Thursday, March 29, 2007

the morning after

...oddly, woke up early after having slept laate...after an insufferable special closing episode at kbc...with kareena n priyanka and salman n katrina...all my drooling over p evaporated as soon as the questions were thrown at them...the shoot dragged on until 2am!! none of us in the mood to party after that...didn't even say bye to srk :( but then i'll meet him at koffee for sure ;)

there's a kingfisher on the wire that runs outside our window chirruping away...n a solitary koyal ...some mainas n parrots and a tit (i think)...a nice quiet morning...well past noon!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

boys n girls, goodbye!

...here i am sitting in the control room of kbc ...for the last time today...have been with it since the very first episode in april 2000!...it kind of defined a certain trajectory in my life...of combining multi-cam television work with docu n teaching. giving me enough to pursue my heart...something i stumbled upon (as opposed to some preconceived goal) early in life and have enjoyed the flexibility and freedom it offered...

my first film happened only coz of kbc...where i'd shoot, get money, go down to goa, shoot, finish my money, come back to bombay, shoot some more, go back, come log tapes in between two episodes...figured it was a good way to be!...

so many years and so much multi-cam work later, i find i've become lazier, can't hold a thought, hate the way i shoot, thinking dulled, responses slow, n generally quieter...it was something friends warned me about but i persevered...on my own terms, doing only the kind of shows i wanted...

discovered that as dop, one does less n less "creative" work n need to do more n more pr, hr n of course be responsible for a team of 6-8 operative cameramen. it is the one thing i hate - negotiating rates, ensuring timely payments, taking flak but it also strengthened me as a person...made me a hard nut esp when dealing with haraami production types.

but it always feels good to sit down with the boys, like last night, downing a beer over fried fish...telling stories, bitching, ranting, pulling leg...i don't think i want to do more of this tho'...wanna bow out with with koffee...

feels like i have achieved what i wanted out of this...a nice home of our own here in bombay, a patch of land in goa with the dream taking shape there of a media centre for kids, time now to finish my film on my dad...and get on with life beyond the air-conditioned comfort of a studio...n onto anouk!

tho i wish i had done more docu work, wish i had worked on film, wished i had assisted one of my gods, wished i had gone back to school...i feel more than ever before that i am ready to work on a 35mm feature film. not ads, no...

television has changed dramatically since june1994 when i begun...with tv18...from being fiercely independent of chanels to be completely subservient...from bar-raising production values to the lowest common denominator...not very different from what we saw in the print media...it is all about dulling your responses...about beating your resistances down...slowly...about compromising...but then i AM good ol wishy washy charlie brown!!

don't particularly know where this post is going or how much sense it is making...but i think i'm sounding like some ol fart!

i've been on a couple of occassions, asked to write a "how-to" book on multi-cam tv production!!! i think one of these days i'll at least post the light n camera lowdown on kbc...we end the schedule with a huuge party on the set tonight...to celebrate srk, to say bye to sameer...then, i will quietly... unknownst to the rest say my goodbye to studio number 7...which became daftar for the last 7 years...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

n the bad

reviews n images of royston abel's "flowers" were stunning!...jumped at it when mukul offered us a couple of tickets. evocative, beautiful, sensuous, stark, dreamy, arresting, aromatic...was all these n more when we entered the theatre at prithvi...but within the first fifteen minutes, it seemed more like some esoteric porn ...rajit perched high up on a supine hard-on ruminating about lust n guilt n love torn ...in the worst monotone accompanied by some atmospheric sounds that together lulled me to deep wonderful slumber!...

...woke up to realise i had missed the climax!! damn!...(of course i'm lying!!)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

the good n the bad!

...sitting here on the kbc sets waiting for the man to arrive...i can post thanks to wifi (now just how cool is that!)...first, the good:
the cc session at the vikalp-nova festival was a big hit! so well-attended, it suprised us...though in retrospect, i wish we were better prepared. this was the first time i got involved in the organising of a cc event. n was being kinda tentative n reticient...almost like wanting to see how "they" did things. there was the usual problem of not enough people volunteering or taking responsibility that plagues initiatives like these...i got involved a lil late in life n got hooked...i've always felt we (filmmakers, technicians) don't talk enough about our own work. it is something that propels me to do the erratic monthly screenings at home...

the bar at seijo in bandra, made for a strange venue for a discussion on documentary film making. but thanks to sunil's chinese lanterns et al, transformed it into a nice cozy initimate space. the scope of the afternoons' discussions was never clearly spelt out at the outset - not by murali, not by sanjeev either...n we didn't preface enough the clips we chose to show nor discuss them later. i chickened out last minute leaving muks to it all - cueing n introducing. our two guest presenters - rahul n ramani spoke of crises in indian docu filmmaking. whyever didn't they tell us the previous evening...maybe we'd have been able to tie up the entire session a lot better n be a lot more focussed. n since the belgian filmmakers were around we had to include them too. i felt all this took away from opening out the discussion to the audience....

nevertheless, it felt good...good to be talking, sharing...good not to have the imposing anand rakesh duo around...good to talk beyond censorship n political film...i personally was happy with the cross-section of films we presented tho missed showing a clip from 'zulmat' n 'kamlabai'...and most thrilled to hear that people enjoyed the session afterall!

over a drink back home with muks n sudheer, i vowed to be more involved next time n take responsibility...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

superNova

...so the vikalp-nova festival got off to a cracking start last evening at national college bandra. not a full house but almost! and that was good. i sat out (again) of amudhan's "shit" n went in for avikuntak's "endnotes"...which didn't do anything for me. indulgent esoteric n cold. missed the belgian films ostensibly waiting to discuss today's cc's (cinematographers combine) presentation on 'shooting documentary'.

a few of us have been talking about it over the last few days...watching a variety of recent work...identifying suitable clips...it feels good - the engagement with this our chosen medium of expression. how budget constraints the look of the film, not just look even the the choice of subject and its treatment. sudheer, murali, mukul, arun, ramani, rahul...all dada's in their own way.

may there be more...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

blue

antoine's mum passed away early sunday morning...a strange sense of relief i felt for antoine...he's had it quite hard with her. guilt! that classic christian raison d'etre...my mum...george's too...together we would drown our "mother" rants in beer...so peaceful she looked all dressed up in bed...the dogs restive as the family trickled in...blue! i decided was her favourite colour as i pulled out my baatik shirt...
o blue come forth
o blue arise
o blue ascend
o blue come in
...like jarman, she liked her garden...she'd been preparing for sometime now...

i hate funerals, especially the moment they lower the coffin into the grave...my point when the levee breaks...but yesterday, i kinda steeled myself into carrying the coffin out of the church n into the cemetary...n even waved her goodbye, as i carried sanah, who was trying very hard to make sense of it all...

the cemetary itself awash in this golden glow of the setting sun...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

und shund...

it's midweek aready and there was tons i was supposed to do...my to-do list has now reached no.21!! last night was good fun with bodhi staying over unexpectedly...talking sharing in his very characteristic way. he's been working on the history n economics of the recording industry in india at the turn of the century for a couple of years now. his last (very academic)writings went right over my head. so this time, for gowars like me, he had this powerpoint presentation (complete with audio clips) which was most rivetting! excerpts from diaries of the early "expeditions" to record "for the natives"...hope he makes a film out of it all.

between the opening world cup game betw pak n w indies, we caught up about all we've been upto and my plans for this media resource centre in goa. always so forthright and wide-ranging..."it is not as much as what you want to do but what is needed there"...so true...seems like a lot of work! n need to think quickly if i am to do my first workshop end april there.

was most kicked to learn that west indies beat pakistan...on waking up this morning.

meanwhile, the end of kbc is in sight...much prefer this concentrated short spells of tv work. happy to have cracked the "look" right down to the way it appears on our tv sets. need to desperately do that for koffee which looks like hell on air...someone's gonna chop my head off one of these days!

finished my year at sophiya's too...on a very upbeat note this time, with one of the films turning out real good. about this girl who's left home n her parents to do this course n her relationship with them. could've been ordinary, just that her parents can't hear...are you happy? her dad would ask her...i know she is...and we all are!...she won the just-insitituted tv18 award for excellence in documentary film making...such a good idea, zubin!

just when i was still beaming...this ex-student of mine couldn't remember what i taught her!!...when asked by bodhi, so what does ajay teach you guys? :(

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

chandoba! revisited!!


...i ask anouk where's the moon tonight?...promptly goes her forefinger pointing upwards...no, i say!...moon not there!...bhow! bhow! she goes, pointing to nowhere in particular, hearing the colony dogs whine n howl their hearts out.

my first lunar eclipse thru the telescope was absolutely stunning to say the least. thanks to sudheer, i woke up in time from my drunken slumber, to watch the earth shadow the moon slowly n completely. coming so close on the heels of the roger waters concert, i could not but help recall - "There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark."
so close on the heels of the roger waters concert

Friday, March 09, 2007