Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Piyush Reveals Himself Again

I am wondering why nobody is replying to our blog, is it very boring to read? Anyway, I am really looking forward for some inputs.

Today we went to shoot some additional footage for 'Kevat', basically it was the interview of the central guy who is good singer also. I am realy excited about this documentary partly because the subject is visually very appealing and very simple to shoot and understand.

The thing which made the best impression on me is the amount of support I recieved during the shoot. I literaly spent no money except travelling by car to this village which is about 30 km from my city, Kota. This was totaly shot without any crew, nobody excpt me and few kids who would pick the tripod for me once in a while. Thats the best part about this new equipment. Somehow the entire medium is getting closer to other art forms like painting and literature where you can create your vision with very little tools. This new HDV camcorder is not only small, its so cool and the quality is very close to any pro equipment. Digital technology rocks! Its so good that anybody with a little knowledge and money can make films. Its not like the old days when you have to be an assistant to some filmmaker for long time before you finally get a chance.

While making the "KID" fiction I guess we had as much fun, as any big budget film maker might be having, again without any money and i can assure you it hardly looks like a low budget film. I guess there is no better way of doing things. I have no regret but I must mention the fact that i was hardly ready and prepared for this film. But still we did it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Piyush's Thoughts in the End

Finally, the shoot is over. But alas! no Wrap party! The last day of the shoot was quite difficult, not in the amount of work but the problems we had with trying to get the correct expressions from our protagonist. Now I think we can consider ourselves to be experts on working with kids. Our advice to all film makers who want to work with kids is .... DON'T! The moment the shoot got over, we started discussing about our next project. Nothing like living in a state of denial!

Tomorrow we have a one-day shoot for another thing. Its basically a documentary. You can check out some picturers of that in my Orkut album. Pictures of the short film have been put up at arijitchaki.blogspot.com. SO GET OFF YOUR LAZY ASSES AND WRITE SOME COMMENTS!! How else are you people going to get any gyaan from us?

Arijit and me have been getting all excited about another film we plan to make. It's going to a feature length and the subject is quite unique and it's never been done in India before. Arijit has promised to write the complete script in 15 days flat. For this film we have decided to work with an all-woman crew, so if any of you guys wanna be part of it... NO!!

Pictures from the shoot

Our Protagonist. A village boy whose name is Jonty. For real.
Piyush setting the frame with our 2 actors.
Cast member relaxing between shots.
A scene from the film.
THE director with THE Actor

Our highly trained crew.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Piyush's Thoughts for the day

Today was the second day of the shoot. It was better than the first day as our lead actor was more comfortable. Today we shot one sequence in his home. We changed the location at the last moment because of budget and time basis as the actual location was 7 km away and it would have taken lots of our energy and the film is very much character oriented and this location was very suited to our needs so we used it.

My basic idea about shooting is that nobody should get exhausted otherwise it will be visible on the screen as the energy level of cast and crew keep on decreasing and it’s all visible in the content. It’s like the carbon dating thing.

Today we also came up with some good ideas which were not there in original screenplay and I really enjoyed shooting those scenes. So the other thing which I learned in shooting today is that your team should consist of people who are open to new ideas and create very healthy atmosphere for a batter creative process.

During a scene where the kid has to interact with the father he really was not delivering the performance so Arijit said let’s move on the next scene, but finally we tried it one last time and he did it. Patience is virtue.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Shoot on Day One

Today we just finished with the first day's shoot. It was educational, interesting and yes, it was also relatively easy. And therein lies the danger. We haven't had a look at the footage yet. It may turn out to be all crap!

With just a camera and tripod in hand,
Two mavericks traverse the cinemaland!

Actually we had a camera (Sony HDR FX 1E), a crappy tripod and a microphone. No lights, no reflectors, no thermacol and no script! Just kidding, we do have a script and we're planning to follow it faithfully (I hope).

The main character of our film is a boy of seven. I reached Kota yesterday, went to the boy's house and met him. Today we shot with him first thing in the morning. It was a scene at a school inside a village. There was a teacher and lots of other school children. And after today, we've already learnt certain things about working with kids. For example,

1. All kids, especially non-actors, have a very small energy span. You can't make them do ten rehearsals and then expect them to give a flawless take.

2. Direction to children should always be in very simple words. Try and breakdown the action into easily understandable and direct. You must not expect a kid to understand the philosophical intent or extent of any particular scene.

3. If you have kids as major characters in your film then you must keep them in a good mood. They tend to get distracted very easily and once their mind wanders, it's very difficult to get them back on track.

That's all the gyaan for today from the humble filmmakers from Kota. Hope you've learnt something from it. We definitly have.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


This blog is about the making of a short film. A low budget short film. And by low-budget I mean very very low! We’ll be shooting in a few days time but I wanted to put down the thoughts and processes at work when we make this short film.

A couple of months ago, when Piyush had come to Bombay he stayed at my place. As usual, we were discussing everything cinema when he told me a story idea. I thought he must have flicked the idea from somewhere but it was his original idea! The story itself was so simple that it was brilliant. I was hooked. He was leaving for Kota the next day, so I told him to write down any and every thought that’s bouncing around in his head about this story. He mailed it to me a few days later, and a week later I wrote a tentative script. It was a rough draft, but at least it gave us an idea about how the film will pan out. Anyway, Piyush suggested some changes and we discussed the script inside and out over emails and phone calls. Now, as I write this, the script is final and we’ve done the shot breakdown and we’re ready to SHOOT!

Almost everything that I’ve done professionally has been in the Non-Fiction field. The same goes for Piyush. This short film, will in fact, be our first fiction piece. And truth be told, I have this monster self doubt hammering away inside my head, screaming at me, telling me that this whole thing is one BIG mistake. We’re at that point where everything is ready and there are still a few days before shooting begins, and I’m picking out mistakes in the script almost every time I read it. Almost feels like I’m throwing myself down a dark well again and again.

Funny thing is I’m pretty sure the shoot will go off very well. There will be problems for sure, but then production is basically about solving problems.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


A few days ago, I was at Planet M near VT in Bombay. I was particularly interested in new DVDs. There were quite a few that I liked, but I didn't buy any. Each DVD was for 800 bucks or more. Too much.

An hour later, I was exploring the bylanes surrounding VT and I found street vendors selling the latest DVDs for 80 bucks. Of course they were all pirated versions. Also, most of the discs were compilation of 4-5 movies on each DVD. What would you do? Would you buy the original DVD for 800 rupees or would you buy the pirated DVDs for 80 rupees?

It is a crime to buy or sell stolen goods (yes, that's what piracy is), but we've all done it sometime in our lives. My question is - can it be stopped or brought under control? I know piracy can NEVER be stopped completely. Just like stealing, murder, war etc will always be there, so will piracy. But it is possible to control it. This can be done by implementing the following steps -

Firstly, make the laws clear and correct to the T. There should be no ambiguities or loopholes.

Secondly, implement the laws harshly with strong punitive actions.

Thirdly, run a highly visible campaign for making people aware of the pitfalls and negatives of supporting piracy.

And fourthly, the manufacturers of original products must bring down the prices to a reasonable level.

So, did I buy the DVDs from the street vendor? No, I didn't. I had the money and the inclination too, but I just wasn't sure about the quality. Piracy comes at a price too, you know.


Has anyone noticed the sudden trend of filmmakers announcing their intention of remaking old classics? Why this unusual interest in old movies? What possible reason could there be for anyone to make a new version of a old classic?

All the directors who are doing the remakes say, without exception, that they want to pay tribute to classic cinema. Another reason they give is they want to introduce classic films to the new generation.

I get a strong feeling that this is all crap. Think about it. Remaking an old movie is almost a marketing slamdunk. There is already a strong recognition of the product even before you create the product! Secondly, you have a readymade story. And a good story at that. Have you noticed that none of the filmmakers want to remake classics that failed at the box office?

I feel there is and should be only one reason for doing a remake. Only if you can find some way of improving on the original. Otherwise, a remake is tantamount to abusing the makers of the originals.

My suggestion is to stop this stupid remake fever. Instead, we have a huge storehouse of literature in different languages from all corners of the country. Tap into that. They are good stories. They are us.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

What is Reality TV?

What is reality TV? Simply put, it is a television programme that is supposedly real, where the viewer is like an observer, an eavesdropper, a voyeur.

The reality TV show follows a set pattern. Take a bunch of attractive, but different set of people and put them inside a confined space. Then create various situations that precipitate conflict between them. The participants fight, love, cry, hate, laugh. And the cameras capture everything faithfully for our viewing pleasure.

What's wrong with the above picture? Did you feel a slight prickle of unease when you realise that all reality tv is actually the same? No exceptions.

Reality TV is NOT real. It is manufactured in much the same manner as a daily soap. The moment you bring a group of people and put them in a closed environment, an artificial world is created. If the show were only about this, I would not have problem with it.

But the real problem for me is the exploitation of the participants. A TV channel is only interested in one thing - profit. It would like nothing better than to have the most popular TV show. Not because of TRPs or even prestige, but because they will earn mega ad bucks. Obviously, the audience as well as the participants fail to realise that the show is only about money. It is NOT about fame, NOT about success, NOT about the participant, NOT about the winner or loser, and NOT about the viewer. It is ONLY about the channel. It is ALWAYS about the channel.

I'm very sure that sooner rather than later, the content of these reality TV shows will become more sensational than the ones preceding them. And before we realise it, we will be watcing people torturing and killing each other for TRP ratings. Did I hear someone whisper "Truman"?