#9 Write ups – Jobless and (shamelessly) proud (2012)

Being jobless is the time when you have nothing to do. Absolutely true! But have you ever wondered, how difficult it is not to do anything at all? I mean just not doing anything?

When you are resting, you are resting. When you are watching the re runs of The Simpsons, you are watching them. When you are sticking a finger up your nose finding that hidden treasure, you are doing something. Doing something! There is always a verb in a sentence. Without a verb a sentence is incomplete. And if you agree to that you may even consider that it is impossible to do nothing at all.

Being jobless is the time when you have nothing to do.

Ummm maybe you have to check your facts before calling it true.

What if we somewhat rephrase it just here and there? What if we say, being jobless is the time when you don’t HAVE to do anything. It makes complete sense to me. Because in this short span called life, we never have to do anything! People may put some heavy sacks on our shoulders and command us to carry them. But we can put them down anytime. It is ultimately our choice.

Choice. A choice is what we always have. Decision. A decision is what we always have to make. No matter how much our teacher makes us do our homework we can choose not to. No matter how much our parents force us to take up a job, no matter how much our boss makes us do shitty work… We have a choice. We can always say ‘no’ on anyone’s face and write our own story. Of course it is practical. And of course it has its consequences.

So here I am, watching my favourite movie, sipping hot Bournvita in this weather REGARDLESS of the insignificant advices that float around me. Because if you have faith in the choices you make, if you have the courage to support your intuition then you can stand tall and say, “Fuck you. 2+2 is always 4 in math not in life.”

Jobless and proud: Yes that’s what I am. And that’s what I am always going to be. Because whatever I will do, it won’t be a job given by a random Armani wearing guy. It will be something I have accepted to do. It won’t be an accident. It will be my self-written-destiny… And when you do something you really want to do, when you pour your heart into it, you become good at it and most importantly, find happiness!

Note: For all those who think this just looks good on paper not in reality, the last line in the second last para is for you. (Shamelessly)

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#8 Write ups – Adapt. In Multiples. (2012)

If the balance sheet tallies at the end of the year without any hassle– they party. But it doesn’t happen always…

Turning 20 is sort of sort of sort of…  a paradigm shift. It is this fancy line that you cross (willingly or unwillingly) and then you are ready to embrace life. The way people react to it really makes me feel that after 20 your brain emits these super neural signals that equip you with

Option A. Ultrasonic audibility – so that you can hear what they just say in their mind and act in the suitable way

Option B. Two extra hands (Devi style, sprouting from your armpits) – for extra involuntary work

Option C. The John Travolta smile – embrace life, remember? To be content with what may come along

And you know what? THEY are right. You build your arsenal slowly. But eventually you find yourself upgraded with these weapons at your hand. (putyournamehere) Volume 2.o

Darwin (held up by his Dumbledore-like beard) suggested that humans evolved from animals. We developed our advanced methods, rules and system en route. And to make the never-ending story short, we are at the top of the food chain (figuratively of course) because we are good at adjusting to the environment. We are adroit at calculating thecompound interest on our investment in any manner.

Any manner, absolutely

Yesterday, today and tomorrow – three entities separated by merely anything. It just takes a moment for today to transform into yesterday. Doesn’t this scare you? I mean the whole concept of IS being just another WAS, in a jiffy?

The song which once upon a time was our ringtone, is now not even in our memory card. The people without whom we thought life was impossible are just another chapter in our love story. Why talk about others, we look at our favourite pictures and proclaim that we looked different then. Our own emotions become a joke for us.

Why?

Because they are ‘Yesterday’. And we are ‘Today’. But ‘Tomorrow’ for someone we will be ‘Yesterday’. And we wont be worth a penny.

If the balance sheet tallies at the end of the year without any hassle– they party. But it doesn’t happen always. Simply because we forget to count those things, which actually count. Those intangible assets of ours… Goodwill – the chapter that we all skip in our accounts paper. We keep scratching our heads, adding and subtracting again and again and again. And we can’t find out what went wrong. Tedious calculations and our advanced methods are not enough to solve the most complex problems. Therefore common sense, free will and a good sense of humour have their own importance.

#9 Excerpts – Years Shall Run Like Rabbits

But all the clocks in the city

Began to whirr and chime:

O let not Time deceive you,

You cannot conquer Time.

In headaches and in worry

Vaguely life leaks away,

And Time will have his fancy

To-morrow or to-day.

From Before Sunrise, an excerpt of the W H Auden poem, “As I Walked Out One Evening

#3 James Cameron – Terminator 2: Judgement Day

If we were to lose the ability to be emotional, if we were to lose the ability to be angry, to be outraged, we would be robots. And I refuse that.
~ Arundhati Roy

I was reading about how Kubrik, Lucas, Spielberg and Cameron pioneered the cinematic techniques that we now take for granted. And it was motivating beyond an extent. It is so fascinating to know how once what seemed impossible to achieve was made possible, not in theory but in reality. These cinematic geniuses, throughout their career have ventured into some unexplored vistas and built a special place for themselves in the industry.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day(1991) is a sequel to The Terminator (1984), which introduces us to the young John Connor, yet unsure of his destiny. Sarah Connor, after attempting to bomb the early phases of Skynet gets arrested and held in a mental asylum. John was brought up believing in a future where humans have to fight the machines they once created. In the current scenario, John is confused and chooses to believe the easier way out that his mother is a mentally unstable and his childhood was based on a lie. John lives with his foster parents, but fails to have an emotional connection with anyone.

John Connor of the future reprograms T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger)  and sends it back in time to protect his younger self from T-1000, an advanced poly-alloy cyborg. Now the most interesting fact about the film is that Schwarzenegger plays the protector over here and not the antagonist. People loved Schwarzenegger in The Terminator as a villain. And this bad guy to good guy change was publicized with great efforts. The trailer emphasized this sole point.

The film includes multifarious dimensions to action scenes, including a chase, one-man-army sequences, an against all odds sequence in the end, survival, comeback, melee combat, all in one bundle. There is a giant leap in terms of the use of prosthetics, CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and natural human motion. If you compare the iconic mechanical face and red eye scene in the first part and this one, you will realize why exactly this film was a breathtaking escalation in visual effects. Needless to say, the film received 6 Academy Awards including Visual Effects, Make-up, Cinematography and Editing.

Another interesting aspects about movies in the science fiction era such as Alien (1979), Back to the Future Trilogy (1985 – 1991) and the Terminator series, is Cinematic liberty. These films pioneered visual effects, but unavailability of certain phenomenons did not restrict them from achieving cinematic brilliance. Alien has very few glimpses of the alien, the alien planet and outer space itself. The first Terminator has the Terminator wearing Sunglasses after exposing his cybernetic body underneath his organic cloak. The whole Terminator series assumed and emphasized that no machines can travel through time unless covered with organic material. It is interesting to see how budget changes the plot and makes it what we see on screen.

As I said in my post about Cameron’s Aliens, Cameron brings out the human emotional aspect in each and every film he makes. The very few scenes of interaction between T-800 and the young John leave a deep impact on you. John, teaches the Terminator to be a little more human to have conscience above objectives. And the machine protects John like a father that he never had. Their relationship develops so eloquently that in the end when T-800 states that he must be destroyed to prevent the war, and slowly starts descending towards his termination, I was touched. I was wretched that John is going to lose his father figure yet again. I kept watching the last scene again and again like a kid, like John wanting to see T-800 again…

T-800: I know now why you cry. But that’s something I can never do.

#2 Poetry – I’ll Wait (2012)

I’ll wait for the day, when the man becomes a dog

All he can do… is to bark

I’ll wait for the day, when he knows how it feels

To live with a… broken heart

And that day my friend, is waiting for us all

Waiting for us all to be men

I’ll wait for the day, when birds again will sing-a song

The one, everyone… can hear

I’ll wait for the day, when the trees are allowed to breathe

The air… that nobody owns

And that day my friend, is waiting for us all

Waiting for us all to be free

I’ll wait for the day, when our tears won’t be sour

Nobody ever… has to cry

I’ll wait for the day, when I’ve to wait NO MORE

I’ll live in a world… full of smiles

And that day my friend, is waiting for us all

Waiting for us all to believe­­

#9 Excerpts – Funeral Blues

Funeral Blues ~ W H Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

I came across the poem on watching Four Weddings And A Funeral by Mike Newell. John Hannah, reads the poem on the funeral of his lover inspiring Hugh Grant to do whatever he can to be with his love. You can watch the video here.

#8 Excerpts – Conversation with the creator (The Truman Show)

Christof: Truman, you can speak. I can hear you!

Truman: Who are you?

Christof: I am the creator of a television show that gives people hope and joy and inspiration to millions

Truman: And who am I?

Christof: You’re the star…

Truman: Was nothing real?

Christof: You were real. That’s what made you so good to watch…

(Truman turns to exit)

Christof: (interrupts) Listen to me Truman. There is no more truth out there than there is in the world I created for you. Same lies, same deceit… But in my world you have nothing to fear. I know you better than you know yourself.

Truman: You never had a camera in my head.

Christof: You’re afraid. That’s why you can’t leave. It’s okay Truman, I understand. I have been watching you your whole life. I was watching when you were born. I was watching when you took your first step. Watched you on your first day to school. The episode when you lost your first tooth! (laughs) You can’t leave Truman. You belong here, with me. Talk to me. Say something… Say something god-damn-it you’re on television. You’re live to the whole world.

Truman: In case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and good night.

(laughs)

(takes a bow)

From The Truman Show (1998)

The conversation between True Man (Truman) and Christ Of (Christof). You can watch the video here.

#2 Sanjay Leela Bhansali – Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela

If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.
~ Winston Churchill

I think it was just a week ago when Robert De Niro visited India and had a discussion on his performance in Raging Bull. He spoke about how important it is in film not to overact, and the emotions flow through your body effortlessly. Sometimes less is more! And I watched Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela today, which was totally against this school of thought.

Shakespeare is the most filmed author ever in any language. Indian cinema has adapted the works of ‘The Bard of Avon’ quite interestingly – Angoor (1982), Maqbool (2003), Omkara (2006) to name a few declared adaptations. However, as it is rightly said, there are only 8 stories in the world which are nudged just a bit to suit the requirements of time. Adaptations literally declare the story. We know how it ends. That’s what makes adaptations so interesting. All of us know the story, but the main challenge is to make it sound as fresh as new!

In the matter of freshness, using two extremely fresh faces worked in favour of the film. Deepika Padukon was brilliant as the desi Juliet, Ranveer Singh was, ummm… He simply existed in the film. I thought the set up of the film was indeed very promising! The first ten minutes were extremely lively and I was pretty much involved in the film. Until, Ranveer Singh’s entry. I feel the film went completely downhill from there on.

Maybe his character (Ram) lacked depth. His wants were so vague and oscillating. He did not take responsibility of his actions. He appeared smart sometimes, but completely pea-brained in terms of using his authority. His performance had energy, but going in all the wrong directions.

Deepika’s character (Leela) was far more convincing. A passive flawed character, yet determined. She knew what she wanted and she exceeded her limitations for getting it. At every point of the film, the situation was forced upon her. Every decision was taken for her without  her total consent. Is this how SLB wanted to portray women in India?

Exaggerated use of colours, sets and dialogues. At many points lyricism was made contemporary through SMS quatrains pretty convincingly. Colours added the effect and emphasized the mood. Dialogues to a certain extent were overboard.

The message of Romeo and Juliet was how families can divide relationships. Ramleela taught me better ways of using my phone like locking my device with complicated codes, using Twitter from a Nokia Asha and not leaving my phone on silent for weeks when my girlfriend is mad at me. Families are not keeping you apart you dumbass Ram, it is your inability to act mainly due to watching too much of porn.

 

#1 My Creation – Argument (December 2011) – Backstory

A Shot From The Film Argument

Before this film, I helped a friend of mine in the edit, sound design and visual effects for his short film ‘Pause’ in which I acted as well. And the film had a very warm response from the audience. We decided to make one more short film, which failed miserably. I had a really clear idea about the story of the film and the dialogues as well. But for some reason I couldn’t convey it very well. My friend slept the entire afternoon and I was demoralised.

I realized the importance of having the script in writing. Even when you are writing, directing, shooting and editing the film on your own, you are not the only mind working on it. When you direct your actors, they give their suggestions. They may be brilliant but not in sync with the demand of the script. When you have your script in your hand you can simply ask your actors to stick to the plan when it is necessary. It is very important for the director, the captain of the ship to have a command over his vessel. A hard copy of the script in your hand is your map, your compass and your wheel.

I also had a very simple shot division plan and a storyboard this time. I borrowed a camera, a Canon 550 from a friend of mine, a 50mm 1.8 lens from another friend in a different part of the city, I asked my dad and a friend of his to act and was all set to shoot.

The shoot was in the afternoon at Juhu beach and I was running around everywhere since morning. When we reached at the location it struck me that I forgot my script at home! I hadn’t explained the script to the actors by then. But we were losing light. We had to start. So again, even this time I was without a script even after writing it so precisely.

I struggled while directing but everything was alright. I had to come back on the next day to take a few inserts. The treatment changed drastically on the edit table. But I am glad we could finish this. The film was screened at Usha Pravin Gandhi College during Aahan International Short Film Festival in January and that was my first screening. The film got the second best film award and thus it all started.

The film was screened at a few more festivals in 2012. I tried sending the film to Berlin Short Film Festival but it couldn’t work out. Quite recently, all of my films were screened back to back at My Mumbai Film Festival. I couldn’t go for the screening but my mother and my younger brother did. My brother said that out of all the films, Argument received the best response. By many aspects, my work after this film was more substantial for me in terms of quality and reach as well. But I think the first step, the first boost was essential.

As I look back, when I made the film I did not know whether I was shooting at 24 fps or 25 fps. I spent at least 15 minutes in changing the lens, which doesn’t take more than 5 seconds. I almost lost my friend’s SD Card. I was turning the focus ring when it was on auto and I thought I broke it. There were so many retakes just because I kept my tripod in the frame. And many more mistakes, which taught me more than any institute would have.