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Net Effect

They say experience is the worst kind of teacher. The test comes first and you learn the lesson later. But you remember it for the longest of times. Such scars teach you a lot. And more importantly they keep reminding you of how strong you are.

I recently had a bad experience. Something related to the work I do. I had high expectations from the project and it did not work out the right way. Which made me doubt my abilities and my future a little.

It is foolish to expect each and every experience to be awesome. Nobody likes to have sweets all the time. We need something spicy from time to time. Life is not alway sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes covered in grey clouds of doubt. And thank God for that! It makes us appreciate the good parts. It helps us form memories. It helps us grow.

It is not possible to take everything positively. Some things hurt you at that particular time. And the fact that you feel pain is just a signal that you are alive. Nothing wrong in that. But even if you take some things negatively momentarily, make sure that the net effect is positive. If someone hurts you, and you can’t let it go. Store that potential energy in you. Store that energy till it becomes a volcano. Point it in the right direction and let it erupt. Millions of years ago such volcanos erupted and formed clouds of dust and ash and vapour, eventually raining down on earth and creating life! Volcanos are powerful tools of creation.

No matter what level you reach, it is difficult to handle criticism. Because the higher you rise, the deeper you can fall. Bad experiences make experienced players. And I am going to think about the long term positivity the experience is going to bring in my life. I am going to jot down the things that went wrong from my end and also the errs of the client. And I am going to make sure these same mistakes don’t happen the next time. And trust me, there are limited ways in which  you can go wrong. Once you have gone wrong all the ways, you have no option but to get it right.

Cheers to getting one step closer.

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Jumpy

Eastern grey kangaroo mother carrying a joey in her pouch

Mum kangaroo loved her baby. Why wouldn’t she? Her world had changed after she saw her baby. HER baby. It gave her a sense of pride, a sense of happiness. It was a joy just to see the baby, turn into a bigger baby. She always kept the baby close to her heart. Never letting the baby go out of her sight.

Time went by and the baby grew up. Much to the Mum’s surprise, the baby was now old enough to make Mum a grandmum! But that was for the world. For Mum, baby always remained a baby. One day, baby told her Mum that she was curious. Baby wanted to see the world. Mum said, “I’ll come with you.” But baby, wanted to be alone. “ABSURD. RIDICULOUS.” Mum said. This changed behaviour of baby shocked Mum. She never thought baby could ever want to go away from her.

Mum kangaroo had a friend. That friend stayed on a tree and laid eggs in a nest. So everyone called her Birdie. Every once in a while, the eggs would turn into little birdies. Then Mum birdie would save food to feed them, and work double shift to cope up with the pressure.

One day Mum kangaroo saw something strange. Mum birdie was pushing her little birdies off the high branch. Mum kangaroo yelled, shrieked. Called Mum birdie names for pushing her little ones away and letting them go. But Mum birdie motivated her little ones to jump. They looked at their Mum and took a leap of faith. They fell and they fell! Mum kangaroo closed her eyes and opened only when she heard the sky full of exuberant chirps. Little ones were soaring high!

Then Mum birdie came down, near Mum kangaroo. Kangaroo asked her, “Now your children know how to fly on their own. Would they come back to your nest?” Mum birdie just smiled and said, “Maybe they will. Maybe they wont. But watching them soar is worth the risk. I didn’t want my worry stop my little ones from doing something so wonderful. Sometimes, you just have to let go and believe in what you have taught your children. Things turn out fine.”

Mum kangaroo didn’t sleep that night.

A year had passed since then. Aftrer that night, Mum kangaroo withdrew the boundaries and let baby go. Baby never came back… Instead there was a kangaroo, fully grown. She looked so pretty even Mum couldn’t recognize HER baby. She only recognized her when out of her pocket came a little one, new baby! Mum kangaroo jumped and landed on the ground as a grandmum. That leap was worth it. She quickly held new baby to which her baby said, “Careful!” Grandmum just smiled with a sense of pride, with a sense of happiness and said, “I know…”

#3 Frank Darabont – The Mist

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – H.P. Lovecraft

If you ask me, this the not the director’s well-known comfort zone. But boy I was hooked to my TV screen as I was experiencing this horror. I am a firm believer that one must only watch such films in theaters. So I am hoping that some or the other film festival comes to the town with this movie on the schedule. I wouldn’t dare to miss it.

So just like the director coming out of his niche, let me do the same. Let’s make this post completely out of trivia. Anyway I would not want to spoil the film for you. Just one spoiler – there are actually some disturbing creatures in the film.


1. In the film’s opening scene, the picture David is painting is of Roland the Gunslinger from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.

2. The books in the grocery store’s book rack are all Stephen King novels.

3. It was shot in mere 37 days

4. William Sadler played David Drayton in an audio version of the story.

5. Frank Darabont had originally been offered $30 million by a producer to make this film, but with one crippling caveat: Darabont would have to change his planned ending, a conclusion he’d personally envisioned and nursed for twenty years. In the end, he turned to producer Bob Weinstein and made the movie for half the amount, but only after forfeiting his directorial salary.

6. Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Melissa McBride went on to appear in the Frank Darabont The Walking Dead (2010), another post-apocalyptic survival adventure.

7. The first film Frank Darabont has made that is set in “the present,” barring the “framing story” in The Green Mile (1999).

8. Director Frank Darabont wanted to cast Stephen King in a supporting role, but King turned his offer down. The role eventually went to Brian Libby.

9. Darabont had been interested in adapting The Mist for the big screen since the 1980s.

10. Director Darabont chose to film The Mist after filming the “straighter dramas” The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile because he “wanted to make a very direct, muscular kind of film.”


After watching the film I cannot fail to admire the title of the film and also the byline – Fear changes everything.

#3 Within 40 Hours (2012)

This was the first documentary I was involved in. And it was based on the students of Kamla High School in Mumbai.

1. Pre-production: It is important to invest a good amount of time in pre-production. But that does not mean we can spend 90% of the time on deciding what to do. In our case, the school that we worked for was supportive by all means. We could shoot wherever we want, we could go in a class in the middle of a lecture and interact with the students very easily. So we were sure at least there are no hindrances from the organisation. We could focus on the creative aspects. We chose the right organisation.

2. Best time to shoot: In photography it is known as the Golden Hour. Luckily enough for us, to match the timings of our college and the school, we had to shoot either early in the morning or just before sunset anyway. And in the month of February, the climate was just beautiful for a shoot. I’ve taken some of the prettiest shots out of sheer co-incidence just because the time was right.

3. Some people are camera conscious: Some kids are natural in front of a camera. Some are not. And that applies not only to kids but to everyone. As this was a documentary we could get away with the hesitation as it acted as a character trait to the person. Also, the subject was psychology so we actually used this to convey our point more convincingly.

4. You don’t need to get it right in the first take: We were interviewing ourselves. We were making a presentation where we were telling the audience about our experiences and what we learnt during these 40 hours of work we did at the NGO. So we had the liberty to note down the points so that two people don’t repeat the same ones. And we did so. That worked so well while editing the film. But on the other hand, it made everyone very conscious while they were talking. The best way to deal with this was to cut the shot a line before they fumbled and then ask them to start again just before the line they said incorrectly. I added a movement in the middle so that I could get a cutting point. And it did not appear as a mistake while everyone watched it.

5. The above only works when the subject is ready to coordinate: As we interviewed the professors, we were running short on time. We had to do it in one go. So we had to settle for a simple cross fade to cover up.

6. Double tap: We were using Lapel Mics for recording the interviews. It is important to check that there is no necklace or any element for that matter which is constantly banging on the condenser.

7. Shoot a lot of inserts/ cut-aways.

8. Cinemascope (2.35:1 ratio) adds a really professional look to your film.

9. Music can make or break your film

10. The film was awarded as the best project and it marked the end of our first year in BMM. It left me on a high and inspired my next Documentary, Pardes. More about it soon!

#1 Billy Wilder – Fedora (1978)

Glorify who you are today, do not condemn who you were yesterday.

 

I saw my very first Billy Wilder film today and I can’t wait to watch more of his work. In his career spanning five decades as a film maker, he has accomplished to make sixty film, many of them still considered as classics. I feel dreadful to say that I haven’t been fortunate enough to watch more of his films. I look forward to it.

 

(Spoilers ahead)

 

First things first, I feel the poster gives away the story completely. If you can join the dots, it should not be difficult for you to determine the great secret behind Fedora. As for myself, I knew it all along. I’ve known this story for a long time and it makes me wonder what kept me from watching it so long. And yet, I was hooked. I think there are very few films who possess you so deeply that even if you know what is there to unfold you just wait to appreciate how it unfolds.

 

And this is what the film is all about, unfolding a story. Fedora, to those who don’t know it yet is this. Essentially a hat which leaves a shadow on your face when you walk in the Sun; covering most of it. The brilliance of the story begins with the title. The title tells us the story in a word. And that’s it.

 

We have so many films which end with every character in the film getting what he/she wanted. A crescendo, a happy ending. Surprisingly enough, though this is not the only film that has done this but it must be among the very first to end a film with none of the characters getting what they wished for. I feel it is just another suggestion towards the real world of celebrities which is different from their profile they project in public. It is about the tragedy of those who seem to have it all, but in reality are more hurt, more lonely than anyone else.

 

If we speak about the pattern, we have seen this same one in Citizen Kane. Charles Foster Kane dies right in the start and we explore his story through some unreliable sources with prejudices and biases. Although this structure is much simpler. It consists of two distinct flash backs according to me. One right after our point of view character,  Barry “Dutch” Detweiler played by William Holden stares at the mortal remains of the Legend, Fedora. And the other after the secret is just revealed in the second half.

 

We know all along that the film is not going to end on a high. We have no moments in the film when we can rejoice for long. Just the haunting past which keeps pricking us right where it hurts and reminds us of the unfortunate future of everyone. And that’s what makes the film so special for me.

#2 The Last Great Fighter

“From where we stand the rain seems random. If we could stand somewhere else, we would see the order in it.”

~ Tony Hillerman

 

Some things make you sad for no reason. By God’s grace, some things make you happy for no reason. It seems like it is all fair in the end. The granddaddy of all the accountants sitting up there looks down and says, this guy has worked a lot this week, he can have this and sends something like this!

The premise is set in the chilly mountains where Bruce Wayne trained himself, or to be more particular, 50 miles off Tokyo. It is the year 2222, and the weather conditions are just like they are today, or probably the way they were in 2002 when the film was shot. A sense of optimism bloomed inside me as I realised this – Global warming is a myth after all.

The film begins with two great warriors who have taken shelter in an empty flat, who have a dislike for each other. It turns out that the dislike is not reciprocated by the other warrior who prefers grunting over wordly pleasures. Maybe that is because he has already sinned enough by stealing the other warrior’s Bible and shooting his dog.

Nervousness builds in the air as we run out of words. Nervousness builds in the air. But as Sherman Alexie has said in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, ‘Scared means you don’t want to play. Nervous means you want to play.’ They enter into a battle which involves no weapon but their bare hands. And with a swift move of his palms, the warrior on the right sends the warrior on the left to his final resting place – the deadly wall.

It is rare to find a video with such a genuine raw feel to it! I would love to know the backstory of this film because I know there has to be one. I want to know what inspired these guys to invest their time in something so experimental like this. It takes us back to the time when YouTube was a simple video sharing site without the glamour it has today. We have come so far and the journey has been great. But every once in a while, it is nice to look back and enjoy some moments like this!

(I hope you wait for the post credits scene.)

#14 Pursuit of Happiness

I have been privileged enough to know a bunch of talented people. And I am jealous of them to the core. Even I want to be able to play the acoustic version of ‘Wonderful Tonight’ without any hassle in front of a live audience and bathe in the applause. I want to be the center of attraction at every party with my moves. And every once in a while (though bodybuilding is not a talent per se) I want to take off my shirt on the beach without hesitation.

As simple as it may sound, I want more from my life. Who doesn’t? Isn’t that the reason we do things? To get more?

In the summary of our school days, I wonder, we were under the constant judgement of our performance in the exams. And no matter how much we tried, there was someone or the other with whom they always compared us. ‘It is okay if you did not score well as long as you were one step ahead of your rival.’ Rivalry has seeped through our veins so deep that we don’t even find it wrong anymore.

And is it wrong? Maybe yes, maybe not. I think under the pressure of judgement I performed well. For someone else, the absurd expectations proved fatal. It is the outcome that measures the correctness of our actions. It is too simple to connect the dots backwards. It is easy to thank someone or blame someone as a post script.

Do you know the feeling when the coin is tossed in the air? Suspended mid-air with utmost uncertainty of the outcome. When you can do nothing but to believe in your luck? I dread those moments. The flutter of a butterfly may cause the winds to change their course, making the coin turn one more time and change my fate altogether. Suspended mid-air, far away from the concept of control

If you think about it closely our life is the sum of all such moments. No matter how good you are, life finds a way of surprising you. Like a gust of wind making a bird’s nest to fall off the tree. I wonder if that keeps the bird thinking what if it had lazed a little? Things would’ve been different.

Unburdened by such thoughts, everyone except humans must be happy. It’s just us who believe in the pursuit of happiness. We wait for the better tomorrow as we blindly forget that today is the tomorrow we always waited for. We keep running after we cross the finish line instead of celebrating. And maybe that’s where we lose.

So instead of envying others for what they have, I’ve decided to be proud of what I have. Maybe someone, somewhere will be jealous of me too. Because it is simple to see the light reflected off others. To see your own reflection, requires a talent.

#13 I Bet This Has Happened To You (2012)

A great man once said if you can’t get over something, convert it into literature.

 

1. Women have a set of rejections ready. When you are about to ask them out they just open the file in their head and smash you with one. No woman says “yes” in the first shot. If she does, she thinks you are way out of her league.

 

2. Love is like a ghost. You don’t believe in it until you experience it. When you experience it, it never lets you sleep. Then you try to convince people that it is for real and they don’t trust you. But ultimately it is just a chemical imbalance. Nothing more nothing less.

 

3. You can’t really be friends with the person you have been in a relationship with. At the most you can act as if everything is cool when in public. But in the back of your head you keep asking “Why did we break up?”

 

4. After your break up you hate the things you once loved the most about that person.

 

5. The problem never starts with a fight. The problem starts when you are lying on your bed thinking about apologizing and you don’t make the call.

 

6. You never actually get over a person. Of course until you meet someone who is better at making you feel worse.

 

7. When you are in love you love every love story, no cheesy line is cheesy anymore. Actually speaking you weep like a little girl in the toilet thinking about that person.

 

8. You become an excellent family planner.

 

9. No one else finds the person you love as special as you do. For everyone else that person may be just a part of the crowd. But he/she means the world to you. You are ready to leave everything behind to just be with that person. But the wonder of it all is that person never realizes, how much you love him/her.

 

10. Love is always true. But sometimes it is not just meant to be.

 

#12 Spooky Obsessions (2014)

Well, in a very recent, very unbiased and completely reliable survey three most common fears across the globe were revealed:

Number 3. Fear of death

Number 2. Fear of public speaking

Number 1. Fear of dying while public speaking

 

Today, as we are being antisocial on the social networking sites a few modern threats have popped up in the notification window.

 

For a very close friend, Surpanakha Ramachandran, it is a matter of honour when it comes to her selfies. Anything below 371 likes gets deleted from Instagram and finds a haven in Google+. Her recent selfie at the PVR washroom had to settle for a new low of 198 likes. When asked to comment on this catastrophe our humble friend answered in vernacular: “अब तो नाक कट गयी।”

 

It is demeaning, degrading and demoralizing not to be appreciated for a status update. One does try so hard to compose it. Sugar, spice and everything nice blended with chemical #. And when a comment receives more attention than the original message, it is taking a defecate right in the face. *defeat (autocorrect)

 

One must be aware about how he/she is portrayed on the Internet. Being cool is a full time job with it’s own perks. And there is nothing wrong in wishing your dad a happy birthday in the cyberspace rather than the awkward space.

 

While most of the world lives in this fear of lacking social presence, a modern monk has found inner peace in simple pleasures like privacy. He believes that we can never share our true joys in words. Our minds are so cluttered by the aftermath, that we forget to savour the moment ourselves, sharing them is a different matter. His dumbo was last seen in Thane mental asylum and he is scheduled for execution in 2 days by a Slingshot.

 

As we keep our articles honest and ad free, here is a shoutout to your favourite Twitter celebrity Kamaal R Khan for his latest clash with Kapil Sharma. And if you are just scrolling on Facebook as you are completely jobless here is a list of 20 things you should do if you are a human. #12 is an absolute must!!!

 

Note: Hey! What do you expect? I’m a filmmaker. I exaggerate for a living.

#1 Spike Jonze – Her

“Love may be blind. But it can sure find its way around in the dark.”

Well, it has been a while since I’ve written anything on films. But it doesn’t even remotely mean that I haven’t been watching any. Frankly speaking through my exams I’ve watched more films than I would’ve in any ordinary week. And it has been a very good week.

I spend most of my day, sitting in front of my computer. I am either researching about something, editing or watching a film. Really, as I think about it it has been my schedule for a while now. I interact with my computer more than I interact with my family. So in a way my computer would know me better than anyone else. And I guess it does, so to speak.

What would you do if:

1. The only successful relationship you have ever had is coming to an end

2. You don’t really have anybody to talk to

3. You find someone really interesting, kind and most importantly who is there to listen to you, all the time?

I find this a perfect setting to fall in love. We need someone to share this draggy life with. The only problem in Theodore’s (Joaquin Phoenix) life is, his new friend is not a human. And this is riveting beyond measure. How do you love someone, who can be a great companion but whose sheer existence is a matter of perception?

Different characters in the film had different opinions about it. There are supportive friends who understand the complications and do not judge you and there are skeptics who only find negativity in the situation, just like a relationship with any human.

The most marvelous part of the film is even though the film qualifies as a science fiction story, the technical part of it remains on the lower side. For me it is more philosophical rather than scientific. And more romantic than depressing.

I don’t know if anyone else observed this, I love how the colours are used throughout the film. These minute details add texture to the story.

I do not wish to spoil the ending for whoever has not watch the film. Because I feel, this is one film a cinemalover must watch with an open mind. To sum it up, the film speaks about an impossible relationship between a man and its closest companion which happens to be a.i. But obviously there is more to it!

Her by Spike Jonze is nominated for 4 Academy Awards which include: Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song, Best Original Score and Best Picture.

Spike Jonze’s short film I’m Here (2010) had a similar theme and it is available over here.