The Cemetery helped me to ask questions…

IMG_0237Now that I’ve made a film on my own, I know there is a huge difference in dreaming about making a good film and actually making it good enough. Honestly speaking, I never had the idea about what are the possible threats that might come in my way and overcoming them was purely coincidental. I am sure if I’m left in an equally drastic situation that I was in during the shooting of The Cemetery now, I will deal them in a different way. However, the improvisation was exciting and when I look back to trace my mistakes, I find myself as an immensely strong character who is driven by an even stronger dream!

 

 

 

 

Let’s hope that is my strength. But, in a world where the mass is ready to trade art for anything and everything, where do I or we (a small section of the world who dream about freedom of real art from the shackles of consumerism) stand? We don’t lack inspiration, we don’t lack enthusiasm, we don’t lack the spirit to learn and evolve.

 

What we lack is the question! Is it an amicable situation where we can define our sense of art and challenge the establishment? Or, is it a society that is not as forgetful as the one we are living in?

I’m sorry, I couldn’t find the answer blowing in the wind…

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Ganesh Talkies – A Commercially parallel film!

First impression: Anjan Dutt must be terribly pissed off with the recent trend in the industry that felicitates 100 Crore club members and he decided to make Ganesh Talkies. Well my second impression was logically reasoned and emotionally verified. Hope you will have a patient read…

Probably, this will be a critical appreciation of the movie – Ganesh Talkies. With all the speculations going on in the market and a huge section of the crowd trying to defend the veteran director, I would like to take a route upstream. It was June 24th, 2011 when his national award-winning movie, “Ranjana Ami ar Asbona” was released. Two years from then 21st June saw the release of Ganesh Talkies, a commercial film as proclaimed by the director himself.

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In a country, where film making is either business or art, the idea was to blend both of them and present something entertaining. A film not only dedicated to the class, but also for the mass. Ganesh Talkies, the recent motion picture by Anjan Dutt was a potboiler with many distinguishable characters that you can relate to. The story was simple, lucid and heartwarming for the young and the young-at-heart audience who would admire the actor, director, singer and song writer for all his credibility throughout the years. It gathered momentum from some wonderful performances by the actors and subtle skill from the director. A candid narration added some adequate flavor to the story telling and one has to admit that the film truly celebrated friendship and nostalgia like many other movies of Dutt. He had the courage to state some unsaid verses in his symbolic honest mannerism and you can easily find him and his ideologies in every scene of the movie. However, did Ganesh Talkies prove the quality and excitements that it created or did it surpass the expectation of the audiences far and wide?

Theory:  We are subjected to a very innovative style of cinema. A film where we have a typical hero and a heroine, however, the story is more about two people from two different strata of the society who were school friends and presently the parents of the protagonists. Now, how would you like the audience to react? A section of the crowd who wished to see some masala story with the major characters hardly got anything to take away and a section of the crowd, who inevitably watches a Dutt film found the item song unjust, untimely and extremely unpleasant to match with the nostalgia and the under-dog love story celebration. The screenplay lacked clarity at various points.

They say the market is a pyramid and to generate revenue you have to attack the base. So, our director did the same. However, with his intellect and perception of world cinema, he could not do away with the subtle features of film making that bagged him the much coveted national award. Here, he unknowingly disturbs the niche audience as well as the alluring new market.

Anti-Theory: We already have a dozen of directors in Bengal and may be hundreds of them in India who cannot think of a film without an item number. May be, they start writing the story after a catchy item number is finalized. Sincerely, the “jhal legeche” number was not bad at all, the depiction and use of the song shatters the entire gravity of the film, to be honest. Trusting the veteran film maker with his tastes and modernized approach, I felt that even the climax was too co-incidental. Raima Sen hardly had a screen presence and Chandan Roy Sanyal was seemingly uncomfortable in the first half of the film.

Even then, I won’t say the characters were excellent, but they were very real. However, it might be a choice for the audience to accept or argue.The alternate love story, the grey promoters in the city, the ageless friendship, selfless love and the captivating local goons fighting for power were equally emotional and hilarious from time to time. Anyone would rate Ganesh Talkies ahead of a lot of films released in recent times for coherent reasons.

Ganesh-Talkies-Bangali-Movie

Story in a nutshell: Pashupati (Biswajit) and Pravin (Rajesh) are childhood friends. Pashupati is planning to marry off his daughter Saban (Raima) to an NRI. But Saban is secretly in love with Arjun (Chandan), Pravin’s son. What happens when both families come to know of their concealed romance? The parallel stories revolve around a lack-lusture single screen theatre named “Ganesh talkies” and some enterprising promoters trying to convert it into a multiplex. A cross -cultural love story with all ingredients to tickle the idiosyncratic relationship of bengalis and marwaris which remains the USP of Ganesh Talkies.

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Suggesting “Jhaal Legeche”

Music and the rest: Unlike other Anjan Dutt movies, music of Ganesh Talkies didn’t turn out to be a memorable record to cherish for a long time. Although, I keep humming the “Na Jaane milo ge Kahan” number now and then, the item song, was definitely an itching experience which persisted even after the “happy” ending of the film. The lyrics of the songs are appreciated by one and all. The camera movements and editing were average baring a few signature scenes that can only be seen in an Anjan Dutt movie. However, as announced by the director himself, it would be unjust to expect anything “extra” from Ganesh Talkies for the same reason that would restrict me to write something about Khoka 420.

To wrap up, Ganesh Talkies is a film that should not be quantified with success pertaining to numbers but hearts won and broken. If this was the maiden attempt of Dutt gambling a different genre of films which is sadly known as commercial cinema in India, I must congratulate the Anjan Dutt for his efforts. The unification of viable (read commercial) films and parallel film making was certainly difficult to achieve and the director, like always breaks off the shackles to deliver something for the audience to chew upon. For those who have seen the movie, I would expect a constructive debate and those who are yet to watch Ganesh Talkies, make sure you don’t miss the transformed Dutt.

A Note to the audience from the desk of mymotionpicture:  In India, creating, endorsing and selling something intellectually crisp and indigenous is becoming extremely difficult. As an audience, if you feel restless and frustrated with the decreasing quality of films, original music, plays etc, do have a look at the mirror and reason your choices when it comes to piracy, downloading, stupid south Indian remakes and everything that disturbs the culture and aesthetics of the city and the country. Look around and let the good film makers derive inspiration from deserving claps and proper recognition. It is truly an ominous sign if sensible film makers of our times tend to change their ways and succumb to shallow stories and superficial entertainment. May be a wake up call!

Mise-en-scène of Indian Cinema…

India's recent entry to the Oscars...
India’s recent entry to the Oscars…

Primarily, the articles on the completion of hundred years of Indian cinema reflected a collage of nostalgic incidents entwined with some bleak success stories of Indian cinema. The regional silver screens were predominantly under rated and commercial films that procured solid establishments in the hearts of the mass were glorified. I would like to site some unseen features of this huge industry and speak in favor of some of not so important parts of cinema.

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Arranging a set where the actress leaves her attire before embracing her beloved; I know, no one cares about those candle lights that falls on the shoulders of the scantily dressed couples in the frame. They look alarmingly sensual. However, the sensual scenes or a romantic scene demands a lot of hard work as far as the composition is concerned. From the color of the walls to the positioning of that Monalisa painting on the wall, the director along with the supporting staffs spend a lot of time planning and making things that perfect. You may enjoy those drenched lips and their fading proximity, but that enjoyment insists the light man in the studio to re-create that ambiance every time the script demands for it. Well, it is not only about those cozy bed scenes that I will be talking about. I am interested to discuss all those scenes that require some special gambling of light and shadow.

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Mis-en-scene is a French term that means the arrangement or framing a particular scene. The composition of a scene takes a number of things into account. The director controls over the things that appear prominently and not so prominently on the screen. The set designs, décor, props, costume, make-up are parts of the production design, whereas, cinematography includes lighting, camera position and movements. Acting by the characters in the frame is also a part of the mis-en-scene. From ancient times, Indian movies were typically upgraded versions of plays enacted on stages. Thus, the point of view of a director was mostly on the dialogue deliveries and the acting of the characters framed in the scene. However, with exposure to European movies and various film movements, the Indian cinema developed its own doctrine of mis-en-scene to depict the various visual metaphors. In my opinion, lighting does play a very important role in the composition. The intensity of light, direction and the quality have a profound effect on how an image is perceived. Light affects the way colors are rendered both in terms of hue and depth, and can focus attention on parts or elements in the scene according to its arrangement. So, now you might know why those glossy shoulder lines of your favorite Bollywood damsel shine!

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In scenes where the protagonist exchanges some heated dialogues with his darker counterpart, you will notice a huge difference in the camera angles. How time, space and the chapter of the story determines the camera position speaks so much about film making. Say, the desperado of the movie is a massive man with lots of political and physical power; we tend to look at him from a low angle. They look greater and graver. Consequently, the hero is shot from a high angle or eye-line camera position. That makes him look so humanly and natural. These features of the cinematography are general practices. However, there are a number of examples where innovative ideas are implemented and the mis-en-scene is composed poetically to describe the identity of the scene. Another contrivance is the use of shallow depth of field. This one sets the attention primarily on the subject on which the director wants to focus on. Sometimes placed afar and sometimes nearer to the lens of the camera the use of depth of field helps a lot in the composition of the scene and the process of storytelling.

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Imagine a scene from the films in the seventies or even earlier and the ones we watch now, some of the films from sensible film makers have developed by leaps and bounds and the ones that fall under the category of senseless movies have deteriorated like never before. Thus, it is quite imperative to underline the effects of these arrangements in the framing of a scene depicting love, empathy, anger, romance, grief or every other emotion on-screen. The film makers of the present industry are assisted by a number of trained technicians who offer their experience and practical wisdom in making those riveting scenes we enjoy every Friday! The mis-en-scene of Indian cinema will be incomplete without the contribution of all those names that scroll up after the movie. Your pop corns are exhausted, your cold drinks glasses are empty and you know who made the films. So, their names remain unnoticed. This article would rather demand a definite detailing of these people working behind the scenes. However, with the constraints of time and space, I would like to conclude with a huge thanks to the entire team of light man, cameraman, assistant directors, Foley artists, sound man and all those people who add so much life to those films. The films become that particular piece of art only because these people help in the mis-en-scene of the film.

mis-en-scene11 LIFE OF PI

Signing off from the desk of my-motion-picture till a heartfelt mis-en-scene captures that much-needed standing ovation…

Film criticism – Expecting more insight in film making…

In an attempt to describe and rate movies, the basic ethnicity of human instincts gets deceived very spontaneously. A film get released, hits the theaters, welcomed or rejected by audiences and then people speak about its success or failure stories. The entire routine of film making is more than what is described by the film critics in India. I wouldn’t have hesitated to name a few of them; however, a sense of gratification encapsulates my latent wishes. I am not writing this to criticize film critics in India, rather to reform the whole practice of film criticism in India. In one of my other articles in my-motion-picture, I voiced my opinion about development of authentic motion picture criticism in India and here I would like to speak some basic things about a proper film criticism. An expert observation and a comprehensive perception of the entire film should be the words of the film critic who happens to earn his living through these appraisals and excerpts.

I got filmed!
I got filmed!

If Pather Panchali marked an era in Indian film industry where potential contenders are recognized worldwide, the director of the film, Satyajit Ray should be accountable for his contribution towards the development of the film industry. Be it the Mumbai industry (Bollywood) or the prominent regional film industries in India. In one of his writings, Ray spoke about the dicey reviews and unprofessional approach of the film critics not only in India but also a few hailing from some developed countries of the world. In his words, “Since film critics repeatedly said that Pather Panchali was my best film, it naturally evoked a question in my mind; hasn’t the effect of criticism been beneficial to my art?

Long times; many a springs and autumns are wasted. We are living in 2013 and still film criticism in India is merely a profession where the so called intellectuals draw money for describing box office reports and how an item number is so high on the list of a commercial radio channel chart-buster! Pity… In terms of a promising criticism, a genuine film critic should ideally be a bridge between the film maker and the audiences. Some of the films made might not be ideal for the audiences of a particular region. Or, an adaptation from a novel might require some basic changes which should be readily accessible and reasonable to a film critic. However, the critics I read are mostly after the directors if a film fails to appeal in the first week. Similarly they praise some senseless cinemas which might see some bright opening due to the presence of a super star. I would echo Ray again and would like to request these film reviewers to drop their pens and rather establish their identity as someone from the crowd.

A film critic should have the knowledge and insight of the entire process of film making from scripting to editing. He should be clear with his sentences and descriptions which will enlighten the audiences about the pros and cons of a movie. I personally believe that a film maker or director hardly needs to know anything more about his own film. He knows where his movie excelled and what the limitations were. He, as a director has anchored the entire team to produce something that he would expect audience to relate to. In this scenario, if a critic cannot substantiate his words and describe the merits and demerits of the film, it is surely going to irritate the director. A critic, as I already mentioned, should recognize that a film is not a personal creation rather a joint venture. He should understand that a bad movie is not entirely the result of poor direction; a blockbuster is similarly a collective effort where the director should get a major share of the praise.

Black reels hurting arty Indians.The problem does not evoke a sense of emergency among the readers of this article. Accepted! But, as an audience you should also accept your money going wayward. You tend to believe reports from people who hardly connect with the art of film making. Bribes and personal endorsement from the producers ensure the box office results and then after those cold and rough three hours you have a tendency to accept the bleak prospects of a mindless film. A good movie fails to reach more audiences due to the similar reasons. How will the audience assess a movie when the preacher speaks ill of it without knowing the basic aesthetics of film making.

In this entire course of the article, I wanted to encourage new-age film students to come in front and take up the onus of describing films and its deeper implications. Film is a form of art that requires the collective effort of other artists and thus as a critic you should have the understanding of each of those sections, at least the basics. Satyajit Ray’s famous quote on his decision of making music for his films, “Ever since Two Daughters I’ve been composing my own music.” speaks vividly about the importance of a basic aptitude in all the forms of art that constitute a movie.

Motion pictures or films are almost like daughters to a director. They are nourished, fed, molded, reformed and corrected for so many reasons to be that piece of art. The art that causes tears and laughter in the theaters, that creation which demands claps and praises from the audiences and that piece of commerce which will fetch trust and money for the producer who believed in the concept of the film.  So, let film criticism evolve as an art in itself and not a duping profession that manages to draw a salary out of some dead words.

Signing off from the desk of my-motion-picture till critics rises with a new sun as the key-light of scenes and cinemas in India…

 

Truffaut: from “400 Doors” to “Confidentially Yours”!

Francois TruffautThere are two kinds of directors: those who have the public in mind when they conceive and make their films, and those who don’t consider the public at all. For the former, cinema is an art of spectacle; for the latter, it is an individual adventure. There is nothing intrinsically better about one or the other; it’s simply a matter of different approaches…”

François Truffaut

Did You Know: As the french director drew inspiration from films he witnessed during the war his youth compelled him to criticize some senseless movies and mindless films. He was not sure whether he wanted to be a film maker or a critique. However, he ended up in being an institution of films and film making! francois_truffaut1

Filmography of François Truffaut

Hitchcock loves to be misunderstood, because he has based his whole life around misunderstandings.”

— François Truffaut on Hitchcock.

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Hawa Badol – Expecting blooming friendship…

After a long while it feels great to occupy a cozy chair at one of those theaters in Kolkata and watch a Bengali feature film that will surely offer some food for thought. Oh! I forgot to mention that the second directorial venture of one of the most sensible cinematic professionals of Tollywood (Kolkata’s film industry popularly called As.), Parambrata Chatterjee’s “Hawa Badol” is set to hit the screens today (22nd March, 2013).

A story primarily speaking about bonds of friendship and childhood companionship have already been narrated so many times by so many film makers. However, this flick from ParamBrata is surely going to touch the hearts of care –free residents of this metropolitan city. The city bound hectic activities of a so called established expert and some unrecognized efforts of a creative guy super impose their truths and philosophies of life. They battle their differences and embrace their equalities to fabricate something that they longed for. What came in between then?

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Hawa Badol, starring Rudranil Ghosh, Raima Sen, Neha Panda and the Director himself along with cameos from established actors from the industry will surely tickle your humor bones along with depicting some renewed crisis that the present generation faces every day. The bread and butter of this career centric generation do lack the time to stand and stare if I have to quote W.H.Davies, and apparently that differentiates success and happiness in the real world. The trailer of the movie along with the music tracks truly reminds me about some happier times and I hope the story does the same thing.

As far as the success of the Hawa Badol, the movie is concerned, I am personally very hopeful about the outcome of the movie. The best films produced last year had nothing in common apart from the fact that they had something innovative in them. Some stories that were never told or some known stories told in a way, like never before.

As I head towards the premier of the movie, I would like the audience to decipher this candid movie from the bottom of their heart that genuinely is a new generation flick celebrating friendship in an era of i-phones!

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture till I come back and rest a while after the intense Hawa Badol…

A long and persuading revolution is round the corner – People are worried about the degrading quality of cinema! Senseless movies hitting the screens are falling on their knees. Although silent, the boycott of senseless movies is gaining momentum!

 

mymotionpicture

India is a land of tradition and culture. It accommodates religions of so vivid theories and beliefs. That brings to my mind a thought that Indians do have a taste of art and literature. Religion, I believe is best described with art and culture. The religious books, doctrines, shrines, temples, mosques, churches, stories, fables, hymns, carols and everything that actually describe each of the religion are nothing but a masterpiece of art. The artists who created each of those creations were religiously in favor of their religion and preached love for god and humanity.

Two film critics in an auditorium in Europe. an old picture!

If that is true, Indians should inherit the taste for art and culture in terms of songs, films, plays or any other forms of creative art that goes live for the audiences residing in the country. I am not speaking about preaching religion, I am voicing for creating sensible art.

If my readers are yet to…

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Zila Gaziabad defines “Senseless Indian films”!

I come back to my signature topic, “senseless Indian films” once again after punishing my brain and mind with a so called motion picture named Zila Gaziabad! Believe me folks, I don’t care if I misspell the name of the director or the producer or anyone associated with the movie. Spending an odd 20-30 crore on a movie that is so poorly made is a sheer loss of resources in a country where people seek quality entertainment after their everyday challenges!

Poster of Zila Gaziabad
Poster of Zila Gaziabad

I don’t know what actually inspires this idiotic bunch of people and I don’t know what gives them enough courage to make something so shallow and demeaning in the name of a movie! I won’t discuss the plot, neither will I speak about what went wrong as there was nothing to describe apart from flashy south Indian action and some skinny item numbers in the movie!

“Commercial cinema” is the misused term that destroys all the efforts made by sincere directors and film makers of this country. The definition of commercial cinema is so badly depicted that the entire class of cinema is getting affected. The adverse effect of films like Zila Gaziabad can be witnessed on the box office readings as well. People will still have the courage of making another movie or a masala movie like this in the near future, I am sure! However, the story actually demanded a lot of drama and polished action sequences that took Gangs of Wasseypur to a different level. Let them call these movies as commercial ones, I will still call them as senseless Indian cinema! Read about the top five Hindi movies of 2012! Aren’t they commercial? Ask the happy producers!

Item numbers are such crowd pullers! (calculated Pun)
Item numbers are such crowd pullers! (calculated Pun)

I wonder how, the producer convinced actors like Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Asutosh Rana to do a movie that has such a weak screenplay! A movie with almost no depth in its script and no storyline whatsoever! It is proved time and again that movies like this end up in the losing side. However, a muscle man (read Salman Khan) is still convincingly handsome in his heroic mannerisms and still minting gold out of these so called commercial movies! I don’t know if he is doing something good to the Indian economy, but I firmly believe that his movies and his way of portraying himself in the movies should be self-reviewed!

Is he amused? Or is there anything wrong with his reasoning capabilities? If a doctor reads this, please prescribe a pill for these poor fellows and I will wish them, “Get well soon”! (*grins)

The music, the direction, the casting, the dialogues, the cinematography, the story demands a null out of anything you wish to score this film on! Although, we can give a round of applause to the action director for creating those international moves on Indian silver screen, Period!

My Rating: 2/10.

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture as it collapses in laughter after experiencing something as hilarious as Tom and Jerry (read Zila Gaziabad). Waiting for its premier in POGO very soon! What is wrong with Indian Cinema?

Boycott senseless and effing cinemas in India! The Society bleeds heavily…

India is a land of tradition and culture. It accommodates religions of so vivid theories and beliefs. That brings to my mind a thought that Indians do have a taste of art and literature. Religion, I believe is best described with art and culture. The religious books, doctrines, shrines, temples, mosques, churches, stories, fables, hymns, carols and everything that actually describe each of the religion are nothing but a masterpiece of art. The artists who created each of those creations were religiously in favor of their religion and preached love for god and humanity.

Two film critics in an auditorium in Europe. an old picture!

If that is true, Indians should inherit the taste for art and culture in terms of songs, films, plays or any other forms of creative art that goes live for the audiences residing in the country. I am not speaking about preaching religion, I am voicing for creating sensible art.

If my readers are yet to understand my indication, I am speaking about the endless reels wasted in the name of commercial cinema. In a country where 75% of the people still fight for basics and more than 60% of the people hardly get to know what cinema or films are, the film makers of every genre do have a social responsibility of utilizing the money they get from their producers for the sake of betterment of the art.

The films made in Mumbai, South India and Kolkata (exceptions exist everywhere) depicts a very sad picture as far as good film making is concerned. The producers, directors, writers and everyone involved in films like “Khiladi 786 ” and the likes hardly care about making something that relates real world and the problems in the real society. I named one film as I can’t remember the names of other movies of this genre which people say “entertainment/ commercial”.

Black reels hurting arty Indians.
Was Barfi a non-commercial movie? Or Gangs of Wasseypur? Or films like “Chittagong”, “3 Idiots”, “Kahani” never made money? I feel movies like these serve all the purposes including raising funds for the makers.
The point is why waste money in making something so cheap and so demeaning in terms of art. And why do we still go to the theaters to watch something so trash as far as creativity is concerned. The love for cinema, the love for the art and an urge to make good cinema is all that is required and the rest can be digested. However, the recent facts and figures show us a sad picture of the nation with some silver linings.
India never had a film movement and that has really affected the entire nation’s perception of film watching and film making. I strongly feel, that people like us who prefer quality cinema over these wasted fund reels should raise our voice and ensure that the crowd resonate our call to stop this irresponsible profession and the people who profess it.

The word 'Cut', used more often by politicians than film makers!
I have already boycotted senseless movies and to those who make them I would say, “Even debt collectors make money. Stop being a pimp and respect the art you thought you will profess. If you can’t look at the sky and spit on the air, you will know gravity.”

Period.