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Archive for April, 2010

Hands Up: Laxmi Rai & Nitin Sathya

Episode 9, Part 1

Episode 9, Part 2

Episode 9, Part 3


Preview: Sapno Ke Desh Mein

The Hindi version of Chetan Shah’s Framed, Sapno Ke Desh Mein is releasing in Mumbai, Pune, Baroda & Ahmedabad on Friday 23rd April.

Chetan writes:

“Yes I know it is the weekend of the IPL final but that is the only date that was available to an independent film like ours. Won’t tell you what the film is about, if you want a clue click on the links below. But better, go check the film out at a theatre near you. If you like it, tell your friends, and if you don’t like it tell your enemies.

HD Digital empowers independent filmmaking both in terms of budget and cinematic choices. For one thing we were able to work with tremendously talented first time actors. We conducted auditions, found our cast, workshop-ed them into the characters they play. During the shoot we didn’t have to worry about conserving footage – we went upto 20 takes sometimes; shot 40 hours of footage for a 2 hour movie – a luxury for a low budget production. Also, digital allows easy ways to alter and tweak images in post. Coming to exhibition we could stay with Digital Projection which is gaining currency by the day. More and more theatres are installing state-of-the-art digital projection systems. This not only involves a huge saving on 35 mm print costs but offers pristine clean prints and full surround sound. So at no point in the production – shooting, editing, audio-post, exhibition – did we revert to analogue. HD Digital is the technology of the future and I’m proud we were among the first to embrace it.

See you at the movies.

Chetan”

Here’s everything you need to do know about Sapno Ke Desh Mein:

‘Sapno Ke Desh Mein’ is an independently-made feature film to be released in major metros on 23rd April 2010, followed by release in other metros and mini metros.

In an era of the Digital Technology revolution that has engulfed the film industry, ‘Sapno Ke Desh Mein’ is one of the first feature films that is Digital from script to screen.

Stretching the conventions of production technology and storytelling, the film has experimented in a number of areas: Narrative structure, cinematic form, background score, songs in a Hindi-English, raga-rock fusion. Not bound by norms or formulas ‘Sapno Ke Desh Mein’ makes for an unusual cinema-going experience in the country today. The film is an attempt to entertain an audience without pandering to them.

Synopsis

‘Sapno Ke Desh Mein’ (CBFC ‘U’. 106 minutes) is about a group of college students who think that a harmless prank has resulted in their Dean’s death. They cover their tracks making it look like an accident but as the law closes in on them, they uncover a sinister plot behind the death and have to implicate the real culprits to establish their innocence.

The film is a murder mystery, with humour and romance. Within this murder mystery format the film engages with a broader theme questioning the veracity of what the camera records and the authenticity of what the eye sees. One theme the film explores is that both of these frames – the camera and the mind’s eye – are equally capable of distorting reality.

Making of the film: A classic case of going the Digital way.

‘Sapno Ke Desh Mein’ has been shot on the newly available High Definition Digital format which involves a huge cost saving for independent filmmakers, plus enhanced image and sound quality. Digital offers extraordinary possibilities for image manipulation, colour correction and CG in post. The film is to be exhibited at theatres equipped with HD Digital projection systems which involves a huge saving on 35 mm print costs, offers a clean projected image without pinholes and scratches, top quality six track surround sound, and avoids messy reel change-overs.

Hinglish

The film was originally shot as a Hindi–English mix using live synch recording. The predominantly English version ‘Framed’ had a limited release in Chennai at a time when there were few digital theatres in the multiplexes. A re-edited, predominantly Hindi version is now hitting theatres, thanks to the boom in digital projection.

Music

The theme music and background score – using only guitar sounds – have been composed and performed by Boston-based guitarist Prasanna on acoustic and electric guitar – no other instrument has been used. Prasanna scored the music for the Oscar winning documentary ‘Smile Pinki’. The movie also has four songs composed by four different ad-film music directors. The film experiments in a number of areas, music being one of them: the songs are woven into realistic situations.

Cast and Crew

The cast is a mix of experienced stage actors and first timers. The young ensemble cast have been painstakingly assembled after extensive auditions across the country and largely drawn from Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore theatre. Actor Rohan Gupta studied drama in New York and is working in Mira Nair’s forthcoming production. Lekha Washington was an IPL anchor and has bagged a number of plum Tamil and Hindi film roles. Karthik Kumar runs a successful theatre group and is an accomplished screen actor. Film stalwarts like Dhritiman Chaterji and Tinnu Anand, as well as consummate senior stage actors, gave the newcomers guidance and confidence.

Acclaimed cinematographer Navroze Contactor has wielded the HD Digital camera and noted classical-contemporary dancer Nirmala Seshadri has choreographed the dance movements for natural spontaneity.

Writer – Director

Chetan Shah, a philosophy graduate from Cambridge, worked on David Lean’s ‘A Passage to India’ before he established himself as an independent filmmaker of international documentaries, ads, corporate videos, and TV serials. His Malay language serial for Singapore TV achieved top ratings and won six awards. Chetan Shah has written three plays in English which have been successfully staged. ‘Sapno Ke Desh Mein’ is his first feature film.



Hands Up: Arya & Director Vijay

Episode 8, Part 1

Episode 8, Part 2

Episode 8, Part 3


Jaane Kahaan Se Aayi Hai: It’s all about loving a heavenly body

Genre: Romance

Director: Milap Milan Zaveri

Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Jacqueline Fernandez, Vishal Malhotra, Ruslaan Mumtaz, Sonal Sehgal

Storyline: Boy meets alien girl. Boy loves alien girl. Boy gets alien girl

Bottomline: Supremely juvenile, extremely predictable and a cheesy romantic comedy with a totally unwarranted soppy climax

When you know it’s a film from the writer of Masti, Jhankaar Beats and Hey Baby, you know what to expect, don’t you?

Jaane Kahaan Se Aayi Hai has every bit of the writer’s stamp – wordplay as pun-ishment, cheap jokes, juvenile humour, male bonding, sexual innuendo and an unhealthy porn obsession that makes you wonder if Milap wrote this film way back when he was 17. But, at least, it earnestly captures the frustrations of the phase of life when girls just wanted to be “just friends”… except with the hottest guy around.

It’s these portions that give Jaane Kahaan Se Aayi Hai a promising start.

To get things started, Milap liberally borrows from Farah Khan’s cinema, not just in spirit and theme but also literally. He casts Farah as a director, recreates Om’s pining for the starlet in Om Shanti Om (cross that, it’s the star’s sister in this case) and lines up self-deprecatory star cameos that will make you smile. These are the most entertaining portions of the film which, otherwise, would have resembled Aladin with Riteish playing a Loser all over again, greatly in need of divine intervention/genie/girl from outer space to change his life.

Often reminding you of Shahid Kapoor’s debut film Ishq Vishq Pyaar Vyaar, (especially with Vishal Malhotra reprising his role as the hero’s sex-starved porn-addict best friend and Satish Shah as the salacious Dad yet again) Milap Milan Zaveri nurses greater ambitions of being the poor man’s Karan Johar (as Farah Khan reacts to the hero’s cheesy lines on love) and this is exactly what jars in an otherwise delightfully juvenile film.

Yet, the first half of the film is a breeze. The film coasts along with the easy-on-the-eye Jacqueline Fernandez playing the alien girl who falls into the boy’s arms at the lowest point in his life. Vishal Malhotra as Riteish’s best buddy Kaushal keeps the laughs coming with his obsession with pornstar Pink Pussycat and his attempts to make Tara (the alien girl) copy her moves.

Jacqueline is no doubt pretty, she does have an other-worldly ethereal smile, luscious long legs and a generous heart (Kaushal knows what I am talking about) to carry off this role and Riteish wears the lovelorn puppy-dog expression long enough to have you rooting for him. Together, the Riteish-Jacqueline-Vishal trio is dynamite as Milap’s writing sparkles with single-boy angst. “What’s a virgin,” asks alien girl. “Virgin is a very ill-fated human,” says the boy.

Where the film falters is towards the second half as Milap tries to get you all sentimental, stretching the climax portions to ridiculous levels with hardly any any real conflict to sustain the drama.

Barring the plot of boy falling for alien girl, there’s hardly anything even remotely original about this film. It plays out exactly as you predict it will, with nothing more than a few laughs and the crackling chemistry between the trio to keep it afloat.

Watch it only if you are 17 till you die. And if you remember what it was to be a single male who made girls’ heads turn… away.


Prince: No Brain-er

Genre: Action

Director: Kookie Gulati

Cast: Vivek Oberoi, Aruna Shields, Nandana Sen, Sanjay Kapoor, Dalip Tahil

Storyline: A thief who loses his memory has six days to live and figure out why three women and many other men want him

Bottomline: Prince wakes up and finds nothing in his brain. True story. His Royal Highness is only for those who are adequately high

Prince offers some textbook definitions for those interested in the different aspects of Hollywood inspired Bollywood.

Casting: The art of employing a human with a constant “What the Hell is happening, What should my expression be, What is this acting thing” as a person who has lost his memory. Example: Vivek Oberoi in and as Prince or Keanu Reeves (in any film)

Writing: The formality of putting pen to paper, irrespective of detail or length, solely depending on hype and action to draw the crowds in. In Bollywood, this is also synonymous with the accounting term “Writing off”. Example: The 40 crores Tips wrote off to not so charitable causes, also known as Prince

Directing: The audacity of a storyteller to believe that the words “It’s showtime” go best with an expression that actually says: “I’m a jackass”. This arrogance also extends to the confidence with which a storyteller peppers his narrative with other gems like: “I am in. It’s time to win” or “I had scanned the virus of greed in her eyes” (Maine Uske Ankhon Mein Laalach Ka Virus Scan Kiya Tha).

Action: Everything that happens between the leading man, the three women claiming to be his girlfriend and the stuntmen in this movie can loosely be classified as action. In a film like Prince, all action is part of the acting. Sample: What Vivek Oberoi and Aruna Shields do before everyone and everything around them gets blown to bits. Girls + Guns + Gangs = Action

Hero: A guy who can do all stunts from The Matrix to Die Hard to Mission Impossible to Dhoom with the absolute conviction that they are being done for the very first time. The Hero, who is some parts James Bond, some parts Ethan Hunt and some parts Austin Powers and Johnny English, always has women behind him and gets even the ones who want to kill him.

Heroine: Girl in leather who loves the Hero who can be identified from a group of similar women from the moderation of cleavage. Not to be judged on the basis of films done in the past. For example, Aruna Shields (in Prince, not in Private Moments)

Vamp: Girl in leather who loves the Hero who can be identified from a group of similar women from the unrestricted nature of cleavage. For example, Nandana Sen (in Prince)

Plot: An excuse for the Hero to get the heroine, the vamp and all the associated action involved. In Prince, it’s the case of him losing his memory that gives him the license to do it all without any moral repercussions. Wipe your moral slate clean, erase your memory, suspend disbelief and let the makers take you on a ride.

Warning: Nausea Alert. This faulty rollercoaster has a few screws missing. Buckle up at your own risk.


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Hands Up: Lekha Washington & SPB Charan

Episode 7, Part 1

Episode 7, Part 2

Episode 7, Part 3


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