Monday, December 31, 2007

happy new year to you!

the fog came on lil cat feet...
the fog that seems to have taken the world away...
may the new year be clear n crisp, bright n happy!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

dmc college goa workshop

finally getting down to write about my first workshop for undergrad college students...this friend of mine - anita, teaches economics at this college in assagaon, near mapusa. and we'd been talking of me doing a film workshop for some time now. three (or was it two) years ago, the inimitable shammi did one during iffi, which was a big hit with the students.

we decided to keep it small ...12-15 students over a week...introduce them to the basics of film-making. for a change i didn't carry my camera n laptop, just to see how i'd manage with what was available. carried many films, a couple of books n my digital still cam. oddly tho, i hardly took many pics this time...kinda bored of my mostly merely illustrative pictures. the hardest part was getting them to talk...they're so used to passively listening in a classroom, it took a long while for them to break free n enjoy an all new feeling of talking, sharing, exchanging...i thought it was the language at first n encouraged them to speak in konkani (hoping that way i'd learn some too ;)...

the other striking thing that happened was that they kept thinking only for themselves dismissing totally all i said about the collaborative-ness of the filmmaking process. it was only late on day 6 when they begun editing the film that they had shot did they realise...and that was such a wonderful moment! how much i laughed when they cribbed about the one guy, no one else had used a video camera...i hadn't anticipated how much of a big deal it was to impatient they were to just go shoot...without listening or following my instructions...without thinking even about what or how they wanted to shoot...of course they got a earful from me!
once they got over that, we really started enjoying ourselves...they came up with 47 ideas!!! to make a film on...n narrowed it down to three - one about love on campus, which they dramatised n shot. then, one on how to copy at exams n not get caught, which was a lot of fun. and third, about the guy who runs their canteen - an elusive but much loved character. he refused to be interviewed which made it all the more challenging!

remembering what bodhibaba used to say about involving locals in my workshops, i invited a young filmmaker - laxmikant who had made a 45min film "a seaside story" to "interact" with this bunch of students...needles to say, they sat poker-faced after the screening n the over enthu laxmikant went on overdrive promptly talking about his film...i stayed quiet for a while...but soon interrupted it, saying he was making it way too easy for them n that he should talk only if they had questions! a wicked smile left my face...n soon the questions poured in :)

now tech! that remains such a pain...for three days we didn't get a comp with the right config to run premier pro. when we got one, it didn't recognise the playback devise...grrrr i tore my hair cursing my decision not to get my laptop with fcp. sos some tech savvy fails, the other after some tinkering gets it working...phew!...we can edit!! just seeing their footage projected made them gasp n the time they begun editing they realised this thing called filmmaking...

unfortunately tho, we didn't finish the edit...the one thing i had completely not factored was "the last bus home"!! this is goa n the last bus back home was at we had to stop work at 6.45 every evening...n still they'd get shouted at for coming home late n then leave home at 7am to be in time for the 9am start! the end came suddenly n reluctantly...contento contento contento!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

merry christmas!

wishes from the ark this christmas...may you have a very merry fun-filled christmas...there's yumm sweets n good food to be had! so come!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


so the new chat show i worked on - "begum" airs on 15th dec at 10pm on this new channel 9x. pls to catch it n tell me what you think.

goaaahhh! to goa (yet again!)..this time for a week long intro to film-making workshop for a bunch of undergrad students in mapusa. assagaon, really - very close to my mum's family village. i'm excited n nervous...never done a week long 9am to 9pm kinda workshop. the college is celebrating its centenary n we're going to be looking at making 4 films...4 groups of 4 students each. one camcorder one edit let's see how it goes! i hope to rope in some locals in taking the workshop, so that they build a pool among themselves to take this further without me...

haven't prepared much...not too happy about that...will keep you posted.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


...just back from delhi after a harrowing flight on go air. you call before you leave home, "it's on time sir" check in, "it's on time sir". you're waiting in the the departure lounge that resembles a railway stn, no announcement. 15mins after the flight was supposed to take off, there's an announcement that the flight is going to be 30min late. 1hr later the crowd's getting restive...still no announcement. 30mins later we gherao 2 young walkie-talkie totting go-air ground staff. they plead ignorance innocence whatever...we're getting angrier...

turns out that the flight has come in from bombay n that a connecting flight to jammu has been cancelled, so the passengers on board are refusing to deplane!! duty manager is on board trying to coax the passengers to get off. meanwhile, no announcements, no senior "responsible" staff. we start go-air hai hai! the cisf comes by, the airport manager comes by...protests get more vociferous. go-air are sorry! but no offer for refreshments, still no announcement, no offer to put us on other available flights, no refund..but they are sorry!

the commandos are called in n the passengers de-plane n we board the aircraft 2 hours after the scheduled time of departure. on board too they are sorry. but they won't provide us with a complimentary snack or drink. they won't even provide you with a complaint form or passenger feedback form! utterly disdainful disrespectful dispicable behaviour!!

so, the long n short of it - pay that 2/300 extra fly indigo, spice, jetlite, deccan, etc BUT DO NOT FLY GO AIR!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

the gautama buddha...

...advises me to kill the "I"...but, just how the fuckkk??!! did he ever have any followers?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

sankraman studios!

aaarrrggghh! sankraman studios (where balaji n all those k soaps are manufactured)...aawwful dumpyard masquerading as a studio. illegal (it is located within the reserved forestlands of aarey) n ill-maintained
piss pools from overflowing loos!
the sound proofing!
the world's my garbage dump!
i don't know why producers pay for facilities like this. makes me so angry!...the only good thing, is that it is a 5min bike ride away from home ;)

yet another chat show!

long after the high of koffee, i get a call to light another chat show, "something very different, which needs someone as sensitive as you"!! i wasn't too keen as i'd finished my quota of television work for the year...but they were insistent n i bit the bait yet again -so this new chat show to be airing on this new channel called 9x from 15th dec 10pm. not saying more ...just yet!everyone seemed happy enough yesterday after our first shoot. they're happy, i'm happy!...and guess what? we're shooting 16:9!! (that is the widescreen format)...for so long i've been lobbying for it n finally it's happening...

these my two headhonchos - bob n fauzi...we've been working together for years now.and how they've grown!! ;)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

aaja nacch le!

madhureeeee!....that's all i wanted to see!...after ages did advance booking for first day first show!! o those eyes n taht flashing smile...n no one, no one can move like her!...the story v weak n tres facile...the supporting cast fantastic, esp vinay, divya dutt, konkana...impeccably lit n shot...though an over use of the jib i thought...
most disappointing of course, was the empty theatre...this carpet bombing of realese prints has taken the mazaa out of a full house. there were barely 45-50 people in this 200seater at goregaon :( lagta nahi ki yeh picture chalegi :(

Friday, November 30, 2007

bicycle DoP

i cycle to my television shoots as well...the studios, an easy 15-20min radius from where i live... i remember when i first arrived on my cycle to the kbc n koffee sets, my lightboys were horrified!..."kya sir, gaadi lena chahiye". of course, there'd be one of them who'd thumbs up in full approval from behind ;)
now they are all used to me seeing me rollin in ...i am loving it!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

bicycle bicycle bicycle

been meaning to do it ever since i got my bike...ride from home @ sai baba in goregaon to sur's @ thakur village in kandivili...and i did it this morning! 20mins flat!! with coolers over my eyes n music in my ears, i was there in just 3 songs. up over the malad flyover rolling down all the way downslope to the notorious malad toi signal. slight upslope till the k'vili station road bridge n then a smooth roll down to mahindra gate...whizzed right past security n parked my bike just below the block. ahhh! think i've spent an hour n a half hours sometimes suffocating in a rick to do the same distance at peak hours!!
bicycle lanes toh door ki bath! wish i was in amsterdam!!
so many lifetimes ago, i'd race rickety ambassadors n fiats on skates as they spluttered down the highway in bandra east...i skate from home in kherwadi to the santacruz airport just to see planes take off...o n to under one while it took off was the biggest thrill of the week!!...i'd skate the from home in vakola to school in matunga, n be joined by two classmates on their bicycles at the bandra kalanagar flyover!!! cannot imagine doing it these days...
next...gonna try goregaon to vakola to my mum's! yaaay!

not just jazz

i had missed all of the prithvi theatre festival celebrating the musical. got a chance to see denzil smith's 'jazz' last evening at friend, naresh has been digging up bombay's fantastic jazz past over the last few years...his research shaped much of the script but the play left me disappointed. some of the lines were straight out from a high-school annual day production!...making me cringe. the lead - bugs bhargava huffed n puffed his way thru the different characters he played - mumbai's long forgotten jazz greats. drugs, sex, women, exploitation, penury, desperation, alcohol, church, bollywood...o how much church! seemed more like a "made by bandra for bandra" consumption! the high point was young rhys!...boy! can he blow that sax??!!
good intentions not matched by as good fact, it could've been a radio play!!

maalish! tel maalish!

sar jo teraa chakaraaye,
yaa dil Duubaa jaaye
aajaa pyaare paas hamaare,
kaahe ghabaraay, kaahe ghabaraay

...a few days ago, i decided to shave my hair off! well, almost ;) but the chammpi that followed...aaahhhh tres bliss! wondered why i didn't get one before!!

a couple of hours later...

no one says it like schulz!

Monday, November 26, 2007

one year later... sister, she surrounds herself with memories!...and friends n family!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

bandipur sightings!

making a mountain of an ant-hill
any amounts of spotted deer
tusker, saar! king elephant
aanai family at a salt lick!
the closest we came to seeing a tiger!tho' a lot of fat gujjus saw one one evening. once, the driver/guide shiva (the dude!) slammed the accelerator n catapulted us for a rare 2sec fleeting glance of a leopard...

the gypsy is such a wonderful vehicle to sneak up on the animals...trying to beat them at their own game...purr-ing down those jungle tracks...engine switched off...rolling along, eyes n ears pealed...most exciting! crested hawk eagle, flying squirrel, sambar, langurs, many birds!!!

occassionally missed carrying my slr n long lens...but then was sooo relieved not to be carrying it!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

diwali in bandipur

so after the torrid time in bangalore, we went off to bandipur...the most unusually quiet diwali it was...almost forgot it was diwali except when some locals burst some crackers late one night. but the night skymade up for all the missing fireworks!...a zillion stars up there tho' it was too cold to stay out to catch a falling star!

tusker trails - this really neat enclave of 15huts complete with dining room with all meals, swimming pool n recreation room. they'd wake us up early at 545am with bed tea n whisk us off in gypsy-loads for a 2hr safari deep into the sanctuary. (commander-in-chief mama noronha!)
hungry after devouring the sightings, we tuck into a huge breakfast n set off for a 2hour trek! back with just enough time to splash around in the pool, beer n lunch...and a well-deserved siestaaaahh! only to be rudely woken up yet again with chai at 3.30 in time for another 2hr jaunt into the jungle to hopefully see a tiger!
back at 6.30 all dusty n happy n onto a full game of tt!! some vodka followed by a light dinner, sit around a campfire (but no one told ghost stories :( zzzzzz n next morn the familiar firm rap on the door - saar goodmarning, bedtea saar!! o such blissss...
PS: c-in-c mama noronha sulked most of the time coz there wasn't any church nearby ;)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

to accept

google found about 267,000,000 links for "to accept" in (0.11 seconds)...but i am finding it so hard...i turn to the buddha...but he ain't yet :(

Saturday, November 17, 2007

fire in the mountain run run run...

now for a break from the clan!

the volvo whizzes past these :(lalbaugh lovers forever!night dreams burnings you?
bengaluru pompidou?!

of nephews n nieces!

that is gaurav (aka baba), karen, rohit, pooja - our very own gen next! need to keep checking myself from calling them kids anymore!! for them, i'll remain ajoo...they'd spend at least a week with me during their summer vacations...and we'd go to the science centre n the beach or i'd show them "children's" films like bicycle thieves n lord of the flies which would upset them so much that they'd do katti with me :)
pooja's bit the bug n is doing film at shristi in b'lore. baba wants to be a writer tho his mum wants him to be a travel writer ;) rohit wanted to be an inventor and karen - she doesn't know!


hima - among my oldest friends...from xavier's. now, much married with two boys in b'lore.time n distance have never mattered ever since.
"Old friends,
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fears
mum would make jam sandwiches for her long train journey back home to dhanbad. she found us this super 3bedroom homely service apt in town, which soothed our frayed nerves at the end of the day.

family tree!

now, just how cool is that?! nagpore circa 1965 or thereabouts.

this, my fav pic of the lalbaug in b'lore. wished jim n pooja n c! were there too to "complete" the picture...or maybe i should just photoshop them in!!

had carried my minidv cam too but didn't end up shooting an inch of tape. dunno when i'll ever complete that film. by now, the family's gotten so used to me shooting them, there's hardly any resistance when i get them to do stuff like this ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

bangalore sucks!

just back from the big family vacation...which save the b'lore bit was absolutely fab. bangalore, they had all warned me was bad, had changed for the worse, etc...but i couldn't have imagined just how bad it had got.

the traffic in bombay, i thought was the pits. but in b'lore, it's anarchy!! bad pavements force you to walk on the road. horns blaring, two-wheelers brushing past, choking on particulate matter, getting knocked down by a car n getting screamed at n blamed for by a passing-by middle-aged aunty!! not a word of apology or helping hand from the god-cursed lot.

i mean, the locals seem just so hostile to outsiders...or was it my imagination? the rick guys are another animal. i always thought delhi was the worst. but these guys win hands down. rude arrogant conniving pack of foul-mouthed thieves. o i hate them. the insane one-ways coupled with their refusal to speak any other langauage, made travelling around b'lore a complete nightmare.

the bangalore palace, lavishly portrayed in all the tourist brochures was firmly on our radar. so off we went after much haggling in 3 rickfulls. no other tourist in sight, save the prince himself n his guest, the portly ex rail minister jaafer sharief. entry fee 100rupees! no printed literature they had nor guide book. but enough arrogance to say take it or leave. n if u don't pay 100bucks you cannot take pictures either! so a huuuge showdown with this really rude security guy who actually kept shoving us then the entire noro clan had had enough and piled on mercilessly. o it was such fun, but left us feeling just so bitter.

it must've been a nice place but now hurtling towards imminent disaster :(

Monday, November 05, 2007

family holidays!

not since we were kids, did we go out of bombay for the vacations...the family with the familiar military green hold-all. we'd troop to dadar station by noon to take the train to nagpore each christmas holidays. i still remember waking up to milk vendors yelling dodh-dodh-garam dodh at wardha jn in the wee hours of the morning. nagpore would always come after ajni eeaarrllyy in the morning, foggy n cold...n me always reluctant to get up. aziz bhai our "regular" cyclerickshawwalla would always be there for us...we'd pile up the rickety rickshaw n poor ol azizbhai would heave us from the station to mohannagar postoffice.

waiting impatiently at the gate, were my dad's two sisters n niece...this was the family house! we were all born there which made it so special to go back there each year. a huuge house it was, tho' just half of it was now occupied. a back garden with fruit trees for us to climb n me to chase squirrels. a front flower garden overrun with weeds and a ritual task to clean up! the living room opened out onto this garden. my favourite room. here were these big bw portraits of my dad's parents looking down on us. an upright piano which propped more family pics. n there within this wooden case - the music system! a grundig 78rpm turntable, a tape spool deck, a warmly glowing tube radio and this really big unweildy amp...of course i couldn't lay a finger there...i'd look intently digesting every glowing lamp n moving needle...

sometimes, my uncle - dad's brother would be visiting fro germany. he was a priest there n travelled a lot. after dinner, me tucked into my razaai, he'd hang a white bedsheet on the wall n pull out this really neat projector n slide after slide he'd bore us with stories of people he'd met...i'd wait for the scenic shots...remember seeing my first snow! i'd sleep till late morning often refusing to get out of bed coz it was too cold n still dark! my aunt - anna (no not aa-naa but un-naa) would dip her finger in her glass n let me lick it...i'd cringe but it warmed my insides ;)

i'd run up n down the approach road rolling this truck tyre (or at least it seemed like that then) all morning till lunch!! then there was the club. singing, fancy dress competitions, dad playing billiards (dunno if i actually remember that or from what i've heard!)...and one mandatory trip to mahrej baag (which i discovered so many years later was maharaj bagh). mica, so much shinny mica we walked on. and one trip to seminary hils...again poor ol azizbhai was summoned n again he'd pull us uphill n we'd jump off n push the cyclerickshaw up...on the morning of our departure, we'd go to jubilee bakery for cardboardboxloads of the best ginger biscuits n macaroons on this planet! sometimes, we'd carry back to bombay sackfuls of oranges...but olly, my cousin sister would get really upset when the time came for us to leave...she'd grit her teeth n start to cry...n then we'd all cry before leaving for the station...

tomorrow, we all go to bangalore to spend diwali with my niece who's studying there. missing in action: my dad, my bro-in-law anil, my brother jim and c!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

absolut blissssss!

o completely forgot about the one biiig highpoint on the otherwise dull sweden shoot - an evening at the absolut icebar in stockholm!!! maintained at -5deg, made from the purest clearest waters of the river kurna in the north of sweden, this bar is all ice! absolut dream. most unusual mixes combined with exotic berries, extracts or flavourings...served by this cutie in a hoodie ;) in a glass made out of ice! even her tip bowl was carved out of ice! i decided to go bare hands n had my fingers glued on to the glass!! 3 swigs down n i wasn't ready to leave!! shoot? what shoot?!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

pirates of the subcontinent!

this was one introduction i'd been forgetting to make...naman rs! my old pal from my tv18life...a walking talking encyclopedia on what if he couldn't sing, he knew all the lyrics! n dialogues, the year the film was made, which film it was a copy of, etc!! back then, in bangalore he had a wall to wall collection of vhs tapes arduously copied in real time. now in london, his apartment is stashed with dvds, cds n old hand-painted film posters. i wasn't there for long this time round...but long enough for this... two dvd burners n a macbook didn't get a moments break that day!...25 dvds n 25 audio cds!!! :) back in bombay, i get a boxful of slim dvd covers, download film covers from print them out and voila! i have a film collection going!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

but why?

you can add links, you can add photos n video...but why can't you add audio clips??! :(

untitled 3.1

Daddy's flown across the ocean
Leaving just a memory
Snapshot in the family album
Daddy what else did you leave for me?

Friday, October 26, 2007

johnny g!

i just about caught the last day last show of johnny gadaar last night...and boy wasn't i glad i didn't miss it. unreal it was, i had to keep reminding myself that this was a bollywood flick i was watching that too from the yashraj stable!...slick pacy n relentless, all without emotion! incredible performances matched a totally hatkey script n plot. the unclimatic end didn't matter after the roller coaster you've been put thru. three cheers, thumbs up n whatever else!! but sadly, not many takers... :(


wenders on nothingness...

" There is no name on ozu's gravestone, only an ancient chinese character, mu, meaning "nothingness".

nothingness. i'd often tried to imagine it as a child. the idea terrified me. nothingness couldn't exist, i kept saying to myself. only what was there could exist, reality.

"reality". everyone knows what the perception of reality means. everyone sees reality with his own eyes. you see others, esp people dear to you, the things around you, the cities and landscapes you live in, you see death, the mortality of man and the transience of things, you see and experience love, loneliness, happiness, sorrow, fear: everyone sees "life" for himself.

(can you feel nothing?)

wenders extravagance!

my one biiig purchase on my europe trip was on my second last day in london...there it sat on the hmv dvd shelf - a box set of 10 wim wenders films...promptly grabbed it without hesitation. until now, i had resisted the temptation to buy n own dvds...room666, lightning over water, wrong move, scarlet letter, a trick of light, notebook on cities n clothes, tokyo-ga, wings of desire, paris texas, american friend.

was most excited about trick of light n that was the one i saw first...just brilliant! made in collaboration with the munich film school students, the film is a celebration of the lesser-known film pioneers - the skladanowsky brothers. these 3 german brothers perfected their bioscope projector around the time that the lumiere brothers broke thru with the cinematographe. a fabulous mix of verite, dramatised b/w sequences and original footage told in a simple story firmly reclaims their place in cinema history.

this afternoon, i watched tokyo-ga, wenders' tribute to ozu!...i just love his spirit of inquiry. almost childlike...which is why i love his films so much. i haven't seen much of ozu...the great japanese master of the simple static 50mm lens story-telling. tokyo-ga plunges you headlong into present-day tokyo with some mind numbing contemporary japanese images, before getting sentimental about ozu, his actors n his cameraman for life!...most moving!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

searching but not finding

One day Mullah Nasruddin lost his ring down in the basement of his house, where it was very dark. There being no chance of his finding it in that darkness, he went out on the street and started looking for it there. Somebody passing by stopped and enquire:
- What are you looking for, Mullah Nasruddin ? Have you lost something?

- Yes, I've lost my ring down in the basement.

- But Mullah Nasruddin , why don't you look for it down in the basement where you have lost it? asked the man in surprise.

- Don't be silly, man! How do you expect me to find anything in that darkness!


...eludes me tonight-

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

form re-form

went into town last evening after ages...correctly timed to walk down marine drive as the foggy orangy winter sun was setting. destination: piramal photo gallery for what turned out to a really arresting exhibition by delhi-based jogi singh. an architect by training and a photographer by choice...he was exploring the play of light n shade on monuments...and the jantar mantar in particular. repetitive at times, but some gems that had me captivated.
go see! on only until 28th.

Monday, October 22, 2007

so close, faraway

i doff my hat to i make some random offerings...