clowns who are trying to play Hamlet, and they massacre it in the process..
Anj: Of course!
Anj: Who do you think watches your movies? What kind of person watches your movies?
RK: You know it became possible for people like us to make films, Anjalika, after the multiplexes came in in India in 2000. Because, a. there were small screens with 150-200 seats, so it became economically possible. And a lot of people who had stopped going to cinemas that were watching satellite TV and cable at home started coming back to cinemas, I think the middle-income group and young professionals and students. Young professionals and students are our audience. Even when we go out in the country with our plays to Hyderabad, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, the people that come to watch our plays are young Profs and students.
This group of people is looking for new types of entertainment. They also watch Salman Khan films, but they also watch our kind of stuff. But they still don’t want to go and buy a ticket for 250 rupees, they would rather watch a pirated copy at home. They will watch Dhoom 3 in the theater, and they will all say what a dumb film it is, how stupid, how bad but everybody will watch it, so it will make 300 crores in two weeks, But for this type of film they say, ‘arre dvd par ayega to dekhengey’
Anj: What kind of movies do you like to watch?
RK: All kinds, I have a huge list! Number 1 for me has always been Chaplin, Fellini. After that I have a huge list which goes from Ozu, to Eric Rohmer, to Scorsese, Pedro Almodovar, Billy Wilder, Ritwik Ghatak…it’s a huge list..People I really admire.
Anj: Who would you say is pushing the envelope creatively in India today?
RK: The only person I like is Anurag Kashyap once in a while, I’ve liked Dev D, Gangs of Wasseypur part 2, I know it’s harsh but that’s what I think, I also liked a Marathi film Harishchandrachi Factory, I liked it very much. Oye Lucky was not bad, Love Sex aur Dhoka I have not seen, but Shanghai was terrible. I am not that enthused by others.
Anj: Did you watch Ship of Theseus, Fandry?
RK: I saw SOT..Fandry I liked, but you know..I like it but you know…its in a tradition of realism that is at least 40 years old, so it moves you, it impacts you, but I could have left that film in the first half an hour. Its cute, its nice, its sweet, its well done, the boys are great..but I could have left the film. But I’m glad I stayed, I liked the end, which was very impactful, and its nice but I can’t say anything more.
Anj: I think I know what you mean, the details in your film, the props, the costumes, to the oil in the hair, the language, the house, the streets, the authenticity of characters, to the sounds in the background…people don’t realize the density of thought and work, it just goes by in a second…
RK: Yes, that’s cinematic work you know. The problem with us is you know that we get swayed by the story. ‘Kahaani bahot powerful hai yaar.” Or “It’s a story that needs to be told” but that doesn’t make great cinema all the time.
Anj; at what point in your life did you decide that I want to express myself? I want to do this ..
RK: When I was 16 I was absolutely certain that I wanted to make films
Anj: What did you watch that made you feel that?
RK: There was no one film, I grew up on Bollywood and Hollywood films like everybody else, but at the age of 16 I joined a film society in Delhi University, where for the first time I saw Fassbinder and Godard, Herzog and Bergman..it just blew my mind. I’m not sure if the decision was made after that or if it was already made..I think it was already made.
I knew ‘I’m going to make films’ I just didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I knew I wanted to make films. When I would think of my future, I saw that ‘camera’ and ‘action’.
Anj: Do you think that you are beyond your time?
RK: Laughs lightly..I wish it was like that. You know I don’t think I’m doing anything great, Anjalika..Kumar Shahney and Mani Kaul, I think what they did was something great and what Kumar continues to do. Of course I think I’ve been true to my vision, and they to theirs. But their journey has been one that has been really hard and admirable. And the fact Mani didn’t get to make a film in the last ten years of his life, and I was very close to him in those years…and he kept trying and he kept wanting to make a film, even on his death bed he was talking about his next film, I think, that’s heart breaking. We as a society, the moment he dies we all say oh what a great man, what a great artist, but when he lives nobody gives a crap..
Anj: What are you trying to achieve when you make a film? What would make you happy?
RK: I told you, the love and admiration of those 20 people..you know I really think that success is how close you come to a vague image that you had in your mind at the beginning. I think that’s the only criteria for success in art. Because you have an idea, a vision, an image in your head and you try to come close to that. The whole process of making a film is to try and realize that, to come close to that. I think the only gauge of success is how close you come to that, if you have or haven’t.
Anj: I really admire your work, and I hope that you will continue to follow your vision
RK: That you can be certain about..
OMG!!!!!!!Thank you so much…I am winner of more than the conference..thank you so much for the shout out! Really excited 🙂
Congratulations to Anjalika Sharma, winner of the Premiere Pro Retweet Sweepstakes! Anjalika won a free ticket to this year’s upcoming Premiere Pro World Conference, where she will be able to continue to advance her editing skills.
Anjalika Shara received a National Award for Best Debut of a Director in the Indian National Awards in 2001. She has a blog that chronicles Indian Film that inspires her, as well as her own work as a film maker, interviewer, photographer, entertainer, writer, and creator of independent content. To see Indie Nari, Anjalika’s blog, click here. Currently she is working on a feature film while continuing to work independently.
Thanks again to Premiere Pro World Conference and a big CONGRATULATIONS to our sweepstakes winner, Anjalika!
Today is a happy day, an article I wrote about the film ‘SOLD’ was published in one of my favorite Indian publications, Mint Lounge. I interviewed the Academy winning Director, Jeffrey D Brown in LA during IFFLA. Jeffrey is a compassionate, purpose driven human being. It is my honor to share his film and his mission with the world. There are over 6 million girls under the age of 18 that are sexually trafficked in India. Please read my piece and follow the mission of this film. Together we can make a change in the fate of our children.
Brown and producer Jane Charles have been working on the film now for seven years, both driven by the hope that they can make a difference in the lives of the thousands of trafficked children they met during their research. “What started as a desire to do something meaningful in my life has turned into a life purpose,” he says.
I met Nagraj Manjule the day before his beautiful film ‘Fandry’, a story about caste discrimination in India, won the award for ‘Best Feature’ at IFFLA. A fortnight later her won the National Award for the ‘Best Debut feature’ at the 61st Indian National Awards.
I was struck by his humility and lack of pretension. Nagraj tells stories from his own experiences, that are rich in emotion. I look forward to watching many more beautiful films made by him.
I had the pleasure of interviewing him, Nagraj talks about the making of ‘Fandry’ and Discrimination. I would love to hear from you in the comments section here and on my youtube channel.
Indie is a cool word for independent or let’s be honest and say ‘alone’. Feeling kind of alone as I try to troubleshoot technical issues with my website and my videos. I think about how it would be if I was rolling in money and could hire consultants to help with my website, or designers to do my graphics. Or walk down the hallway in my cool office and ask the tech geek, “Hey, got a minute?” and she helps me over coffee break while we discuss the new book she is reading. Another friend from marketing walks over to ask if we saw the latest viral video on youtube. We would discuss our feelings, I would get my work done and then go home to play with the kids and eat dinner together….instead of waking up at 5 a.m and racing against the clock to get stuff done before breakfast and lunch packing and jumping into the car to drop off my daughter to school in pjs…rush the second one to brush, dress and drive him to school. Rush home and work for 3 hours before I pick him up again. Try to stay off my computer till dinner and bed, but fail and do a half assed job of being indie nari and mama bear. End of rant.