Thursday, December 28, 2006
i could imagine my sister going "ptchtch", as she lets out a sigh more eloquent than words. there he sat by the irani table by the door, carefully making our drinks...cheers, anil!...and a very merry christmas. and to you all! come home quick, before the sweets get over!!
yes, am doing em both!! kbc AND koffee...so help me god! until now, i had studiously avoided taking up more than one show at a time...just hate this "clash" thing, didn't have the patience nor the aptitude for it. koffee's gonna be back with an all new set, tho' i'm gonna miss the previous set a lot - the best designed and most correctly proportioned set i've ever lit. but am looking foward to working at yashraj studios, with their fancy new lighting grid.
after a four month drought, it sure is pouring!...had to decline two big docu shoots - one for bbc n the other for discovery. and, i cannot go to nairobi to shoot at wsf...am so pissed off, but keeping a tight lid on it. it's back to work boys!... lights!!
Monday, December 11, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
the other thing is "hope" - that undying eternal human feeling...no matter how slender, how faint that glimmer of light, how ridiculous even...but in the end there is always hope! what would we be without it??
i thought i'd write a lot more...but the words don't come...what is it about words that are spoken or written that commit a thought...don't even know if that made any sense...
that's what i like about a blog! so what if it don't make sense, so what if no one reads it... my need...again!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
the distances in time seemed uncannily similar...the same hour n half from home to wockhardt and now bombay to delhi! it takes the same 35min from vasant vihar to wockhardt or from iit to panchkuian road...
haven't settled in here as yet...don't know what qns to ask of the docs. the monitors at meeka's bedside v similar to those beside anil. just that her heartbeat is kinda normal and bp too. we're all hoping she remains stable n gets discharged in a day or two.
back in bombay, gopa (a friend of ours from dubai) is having an angiography done in sion even as i write...will someone up there tell me what IS going on??
the only bad part about being an icu/ccu patient's relative is that you can't listen to music in your ears!...they call for you...sometimes...though, you hope that they'll call to say that your patient is being shifted to a room...some of us are lucky...others luckier!...while we lesser mortals are left behind to seek "closure".
to access to good medical care in this country, you got to have money - lots of it, but to get the best, you need to know someone - doctors, directors, surgeons, owners, head nurse...its scary, i'd just rather die!...or maybe, when we have more n know more, we get even more insecure...
and just when you've convinced yourself that you've indeed got the best, there comes someone along who thinks we'll get better elsewhere!...the hunt for the snark continues...even here!...
so srk is going to host kbc3 and yes i got a call...and me, i didn't say no...c!'s been down with severe stomach pain since we got here. hope to do some tests in a day or two. she, like her mum deserves a break from docs n medicines...
i no longer know where i wake up...could sleep some more...missed anil last afternoon a lot as i walked appa in some crisp afternoon winter sun. i did say goodnight to anil, go in peace...but i just didn't want him to go...mercifully, i didn't have to see a hole in the ground eat him up...
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the english way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say
Up and down.
But in the end its only round and round.
All that is now
All that is gone
All thats to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
woke up one morning to loud squaking by the window...these two were going nuts to find another parrot in the mirror...they'd look over the edge, not find the reflection, peer back into the mirror n go SQUREECH! for a full 30mins!!...such a good morning it was!
last month i lost my laptop bag with passport, laptop, ipod, money, etc. i wept then coz it felt i had lost "everything"...so many weeks later...after so many days in the icu-patients' relatives waiting room, that loss seems just so so insignificant.
ashes you were and unto ashes will you return...so they say in the bible!
aaah my head reels...what, where, why, how, when...tell me more!!
suddenly one night, my sister asks me how much i remember of the night dad died. only being bundled off to the neighbour's place to sleep, i recall. i'm 6 n she 15...so much anger she felt then...about not being told anything, about not having anything explained to her, about needing to look after 3younger brothers...we hugged each other to sleep...swiftly perished the thought of wishing i had the camera!! don't know when i'll ever finish my film...
this evening, his heartbeat blip went flat...
outside, in the waiting room, the dams burst. they'd been springing leaks all week. try as you might...steel yourself...but when the moment comes, something deep inside just crumbles...his 8yr old son on seeing the white coloured nutrition anil (b-in-law) was receiving, excitedly tells his mum, "they're giving uncle lassi!"
he'd just discovered scrabble two days ago, when i had pulled out the game to distract my sister's very preoccupied mind...
images from bergmans's seventh seal flash by...how much time can we really buy?... while we keep praying that anil wins this round of chess.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
it's been three weeks now since he walked to a nearby hospital complaining of severe a stomach ache. the sonograph that morning revealed a serious life-threatening condition. Pancreas comes from the Greek pankreas (a combination of pan and kreas) which means 'all meat'. Kreas in Homeric literature meant edible animal flesh!!
but, acute pancreatitis is a rapidly-onset inflammation of the pancreas. Depending on its severity, it can have severe complications and high mortality despite treatment.
and necrotising acute pancreatitis is when the pancreas auto-digests, killing itself due to the very corrosive nature of the enzymes it secretes. My bro-in-law's pancreas is 70% necrotised now. And we are praying v hard that infection does not set in...that can be fatal...n you pray too!
the icu-patients' relatives waiting room is one of life's worst waiting rooms. cellphones buzzing constantly, seldom a smiling face, bursts of tense action, frequent breaking downs, nervous twitches, restless fingers, swollen glassy vacant eyes, bed numbers being beckoned urgently, cold...
the icu itself solemn, cold, same-sized mallu nurses dart purposefully between beds, the pings n dings of life-support gear denying death his feared knock, lcd screens displaying all vital indications...day in n day out...three weeks later, my bro-in-law seems to have lost a sense of date n time. We got him a 2-in-1 last evening so that he can listen to his fav music.
he patiently slowly scribbles what he wants to say or ask one letter at a time on my palm..."no place like home"! he says when i say he's being looked after really well here at wockhardt. "index"? he asks me...index i ask back, only to realise he wants to know how the stock market is doing!! I want to hug him...
he dreamed of sitting down watch the sun go down behind the hills beyond the lake sipping his rum n cola...not even a drop of alcohol now on! my sister didn't know what hit her on the second day, when the doc asked us to call his relatives down. that was the hardest part for me - calling each one of them, repeating the same thing over...making it feel even more impending then.
he's pulled through until now and we hope he'll pull right through. his lung doctor (yes, this is the orbit of super speciality) is not happy with the condition of his lungs. his pancreas doc is happy no infection has set in...will keep you posted. until then blow some good winds his way...
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
it was just about a month ago, on my way back to lille after visiting my uncle in cologne...changing trains at brussels midi, had over an hour to kill and so loitered around the station (cardinal sin #1)...looking for (what else?) waffles!! it had been over a year since i'd had one...the memory was tempting enough. backpack still on back i put my laptop bag down (cardinal sin #2) to look up to see which platform my train was going to come and check out the waffles on offer.
out of nowhere came this north african early twenties guy facing me on my right. "amsterdam? amsterdam?" he asked me twice...i was tired, it was a long day n my shoulders were aching...i turned around to look down...but it was gone! fucking shit! felt all the oxygen sucked out of my body...my laptop bag was stolen. looking down in sheer disbelief..closed n opened my eyes just in case they were tricking me!!fuck! i kicked myself! the classic distraction trick...mouth still open, i ran around as if they'd still be around! noooo i cursed myself, how could i let them!
perfect timing! thanksgiving weekend, crowded train station...i was a wreck...looked around some more...had wandered around the station enough to know where exactly the cop station was..."stand back!" growled some white beef in blue...quickly try to bring my heartrate down...lick my lips in a desperate attempt to help words form. "my laptop bag has just be stolen" i blurt out.
"my passport went too...that was my ID!"
"sorry there's nothing I can do for you"
"but...." i stutter...
"you'll have to go to your embassy, i can't help you"
as incredulous as it sounded to me, i walked out in complete disbelief...but i need a police complaint before i go to my embassy, i reasoned in my head ...walking...thinking, i find two security gaurds, repeat my story. they're more compassionate n take me to another cop stn just outside the train stn. there charlie one speaks to tango two and i'm sent back to the train stn cop stn. This time white beef in blue motions me to wait as he is busy. i sit alone...very alone...most calming...
c! won't take her phone, i get my uncle's answering machine...god-cursed!...sms the breaking news...c! still won't answer her phone...more panic-struck just-been-robbed weepies join me...in an hour, we're five!! i shake my head...they shake theirs.
finally, white beef calls for me...i'm upset n angry but calmer by now. i protest immediately about him not having me helped me n worse kept me waiting for an hour now (cardinal sin #3)...white turned to red and my internal alarm blew furiously. quickly climbing down, i apologise and say ya, my laptop bag with my passport's been stolen, what do i need to do? how can you help me? now he tells me that yes he'd give me a letter that i need to get endorsed from my embassy that i am indeed their citizen, then i can come back n he or his colleagues would take my statement! phew! he explained that anyone could walk in n say they'd lost their passport n jump boat...true, i agree, we shake hands n i leave with that cyclostyled piece of paper.
by now, i just had a lil over 20 euros in my wallet (down from the 400odd i had in my laptop bag (cardinal sin#4)...a slow local train tic was all i could afford. my shoulders did feel lighter, i must admit...and settled in to the longest 2hr train ride in my life (the eurostar does it in 40mins!!)
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
aalooo from lille in france! finally got internet working in the hotel room!! bon tres bon!
…woke up this sunday morning n found myself taking the elevator down to the entre sol…but to my horror twas closed! Boing! It’s the weekend!! And NO ONE works!!!
Last night, after a long hard day, party-ed hard at this electro-music fest n was looking forward to the frugal breakfast fare provided by this modest hotel (a service apt really). But c’est la vie, back in my room, juice n dahi n banana will do just fine ☺
Switched on kumar gandharva…felt some dirt under my soft clean feet (I’ve been in shoes all week!)…damn! They haven’t cleaned my room…no problemo…mopped the place in 10mins, did the dishes n suddenly felt I had been living here for months!
Not being here as a tourist changes the complexion of your experience. No pressure to “see” “places”…you just stumble upon them as you walk around town – from hotel to the lille3000 office to the palais rihour (the site of the installation) n back…and you interact with the locals in a more in-depth manner, relaxed, at length, in varying situations – at work, in a bar, over lunch, at this music fest…
Its been a wonderful first week! Made even better by the fact that we aren’t shooting today. Last evening, we finished the first n most complicated of our shoots n I am so glad for that. 5 to go!! But such tripe being paraded as video art but that’s another story for another time….
Au contraire, the video installations I saw at this electro-music fest, were simply mind blowing. Some of them…their understanding of the medium, use of technology n attention to detail n great sound design make it such a treat to experience. N their staging - immaculate…non of these laboured self indulgent obvious statements about war or terror or…
The weather’s been great…even warm for me some days…actually perspired profusely!! But the sun in these latitudes…o man…does this magical demi-circle around the horizon, crisp n golden yet never contrasty. But they say it will get colder soon n I’m looking forward to it. Haven’t worn even one of my full sleeve “winter” stuff I am carrying! It’s cloudy this morning n was v foggy the day I arrived…
Lille…hadn’t heard of it before nor had I spotted it on the map…kinda hangs in there half-way between london n paris…trying hard to capture its own place in the sun. they wanna make it the cultural capital of Europe n “bombaysers de lille3000” is a way of getting there…a 3month extravaganza celebrating Bombay…art, music, dance, film, literature n bollywood!! The Bombay mafia is taking over Europe!! Next Thursday, another 2year long exhibition on Bombay opens in amsterdam…n I am going there! My music video debut happened for this children’s museum - Troppen Jr. Am most excited that I will be there for the opening. Tres bon!
Ah but so many femmes fatales but such little time!! Lille is also a big university town, so lots of pyt’s around…n how much they smoke!! O another thing…hadn’t seen so many pregnant women when I was in these parts last summer. But my fav is laura – Spanish, lives with her boyfriend at the very top of these old world 2-storied houses - all wooden with a piano in the attic even! She’s been plying me with music to dump into my ipod. Charlotte – this freckled blonde I danced with last night, a pol science student so we have these animated conversations about globalisation, Americana, racial tensions, even office politics!! Chin-pierced doe-eyed Elaine – the youngest of them all n single ;) n a cutie! She rolled me my first French ciggie!...i use her comp to email at the office. And there’s Flora – this big, Indian-accented very talkative thing…just so excited that she’s going to be marrying this rajput boyfriend in delhi this dec. she taking us out to the Sunday market tomorrow. And Justin, this petite, quintessential French girl you’d seen in French cinema, anything but demure, she handles production like a veteran but all of 26. Age is a big thing….how old are you? Guessing games et al…good fun!! Needles to say, I AM old as opposed to Elaine who said to me “I am young”!! sigh…..and there’s Christina – a huge strapping Austrian who is my gaffer, grip n girl Friday all rolled into one! She’s sweet but won’t take risks which is painful when one is doing experimental stuff like this.
went to a park nearby to walk some green…discovered chestnut trees…tres vieux n grande…bon soir! Sipping some cheap but v nice vino tinto listening to massive attack …biding my time before we go back to “tripostal” for the electro music fest. Tripostal used to be the old main post office n the postal authorities have handed it over to the city as a public space…3floors of video installations n live djs mixing some heavy grooves. Tres chique n very underground…
been thinking about sound installations…n my love for sound/audio…will pursue it n see where it takes me…god these ibook speakers suck!
Loong day today, just got back n its almost 1130pm when the rest of India sleeps! Had my first joint today – that too at our location – did justice to its 1453 vintage I think ;) I go to Amsterdam day after n then to see my dad’s brother in Germany. Went to book my train tics…n most astonishingly, they couldn’t book my amst – cologne tic!! Irctc!! Where are you??
The Sunday market was ok types – mostly clothes. But had some soooper Algerian food, preceeded by some flaameesh (don’t know the Flemish spelling) which is a cross betw a pizza n quiche. But most importantly, made by one of the few surviving makers of this regional speciality!! Felt privileged….the Algerian tangine n coucous was sumptuous n v meaty…felt like a buffalo after…mercifully we walked back. That’s the lovely-est thing abt lille…..entirely walkable. They’re just beginning to get their bicycle lanes…o nice beer buzz!...g’nite!!...
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
but i've been enjoying writing...though have been less regular lately...maybe that's why you've given up on me!!
the last 2 weeks have been drowned in passport renewal woes...between me refusing to bribe em cops to hasten my police verification and ganpati, i lost a good 14days which is huge considering i need to leave for france on saturday night!!
it is all quite "brazil"...the innards of this system...hajjjaar files, hunched-over-table clerks, ancient ceiling fans which creak more than cool...and the ubiquitous middle-man who's willing to get you even the moon, for a price of course! from desk to desk, office to office, buliding to building...it churns...n i was just collateral damage.
from cop staion to the head office in town and back to passport office...became like a daily darshan...but no prasadam only :(
my passport is "on the way"!! speed post...god speed! n then onto the visa chakkar...there must be another way! saturday night departure slowly fading...
Thursday, September 07, 2006
we watched capote that day...n tonight we watched george clooney's goodnight, and goodluck. very taut film with a fantastic performance by david strathairn as edward murrow - the cbs reporter who challanged n exposed mc carthy - the commie bashing jr senator.stark b/w photography intercut with actual newsreel footage of mc carthy. tho' based on a period in the 1950's, the fim's relevance only increases when viewed against the pathetic news television scene in india these days. clooney is such a dude...stands apart from the hollywood morass...
must show it to my students!
i will not drink again i will not drink again
i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again i will not drink again ...sorry muks shooreysh c!
Friday, September 01, 2006
Finally! a place of our own in Goa…to relax, unwind, recharge! It’s been a dream I have been pursuing for some time now…a piece of land to start a multi-media resource centre for children in Goa.
After months and countless trips, I found this place in Verna in S Goa…tucked away from the Panjim-Margao highway (3km in)…an acre on a hillslope facing the west, full of cashew trees n wild berries n birdsongs…and some black-faced langurs!
From this GoogleEarth pic, you can see that the sea is a mere 8km away... It is 5min from Verna Stn, 10min from Margao, 20min from the airport and 30min from Panjim!!
Just the land … for now!…will build there slowly over the next 1-2 years and eventually move there, live there. Goa, like the rest of India is changing at a frighteningly rapid pace…so, the earlier we go there the better ;)
It wasn’t easy…actually quite harrowing the whole experience…we (there’s 2 others who’ve bought an acre each) decided not to go through a lawyer/advocate and not pay any bribe. Our Sale Deed was rejected twice on technical grounds and we lost a lot of sleep, hair and several thousands on Stamp Paper…the third time round, our spirits broke, we approached an advocate (who knew the Registrar) and it went through…some very expensive price of learning this!!
No sense of elation or joy or achievement…just exhaustion n relief…but now, two days later, the enormity of it all and the happiness is slowly sinking in...
Saturday, August 12, 2006
LOOK AT THE TOILET
SEE THE CITY
(55 min, DV, English, Hindi)
Director: PAROMITA VOHRA Producer: PUKAR Camera: AJAY NORONHA Editing: JABEEN MERCHANT Sound: ANITA KUSHWAHA, SAMINA MISHRA Animation: SHILPA RANADE Music: TARUN SHAHANI, NIRAV GANDHI
WHEN: August 18, Friday, 6.30 pm
WHERE: NCPA, Little Theatre
ABOUT THE FILM
Q2P PEERS THROUGH THE DREAM OF A FUTURISTIC MUMBAI AND FINDS….PUBLIC TOILETS…..NOT ENOUGH OF THEM……
Q2P is a film about toilets and the city. It sifts through the dream of Mumbai as a
future Shanghai and searches for public toilets, watching who has to queue to pee. As the film observes who has access to toilets and who doesn’t, we begin to also see the imagination of gender that underlies the city’s shape, the constantly shifting boundaries between public and private space; we learn of small acts of survival that people in the city’s bottom half cobble together and quixotic ideas of social change that thrive with mixed results; we hear the silence that surrounds toilets and sense how similar it is to the silence that surrounds inequality. The toilet becomes a riddle with many answers and some of those answers are questions – about gender, about class, about caste and most of all about space, urban development and the twisted myth of the global metropolis.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Paromita Vohra is a filmmaker and writer. Her films as director include Where’s Sandra, Work In Progress, Cosmopolis: Two Tales of A City, Unlimited Girls, A Short Film About Time, A Woman’s Place and Annapurna: Goddess of Food.Her films as writer include the feature Khamosh Pani, and the documentaries A Few Things I Know About Her and If You Pause: In A Museum of Craft and Skin Deep. She teaches scriptwriting as visiting faculty at the Sophia Polytechnic and is a PUKAR associate.
Monday, August 07, 2006
as a kid, on the monthly visits to lonavala to see jim n anil, we'd take the train...and i'd wait impatiently for karjat - for those yumm vadas and watch another two diesel engines being attached to the back of the train to help her up the ghats...my fav-est section...tunnels...in n out and in n out. i'd scream over the reverberant screeching of the train as it laboured up...almost as if the tunnel would've eaten me up if i didn't hear myself!
...so many lifetimes later, i settle down to that familiar spot at the door, ibrahim ferrer filling my ears as i recklessly shoot pics on my 2bit digicam...only to delete most of them. is this what wender's mourned the loss of? the sacredness of an image!
tunnels reccur...in life as well...at times it is so dark and all you can hear is the pounding of your heart...other times, there's that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, just that it doesn't seem to come closer..its there...making me impatient...
tunnels, i've decided will be the leit motif in my film about my dad. my goa film ended with a tunnel. some people liked that...42 hours with 3other people and 4windows! johari windows...how much you n i know about me...
burrowing tunnels in these wndows...more like wormholes that will open up my painful past or accelerate me to a future i cannot fathom. it's been just 2hrs40min since we left dadar stn!!
seems like i've lost the momentum, the inclination to write...but then there was so much i had wanted to write...so much has happened...feels kinda lost, not knowing where to begin...
as i write, its pissing down so hard i can barely see beyond my window. boy! ain't i glad i'm home n not navigating this fucked-beyond-repair city. was to do a lil shoot this evening and there's no way we can... wish it would rain so hard that these bete-noirs of mine would disappear...there's a high court stay on them for violating environment norms n blocking me view ;)
some of my students and operative cameramen friends have discovered my blog!! how scary!! speaking of which, i shed my usual begining-of-year inhibitions and went back to sophiya's with renewed enthu, back to 40 twenty-nothings, back to stir up my early morns...and how contento i was! a nice mixed bag they are, a fair amount with a couple of years work or post grad...a lot more responsive than i had expected...came out smiling!
o and last night, finally watched omkara...this angrez ka aulaad missed all those throaty guttaral expletives (while the fullhouse guffawed)...will have to wait for that english subtitled dvd!! the film paled for me in comparasion with maqbool...a far tighter script and better performances that was. but yes, happy to see a house full for a not-so-bollywood film. am tired of ajay devgun's sameness...and thought that kareena just didn't fit and bips baby was just atrocious! most suprised n very pleasantly so, to see konkana perform so well. saif, so much has been said about his role n look. such a daring dude!...but net-net, the film "didn't get under one's skin" as c! said, as we escalated down...
on the other hand, almodovar's all about my mother was just brilliant! he must be 99% woman!...rivetting script and such controlled understated performances, fab music and fantastic camerawork (which would completely unexpectedly move to a subjective pov)...men are close to neutered out in this world of women...the more i think about it, the more i'm drawn to feature film cinematography...someday...somehow...
meanwhile, i keep turning down television work much to my boys' discontent . not that my plate's full. not at all...just can't bear the thought of another song-dance show...will wait for koffee to come back later this year. or do a show for discovery only because i haven't worked for them ever!! not too much travel, mostly in studio anchor-link kinda boring shoot. sighhhhh...
and in a record of sorts, the last docu i shot for is ready already! the director, even before discussing the shoot, dates n budget with the crew, knew she'd shoot 10hrs to make a 15min film!!!...and guess what?? we did just that! its turned out like it was meant to be - glossy corporate-y half-truths with some awful music...but my handheld sucks :( but if jabeen didn't shout at me, i guess the footage was largely ok!!
but it's over n out with loud aggro insecure bong women...
Monday, July 24, 2006
but yes, i can say, i did miss writing...got quizzed the quintessential blogger question - so just why do you write and for whom??...bugger them!! we'll just keep writing as n when we feel like and whoever wants to can dip in n out...
but right now i'm tired...tired that c! ain't home n away in chennai on a shoot. tired of our hide-n-seek...wonder how radha n gopa (our friends in dubai) are so at peace with their own away lives...worse, shooting tensions get amplified when one is away n tend to disrupt normal lines of communication...that's when you want to slam that handset into the ground when the line drops...buddha ain't smiling no more...and me is sad...
Monday, July 17, 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
i don't want to write about insecure clueless loud bong women just yet...the villages we went to in the fertile plateau betw pune n nashik were a treat in the rains. all green n bountiful, bursting with grape, tomato, groundnut, pomegranate, sugarcane, bajra, rice, cucumber, mango...where it wasn't green, the dark gray basalt spewed swollen frothy streams into a hundred waterfalls...and to complete the bliss, this misty cool fog and rain....aaaah it was good to be away from bombay, away from cities where the people are so generous and inviting.
but consistently marring this idyll, was this ngo - chaitnaya - their field level workers definitley didn't share a rapport we had expected. worse, they'd lead us to a "case study" only for us to discover that she ain't there or that she's not been "doing" the "activity" they claimed she'd taken a loan from the self-help group for. on day two after four such "cases", we lost it! this was one big scam n we've been taken for one long ride! that night, suresh - the recordist n i drank even more in despair n frustration n anger.
but then we wondered....was the problem with them or our director n her communication with them about what she wanted and expected from this shoot...i mean, she was/is clueless about what she wants and don't even bother about the how!!
day three wiped out the memories of the previous two days. i even got some wonderful looking interview frames in this very overcast directional soft slow fall-out light coming in from doors n windows...and the colours indoors!! pink walls, blue door frames and a green saree...no pics unfortunately...it seems like, in shoots like these, you get only enough time to shoot in the best light and all the best moments, but never enough to take some stills...to post on blogs like these ;)
fifteen years after i quit cry and the whole developmental field, i find little had changed...they speak the same thakela jargon n sing the same thakela songs..and if one more person breaks into hum hongey kamayab, i'm gonna smash their face!!...at night, pondering over the day, a dawning!...when you get funded in rupees, you call it bacchat gatts (saving groups) and when your funds pour in in dollars, you call it microfinancing!! so much money to be had ....to be made...
the corporate sector, the mainstream suddenly seemed so much more honest with no pretensions and baggage - Amen!
Friday, June 23, 2006
i mean, now just how profitable is it really to grow rice, when you could get real rich real quick by selling it to the land sharks?! caranzalem already looks like bombay with all its horrors. and to hasten the mushrooming, sahara has bought several thousand acres (all rice fields needles to say) of whatever is left of taleigaon!
sad, upset, angry...
i guess we'll grow up to pop some synthesized pill which would give us all the malt, sugar, milk n cocoa n more we need...burp! yuk!!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
this image came to mind late last night as brazil beat croatia sending those bronzed bombshells into a frenzy. not that they played too well, rather disappointing in their finishing. in fact, wished croatia had put in a couple at least to test those bloody self-assured brazilians. tho' the referee it was, who provided the action. the numbskull russian flashed yellow cards like there was no tomorrow!
france was worse! the most lacklustre (for want of a better word) performance yet since the cup began... thiery played like he didn't really want to score and zidane, a fast fading shadow.
read with much amusement this article about football widows...thought about what a lot of women must be going off to sleep...alone...for a whole month! poor things! don't know what they're missing!! ouch, my eyes hurt as i write this...all red n swollen n bleary!
Saturday, June 10, 2006
all this and more, i am getting to know, as i plod my weary way trying to piece together his life story on videotape...
some old friends i spoke with recalled how marie stood by joe through all the objections and adversities and how they really loved each other. she was 23 and he 35 when they married in bombay on june 8th - her birthday. her older sister - anne gave me this fabulous photograph late last year along with a whole bunch...my mum, she had burnt the old b/w family album some time after my dad had died...
through the fish-eyed lens of tear stained eyes
i can barely define the shape of this moment in time
far from flying high in clear blue skies
i come spiralling down
to the hole in the ground where i hide.
memories n tears welled aplenty day before night, as old friends and family gathered to toast mum on her 70th birthday...and to celebrate her joys having overcome half her life without dad. her oldest friend - aunty celine set the mood early that evening...it had been 49 (!) years of knowing mum and "her ups and downs". as elegant as ever, she raised the toast as mum's face went from pensive to ecstatic. anil's recollection of mum's resolve to ensure that there'd always be jam n butter at the table, brought several lumps to several throats.
and me? i didn't talk...nor shoot...felt miserable about being so hopelessly stuck. just watched what sudheer had shot that evening...simply wonderful... am glad i didn't shoot... dying maybe i...if not already dead!
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
the balcony opened out more than just my head those long dark n sullen nights...
on the far left - mama noronha, then my older brother - jimmy, then the best sister in the whole world - mira aka baby and next my other brother - anil...several monsoons ago, i broke it to them that i was going to be marrying sarada. my mom dug in her heels in the red corner, very upset n sulking...the tension peaking and i go click!
Saturday, June 03, 2006
watching it for the second time, i enjoyed the film more. by now, i had read about manto and ismat chugtai's association with the city and therefore could access those portions of the film better. the ernormity of the canvas overwhelms...works in parts...remains fragmented. had to fight with my own need of unity and conclusion. the more i see a 4:3 image the stronger my resolve to go widescreen the next shoot i do.
...like...meenaka is back home after a successful surgery. the docs did one of those small aperture operations via cam. so smaller the opening faster the healing. which is good! relief all around. but it'll be sometime before she gets back on her feet and even longer till she comes to visit us again here in bombay...but i'll be waiting!
...like...how warped these tv news channels are... white powder suspected to be cocaine flushed down with champagne by the mahajan kin was all breaking news on all the channels ALL day! so what if bombay went down underwater with the first burst of monsoons...tamely toeing the govt line, they were. none pegging responsibilty, no one demanding action...on whose side are they? whom do we have?
...like...jabeen's wonderful tribute(in time out) to renu saluja - the now legendary film editor. she should write more often! go read it!
...like...delhi-bom being a local call... at 1buck20 for 3mins!! incredible! someone somewhere is stirring up a quiet revolution...murasoli maran - good man! couldn't have come at a better time for me. i've been calling delhi like 10 times a day!! hmm ok 5!
...like...finally got a couple of calls for some work. let's see...been home stuffing my fat face fearing i'll get fatter n more unfit...will spare you with more ;)
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
last thursday early morn, meenaka fell n broke her femur above her left knee. so many thoughts race thru my head just now...unable to think n write coherently...she's just being wheeled into ot, even as i write, for a surgery to fix the fracture which will involve nuts n screws.
with her history of high bp n diabetes, the ortho surgeon here suggested we fly her back to delhi, where c!'s doctor sister would have comprehensive medical support standing by just in case things became precarious. so she flew to delhi on saturday in a stretcher right thru (which is another long story).
the bad part was her sugar wouldn't come down n so no operation. mercifully with a change in medication, it came down yesterday and she can be operated upon. everyone's quite tense esp appa, for whom meenaka is his lifeline...we're all now hoping n praying that the op will be successful and that her post-op will be smooth n that she recovers soon...and you pls pray too...
Friday, May 19, 2006
so you get mostly thakela celebs, whom the world couldn't care less for...pile the viewers with long monotonous reminders of rules (like they're dumb), kill the natural pace of the game by re-editing and have enough time for just 2 qns in 22min of programme time ...and worse, stretch one player over 2-3 episodes...phew! finito!!
if this combo wasn't bad enough, starOne has been bumped off to the dim n distant uhf band, so you either don't get it at all or if you do, its all grainy and without audio.
the only heartening thing in this whole short-lived saga, is that we (the tech crew) had a blast lighting it and at the end of the day it remains a very differently lit show on indian tv today.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
its so good to have them stay with us...a sobering effect on our otherwise wayward erratic lifestyle...kind of gets us into a sane routine. her dad all of 84 and mum 76...lucky girl to have her parents around and lucky me too!! yum sambar, rasam, kutt, curry, aplam, dosa, idli...meeka is such a treat to watch in the kitchen...nothing ever gets thrown away, tasty leftovers turned into even tastier snacks, some skins leave seeds are dried for days then ground to make a face pack or other...
appa - ramaseshan tatha, came to delhi from madurai in 1945! worked as the librarian in the lok sabha all his life post-independence. imagine a family album with b/w pics of him with nehru, mountbatten, dr radhakrishna et al! so many stories...recorded a few on cam...meenaka was 16 when she married him and came to delhi from kerala, where she grew up with tiger cubs!!
as kattar as my mum, he opposed the idea of us marrying...but that's another story for another day.
Friday, May 12, 2006
saw jupiter thru our telescope for the first time tonight...no not as clear as this image above, but just seeing two dull-grey bands along the centre was enough to send me soaring.
right next to the full moon, it held its own...
Jupiter is the fourth brightest object in the sky (after the Sun, the Moon and Venus). It has been known since prehistoric times as a bright "wandering star". But in 1610 when Galileo first pointed a telescope at the sky he discovered Jupiter's four large moons Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto (now known as the Galilean moons) and recorded their motions back and forth around Jupiter. This was the first discovery of a center of motion not apparently centered on the Earth. It was a major point in favor of Copernicus's heliocentric theory of the motions of the planets (along with other new evidence from his telescope: the phases of Venus and the mountains on the Moon). Galileo's outspoken support of the Copernican theory got him in trouble with the Inquisition.
called some building boys too...more gasps...the beginings of the sai baba astronomy club?? err constellations ko hindi mein kya boltey?! heehee! big bear...marathi mein hum log sapt rishi boltey...haaan!
Sunday, May 07, 2006
and you slide towards the big truck
you stretch the frozen moments with your fear..."
sang Pink Floyd in Final Cut and it was such a lucid album, i would visualise each song in my head early in my walkman days. didn't think one day, rather night, i'd be sliding sideways in an auto on the highway (mercifully not into a truck!)
so, we're in this auto back from hemu's place, hurtling unsteadyily down the western express highway. our auto guy had just missed slamming us into a tata sumo at the vakola junction and we had just finished screaming at him about his wavering ways. no, not that he was drunk, just a lil unsure n inexperienced it seemed.
at the santacruz airport signal, i see these guys on a m'bike turn into our path to go to parla stn. by now i know we're gonna crash into them. we must've been doing at least 50kmph. not a word emerges from our lips. my eyes locked in...watch us crash into the 2 of them on this blue 100cc bike and see the horizon turn and feel us veering onto my right. thump! my head hits the road n c! over me. we're sliding now on our side but that i do not see. black!
must've been a few seconds but it seemed like a long black leader... fade in, don't know if my eyes were opened but my sight came back. knew we were sideways on the road. get up, lift c! up, climb over n hop out. help c! climb up and out...my head's like a pile driver ramming it...i hobble to where the bikers are standing...motion a thumbs up, they reply with a thumbs up. c! meanwhile is giving the rick driver a piece of her mind...a lot of people have gathered by now...seeing we're, ok flag down another rick, i pull c! away, my head still pounding. and back on the road again...
bruised right knee with one surfacial cut and c! too bruised knee same place. rattled nerves calmed slowly by the breeze and a cautious driver. just thanked the gods above and whoeever else watching over us tonight. so what were your thoughts while we crashed?, asked c!...nada, i replied. blank - i was just looking...looked just like those road race games one played, save for that momentary fade to black!
Saturday, May 06, 2006
yipee, so now i can download songs onto my pc, import them into my itunes on the laptop and transfer the whole load into the ipod!!
science da kamaal papaey! - as vineet would say!
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
its the kind of film, the talent and the person she is, you wish the sky for...
Monday, May 01, 2006
"arrey you know how these indians are no...bloody nuisance they are, get drunk, create a scene, don't pay their bills...and one chap, you know man, got drunk and started firing his gun in the air. i mean it could hurt the foreign guests no. then there was a big splash in the papers the next day. che don't want all this mess."
so i say to him then, that you either learn not to generalise or then just say sorry we don't want indians. "no, not like that, don't get me wrong, i am telling you all this very openly because you said you are also a goan"!!!!
when will they ever learn
o when will they ever learn??!!
while checking out, i learn that "tony sir has said it is ok not to pay the food bill". i scribble a thank you note and leave beaming broadly!! heehee!!
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
...at the onset of the workshop, i felt that video being such an energy-intensive medium, it just wasn't the way to go in a place which had electricity for just 6-8 hours a day and that too wildly fluctuating. they seemed to have such a rich tradition of song and dance, i wondered if it might be better to enhance their story-telling skills and expression using their own indigenous visual art forms.
but then, video being this "sexy new" medium and "who are we to deprive them of this sexy new techology?", i went along...but today, that feeling crept right back. sitting in a tiny, under-renovation edit studio in central bombay got me thinking...maybe we should've gone low-tech (vhs-vhs cut to cut edit) staying back in chitrakoot...instead of this city-based appleG5 mumbo jumbo.
afterall, this was to be their first editing experience...but then funding pressures require a "presentable" end-product...
which took me back to my days at cry..."giving children a better tomorrow"
...because of which we had our todays!
kaput!...just like that...i lost my thought(s)...
off to goa again tomorrow but more about that on sunday!
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Friday, April 21, 2006
terryQ, tee, tq, santaQ, terryfique, father terrence, baal thakeray...all of the above he is. so many things to so many people. i haven't come across ONE other person who has touched so many people in such a deep and lasting way. and people include 2-3 yr old people too! he's truly fantastique...
baby-sitter, story-teller, song-writer, singer, guitar-player, watch pen camera phone-repairer, student counsellor, hostel warden, basketball-er, psychology professor, poster artist, preacher, peanuts lover, camper, vintage biker... i could go on, but he's blushing already...o ya and a jesuit priest as well!
'twas one humid autumn night some 22 years ago under this canopy of stars in a warli-land, we spoke about sin and god and beliefs. i was in my late teens then and he was fr terence...it meant a world to me then and now he means the world to me.
"i'm looking for roses
roses in the sea
just for an honest chance to live
an honest chance to be free.
i'm searching the wide world over
for life, for liberty
its much easier to find
roses in the sea"
ya, he wrote that! and sings it too plucking on his guitar...i feel bad for all you guys out there who haven't met him.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
scary!...however much you may read about it, however closer we may inch towards a crisis, it still seems incomprehensible...overwhelming! they've sold a river in chattisgarh! (price of seperating from MP?) ... water sold to companies who default a Rs12/kilolitre payment and get bailed out by the courts at Rs6 a kilolitre!!
what next? the next monsoons perhaps?!...
i was in goa researching for a film on the effects of mining in the interior villages...the iron ore mines are almost exhausted now...the
5-6 families who until now controlled goa's land and industry, now sit pretty plump over the huge reservoirs of water that their mines gorged out...out of surrounding village wells n rivulets. they've now entered into jv's with coke, pepsi, kingfisher...
the image that stayed in my mind of that trip was of this mining company tanker supplying water to the very people (queueing up)whose wells have run dry thanks to the mining...getting fucked twice over...first, their land rendered useless due to mining silt wash-off and now...
"..to those who have more shall be given, and those who have not, the little that they have shall be taken away"...or so says the bible.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
disappointing to say the least but geoffrey rush is brilliant. missed "walk the line" and "crash" of this years oscar crop...when will we ever have just ONE film award here in india?...and the oscar goes to...as opposed the manikchand femina star screen award goes to...or the dabur vatika zee cine award goes to...sigh!!
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain
May, she will stay
Resting in my arms again
June, she’ll change her tune
In restless walks she’ll prowl the night
July, she will fly
And give no warning to her flight
August, die she must
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold
September I’ll remember
A love once new has now grown old.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
never imagined i'd enjoy teaching so much but over the years its been a case of "diminishing marginal returns", or some such thing! with each passing year i'd end up feeling more dissatisfied...with the students' seeming cavalier attitude, the v blinkered course agenda, their final films...
but am begining to think that the problem is perhaps with me n not them. hearing myself, i sound like my own profs or parents or seniors (back then) ...old n crabby n malcontent...so that seems to be the challenge - to re-invent yourself...make it as exciting n relevant...and cut your losses by lowering expectations...
i remember one of my fav profs saying...ajay, even if there is one student in class, start the class!...this was in response to my cribbing about how they don't come on time n how pissed i get after having shot the previous day till late, gone thru assignments, woken up early to be in class on time at 8.15am only to find 3 out of 40 students in class...grrrr!
(a few days later)...lost my train of thoughts there...ah yes...also, after seeing a few student final films, have begun making some generalistions about a few institutes...like, ftii - films made with a huuge burden of world cinema, very formal in shooting style, mostly fiction short story adaptations. nid - more form than substance, slickly executed poor scripts. jamia n scm - laboured socially relevant archaic story telling, mostly documentary. sristi - i found most exciting with new high-risk-taking ways to telling their stories. next to see - symbiosis...
we walk outside into an out-house where there's this lady hair-stylist - short hair blondish, fair, sharp nose...(oudhna?) and instructs her about the look for me. she immediately proceeds to foam the back of my head and starts to shave/trim my hair off. not waiting to see how my hair's turned out, we walk out...
...into a courtyard with a kund with steps leading down to the water. kiran is there routinely supervising things around...i say hi, she responds without recognising me...but she seems to know why i am here...blindfolds me, holds my hands and runs me down the steps through the water and instructs me to run up the steps n stop at some point. i run up fast unhesitatingly and stop just before the top...applause!
aamir then takes me in and out and into another outhouse, where these two guys ask me strip naked...its all happening v fast...i'm aghast but obey...the two guys burst out laughing looking at my thing(?) murmuring loudly to each other about what i could do to make it bigger...i'm getting really mad. momentarily, aamir's disappeared...they keep at it and i scream, "aamir, what's going on? is this what i came to you for?"...i pull up my pants...
we walk out and into yet another outhouse...there's vandana there in shorts and tee, going thru some excerise routine...greets me but without suprise at seeing me here. another woman puts me thru the paces...he then takes me to another outhouse with a lot of people...his family,all holed up in one closed space. seems like they're eternally grateful to aamir and in true filmi-style, that they are here only coz of him!...and how we (they n me) are now in this together, we'll go for shoots together, hang out, wait for our bit roles.
it dawns on me that i'm going to be an "extra"!...i'm horrified and try to escape, but aamir's huge dog pounches on me and begins to sink his teeth into my neck. i relax and get the dog to relax too and ask aamir to tell his dog to ease off...which he does...he's taking the dogs for a walk and asks me to come back at 4.30 later today having written some stuff. i'm suprised that he wants me to come back today itself...ask him about how much this is going to cost me, scared its going to cost me a bomb... he doesn't reply...
i'm in jeetu's red innova...its pouring heavily..water already up to door level. the car throws up a wall of water...get cursed by the people wading thru the floods...drive fast up this flyover and i suddenly spot those two men up ahead trying to block the car...i plead with jeetu not to stop just keep driving...we out-manouver them...
bye aj, i'm off! i wake up...and remember the dream :) my first celeb dream n that too in colour!...good mornin!
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
- this IT park that the govt wants to set up on a plateau 10lakh acres wide. just that its the natural reservior for 3 villages at its base.
- worse, there's this disinfo campaign on by the IT minister, which a friend is trying to counter n me's helping him.
- stuff like educating the villagers what IT is and that park is not like bageecha...serious!
- and "lila", this cool new happening space for the "panjim intelligencia" (not my term!) where rahul screened one of his students' films on irani cafes.
- 25people crammed into a small living room. identity, ownership, history...
they even asked rahul how they can save themselves from non-goan bhailey!!
- staying in sucorro village with these friends and their 5kids, dog, cat and parents was most educating...all 5 home-taught! no tv, enough computer(s) - 3!! an entertainment night a-la ssl camp, everyone shares the chores, no one has to be told things more than once...ok, twice! n how much they know about the plants n birds n trees n life around them...saala city slicker!!
- and if you thought bombay's real estate prices were ridiculous, goa's catching up fast...what to tell you men, all these bombaywallahs!... (picking up left-overs the goras didn't dig)
- met some real nice people this time round...like nereus n his wife reena (bom to goa interior designer turned real estate punter married to a photo-journalist!). pune to goa - tino n donald - artists, stained-glass restorers, ceramic experts, triumph fanatics, bicyclers...the cherry on top was that they're good friends of eddie n terence!...its just keeps going round...
Sunday, March 26, 2006
the same ol fight about chak-a-chak lighting vs moody spot-lit varying with each act lighting and ...AUDIENCE LIGHTS AJAY!! and of course, the budget's never enough and so what if the setting guys screwed-up and lighting gets no time to vary the looks for each act and that there's no time for camera rehearsals coz its well past midnight by now and the thheaatre rental is way too high...but the show must go on! chal yaar we got to make the most of what we got...rockin'
the only difference... this time i had this calm detached demeanour, didn't scream at anyone (not even setting!) even as tempers flared and blood boiled in the control room...is anyone even going to say cut?!!