Tuesday, April 25, 2006

shooting chitrakoot editing bombay!

...my gang of five from chitrakoot came in to edit what they had shot over the last 5 months during our video workshop. this is to be the grande finale of the 4part journey we had begun in sept last. it took me a while to adjust to the fact that "they" were here as opposed to me being there...looking distinctly uneasy navigating bombay, i wondered if we were doing the right thing...(maybe they were doing just fine n it was me being my usual self?)

...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

introductions contd.

calf meet sanah!...sanah meet calf! sanah, my newest bundle of joy. her parents - george n sur you'll meet by n by. twenty years ago, sur's extended family were convinced we had a scene going! n i wasn't even one and twenty!!

Friday, April 21, 2006

some introductions are in order now

"ok now stick your finger in your mouth and blow hard, the cap on your head will rise!"...applause applause!!

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


...the irony was inescapable...the guy reading over my shoulders let a smile slip...there i was on the train back home reading p sainath's article on water privatisation in the latest frontline, clutching onto this chilled bottle of "mac blue" packaged drinking water!!

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

ra ra americana!

watched "munich" last night ...no, night before...seems like spielberg has taken off from where he left off with "saving ryan's private"...so much voilence and in such graphic detail...a big turn-off. i hadn't expected the film be a series of carefully planned eliminations...of members of black september. the much hyped questioning of purpose by the protagonist coming right at the end feels like some desperate guilt-cleansing...and that too in far-away "safe" america (where else??)...the saviour of the new world...my ass!

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!!

music video debutt

...want to post my 4nhalf min music video debut...how??


April come she will
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

on teaching!

...watched some final year student films of srishti school of design, bangalore today. was so impressed and now want to see more. such a strong foundation of sound n the visual...must be a function of time...a 3yr course as opposed to the 1yr course that i've been teaching at SCM- Sophiya's (for over 10 yrs now!!).

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...



i'm at aamir khan's house!...a huge house with a high gate. am here to learn acting!! aamir greets me at the gate and takes me inside, into this unending house briefing me about all that i'd need to do )forgotten details here :(

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


...so it happened today...finally...this monster ate up my sunset :(

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

goan ramblings

just got back from goa after a breezy 3day trip...a lot happening there...like,

- 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...


...there you go!...heartbeat - the new tv gameshow i'm working on. goes on air 1st may star one...let me know what you think...