Posts tagged documentary
While giving an event on breast cancer in association with The Nargis Dutt Memorial Charitable Trust a miss, Sanju made it to a wine-tasting the same day
On Wednesday evening, Sanjay Dutt was spotted at a wine-tasting event, where he was the chief guest. But apparently, what didn’t go down well with some was his absence at another event on the same day.
The event Sanjay did not attend had the screening of a documentary on breast cancer patients, which is in exclusive partnership with Priya Dutt’s The Nargis Dutt Memorial Charitable Trust (NDMCT) in India and some other NGO’s globally. At this event too, Sanjay was supposed to be the chief guest.
|(Above) Sanjay Dutt was absent at the event on breast cancer. He made it to the wine-tasting though (below)|
The breast cancer event and wine tasting event had a gap of a few hours between them.
When sister Priya Dutt and brother-in-law Kumar Gaurav made it to the breast cancer event, Priya justified Sanju’s absence.
She was overheard telling someone that Sanju was nursing his newly delivered babies and wife at home.
But daddy Dutt still managed to make it around 10 pm to the wine-tasting event.
Angry at the way his son was portrayed in Sangeeth Sivan’s 332 Mumbai To India, Kundan Raj stormed out of its screening
On Tuesday, producer Sangeeth Sivan and his crew went to Patna and organised a screening of their film 332 Mumbai To India for Rahul Raj’s father. But Sivan hadn’t expected what followed.
The father Kundan Raj was very angry after watching the film and he stormed out of the venue threatening the makers that he will not allow the film to be released.
Our source said, “Sivan and director Mahesh Pande wanted to show the film to Rahul Raj’s father so that he could support the film. But Kundan Raj went against them. He was not happy with the way his son was portrayed in the film. So he walked out of the venue.”
When contacted, Sivan said, “I think he is talking like a father, who is not happy at the slightest deviation from who he thought his son was. The fact is that he had held 13 people hostage in that bus for a brief period of time and that too with a country-made gun, which could only fire one bullet.
So, I presume that Raj must have done something that scared these 13 people for a while. This is what I have shown in the film. I was not in that bus, so I have taken the cinematic liberty to show that.
I never said that my film is a documentary on Rahul Raj, so Kundan Raj has the right to think what he thinks. He said that he was sure there was no one on the upper deck of the bus when Rahul Raj was shot. Kundan Raj got angry but there is little I can do about this.”
By Subhash K. Jha, October 11, 2010 – 10:14 IST
At a celebration party at the Marriott on Monday evening, the Big B would be cutting a 68-kilo cake, 1 kilo for each year of his life.
While the world sings ‘Happy Birthday‘ to the Big B, Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan sing together for the first time in a song composed by the Big B himself! Find that hard to believe? But it’s the truth.
The Big B is a huge aficionado of music and singing. He in fact intends to learn to play the piano soon. But for now he has turned composer for a song that has been sung by the Big B and Abhishek Bachchan.
The song would be part of a comprehensive bio-documentary showcasing the 68-year life-span of Amitabh Bachchan which will be telecast on his birthday on Monday. The Big B has not only taken active and complete interest in the material going into the audio-visual show reel–going so far as to provide never-before pictures, advising on the footage to be used and making suggestions on chronological data relating to his life story– the mega-star has also taken time off from his cluttered schedule to compose the theme song.
While the Big B himself is characteristically dismissive of what could be seen as his first decisive step into direction and filmmaking, Ajit Thakur CEO of Sony Entertainment, the channel which will be telecasting the historic bio-documentary sheds startling light on the project. “Mr. Bachchan has indeed composed a song for the show reel and also sung for it along with Abhishek and composers Vishal-Shekhar.”
The show reel introducing the new season of Kaun Banega Crorepati has virgin footage and rare pictures of the Big B beginning with his birth in 1942 to present-day.
Informs a source from the channel, “The show reel contains never-before pictures episodes, incidents, scenes and dialogues from Mr. Bachchan’s life and films. For instance he will be reciting a poem by his father poet Harivanshrai Bachchan that he has never recited publicly before. There will be pictures of the Big B and his family that have been brought out into the open for the first time.”
In fact the Big B has personally supervised every aspect of the showreel, lent pictures and footage from his own private library, selected the footage that has grown into the show reel, and zeroed-in on the relevant sequences from his films which he has re-enacted for the first time.
Says the source, “Some of the most famous sequences and dialogues such as the temple scene in Yash Chopra’s Deewaar from Mr. Bachchan’s films have been handpicked by him and re-enacted specially for this show reel on specially erected sets representing the original.”
And in the inaugural episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati, the first contestant from a small village will be told that the optimum prize money is not Rs. 1 crore but 5 crores.
The surprise on the contestant’s face is the Big B’s biggest birthday gift.
Filmmakers are looking up North for inspiration
Deepali Dhingra | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; September 21, 2010)
When Shilpa Shetty swung her hip and shook that patli kamar to Main Aayi Hoon UP-Bihar Lootne, she could well have been singing about Bollywood’s latest craze. That’s right! Hindi cinema suddenly seems to have woken up to the fact that there are interesting stories beyond Mumbai’s underworld, Kashmir’s conflicts and Europe’s breathtaking locales. From looking at the issue of groom kidnapping in Antardwand to Udaan that was set in Jamshedpur to Aakrosh that is based on honour killings in Haryana, filmmakers are exploring regions up-North to provide food for thought to the audience.
Director Abhinav Kashyap, whose debut film Dabangg is set in Uttar Pradesh, calls this emerging trend a sheer co-incidence. “But if it’s happening, it’s good because films should be pan India and I think places like UP-Bihar were falling off the map somehow. It’s important to have stories from everywhere.” While Abhinav’s film is about the unlawful practices in UP, his brother Anurag Kashyap is getting ready to dissect the rise of Bihar mafia in his next film.
Sushil Rajpal who directed Antardwand, believes that filmmakers making these movies are usually those who belong to these areas and are familiar with the culture. “Also, they are now in a position to experiment with stories and give the audience something they haven’t seen before,” he says. But is the audience ready to accept these films? “I think it would be naive for filmmakers to assume that the audience is immature,” is Abhinav’s reply.
But film critic Komal Nahta warns that even such films might not work if they are treated in a documentary style. “If the issues are identifiable like corruption in Dabangg or has star value like that in Aakrosh, then there is no resistance from the audience. By setting these films in places like UP-Bihar, the filmmakers are giving the audience, lingo/culture/milieu that they haven’t seen before, thus giving it a fresh approach,” he says.
This year, Shyam Benegal boasts of a competition between aspiring filmmakers
Come October, MAMI, 12th Mumbai Film Festival, will kick-start on a brand new note. The week-long festival starting from October 21, will see MAMI chairperson Shyam Benegal inviting aspiring directors for a competition called ‘Dimensions Mumbai’.
Aspiring directors from Mumbai, below the age of 25 years, will submit short film entries. The duration of each film should not exceed five minutes and they will have to be based on the theme of ‘Mumbai, The Metropolis’.
A panel of experts will select top 20 films from the entries received. These will then be screened at the Festival. Apart from short fiction, the competition is also open to documentaries and animated films.
The Jury will honour the winning films with special prizes too. This includes the Silver Gateway trophy and a cash prize of Rs One Lakh for the winners and another one of Rs 50 thousand for the runners up entries.
And the jury, which is an all-women one, has an exciting line-up too. It includes renowned filmmakers like Tanya Seghatchian, Yoon Jeon Hee and Suhasini Mani Ratnam and is headed by Jane Campion, the Academy award-winning director of The Piano.
Shyam Benegal confirms, “Yes we have an all-women jury. They are excellent filmmakers and the best jury to have.” Talking about the new competition, Benegal adds, “This time we plan to make the festival more interactive. The quality of films has been improving.”
Narayanan, the director of Mumbai Film Festival says, “Around 200 international films will premiere at the festival and I assure you, at least 30 films will surpass Anti Christ- the most talked about film last year.”
Confident that many from Bollywood would attend the festival, Narayanan adds, “Because of the kind of jury we have, the whole of Bollywood would be there.”
Luck with that.
Jyothi Venkatesh (BLOG.BIGCINEMAS.COM; August 9, 2010)
What is the budget of your latest film ‘Peepli Live’?
When I set out to launch my maiden film as a producer – ‘Lagaan’, I thought that the budget should be around Rs 15 crores but ultimately I produced it at a cost of around Rs. 25 crores. Similarly when I thought of making my film, ‘Taare Zameen Par’, I planned to plough in around Rs. 8 crores but ended up spending around Rs. 15 crores on the film. Take for example my latest film, ‘Peepli Live’ directed by Anusha Rizvi. I thought of making it in Rs. 6 crores but ultimately spent Rs. 12 crores in its making.
What drives you to say yes to a film, either as an actor or producer?
I do not look at any film of mine from the point of view of its commercial value but try to find out what it sets out to tell the audiences, whether it was ‘Lagaan’ or for that matter ‘Taare Zameen Par’. I have always gone by my own gut instinct, whether as a producer or for that matter as an actor. It is always the subject that lures me to say yes to any film that is offered to me as an actor. Any one who is sane would have not agreed to act in a film like ‘Rang De Basanti’ because already four films had been made on the legendary freedom fighter, Bhagat Singh but my gut instinct told me to go ahead and act in the film, when Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra approached me with the offer.
What made you decide to back a new director like Anusha Rizvi ?
I have always liked to support young talent which is waiting in the wings to explode with a lot of innovative ideas in their minds. Frankly I have never looked at the success of a person as the criteria before I set out to work with him or her. I was impressed when Anusha Rizvi who is a TV journalist came up to me with her concept for ‘Peepli Live’. I told her to go ahead and make ‘Peepli Live’ for me when she showed me her documentary first and then followed it up with a trial shoot of the film. Anusha has put in her life time experience in the project, which is a satirical film on how the electronic media is functioning today.If you set out to narrate your story in an emotional manner, it will certainly have a bridge of sensitivity with the audiences or else you would only react to it technically and acclaim a film for its cinematography or for that matter of execution, but it will not touch your heart at all.
Did you visit the location where ‘Peepli Live’ was shot?
I did not want at all to go to the sets where the film was being shot. The film was shot in Badwai in Madhya Pradesh, which is near Bhopal. In fact, it was only when all the actors who were working in the film complained to Anusha that they were disappointed that I did not even bother to go to the location and meet them that I decided to visit the location just once.
How did you resist the temptation of casting yourself in ‘Peepli Live’?
Frankly, I could not think of any role which could have fitted me in ‘Peepli Live’. I have always gone in for perfect casting, like in ’3 Idiots’ where I played one of the idiots. (Laughs). If at all I had cast myself in the film using my prerogative as the producer of the film, I would have had to work extra hard by putting in a lot of efforts to play one of the characters in ‘Peepli Live’. I knew that I would not have been able to do a role, as per the conception and vision of Anusha Rizvi in the film.
How tough was the job of casting for ‘Peepli Live’?
Raghubir Yadav is the only known star in the film, besides Naseeruddin Shah. The casting for the film was very vital. Anusha took the call of casting most of the actors from Habib Tanvir‘s theatre group. We picked up real faces which look like the characters that they essay in Peepli Live.They are all well-trained in theatre but facing the camera for the first time in their lives. I should confess that their performance in the film is much better than that of mine in my first film.
Have you chalked out the release strategy of ‘Peepli Live’?
The film will not be released on a grand scale with thousands of like say ’3 Idiots’ was. It needs a different kind of approach to sell it or for that matter market it. UTV Pictures has decided to release a very limited number of prints. As a part of the marketing strategy, we have even made a series of ten promos to showcase each character in the film. In fact, I have even taken the liberty of lampooning myself in one such promo where the TV newsreader states off camera that Aamir Khan has turned insane, because he thinks that just because ‘Lagaan’ which was made with the backdrop of a village had clicked, Aamir Khan thinks that every film of his with a village backdrop would follow suit .
How confident are you of the box office prospects of your film?
The film has already made the rounds of Edinburgh Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival etc. Now that small films like ‘Well Done Abba’ and ‘Welcome To Sajjanpur’ have done moderately well at the box office, I am quite confident that a film like ‘Peepli Live’ would also do well at the box office.
What have you learnt after making the film?
Now that I am also a producer on my own right, I feel that while the technicians who toil hard in the making of the film by putting in their blood should get what their legitimate dues are, the stars should also come forward to reduce their price, because only in that case will a film be able to rake in more profits for the producer.
By Taran Adarsh, August 10, 2010 – 10:45 IST
When Aamir Khan produces a film, or is associated with any film in the capacity of an actor, be prepared for the unpredictable. Films like TAARE ZAMEEN PAR and 3 IDIOTS took pot shots at the education system in India and PEEPLI [LIVE], directed by Anusha Rizvi, is a tongue-in-cheek satire on the farmers’ suicides and the role of vote-hungry politicians and the over-enthusiastic, TRP-seeking desperate electronic media jostling for eyeballs.
Come to think of it, the concept [farmers' suicides] would instinctively translate into a serious, thought-provoking film. But PEEPLI [LIVE] takes a grim and solemn issue, turns it into a satire, garnishes it with populist sentiment and makes a far greater impact than a mere documentary, had it tackled the burning issue. In fact, like all Aamir Khan films, PEEPLI [LIVE] marries realism with a winning box-office formula most brilliantly.
|BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM
A sad fact of our society is that bad news attracts instant attention. In PEEPLI [LIVE], an impoverished man offers to commit suicide so that his family can benefit from a government grant – a dark subject matter which is dealt with in a delightfully humorous manner. In fact, it’s a terrific satire about a troubled India, the shining India, the industrialised India that’s rarely depicted on the Hindi screen.
PEEPLI [LIVE] focuses on the poorest of the poor in India and it not only highlights the plight of a farmer in a tiny corner of a giant country, but also throws light on the varied people who exploit the situation to their advantage, right from the politicians to the bureaucrats to the television reporters to the local people. In fact, PEEPLI [LIVE] makes a scathing attack on the functioning of media in India and how media persons, depicted as vultures, generally stoop to the lowest levels to increase the ratings of their television channel/show.
The best part is that at no point does the film gets preachy or starts offering solutions to the grave issue. It’s a mere tool that the makers have used to discuss bureaucracy, the rural and urban divide and lack of concern of the administration.
Final word? This tragi-comedy, a brilliant satire, is not to be missed.
Natha [Omkar Das Manikpuri], a poor farmer from Peepli village in the heart of rural India, is about to lose his plot of land due to an unpaid government loan. A quick fix to the problem is the government’s program that aids the families of indebted farmers who have committed suicide. As a means of survival, Natha chooses to die. His brother [Raghubur Yadav] is happy to push him towards this unique honour.
Local elections are around the corner and what might’ve been another unnoticed event turns into a cause célèbre, with everyone wanting a piece of the action. Political bigwigs, high-ranking bureaucrats, local henchmen and the ever-zealous media descend upon sleepy Peepli to stake their claim. Natha’s mother [Farrukh Jaffer] screams at his wife [Shalini Vatsa], while his young son urges papa to go through with the suicide so he can use the money to become a policeman.
One TV journalist, in a desperate search for a new angle, tries to examine Natha’s faeces to determine his emotional state. Nobody seems to care how Natha really feels.
PEEPLI [LIVE] tells the story of today: Rural society, the games politicians play, the bureaucracy and the manipulative electronic media. It’s a well penned and well executed film that deals with a serious issue in a witty and entertaining manner. Although very real, it creates a world full of vivid characters and incidents and keeps the viewer engrossed throughout.
First-time director Anusha Rizvi handles the subject material like a veteran. Her script is tight and witty and her handling of a difficult subject deserves kudos. What really sets the film apart is that it is unlike a typical Bollywood film. In fact, you can’t draw parallels with any film, past or present. And that’s what goes in favour of this film, since virgin subjects handled with utmost sensitivity and maturity is the order of the day. Even the finale is most appropriate and absolutely befitting the content of the film. In a nutshell, Anusha scores a sixer in her debut.
The music, composed by multiple artists, is Indian to the core and borrows heavily from folk music. The hugely popular – ‘Mehangayee Daayan’ – is the pick of the lot, without doubt. Cinematography is appropriate. Dialogue, laced with expletives, are truly fantastic and most importantly, real.
Manikpuri is brilliant as Natha. Raghubir Yadav shines as the opportunist brother. Malaika Shenoy [as the television reporter] is exceptional. Shalini Vatsa [as Natha's wife] is outstanding. Ditto for Farrukh Jaffer [Natha's bed-ridden mother]. In fact, the constant tu-tu-main-main between the saas-bahu is thoroughly enjoyable. Nawazuddin Siddiqui [as Rakesh, the local journalist] is natural. Vishal Sharma [as Kumar Deepak, the rival journalist] is top notch. Naseeruddin Shah is first-rate as the conniving, shrewd politician. The remaining cast – there’re lots of actors in the film – pitch in believable performances.
On the whole, PEEPLI [LIVE] is sure to ride initially on the strength and credibility of its iconic actor/producer Aamir Khan and once that is achieved, the powerful content is sure to speak for itself. PEEPLI [LIVE] is a film that would not only appeal to Indians, but is sure to reach out to audiences beyond India. Simply brilliant!
After working on a sensitive documentary, Anusha Rizvi realised how a balanced approach is crucial for a film
As Anusha Rizvi awaits audience reaction to her directorial debut Peepli Live, a lot has been written on the theme which revolves around farmers’ suicide. But Anusha is quick to say that the film is much more than just a satire on farmers’ suicide.
“The film is an objective view on the huge divide between urban and rural India which is a much larger issue,” she says.
Facts to fiction
Objectivity doesn’t come easy when you are dealing with a sensitive subject and trying to not take sides. For Anusha, this isn’t something new as she has faced the same situation while working on a docu-fiction on the IC 814 hijack drama. On December 24, 1999, IC 814 had taken off from Kathmandu and was on its way to India when it was hijacked by five Pakistani terrorists and was taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan. “While researching, we saw the personal side of all the passengers on board and they seized to be just statistics. Interviewing the passengers and the flight attendants gave us an insight into the psyche of the terror-stricken people,” she says.
It was necessary to get both sides of the story, but unfortunately Anusha and the team couldn’t get a balanced view. “When you are dealing with a sensitive issue which involves both, India and Pakistan, it is important to balance it. We tried our best to go to Lahore and Kandahar but did not get permission to shoot there. We tried to get in touch with the journalists and Pakistani agencies, but ran into a wall every time. In the end, we had to go with a one-sided story,” she reveals.
Never say never
In 2004-2005, there was an interest in the media about farmers’ suicide. This is when Anusha decided to ‘tell’ a story, without being judgmental.
For a first time director with no prior experience in filmmaking, it was a tough task but she gave it a shot. Says Anusha, “I never give up without trying, something which I learnt from (the late theatre veteran) Habib Tanvir.
I have known him all my life and looking at him, I have realised how worthless our life has been.” Tanvir’s wife passed away and a week after that, he fell down and broke his ribs. He was 82-years-old then.
“At that age, it is difficult to not resign to your fate. But Tanvirsaab was different. He recovered and went back to what he loved best – theatre. I realised that if he has so much energy and determination at that age, why can’t I?” she concludes.
Abbas Tyrewala is moving into John’s apartment to quell rumours of their professional rapport treading on thin ice
We’ve heard of strong professional partnerships, but this one takes the cake. John Abraham, who has just finished the interiors of his new Band Stand apartment, will be having a visitor for many days to come: director Abbas Tyrewala of Jaane Tu…Jaane Na fame is all set to move, bag and baggage, to his actor’s home.
The director, who is making 1-800-LOVE, starring Abraham and his wife Pakhi, is taking this step to quell rumours about the faltering rapport between the actor and director.
There are strong rumours about John having been getting insecure and annoyed about Tyrewala’s wife Pakhi getting more screen time in the forthcoming film 1-800-LOVE. This allegedly was causing professional tension between Tyrewala and Abraham.
So sick in fact is Tyrewala about this that he has even decided to tag along with John to parties, shoots, public events, appearances, you name it. Till the time that the rumours die out in the media and the public about the so-called rift between John and Abbas, this arrangement will continue. Abbas may as well make a documentary on John’s life at this rate!
When contacted John Abraham laughed and said, “Abbas is a very sensitive director and he was getting very upset with all these rumours so when he suggested that he wanted to shift into my house I was very happy to have a friend around. I am also throwing a completion party for the film at my place on Friday night.”
Abbas Tyrewala said, “John is a wonderful friend and I love spending time with him and I see this as a opportunity to do so. I also love his house.”
Wonder what Bipasha has to say about this arrangement.
They are young and bursting with enthusiasm. Five young directors making their debut this year tell us why it’s magical to be in the movies
Some of the best ideas in films in 2009 were seen in the ones made by debutant directors. Never mind the box-office results, the freshness and the willingness to experiment made all the difference.
With some big budget films with top names failing to make paisa vasool films, perhaps it’s time to turn to the first-timers to bring a new perspective.
Some leading production houses have placed their bets on these newbies in films featuring topline stars. Here are five of them who are waiting to open their accounts in the Bollywood dream factory.
‘I’ve wanted to do this for 10 years’
Calling card: Remake of Stepmom starring Kajol, Kareena and Arjun Rampal
Expected release: End of the year
Inspirations: Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Sooraj Barjatya, Karan Johar
As a child Siddharth Malhotra remembers spending his pocket money of Rs 40-50 on buying Bombino video cassettes and audio tapes of the latest Hindi flicks. Films were his biggest craze, even then.
A true blue industry kid (Premnath is his grandfather, his dad, actor Prem Kishen set up Cinevista and the Kapoors are extended family), Siddharth grew up interacting with the likes of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Vijay Anand.
So it comes as no surprise when he proclaims that he “lives, eats and breathes cinema”. The irresistible lure even led him to assist Vinod Chopra on Kareeb at the age of 15.
But the one movie that impacted him the most was Sooraj Barjatya’s Maine Pyar Kiya. “I forget the number of times I’ve watched it,” he says almost reverentially of the director whom he assisted on Vivah. Sooraj also taught him an important lesson: make a film in a milieu you are comfortable with and be true to it.
It’s a maxim Siddharth believes in completely as he directs his first film - the remake of Stepmom - for Karan Johar, an old family friend, whom he assisted on Kal Ho Na Ho and other films.
His sensibilities were also honed by television. “I love the ‘80s serials,” he says reminiscing the DD days of Katha Sagar, Gul Gulshan Gulfam and Junoon which his company produced. He himself created successful shows like Sanskriti and Sanjeevani when he took over Cinevista.
But when TV reached a lull (“I wasn’t comfortable making making saas-bahu serials”), Siddharth knew it was time to make a film. “I love films about relationships,” he says, swearing loyalty to the Bollywood school of thought. “I like watching the Fellinis or Kurosawas, but give me the Guru Dutts and Raj Kapoors any day,” he chuckles.
And now that the journey has begun, Siddharth wants to make the most of it. “My next script is also in place,” he laughs. But wouldn’t he rather wait for his first one to finds its place? “Well, this is something I have wanted to do for the last 10 years. Filmmaking has not only taught me the technicalities, it has helped me evolve as a person too.”
‘I am an adventurer’
Calling card: Allah Kay Banday starring Naseeruddin Shah, Atul Kulkarni, Sharman Joshi & himself
Expected release: September
Inspirations: Everyone from Raj Kapoor, Bimal Roy and Manmohan Desai to Hollywood Masters
It’s not often that the unpredictable Naseeruddin Shah not just says ‘yes’ to a first-time filmmaker after reading the script, but also enquires what role would he like to cast him in. But the veteran actor did exactly that when Faruk Kabir approached him with his script. “What luck na?” exults Kabir about his ‘social thriller’ Allah Kay Banday.
Faruk’s subject is certainly unusual - prison reform and kids caught in the vortex of crime. But more unusual are the inspirations behind it - the “real India”, glimpses of which he gathered during his travels over 27,000 kms across the country to shoot a documentary, Unheard Voices of the People of India for the NGO Action Aid.
From meeting a person in Varanasi who ran a school for children of prostitutes to Mumbai street children, Faruk came back, as he puts it, “a 1000 stories richer.” And the idea for a film crystallised.
More research followed, this time in juvenile prisons and the mean streets of our cities. “The kids I met were all very spunky and colourful. Their stories had to be told,” says Faruk.
He isn’t worried about the odious comparisons to City of God or Slumdog Millionaire. “They are good films to be compared to,” shrugs Faruk. “Besides, I have not made an edgy and racy film, not a dark, stark or preachy one.”
In fact, for all his socialist sensibilities, Faruk is vehemently opposed to preachy cinema. “Ultimately, a movie has to entertain, period,” he says.
This commercial grounding could also have something to do with his stints as assistant to Aziz Mirza and later Rajiv Rai which started when he was only 17. “I was this boarding school boy who felt claustrophobic in Mumbai. Filmmaking, I thought, would be a good way to channelise my restless energy!”
Later he winged to New York to train in filmmaking and 2-D animation but then returned and shot the documentary. “My main objective was to be a story-teller. And a lot of those stories came from newspapers,” says Faruk.
So while the stories are real, Faruk’s aspirations are clear: “I am a bit of an adventurer. Even if I just make 10 films I am proud of, and I die, I am fine with it.”
‘I am not the one for dark films’
Abhinav Singh Kashyap
Calling card: Dabanng starring Salman Khan, Arbaaz Khan and Sonakshi Sinha
For someone who is making his debut with a Salman Khan film, Abhinav Singh Kashyap keeps a pretty low-profile. His Dabanng has been in the news for several reasons. Sonakshi Sinha’s debut, Salman’s small-town cop act to name a few but the director would rather let his work speak.
“I’ve been directing for almost 11 years now,” he informs talking about his TV career where he directed serials like Rajneeti and Star Bestsellers. “TV gave me an opportunity to experiment with different genres,” he says. But films were a different ballgame. For someone who had a late initiation into Bollywood, Abhinav had mixed encounters with the industry.
He assisted Mani Ratnam on Yuva, which was great but then had a bitter experience with Jang, a film he wrote for Sanjay Gupta. “It didn’t turn out the way it was written,” he says. What sustained him throughout was his passion for writing.
Abhinav claims he writes best when he does it for himself. “Life inspires me. I have a lot of ideas and stories stored in my computer.” Dabanng, he says, was a script he had been itching to tell. The opportunity to direct it came when he approached Arbaaz Khan who was impressed enough to produce it. Then came Salman.
Needless to say, the script underwent changes to suit the star image. Doesn’t that compromise on his vision? “Not really,” he shrugs. “I believe it’s better to incorporate the star’s image in the story. Besides, Salman has a tremendous fan following.”
He admits a filmmaker has to often kow tow to market forces, but believes a balancing act can be achieved only “by making more films.” “The first film is the most difficult. Once it is released I’ll get more offers and then would be able to make it exactly the way I want.”
But he’s confident about Dabanng. “It’s not a stark or too real film. Anyway, I am not the one for dark, gritty cinema. I like my heroes to be winners!”
Cashing in on his break
Calling card: Break ke baad starring Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone
Expected release: End of the year
Inspirations: World cinema
It was his efficiency and enthusiasm as first AD to Kunal Kohli that fetched Danish Aslam his director’s cap.
The Kashmir-born Delhi educated Jamia graduate hailed from a family that was far removed from films (his father is a professor). But that didn’t quell his desire to dream big and enter big bad Bollywood.
Next step, naturally, was Mumbai where he began treading the familiar ground of assisting directors. A short schedule with filmmakers such as Asutosh Gowarikar (Swades) and Farhan Akhtar (Lakshya) only served to whet his appetite more.
He then assisted Kunal Kohli in Fanaa and Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic, which proved to be his turning point for he motivated him to think bigger. “He was a great first AD, he never let any of the problems reach me,” says Kohli.
So when Kohli turned producer, he decided to repose faith in his young assistant who already had his story idea ready.
The result is Break ke baad, another take on the age-old rom com genre. One wonders just how different can a love story be but the filmmaker insists it won’t just be a frothy take on relationships, but something that has layers and subtexts.
Danish’s strength, say observers, is his ability to provide solutions and options coupled with cool confidence and a calm mind.
Like many of his contemporaries, he is a worshipper of world cinema, but interactions with Kunal, a keen follower of the Bollywood tradition, has altered his sensibilities to a large extent.
Whether his take on romance finds flavour remains to be seen, but what matters is whether this ‘break’ takes him far on his filmi journey.
‘Direction has taught me patience’
Calling card: I Hate Luv Storys starring Imran Khan and Sonam Kapoor
Releasing: July 2
Influences: Karan Johar rom
I am very shallow, I am not very educated. Neither am I an intellectual. What you see is what you get,” shoots off Punit Malhotra laying off any pretences to being influenced by world cinema or attempting to make anything “intellectual”.
There is indeed no pretence about Punit. Ask him to describe himself and he says, tongue firmly in cheek: “I am a super good looking guy!… Just kidding! I am just happy-go-lucky.”
It is this sensibility that one gets a whiff of from the promos of the curiously misspelt I Hate Luv Storys. “Yes, it’s a bunch of young people working together. Definitely that energy will emerge,” he says, admitting to “feeling a little numb” as he awaits the first print of his film.
Well, there’s nothing to feel unconfident about. After all, it’s a dream for most filmmakers to be debuting with a Karan Johar film, get the hottest young stars on board and have a ready platform to zoom off.
But Punit, whose Bollywood connect begins with uncle Manish Malhotra, reacts quickly to the ‘luck’ factor in getting his break. “Hey, luck has nothing to do with it.
I worked with the production house for 10 years, assisted Karan on K3G and a host of films! Besides, I have worked with Amitji, Kajol, SRK etc. There can’t be a better training ground than that, can there?” Point noted.
But from assisting on films to directing one has had its impact on the youngster. For once, it has taught him the virtue of patience. “I am damn restless as a person, being director has taught me patience. There is so much co-ordination to do, people’s egos to handle… Secondly, you have to handle the anxiety.”
Stresses and anxieties apart, he clearly enjoys the power. “Especially since I have done the script, I get a lot more clarity. And no one can argue with you beyond a point,” he laughs. “But yes, I like being in control. I don’t even have a driver as I don’t like being driven around!”
For now though he’s enjoying the drive of the endless interviews and promotional activities. “I really don’t know what I will do next. I’d rather begin with a clean slate. Let’s see what happens next… anyway, I live for the moment.”