Press Release- Documentary film ‘Factories of Death and Despair”



Lucknow, 9 June.  A special screening and release function of ‘Factories of Death and Despair’ – the first documentary film presented by Arvind Memorial Trust was held here today at the UP Press Club.

The film, produced by the audio-visual division of the Trust Human Landscape Productions is focussed on frequent accidents and horrific working conditions in the thousands of factories in the national capital region. The film shows the sprawling industrial areas adjacent to the shining posh locales of national capital where workers still toil in conditions as horrible as 100 years ago. Millions of workers in order to survive work daily under the shadow of death. Safety precautions are thrown to the wind in pursuit of quick profits. Accidents happen, people are killed or maimed, but things go on unchanged behind a cold veil of silence.

The film also shows how a nexus of police, factory owners and politicians suppresses all mention of the deaths after an accident. It also reveals the flaws in compensation laws and how the workers and their families are denied fair compensation by corrupt union leaders, touts and labour officers.

Senior poet and filmmaker Naresh Saxena who presided over the function said while releasing the film that the subject of the film has become even more relevant in the backdrop of increasing industrial mishaps in the recent past. He said the audio-visual medium has become very important today to reach out to the vast masses and educate them about their rights.

The director of the film Charu Chandra Pathak shared his experiences while making the film. He said he plans to take this film to the industrial areas and workers colonies to show it to its real audiences.

On this occasion, Satyam of the Arvind Memorial Trust said that the Trust has organised its audio-visual division named Human Landscape Productions which will produce documentaries on the life and struggles of working people and common masses, mass movements and social-political issues and feature films. It has already completed the production of its first documentary film. The Trust plans to establish a fully equipped film editing and audio recording studio. The audiovisual division of the Trust is also working for audio-visual documentation of various social-political mass movements and important events. It is making a collection of world famous revolutionary and progressive films, arrange for their sub-titling and dubbing in Hindi and organise regular shows and discussions on them in different cities.

Well known poet Katyayani said that an alternative peoples media is the need of the hour and audio-visual and new media have become very important. This division of the Trust will also produce CDs and DVDs of revolutionary music and compositions. It will also organise workshops and trainings on various aspects of digital film technique and animation etc. All these projects are being implemented without taking any kind of institutional grants and solely on the basis of contributions collected from the public.

The cultural troupe of ‘Pratyush’ presented a song ‘Zindagi ne ek din kaha ki tum lado…’ at the start of the program. Age number of media persons, writers, intellectuals, social and cultural activists and students were present on this occasion. A discussion on  various aspects of the film followed the film show .

(Meenakshy)

Managing Trustee

Arvind Memorial Trust

 Phone: 8853093555/9936650658, Email: info@arvindtrust.org

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विकास की चकाचौंध के पीछे मज़दूरों के जीवन के नारकीय सच को सामने लाती है ‘मौत और मायूसी के कारख़ाने’ 
औद्योगिक दुर्घटनाओं पर डॉक्युमेंट्री फिल्म का प्रथम प्रदर्शन
लखनऊ, 9 जून। अरविन्द स्मृति न्यास द्वारा प्रस्तुत पहली डॉक्युरमेंट्री फिल्म ‘मौत और मायूसी के कारख़ाने को आज यहाँ एक कार्यक्रम में जारी किया गया।
न्यास के दृश्य-श्रव्य प्रभाग ‘ह्यूमन लैंडस्केप प्रोडक्शन्स द्वारा निर्मित यह फिल्म राष्ट्रीय राजधानी क्षेत्र के कारख़ानों में आये दिन होने वाली दुर्घटनाओं और औद्योगिक मज़दूरों की नारकीय कार्य-स्थितियों पर केन्द्रित है। फिल्म दिखाती है कि किस तरह राजधानी के चमचमाते इलाक़ों के अगल-बगल ऐसे औद्योगिक क्षेत्र मौजूद हैं जहाँ मज़दूर आज भी सौ साल पहले जैसे हालात में काम कर रहे हैं। लाखों-लाख मज़दूर बस दो वक़्त की रोटी के लिए रोज़ मौत के साये में काम करते हैं। सुरक्षा इंतज़ामों को ताक पर धरकर काम कराने के कारण आये दिन दुर्घटनाएं होती रहती हैं और लोग मरते रहते हैं, मगर ख़ामोशी के एक सर्द पर्दे के पीछे सबकुछ यूँ ही चलता रहता है, बदस्तूर।
फिल्म में यह भी अत्यंत प्रभावशाली ढंग से दिखाया गया है कि किस तरह दुर्घटनाओं के बाद पुलिस, फैक्ट्री मालिक और राजनीतिज्ञों के गंठजोड़ से मौतों को दबा दिया जाता है। मज़दूर या उसके परिवार को दुर्घटना के मुआवज़े से भी वंचित रखने में श्रम कानूनों की खामियों और दलालों और भ्रष्ट अफसरों की तिकड़मों को भी इसमें उजागर किया गया है।
कार्यक्रम की अध्यक्षता कर रहे वरिष्ठ साहित्यकार श्री नरेश सक्सेना ने फिल्म जारी करते हुए कहा कि पिछले कुछ समय के दौरान बढ़ते औद्योगिक हादसों की पृष्ठभूमि में इस फिल्म की प्रासंगिकता और अधिक बढ़ गई है। उन्होंने कहा कि आज के दौर में व्यापक आबादी तक अपनी बात पहुंचाने और उन्हें अधिकारों के बारे में जागरूक बनाने में दृश्य-श्रव्य माध्यम की भूमिका काफी महत्वपूर्ण है और इस दिशा में यह परियोजना एक जरूरी कदम है।
इस अवसर पर फिल्म के निर्देशक चारु चन्द्र पाठक ने फिल्म बनाने के दौरान अपने अनुभवों को साझा करते हुए बताया कि औद्योगिक मज़दूरों के काम के हालात और नारकीय जीवन स्थितियों को नज़दीक से देखने के बाद उन्होंने तय किया कि ग्लैमर और शोहरत की फिल्मी दुनिया में जगह बनाने की कोशिश करने के बजाय वे इस कला का इस्तेमाल उन तबकों के जीवन को सच्चाई को सामने लाने में करेंगे जो इस देश के विकास की नींव होने के बावजूद मीडिया की नजरों से दूर हैं। उन्होंने बताया कि वे इस फिल्म को मज़दूर बस्तियों और कारखाना इलाकों में लेकर जाएंगे क्योंकि वही इसके असली दर्शक हैं।
अरविन्द स्मृति न्यास की ओर से सत्यम ने बताया कि न्यास ने मज़दूरों के जीवन और संघर्ष, आम जनजीवन, जनान्दोलनों और सामाजिक-राजनीतिक मुद्दों पर डॉक्युमेंट्री और फीचर फिल्मों के निर्माण के लिए अपना दृश्य-श्रव्य प्रभाग ‘ह्यूमन लैण्डस्केप प्रोडक्शन्स’ नाम से संगठित किया है। न्यास का दृश्य-श्रव्य प्रभाग विभिन्न जनान्दोलनों और महत्वपूर्ण घटनाओं के दृश्य-श्रव्य अभिलेखन (आडियो-विज़ुअल डाक्युमेण्टेशन) का काम भी कर रहा है। यह विश्वप्रसिद्ध क्रान्तिकारी, प्रगतिशील फ़िल्मों का संग्रह तैयार कर रहा है जिनकी उनकी हिन्दी में सबटाइटलिंग और डबिंग का प्रबन्ध किया जा रहा है। जल्दी ही अलग-अलग शहरों में ऐसी फिल्मों का नियमित प्रदर्शन एवं उन पर परिचर्चा आयोजित की जायेंगी।
कार्यक्रम का संचालन कर रही कात्यायनी ने बताया कि जनता का वैकल्पिक मीडिया खड़ा करना आज बेहद जरूरी है और आडियो-विजुअल माध्यम तथा इंटरनेट आदि का उपयोग इसमें बहुत महत्व रखते हैं। उन्होंने बताया कि न्यास का यह प्रभाग क्रान्तिकारी गीतों और संगीत रचनाओं की सीडी-डीवीडी भी तैयार करेगा। समय-समय पर इसके द्वारा डिजिटल फ़िल्म तकनीक के विभिन्न पक्षों और डाक्युमेंट्री निर्माण, एनिमेशन आदि पर कार्यशालाएँ भी आयोजित की जायेंगी। ये सभी काम किसी प्रकार के संस्थागत अनुदान लिए बिना जनता से जुटाए गए संसाधनों के बूते किए जा रहे हैं। इस वजह से इनमें देर भले ही हो लेकिन ये किसी दबाव से मुक्त होकर पूरे किए जाएंगे।
दिवंगत सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता एवं बुद्धिजीवी अरविन्द के चित्र पर उनकी जीवन साथी तथा अरविन्द स्मृति न्यास की मुख्य न्यासी मीनाक्षी द्वारा माल्यार्पण से कार्यक्रम की शुरुआत हुई। इस अवसर पर ‘प्रत्यूष की ओर से ‘जिन्दगी ने एक दिन कहा कि तुम लड़ो…’ गीत प्रस्तुत किया गया। कार्यक्रम में बड़ी संख्या में पत्रकारों, लेखकों, बुद्धिजीवियों, सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं, संस्कृति कर्मियों तथा छात्रों ने भाग लिया। फिल्म प्रदर्शन के बाद उसके विभिन्न पहलुओं पर दर्शकों के साथ चर्चा भी हुई।

(मीनाक्षी )
मुख्य न्यासी
अरविन्द स्मृति न्यास

फोनः 8853093555/9936650658 ईमेलः info@arvindtrust.org

 

Madhu Kishwar to script Ashutosh Gowariker’s next


mkishwar

April3, 2013,

Ashuthosh Gowarikar today chose an unlikely scriptwriter for his next film. The writer is none other than Madhu Kishwar whose name got viral due to her Modinama series. The details about the film are not yet known.

Madhu Kishwar, whose archaeological and paleontological evidence suggests her existence as a feminist, is reported to have impressed Gowarikar with her writing skills.  Gowarikar who is known for his tele serial like and never ending films hopes to end the financial draught his films experienced in the box office by partnering with Kishwar. He told us

” She is fantabulous! Look at the way she brings characters in her Modinama series. Who else can white wash a person (Modi) as beautifully as she does. She has perfectly forgotten that people have common sense, this is exactly the kind of the person we want in Bollywood.  Look at her characterization of people and the way she fits them to into the story, this is what we did in historical cinema like Jodha Akbar. She belongs to the same school of thought to where I belong. Nobody can last long till my movie is over, same with her articles too.”

He became further eloquent talking about her imagination

“The way she make conspiracy theories can even make Subramanian Swamy shame.  Look, she calls Togadia a congress agent, I don’t think even if one consume all the weed in the world, he will be able to think as great as her”

Madhu Kishwar agreed to the offer as the film doesn’t have any ‘ism’ in the title and it doesn’t have any left liberal mousetraps. Bollywood hopes the film will be a hit as Kishwar has got the perfect mix of misogynism and retrogressiveness recently. There have been unconfirmed reports that Ekta Kapoor wants to  televisionise Modinama and she is in discussion with Kishwar about adding a mother in law in to the plot to complete the masala.

Source- http://www.naklileaks.com

 

I&B Ministry calls for truce between filmmakers and the CBFC #censorship #bollywood


VICKEY LALWANI, Mumbai MirrorMar 29, 2013, 11.54AM IST
(A still from Dabangg )

I&B Ministry calls for truce between filmmakers and the CBFC over censorship issues

At a time when Hindi films have come under criticism for disrespectful portrayal of women, and Censor Board decisions are increasingly being viewed as arbitrary, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry has stepped in to broker peace between the warring parties – the producers and the Board.

The bone of contention being the Cinematograph Act 1952 that the film industry thinks is outdated. The I&B Ministry has called for a meeting with all parties concerned between April 3 and April 5, though the venue hasn’t been decided yet. Representing the film industry will be Farhan Akhtar, Ramesh Sippy, President of the Producers’ Guild Mukesh Bhatt, President of the Association of Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers (AMTPP) Sajid Nadiadwala and Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association Chief TP Agarwal.

Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Chief Leela Samson and CBFC CEO Pankaja Thakur will represent the censors. Also present will be senior members from the special panel that was instituted under the chairmanship of judicial expert Mukul Mudgal to review the functioning of the Censor Board.

The meeting will set the pace for the necessary amendments to the Cinematograph Act 1952, after taking into consideration suggestions by all concerned. Special song and dance numbers, foul language, and scenes portraying actors and actresses smoking and drinking are likely to be discussed during the meet.

Agarwal confirmed the news and said: “The very fact that the meeting spans three days indicates we are going to have a very long discussion. I am very optimistic about the outcome.” Said Mukesh Bhatt: “Today, there is a lot of ambiguity about what will be cut and what will go through. As things stand, there are no guidelines.”

Meanwhile, a filmmaker on the condition of anonymity, said censors seem to have turned a bit too prudish. “Recently, Leela Samson assured there is a wrong impression within the film industry that the Censor Board has adopted a rule to certify all special numbers with an ‘A’ (adults only) certificate. Despite the assurance, filmmakers are extremely cagey. The meeting on April 3 is very good news for the films being made,” the source said.

On the subject of special numbers – particularly Fevicol Se from Dabangg 2 and Sheila Ki Jawaani from Tees Maar Khan – having faced a lot of flak, a leading producer (on request of anonymity), said: “It isn’t now that special numbers have come into existence. One can think of many actresses in the past who have done such numbers. Is it that the censors turned a blind eye to them simply because they weren’t lead actresses? Moreover, cuss words are chopped in one film while they are retained in another film. What are the rules? Who draws the line, and where?”

Writer-director Rensil D’Silva said: “Too much money rides on movies. If there is clarity, there will be no jolts at the time we submit our films to the censors.”

When contacted, I&B Minister Manish Tewari said: “We already have a panel headed by judicial expert Mukul Mudgal to look into certain issues which the film industry has. But if they still have some issues, we are ready to walk the extra mile.

 

The Frozen Scream- #Sundayreading #Cinema


By Sayan Bhattacharya, Kindle Magazine

2013-02-03

English: Govind Nihalani, noted Indian film di...

Be it the searing Drohkaal or the complex Drishti, Govind Nihalani has dealt with diverse subject. One of the leading lights of the New Wave talks about the animation genre, the power of melodrama, his influences and more.

You are returning to the big screen with the animation film Kamlu Happy Happy… why animation? 

Because I love it! Because I just love the medium and I became aware of this medium and the possibilities of it with my association with Mr. Ram Mohan who is the father of animation in India.

From a very early stage, when I came to Bombay , which is about more than 30 years back , and ever since, I always wanted to do something in it. The first stage was that I didn’t have any confidence and asubject which excited me enough. And then at that time the technology was not very advanced, so it was very expensive and it did not exist in India as a viable format for cinema. It’s only after when the markets opened up, when new technology came in, then we became aware of what technology is doing to animation – 3D technology and even in 2D, they have developed some softwares which make it very fast and very exciting. But ultimately the tables were turned when Hanuman was released.

It did so well… 

Its success was phenomenal and people started looking at it as a possible medium where you could get some investment. Add to that, the fact that when the technology came into India, several studios started outsourcing for the foreign companies. They would get the design and the script and the storyboards from abroad, they would execute the job and send it back; there was no original content. But that industry was doing fairly well. Then you know several people started feeling that there is so much potential, commercial potential, so why shouldn’t we have our own original content in animation. Well, I heard so many people were doing so many things and you know in industry forums, entertainment industry forums like FICCI frames and all that which I attended, and I discovered that there was a lot of potential and animation was a very viable medium but only internationally. We didn’t have enough market in India to even recover the investment, so that was again a bit of a dampener. But after Hanuman, as I said, the doors have started opening and then I took the pledge, wrote my own story and script, conceived the characters and then approached people. But at that time also, there was no investor coming in.

Which year was this? 

2005, after my film Dev released. I thought let’s give it a shot and it would get over in 2 years. I had to produce it myself and then we ran into a few problems and now finally it’s over.

Why a children’s film? Were you seeking some breathing space after the heavily political Dev?

No! No! There was no question of relief, because films are about your sensibilities. It was just that I love the medium. I like the excitement of making an animation film.
It is not a children’s film. See children are always a main driving agent for animation. But then you have children films like Tom and Jerry, mine is not that. So this is a film for the family where I am sure if you go, you will enjoy it. Walt Disney once said that, “Animation films are for the child in the adults” and then somebody came up and said “There are films which are for the adults in the children”. So a certain intelligence level should be there in the children to appreciate certain kind of films because animation is a medium where the films are very strictly divided into bands – 3yrs to 5 yrs, 5yrs-9yrs and above 9 yrs, so you make the script, a design for those audience bands. I didn’t want to confine myself because I wanted my film to be a little more accessible to a fairly large audience and  I didn’t want an adult to come and say “What a kiddy stuff!”And I watched this film with some kids in a trial at my own studio and they were screaming. Particularly when the action came. So that’s how it happened. It’s a happy film… a very celebratory film…
So in these violent times when you are making such a celebratory film like Kamlu Happy Happy, is there also idealogical intent to that? 

When you see the film you will perhaps find some references to the modern things and I’m sure that the critics will come down heavily and say “What is this stupid reference doing in an animation film?” but one has to deal with that kind of criticism also. I don’t bother. But the fact is that there are certain concerns that will remain and simply because yeh toh phir aisi baat hui ki jo hamesha raag darbari gaata hai woh  pahadi nai gaa sakta. Usko nahi gaana chahiye kyuki Pahadi mein bahut khushi hoti hai aur darbari mein thori hulchal hoti hai. Yeh toh bahut galat baat hai! (laughs)

Dev released in 2004. It had a stellar star cast and its content was very political but it didn’t really click, neither at the box office nor with critics and a lot of your fans felt let down. What went wrong? 

I don’t know because so many people I met and who had the same kind of question, had not even seen the film.

I have seen it…

I don’t know what was it that they  felt let down by, whether it was the film, my narrative style or whether it was something else because that has never been made clear to me. I’m not trying to defend myself but this is one of my favourite films. I put a lot into it. After Tamas, this was the film I put a lot and ideologically, I thought it was a very strong film. But I tried my best.

To me, the film seemed quite melodramatic, especially the way it ends… perhaps you were trying to reach a larger audience base but it didn’t work.

Well, that is your perception. I don’t want to contradict it or I don’t want to justify myself but I was very satisfied with it because I conceived it that way. For me, ultimately the protagonist’s journey is very important. That is the fulcrum of the story. If I’m not interested in the character, in the fate of the character, the kind of transformation he/she goes through, it is of no interest. So this was a kind of a story where I wanted to see what role ideology plays in the lives of people who are supposed to be apolitical in performing their duties. Both of them are police officers who are supposed to be above their ideology, while discharging their duties and here one officer doesn’t maintain that objectivity.  The other officer does it and the tragedy that ensues and it’s not that it’s only Amit ji’s character, Dev that is killed, but the other person, somewhere being a human being, deeply connected with his friend; after all he named his son, he can’t live with the guilt. He kills himself. So for me, this was the crux of the story.

Since we are talking about the way these characters react to situations… anger and screams are recurring motifs in your films. Take us through this tool that you use.

See nothing is designed that way. In Aakrosh, the scream at the end was not designed, I just felt like it. At some stage, a person of this kind, like the tribal Nathu, when he is pushed to the point that he has to kill his sister so that he knows he can save her from any more dishonour or abject  poverty that she might face… what can he do? He’s not a well read person, he cannot thing logically, he thinks from the guts. Somewhere this is the only way his catharsis comes out. He doesn’t understand the system he’s against. That’s the whole thing and one should just let go. We didn’t even rehearse that scene. So that’s how it came, there’s always this emotional angle to everything and sometimes we feel that we should not be so loud, we should not be so melodramatic and all that… I don’t subscribe to that theory. Where melodrama helps, where going a little overboard helps shake up the audience, I use the tool and the first audience is me. Before it goes to the audience it should first satisfy me. So if I’m feeling ok with it, I am fine.
Now in Party there was no scream, it was a scream which was suppressed. The character which came in the last 2 shots, the character of Amrit, people were talking about him all the time and then he emerged. When he comes, played by Naseeruddin Shah, he’s stuttering with blood flowing out of his mouth because his tongue had been cut literally cut and that was the suppressed scream which was the loudest. You didn’t hear it as a scream but you did. And then I used the scream in the opening of TamasTamas starts with a scream “Oh Rabba”, if you remember and that was again the scream of great anguish born out of helplessness and anger. And the fact that you who have seen the films years and years ago, more than 2 decades ago, you still remember them. That somewhere it reaches out…

How do you select your subject material?

My choice of subjects has always been influenced by what I see around me at that particular moment. The general situation in the country, whether it is a political situation, whether it’s a social situation, which is always in a state of flux. Toh uus waqt mujhe kya cheez disturb kar rahi hai, kya cheez se bahut khushi ho rahi hai , kya cheez se mujhe bahut satisfaction ho raha hai or something which is making me angry and all that, I normally pick up things from there or even if I’m working on literature, some theme from there echos in my mind and I pick it up. Like Drohkal , was inspired by Conrad’s novel Under Western Eyes…  betrayal, how do you deal with betrayal, when you know you have betrayed somebody. You have the same theme there also. How to deal with betrayal because Om betrays his friend. And normally when I write the script, when I pick up a subject, story, novel, play anything, some theme has to hit me. I cannot write without a theme. It’s like getting a sur in music.Aapko ek sur milna chahiye, ek irada milna chahiye and that becomes the basis of everything that happens in the script.

Going back a little, you started off during the peak of The New Wave of Indian Cinema, and somehow it petered out. Now when you look back, what do you think led to its decline? 

Several things – opening of new media, technology. With technology, came the media also and the economics of the industry also changed. These are factors which are beyond your control. Then also the fact that certain filmmakers who had very brilliant ideas fell short of being the masters of their craft. So beautiful stories, not well made films. We were very much helped by a very supportive media at one stage, that also petered out.

The costing of the film became more, the number of theatres were the same. Why would anybody give space to my film which has no stars, when he’s getting a chance to show a film with big stars? So there are several things, there is no one particular cause that I can say.

And also lack of government backing…

Government backing has always been there. They still find films.

But they’re not distributed  and marketed properly!

They never market films properly. Now they are a little more conscious because they are entering into co-productions. Their own money is directly involved and that too big money, which is a good thing. But the situation has always been like this.

Do you think it’s a myth that it has become easier for directors to work on experimental subjects because of multiplexes? 

Depends upon the director, depends upon how they can convince the funding person and also depends on the kind of imagination they bring to their project. To make a different kind of film, has never been easy at any given time, even today but considering the fact that in the last 2 years, there have been a hundred new directors entering the Hindi film industry, so you know there’s a space for them! (laughs)

Talking about the star system, Naseerudin Shah has said that parallel films also had its star system – Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patel, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Farookh Sheikh…

Why not ? Who makes the stars? People make the stars. A star is an actor who people want to see again and again!

But directors who give them work for the first time and keep working with them, also have a huge role in shaping them into stars. 

When they took them for the first time, they also had no idea that they would be stars. They are just good actors. Actors didn’t get continuous work from us alone, they worked outside. As an actor, they are open to anything, any kind of cinema. They became stars because of their own talent and the fact that audience took to that. Without audience, there is no star

What do you think about the criticisms Naseerudin Shah makes on the New Wave Cinema?


That is his perception; it doesn’t affect the movement in anyway!

When he says something like “Directors living in Malabar hill shouldn’t make films on coal mines in Bihar”…?

It’s his opinion. I can’t comment on somebody’s opinion.

So today if you were to meet him, what kind of conversations would you have? 

We would have a very nice, friendly, cordial conversation, aisa koi problem nahi hai, because these are just individual opinions.

You have collaborated with the likes of Shyam Benegal, Satyadev Dubey, Vijay Tendulkar… how were those days? 

My evolution as a person, as a filmmaker has been very deeply influenced by 3 people – one is my guru Mr. V.K. Moorthy, the cameraman, Mr. Satyadev Dubey, with whom I have had an association of more than 50 years as friends, and Mr. Benegal with whom it was not a cameraman-director relationship but a personal relationship and he has a brilliant mind. Just being there, discussing things or hearing him discussing things, it was so stimulating.  Quite often I used to be present at his script readings. All these are very highly intellectual, enlightened, and very sophisticated people. Just listening to them, being in their company, discussing things is very enlightening for me.

I was quite fascinated by Rukmavati Ki Haveli and wanted to ask you about the influence of theatre in your works. 

A lot… I worked with Dubey. In earlier stages I used to work in the backstage- sound and lights but more than that, conversations with him. I used to attend his rehearsals and the way he would talk to his actors and particularly the handling of the dialogue, handling of emotion, interpretation of characters, just watching him rehearse with people, I got so much knowledge, so much insight. And of course there were personal conversations that carried on for hours and hours. That’s how it happened. I always found theatre very exciting.

What have been your cinematic influences?

 Several… from Orson Wales to Ray, Ritwik Ghatak to foreigners like Kurosawa, Bergman, other European artists and filmmakers; there have been several. Influence in the sense that I don’t want to imitate them. Their films have opened up my door of perception, my understanding of the medium itself, opening up the possibilities of the medium, that’s the way it is. It enlightened me!

Recent films that you loved watching?

I like the works of Vishal Bharadwaj, Anurag Kashyap… Dibakar Banerjee is also doing good work.

Apart from Kamluwhat else are you working on?

There are 2 projects, one is in Marathi which I might start immediately after Kamlu, which is a script by Vijay Tendulkar and there’s a Hindi script that I am developing myself.

An Open Letter to Anurag Kashyap and his 12.12.12 project. #kractivism


121212

LATEST UPDATE CLICK HERE

IMPACT OF POSTING THIS LETTER HERE, MESSAGE FROM THE FILMMAKER– ‘KRACKTIVISM”

( Within 3 hours after putting this post- picture abhi baak hai dost :-P)

“Shilpa has been refunded the expenses she incurred on making the film and Showhouse’s Large Short Films has promised to give her copyright over her work soon subsequent to the circulation of the open letter. She is waiting for it in writing. She stands by the issues she raised and thanks everyone for the immense kind support” Thanks Kamayani this would not have been possible without you. You are really awesome!

I am a Mysore based woman filmmaker who was chosen by you to be part of the Mega Movies project 12.12.12 executed by Showhouse Entertainment’s Large Short Films Wing. I am writing this open letter because I think public discourse is important given that over the years you have come to occupy such an important space within what you call ‘independent cinema’.

Also no one from the company that you endorse, as well as you, thinks it is important to have a dialogue with me about unpaid wages, disrespect and unfair dismissal which has caused me tremendous amount of financial, emotional stress. There is also a much touted save indie cinema doing the rounds and what it fails to add to the discourse (not surprising going by the kind of signatories it claims) is what I want to talk about. Changing the look of how you produce cinema and being backed by big studio capital isn’t really independent. I think it is important to bring this into the public domain as the silences around working practices result in the perpetuation of exploitative systems and weed out filmmakers based on their class, caste, gender, religion and language.

It was absolutely no surprise when I saw that the list of 12 directors included no woman. So apparently out of 600 entries only I, the sole woman, made it to the shortlist and because I decided to speak up and not be quiet about how my film was going to tortured and beaten into becoming the kind of objects that you seem to grant your blessings to, 12.12.12 is now officially an all male production.

I bring your notice to this because the tone of the company with regard to objections I raised has been patronising, condescending and dismissive. Well meaning friends and critics will tell me that’s how it works, that’s the industry,
the industry that works on free labour, meant for those who have the money to afford the time to chase dreams. It’s not meant for women like me who have no big daddies or brothers or husbands supporting them. It isn’t meant for women
like me who choose to work in a language other than Hindi and it definitely isn’t meant for women like me who don’t know how to waddle along consenting to practices that make people like you and the companies you endorse just richer
on the back of such exploitative practices.

You sent me an email stipulating that I would not be in touch with any of the other 11 directors (an effective way I must say to curb dissent and this goes by the name of being collaborative!) The contract also stipulated that I would be paid once I handed over the film contrary to what the rules on the contest page initially stated wherein I was supposed to have been given the money before Ivmade the film. This I was informed after having worked a full month on the project. I did sign it and I take full responsibility for that sign because you were the carrot dangled to me, the one ruling the roost in the film festival circuit and of course the Indian public funding circuit, what seemed like the only way to make one’s film. And since you must have been paid handsomely to be the carrot, I only ask that you own up to the full responsibility of it and be accountable to the carrot desirers you create.

After insisting that I get paid at least half I went ahead, after funds were released, and borrowed money to complete it. I hand over the film and fulfil my contractual obligations and then am bullied into changing and reshooting it for a mistake made by Asmit Pathare (Project director not the 12th discovery – check the shortlist!) and Abhijit Das (the godfather of short films in the making). So I naturally said no. You must understand how difficult it is for a director to hurt their stories? It’s kind of like being okay with Abhijit Das (Creative head of Largeshortfilms) adding on a scene where Manoj Bajpai spouts Feminist Marxist dialogues in Gangs of Wasseypur and without telling you! Wouldn’t really fit with the ethos of the film no? Your company even told me that since I do not have the resources I cannot be involved in the reshoot. At such a juncture I asked you not to use my film if I was not being reimbursed and no, you go ahead and use it. The matchbox still from my film is still up on the company’s website.

In a country with absolutely zilch funding for independent films you exploit the hopes of thousands of aspirants. You reiterate a certain way of working which accommodates only a certain type of filmmaker. This in my world is called cheating, it’s called immoral and it’s called unfair. In your world all this is grey, this hijacking that you do of a space that has seen so much struggle and such amazing cinema, this hijacking of language – calling it collaborative when it’s more dictatorial, this hijacking of image, of new film waves, of new ways of working. One of the most exciting things about globalised capitalism’s current avatar (as Hardt and Negri will tell you) is that even though it creates systems like you it also provides for ruptures like me.

Before you come back with a reply to this I ask you to re‐look at emails that you sent me and words you relayed to me through the company about my filmmaking. Everything that I have said is backed by evidence (I know too well
how important that is) I know this open dissent will cost me. I’m not naïve not to understand as to how you rule visibilities around distribution and production but I will walk away knowing that I have spoken and that this is just the beginning not the end of the road for me. For those of you reading this I understand that within the larger framework of what we call injustice in this country this is nothing but when we start to look at continuums everything does matter and support for this would really help not just me but for all those who are engaged in changing the way images speak.

From the 12th director who so mysteriously disappeared
Shilpa Munikempanna
munikempannaproductions@gmail.com

contact- 9611843981

Rajesh Khanna’s last film to release on 70th birth anniversary eve


 
IANS | Sep 30, 2012, 12.00AM IST

 

Veteran actor Rajesh Khanna’s last film ” Riyasat”, which he shot for before he died July 18, will release in theatres Dec 28, a day before his 70th birth anniversary, director Ashok Tyagi says.

The late superstar has a prominent role in the movie. It is almost ready, but Tyagi wants to release the film on Rajesh Khanna’s birth anniversary.

“We can release the film at any time, but we want to release it on Dec 29. Since it is a Saturday, we will be releasing it on Dec 28, just a day before Kakaji’s (Rajesh Khanna) birth anniversary,” Tyagi told IANS.

The director says Rajesh Khanna has left a letter behind, and that shall be opened just before the release of the film.

“Kakaji has left a sealed letter behind him, which he wanted us to read before the release of the film. So we will be opening his last letter either on his birth anniversary, or just before the release,” he said.

“We have no clue what he has written in the letter. I am only thankful to god that we got an opportunity to work with him,” he added.

For his role in “Riyasat”, Rajesh Khanna is said to have sat and watched the DVD of the 2005 Amitabh Bachchan-starrer “Sarkar“.

“Before starting the film, he watched Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Sarkar’ as he is also playing godfather in the film. It’s a very different subject and he had shot almost 95 per cent of the film.

“The entire nation will hear Kakaji’s voice in the film,” said Tyagi, who had started shooting the film in February 2011 and finished it in October.

Rajesh Khanna died in July after prolonged illness and a liver infection. But he had wrapped up most of the shooting for “Riyasat”.

“Kakaji shot most portions, the ones I wanted. But yes, we were tempted to shoot more. And if his health permitted, we would surely have shot all of it. Then all of a sudden his health started deteriorating and he left all of us suddenly,” he added.

“Riyasat” also features Gauri Kulkarni, Aryan Vaid, Aryeman Ramsay and Raza Murad.

 

Film on how a dalit women’s collective rose up against the failing public health system #Mustwatch


 

Directed by-Vijaya Kumar

Produced by : Jagruti (http://www.jagruti.org )

Duration :23 mins

Language:Kannada with English subtitles.

Synopsis of Guna Mukhi 

GUNA MUKHI, reconstructs the narrative of how a dalit women’s collective in a small village in Belgaum district.Karnataka, defied class, caste and gender barriers and rose up against the failing public health system.

The film draws from the rich and first hand experiences of the village women who, with the support of various village level peoples’ organizations and activists, stake claim to their health entitlements.

The film concludes by asserting the importance of people’s struggles in creating a functional, responsive, people-centric health care systems and in the larger context of holding the State accountable for its duties and responsibilities towards its citizens.

This film was one of the outcomes of the efforts to address the issue of health as a human right and taking forward the issue of revitalizing the public health system by various state and national level networks and activists.

Karnataka state unit of the People’s Health Movement(JAA-K) screened this film extensively to intensify their Health as a Human Right campaign. It was used in various training programs for health activists who found the film inspiring and drew ideas from it to carry out similar actions to get their local government health centers functioning.

 

Facebook #Censorship- Salvador Dali and Phillipe Halsman, photos removed


“The photograph of Salvador Dali and Phillipe Halsman, “In voluptate mors” (which was iself inspired by Salvador Dali’s gouache Female Bodies as a Skull painting), was removed by FB as somebody had reported the image on grounds of Nudity. My first instance of Moral policing. Facebook says “Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and imposes limitations on the display of nudity. At the same time, we aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.”I wonder who the kind soul was who reported? I also wonder why Salvador Dali didn’t resort to Breastfeeding so that his work could be shared? I wonder if FB is paying attention to all this?”  Avi Das..https://www.facebook.com/avi.das1

 

Just the other day, I mentioned how Phillipe Halsman was a source of inspiration for fashion photography, but this is not, the only field where his work has been used.
Perhaps one of his most famous pictures, 1951′s “In voluptate mors” (which was iself inspired by Salvador ’s gouache Female Bodies as a Skull painting), has been featured, not in one, but in two!

Serial killer movie “The silence of the lambs”, used the picture as a small detail of the poster, by employing it as a motif in the moth’s head (you can click on the image, to see it with some more detail).
The skull image idea, was reportedly given to the agency that designed the poster, by director Jonathan Demme, specifically for use in the film’s poster artwork.

The second use, in the poster for British horror flick “The Descent”, was not so subtle, with the obvious difference being that the women in the poster are all dressed in hiking attire, to match the movies’s subject.
If you haven’t seen it yet and like horror movies, I highly recommend it!

And doesn’t this, just seem extremely well suited for the subject???

“Shanghai”: A scathing, un-Indian satire! #slumdemolitions


Preview: <i>Shanghai</i>

Shanghai is filled with delightful layers of satire, says Satyen K Bordoloi as he tries to peel off a few.

There couldn’t have been a better time for the release of Shanghai. Since two weeks, slum dwellers of Sion-Koliwada have been waging a pitched, non-violent battle against the police, backed by the government, and builders to try save their homes.

To have a film talking about corporate land grab in Mumbai and political corruption release at this time: priceless.

But that is the first satire of Shanghai. There will never be a ‘wrong’ time to release it because in Mumbai the corporate/rich/middle-class need for perennial ‘development’ and the reality of poor, working, struggling masses have always been at war. This war will continue till either Mumbai is ‘Shanghaied’ or its people are.

Though the cliche is that Indians lack a sense of humour, what we truly lack is a sense of satire. Dibakar Banerjee‘s Shanghai with its layers of satire, allegories and allusions is as un-Indian a film as it can get.

Brilliant opening

In one of the most brilliant opening shots in recent times, the camera fixed high above, frames a part of the city. Around 30-40 per cent of it seems occupied by what looks like white, well made ‘houses’. The rest 60-70% is obviously slums.

In this two-second shot Shanghai establishes the reality of both the film and the city in which it is based. Because 60-70 per cent people in the world’s most populated metropolis (if you also consider its satellites), Mumbai, live in slums with the threat of eviction constantly looming like Damocles‘ sword, despite a majority of them paying everything from property tax to electricity bills – like the residents of Sion-Koliwada.

Read full SIFY article here

A film with a difference – Priyanka Borpujari


28, Januray 2012, The Hindu

It took 14 years to make the 200-minute-long documentary “Jai Bhim Comrade” on Dalits. Director Anand Patwardhan explains why.

On January 9, in the bylanes of Byculla‘s BIT Chawl, a documentary was premiered after sundown. A huge white screen ensured that people from the three-storeyed buildings nearby could also view the film. For over three hours Anand Patwardhan’s “Jai Bhim Comrade” took us on a musical-historical journey. Beginning with the rousing voice of Vilas Ghogre, we move quickly to the police killings in Ramabai Nagar in 1997. Suddenly, the camera takes us inside Ghogre’s home, where he scribbled his last words before committing suicide on the fifth day after the police firing.

Why did the film take 14 years to make? “I wanted to continue filming till all the false cases against the people in the colony were removed, or until the police officers who had ordered the firing were sent to jail,” explains Patwardhan. The Ramabai Nagar case took its own natural course. Another thread was exploring the tension between caste and class. Patwardhan says, “Vilas was a Dalit who became a Marxist, but then chose to reassert his Dalit identity, by tying a blue scarf as he hung himself. I wanted to understand this seeming clash of identities. As Vilas was no more, I began filming others from his musical tradition. A few were Leftists like Vilas, others celebrated Dr. Ambedkar‘s life and message. I wanted to do justice to this whole spectrum.”

The spectrum is broad indeed — from a proud song describing the Dalit who became a barrister, to those that recount the travails of migrant workers to the city; from lullabies based on the teachings of the Buddha, to naughty qawaalis that celebrated sexuality equally by men and women. Almost each song is juxtaposed with evocative visuals — claustrophobic slum-dwelling illustrated by a chicken coop; “My barrister husband is coming home” juxtaposed with visuals of men sweeping the streets. As Patwardhan points out, this is not an ethnographic film. “It is a record of the people and events I encountered. Many were not recognised as singers. Saraswati Bansode was a housewife. Shanta Bai Gadpaile’s husband was a poet and she remembers his songs. The tradition is so strong that ordinary people just sang.”

Many songs in the film narrate the game politicians have played with Dalits. In one instance, at an Ambedkar Jayanti function, small boys are dancing to the tune of “In the Mumbai… we are the Bhai..” from Bollywood‘s “Shootout At Lokhandwala”. Somehow the lyrics fit — Dalits have been used by the underworld, as well as political parties.

More

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