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.
Been having major guilt about not posting more. There are so many ideas floating around in my head..too many ideas, too little time..
I am done with the edit of my video interview with Nagraj Manjule the Director of Fandry. I am excited about it, Nagraj is a an unaffected, honest, authentic human being who is an excellent story teller. I haven’t released it yet because I am trying trying to figure out how to do a few graphicky things. I’m watching tutorials on AdobeTV and Lynda. Subtitling it in the midst of the rest of my life has made progress slow, I have been busy with mothering, house holding and DMV type errands…unavoidable drudgery in every artistic life 😉 Also, I got roped into shooting the Easter performance at my son’s preschool..he was playing Jesus, a sleepy one at that..how could I not?
Lately I have become a Twitter fiend. I am amazed at the access Twitter offers, a truly equal opportunity platform for connecting with people/companies/groups for all my varied interests. I am very excited about a recent connection I made with a Director whose work I admire tremendously. I will post a story about the mystery actor/director soon. Hint: He went to FTII in 1983..guesses? 🙂
A piece I wrote on a film at IFFLA will be published in a respected publication in India next week!! This has given me some validation in this journey of doing what ‘I am drawn to’, with no real blue print. I am creating my path as I go along. I’ve heard countless times, don’t set out to be successful, set out to do what you enjoy and what you are passionate about and success will follow! So here I am, making it up as I go along, thank you for joining me on this journey…AND being patient..:P
On the face of it, ‘Fandry’, Nagraj Manjule’s directorial debut, is an adolescent love story set in a remote village in Maharashtra. Jabya, a 14 year old Dalit boy falls in love with a beautiful upper caste girl in his school. Jabya sneaks stolen glances at Shalu, entranced by her beauty as she walks with her friends or sits in the classroom. He dreams of them together, in love.
Jabya tries to distance himself from his father, a lower caste man who does the dirty-work in the village that nobody else will do. The most demeaning job is to chase out wild pigs or ‘fandry’ from the village. Upper caste people consider ‘fandry’ too dirty to touch themselves.
Jabya doesn’t identify with the limiting constructs of the caste system. He doesn’t want to touch pigs, he dreams of a better life, he wants to study, he wants to buy nice clothes and impress Shalu. He believes he is good enough to be Shalu’s love.
The reality is very different from his dreams. The repeated ridicule of arrogant upper caste people wear him down. How long can this self-respecting child take the indiginty?
Fandry portrays the reality of caste prejudice in India today, through a beautifully told story. The visual beauty of the Maharashtra landscape captured by Vikram Amladi, the authentic performances of all the actors and the heart wrenching background score by Alokananda Dasgupta, come together perfectly to create a cinematic jewel, a compelling story of great power and simplicity.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Nagraj Manjule, while he was in LA for IFFLA 2014, where his film won the Jury Grand Prize for narrative feature film. I was moved by his simplicity, clarity and genuineness, “I just told a story that I know, a story from my own reality. Its not so much that I had to make a film, its that I had to tell this story, that I have lived.” My next post will be about our interview.
I was very fortunate to attend the Indian Film Festival in LA between April 8th and April 13th. I came away feeling truly inspired. On my first day there, I had the bright idea of shooting video of my experience, with my iPhone. I walked around with my iPhone on a monopod. It was fun, I felt very ‘indie’ nari! In all, 8 people asked me where I got the gadget from 🙂 I made a short video on Day 1 and then decided, I needed to get a better microphone if I want to vlog in a loud place. For those that are interested, I am uploading an under 2 minute video about Day 1 at IFFLA, on Indie Nari TV.
My overall feeling at IFFLA was one of complete awe at the quality and diversity of the films I watched. Some of my personal favorites were Fandry, Qissa, Aankhon Dekhi, Liar’s Dice, Ugly and Phoring. These 6 films are in 5 different languages! This can happen ONLY in India.
I loved how culturally specific the films were, it made the viewing experience so authentic, diverse and rich.
In Nagraj Manjule’s Fandry, I was transported to the beautiful camel colored landscape of rural Maharashtra, to times I’ve spent camping and trekking through the Sahyadris, during my school days. The story, its visual story telling, the thematic clarity, the performances and the background score by Alokananda Dasgupta make this simple story of caste discrimination in India a true gem.
Qissa by Anup Singh, took the audience to a recently partitioned Punjab. The very original story, the visual beauty, the music, the language and the performances in this film were just breathtaking. Tillotama Shome, Rasika Dugal, Tisca Chopra and Irrfan Khan were brilliant!
Rajat Kapoor’s Aankhon Dekhi is an incredibly original film. A feast of humor, excellent dialogue, like this gem had me laughing out loud,”Accha chup rehe kar aur bhi zyada gyaan milega”! Performances so brilliant they seemed almost documentary like! The music is brilliant and the elaborate mise-en-scene shots were all the work of a master auteur. Rajat Kapoor is a genius, India’s Fellini, I eagerly await his next film and I will be watching this one a few more times. After the film, I half expected to exit the theater and buy chai in a kulhaad in a galli in Old Delhi!
I was so happy to hear that Nagraj Manjule’s film, ‘Fandry’ got the jury award for Best Feature film. I had a wonderful interview with him the day before he received the award and was touched by his simplicity and genuineness. Congratulations Nagraj and Vivek Kajaria. I will post the video tomorrow with my detailed post on Fandry. Even though I felt gulit pangs every so often, about leaving the kids for 5 days, I am so glad I took the time for myself. My creativity was definitely sparked and I feel ENERGIZED!
I am a filmmaker, a photographer, a writer, a mother. I used to be a blogger.
At first, I wrote about my dreams, insecurities, books and movies. When I became a mother, my posts became sporadic and mostly about mothering. After the birth of my second child, blogging was left in the dust. I became an instant gratification junkie on facebook and twitter.
With the kids more self sufficient now, old interests and creative urges have reasserted themselves. I crave meaningful connection, and a true expression of my creative voice.
On this blog, sometimes vlog I will post thoughts, pictures and videos about independent film, talk about my own creative projects and follow indie filmmakers that inspire me. I will share my adventures and some amazing people I have met along the way. I hope you will visit often and share your stories with me too. Peace and keep creating. Anjalika/Indie Nari.