Thursday, February 18, 2016

I swallowed a small marble and now it is a moon in my stomach


I was reminded of a japanese story where a farm girl was given a small plant to take care of - except that instead of plant, it was a planet! Suspended in the air a little above the pot, it was a planet with its own satellites and she had to diligently water it - if one day she would forget, it would dry up and fall down and she had to work hard, nurse it back. And gradually she started seeing plants grow on them. And then one day she finally saw tiny worms crawling on it. The planet was coming to life...was having its own ecosystem..Gradually the planet became too big for the village and there was no room for it - she had to finally go to the edge of the world on a spaceship and send it to the sky. But every night she could see it on the vibrant sky and know that the planet is hers.

Maybe motherhood is like that, gradually tending a small planet, seeing it come to life, letting it grow, and finally letting it find a spot in the sky..the mother like the young farm girl, looks at it from a distance worries, wonders and basks at the light it emits...

Maybe when I will be growing your planet I will also put all the nice things I see on earth on it...I will first put lots of imagination, throw in some nice books 100 years of solitude or house of mr biswas, or even the panchtantra version of mahabharat, put some philosopher and design notes and I will put in lots of sci-fi...but yesterday I saw a video of a seal playing with a human, and i thought no invention of man can be more beautiful that the smile of that seal...so I will surely put in lots of compassion for animals and nature in there..your planet will be filled with all the animals - squirrels, butterflies, dogs, tigers and wolves.
Your elder sister juno, will put some cuddles in there, cuddles and morning runs and pointless broad smiles. She will put in purity and true love there...she is writing a book - art of chilling - hope you get to read it :). Your dad in general is a very nice guy so he would pour in some niceness. Also he is always jumping and running away either with the dog or on his own and your planet people will learn to hop and play and run from him. I am saying that now, but I am sure he will also pour in lots of mathematics in your soil. And geo-politics..ok whatever...I hope you get to learn hardwork from your grandparents..they worked very hard, travelled very far so that I or you could get one extra smile. I hope you get to play with your uncles and aunts.

We will discover lots of new things together and we will keep pouring it on your planet. And when your planet is big, vibrant, happy and bouncy, we will send it up there and I will see it from earth, my face glowing in its reflected light and smiling - maybe I will be able to hear some music from it too. You planet will be a happy place, I know.

However, it is possible that some nights, I will sit with a telescope and I might also find some dark corners in there. But I hope you will have tamed them, tamed the unknowns. Like we people of earth did...or like you would do when while growing up, trying to walk you would fall and would find it impossible to get up, the idea of running a marathon 20 years later might seem impossible when you would have fallen but then a day later you would be up there again wobbly, trying to walk again...I hope your planet will be able to see its nights with the same perspective I would see from far away, and would wait for the mornings to give you new hopes. I hope you learn from your dad what sincerity and diligence is and from your mom how to derive joy in struggle and trying new things- every struggle will make you find new you and new things, so many new things that someday I might have to take a space ship to come and meet you.
I hope you find the joy of loving smaller animals in your planet and I hope your planet glows and glows and gives everyone lots of love and warmth. I know you will till your soil well.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

You want to go social?

I think having a social newsfeed in your site has become a bare minimum requirement for most of the sites that aim to be an ecosystem in a certain field.

I thought of having that in ShortFilmWindow. Since I was totally out of touch, I had to really start digging lots of information around it.

What I have realised is that getting the data structure right is the biggest key. An interesting graph structure tailored to your user behaviour will impact system performance greatly.

I have collected some resources that might help folks understand the problem, define it better and take right decisions.
Most of these are good starting point and a person can dig deeper if need be.
They talk about graph structure and system for searching through it in a efficient way.  There are two courser courses that I am gonna take and make everyone in my development team take too (they are starting in a week).


Facebook Graph Structure and Search Systems:
Twitter Scalability:

Coursera Courses:


Anyways next step is personalization. But I have done enough ML courses to not get intimidated by it.   The above thing still intimidates me.






Monday, September 01, 2014

Design of life

I was writing some trailer notes for my trailer editor and was talking about nostalgia, childhood, longing etc that is the core theme of time machine and somewhere I wondered why was life designed like this where time was unidirectional and ephemeral? Why couldn't we visit childhood or youth the way we can visit different places in the world?

Anyways I ended up writing a story in this hypothetical world where one day the doorbell rings and we find that the older version of the family's son has come to visit the family. Initially there is super excitement- there are gifts and souvenirs and the older version is welcomes and he decides to stay on for a few days. However, gradually the family and even the son starts getting annoyed by the presence of this old intruder and start missing his privacy. The whole family keeps waiting and wondering when this old man will leave but feels it won't be right to enquire from him. They try to check his return tickets and worry when they don't find any. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

And august 16th and 17th was landmark day

We did our first release of a short film Raah and it went viral within hours. 

Also yesterday we got an investor on board.

Hope we can achieve what we set out to achieve. 


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Robot Message Carrier

This was probably the twitter of 19th century. This device had a rolling paper in which one could attach a message by dropping a coin. The message would be rolling and visible for 2 hours. 
Many of these were installed in public squares where people would fix time of meetings. And in case somebody had to leave they could leave the message hoping that the intended person shows up within 2 hours. 
I feel we should still have these ! 

Stepping in someone's shoes

I was trying to understand what is the most effective way to empathize with a fellow living being. I thought I could experiment by trying to empathize with a street dog abandoned in bandstand (bandstand looks like people's fav place to abandon their dogs). And I felt that I can feel maximum for that dog if I actually step in his shoes, see the world from his eye level, feel cornered and feel the wetness of the rain, be hungry and wonder where is my home from where I was thrown off. I almost became him briefly in my thoughts and I felt scared, lost and worried. 
Tuning into someone else's consciousness (taking in steady stream of input from his/her assumed environment )  just opened up a new dimension for me. For a brief moment I was him. I was an animal on the street and had all his pains. And then I tried empathizing with a traffic signal beggar and I stayed with her a little longer too long past driving my car. 

It just felt weird to abandon myself and be someone else even if in mind.  But again for some reason after this experience I feel way more connected to this world.
Well hope I am not becoming too weird. 

Best compliment I got

' I don't think I can work as hard as on a film as I would feel it's not worth it. You are little mental about it '

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Fragile things

I had a pretty happy perfect kind of childhood. There was laughter, fun, warmth and a great feeling of security growing up. 

I remember my mom was super hygiene conscious and wouldn't let us eat roadside food at all. In those days (I must be around 5-6 years old) we used to live in vizag and going to the beach was a regular Sunday activity. On beach side along the shore there were carta that used to sell lovely pomfret fry that used to smell really good. My mom obviously was not very keen about we eating that- 'Outside food that too fish fry!'
However I remember one evening dad took me and my brother for a walk along the shore. My mom was probably near our shoes and other stuff.
 There we stopped at a stall and my dad bought us spicy pomfret fry. And I and my brother knew it was rare and we might never get to eat it again so we both devoured it faster than the guy could supply the next fish. And we went back quietly as if we never ate anything. 

Today years later, on a cold day, while watching the sea, the memories of that evening came flooding by - bringing a faint smile and a familiar warmth. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Home Design



 Oflate, I think I have seen lots of french films set in Manhattan or seen some awesome apartments for Manhattan that I feel that I should too have apartments like below. They are so splendid!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

100 years of solitude

Reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's (Nobel laureate) One Hundred Years of Solitude and the darkest reaches of my imaginations have been lit up. 

Magic realism with a fascination for interesting inventions and human behaviour - I feel all my work revolve around these thoughts and to find a writer inside whom you can fit so cozily is extremely comforting.  Recommended read. 

Mechanical Automatons of 17th century Europe

Saw Mechanical Marvels - clockwork dreams on YouTube (Todo add link video id is 8OAA7yn_km8)

It contains everything from an automated town to fish gulping silver swan to a lady playing flute to a (programmable) writer. 

17 th century fiction also contained the same conundrums of machine versus humans as we have today (except we have robots and they had automatons). I don't know what happened to automaton movement - they lead to industrial revolution and all that art and trivia and aesthetics and delicateness was discarded. Machines were gradually seen less like humans and were built more for the purpose of serving humans. In a way Industrial revolution (that these automatons brought about) sort of lead to gradual domestication of machines. 

 Insightful documentary. Precursor to era of robots. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Of myths

Myths were generally used to cover gaps in human knowledge. They would originate from existing prevalent belief systems and then would work towards reinforcing those beliefs.
I like myths because they are imaginative, weird and strange. They don't restrict themselves to the possibilities of physical world we live in and yet end up telling us a lot about our mental, social texture.  
Civilizations over a period of time have really wondered about origin of cosmos and humans and almost all of them have multiple myths around our origin. They range from explosion of dragons to a creature finding life in the bottom of Ocean and bringing it up on the surface to a piece of God falling on earth. 

The most interesting myths even serve as documentation of those times. 

There was one myth where it was believed that father Sky and Mother Earth were very close and had a passionate relationship with their bodies touching each other and they gave birth to humans. However the humans felt suffocated by earth and sky being so close to each other and they pushed the sky away and gradually the world we live in today was formed. However Mother Earth gets angry from time to time and gets hardened so humans have to humour her by plowing her and putting seeds in her so that she remains happy and continues to provide us with food.
(Interestingly - Egyptians called the Sky mother and the Earth father - several theories float as to why but  many point to strong matriarchal society and also the common intercourse position where women in egypt were on top of men).

The other creation myths had to do with separation of people in various classes in society.
One was African myth around a giant seed buried deep inside earth and from which came a tree. And humans were fruits of those trees and people in lower branches constituted lower caste and in higher branches constituted higher castes.

Other was a Chinese myth where a large demon made humans with his hands. When he started doing it he realized that this is not practical and he can't make all the humans so he took a stick and started throwing mud on wall and the mud whenever it hit the wall turned into a human. Here too separation of classes was achieved. Higher humans were made by hand and lower humans by mud thrown on wall. 


Makes me wonder what are the myths of current times that most of us largely believe in. Belief in God is still very much prevalent in our society. In India stories behind festivals talk about triumph of good over evil reinforcing that being good is rewarded.  I remember sitting in a satyanarayan katha where all the stories were around how the katha itself changed the fortune of people who performed it. It was a strangely self referential recursive story but has survived in most of Hindi heartland. 
Most of the myths that are universal and that still exist are around life after death - or the concept of soul. It's tough for people to believe that they are finite and will invariably turn into a vegetative body and they believe in sort of continuum where their consciousness will continue to live on - either in places like heaven/hell or across various rebirths. I largely believe that maybe your consciousness will live on in the ideas you spread, children you nurture, or work you do. 

All this brings me to a question - what are the myths we are creating? What does it tell us about ourselves or our future generations about us ? 

I always wonder what happens to family albums when people die. Or to strange interesting conversations between two people when both of them die. Or those random thoughts that are part of your inner life. How finite is their existence? Where can we put things so that do not go away? 

I keep coming back to stories, the all powerful myths that stay somehow crosscutting generations and societies. Smart myths continue to stay floating in the air (or as programmers would believe - floating in the cloud).

 I sometimes even wonder what will happen to all the digital data we have generated. Can that be used to recreate us in the future (the way cryogenics advocators hope regarding the success of genetic replication). Or there is possibility for each of our life stories (regardless of how drab it is) to become a myth and live on for future generations to discover. But how many of these stories would survive? 

 I keep wondering, what will be our traces.. What will happen to the seaside when we won't be there to see it...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I hate working weekends

And empty weekdays. But the nature of my work these days is such that that's what is happening last two weeks. 


I am trying to hone my analytical skills for the fear that I am becoming more right brained (or do they call left brained (see what I mean)).

Maybe few coursera courses on math or just some good old fun puzzle solving might help. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Turtles all the way

"After a lecture on cosmology and the structure of the solar system, William James was accosted by a little old lady.
"Your theory that the sun is the centre of the solar system, and the earth is a ball which rotates around it has a very convincing ring to it, Mr. James, but it's wrong. I've got a better theory," said the little old lady.
"And what is that, madam?" Inquired James politely.
"That we live on a crust of earth which is on the back of a giant turtle,"
Not wishing to demolish this absurd little theory by bringing to bear the masses of scientific evidence he had at his command, James decided to gently dissuade his opponent by making her see some of the inadequacies of her position.
"If your theory is correct, madam," he asked, "what does this turtle stand on?"
"You're a very clever man, Mr. James, and that's a very good question," replied the little old lady, "but I have an answer to it. And it is this: The first turtle stands on the back of a second, far larger, turtle, who stands directly under him."
"But what does this second turtle stand on?" Persisted James patiently.
To this the little old lady crowed triumphantly. "It's no use, Mr. James---it's turtles all the way down."
—J. R. Ross, Constraints on Variables in Syntax 1967


http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down

Monday, June 23, 2014

Nikolai Gogol

Read some of his work - written 200 years ago in a different space and time. And it still resonates with our realities. Wonder if any of my work will survive even half that time.

Quoting some of his quotes:
I am fated to journey hand in hand with my strange heroes and to survey the surging immensity of life, to survey it through the laughter that all can see and through the tears unseen and unknown by anyone.


But youth has a future. The closer he came to graduation, the more his heart beat. He said to himself: “This is still not life, this is only the preparation for life.

He who has talent in him must be purer in soul than anyone else. Another will be forgiven much, but to him it will not be forgiven. A man who leaves the house in bright, festive clothes needs only one drop of mud splashed from under a wheel, and people all surround him, point their fingers at him, and talk about his slovenliness, while the same people ignore many spots on other passers-by who are wearing everyday clothes. For on everyday clothes the spots do not show.

Everywhere, in whatever realm of life, whether among its callous, coarsely impoverished and messily moldering lower ranks, or among its monotonously gelid and tediously tidy upper strata, everywhere, if but once, a person will encounter a phenomenon on his journey that is unlike anything he has chanced to see heretofore and that, at least once will awake in him a feeling unlike any he is fated to feel for the rest of his life. Everywhere, across the sorrows, whatever they be, from which this life of ours is woven, a resplendent joy will gaily flash, just as sometimes a glittering equipage with golden trappings, picturesque steeds, and the gleam and sparkle of windows will suddenly and unexpectedly rush past some wretched little back-country village that has never seen anything but a rural cart, and long afterwards the muzhiks will stand, mouths agape, caps in hand, although the wondrous equipage has long since whirled off and disappeared from view. Such is the manner in which the pretty little blonde, suddenly and quite unexpectedly, has appeared in our story and has vanished in the same manner. If on this occasion some twenty-year-old youth had happened to be there instead of Chichikov, whether a hussar, or a student, or merely someone who had just embarked on the course of his life, then Lord! what would not have awakened, not have begun to stir, not have begun to speak within him! Long would he have remained standing, insensible, in one spot, eyes fixed vacantly upon the distance, oblivious to the road and to all the reprimands awaiting him and to the chastisements for tardiness, oblivious to himself, and his work, and the world, and everything that exists in the world.

But there is nothing enduring in the world, and therefore even joy in the second minute is already not as acute as in the first; in the third minute it becomes still weaker and finally merges unnoticeably with the usual condition of the soul, as a circle on the water, caused by the fall of a pebble, finally merges with the smooth surface.

Countless are, as the sand in the sea, the deep desires of men, and none resembles the other, and all of them, whether shameful, or great, in the beginning are obedient, but later become terrible masters over him.

For every man there are certain words that are as if closer and more intimate to him than any others. And often, unexpectedly, in some remote, forsaken backwater, some deserted desert, one meets a man whose warming conversation makes you forget the pathlessness of your paths, the homelessness of your nights, and the contemporary world full of people's stupidity, of deceptions for deceiving man. Forever and always an evening spent in this way will vividly remain with you, and all that was and that took place then will be retained by the faithful memory: who was there, and who stood where, and what he was holding--the walls, the corners, and every trifle.

Amount of Hindi Juno can understand

It spooks me out that my dog Juno can understand following terms:
'Hum Jaa Rahein hai'- on which she  goes to the door ready to leave 
'Paani pee le'- on which she goes and drinks water
'Udhar dekh'- she starts looking everywhere
'Mein jaldi wapas aaungi'- when I am leaving her. She goes from restless pose to sulk pose
'Saurabh Jaa raha hai'- runs after saurabh
'Chal aaaj nehlaate hai'- she runs and hides in the cupboard
'Nehla Nahee rahee Sirf pair dhula rahee hoon'- she stops resisting
'Yeh Kay kar rahee hai. Are u mad ?' - in which she stops doing what she is doing starts walking away as if nothing happened. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Calling a big party at home

Since I am completely off the idea of cooking animals (unfortunately for the sea world I am still not sensitive about their lives) I thought of having this menu-
1) whole pomfret fry (with pudina)
2) konkani shrimp curry
3) tofu in orange soya sauce (experimenting on poor guests)
4) ripe mango curry (since something should be seasonal)

And maybe will order something from mamagoto or lemongrass like dimsums etc.

For drinks may be watermelon caprioski.

So lots of work for a Friday night. Thank god my cook will do most of work. I will only make mango and tofu curries.

Synthetic biology

A great part if my job as a filmmaker is exploring areas I wouldn't have thought about in day to day life.

Right now exploring synthetic biology or having objects external to u as part of ur genetic circuitry so u can control them the way u control say your hand.
Isn't that cool and think of the possibilities. 


Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Musuem of automatons

I wish I was rich enough to curate one with all kinds of automatons wooden birds and waterfall and all... Maybe some day ...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

ramblings...

juliet to romeo

"...and maybe not today but we will be born again - another time another place with different faces, with whiskers or needle legs , deep in ocean or outside a cobwebbed cave and with no memory of this, of the pain and the hurt and then we could be in absolute bliss, find real happiness, and bring the earth to life..again..and yet again..."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Short film culture

I think the times have changed. Bollywood had a culture of assistant directors because the camera cost was expensive. Also camera was heavy so expensive sets were built inside studios.
Shooting a movie was something only privileged few could afford. So anyone wanting to learn had to assist.

Today we have cheap cameras. Infact everyone has a camera in their pocket thanks to mobile phone revolution. Basic editing tools are accessible to people. Ofcourse there is a need for professional touch required for good writing, shot taking, editing and have good sound design but with technology and knowledge available skills can be picked up. There are lot more film schools with interesting films that gives students exposure to good craft.

Every industry that flourishes, provide avenues for new talent to showcase their work. You dont have to wait 10 years to do your first work. I think assuming a newcomer has a where-with-all to make a feature film is asking for too much. But short films is something through which they can express themselves, find their voice.

I think bollywood has really neglected short film category but just the way Oscars have a short film categories I feel mainstream bollywood awards should have them too.
Benefits:

1) It will encourage more people to make films - an incentive that is really attractive to drive them to perform better. Short film is of a scale that will not make anyone go bankrupt. So it is a good way to encourage newer voices to try out the medium. 
2) It helps bring in plurality of ideas and thoughts in mainstream award functions.
3) It helps producers identify potential directors that they can employ.
4) The thing is even if we help the career of one director and provide him a inroad to enrich us with his work, it will be worth it.




Keeping a lookout for the edge of the world

In the olden days, it was believed that the world is flat - not round. Which means there was a belief that world had edges and if a ship fell of the edges, it would probably go to hell.

The fact that so many ships did go missing , fed the myth even more.

So in every ship, there were men, whose job description involved climbing the mast and have a lookout for the edge of the world. These men would constantly keep a watch, day and night, lest the ship falls off the edge. They would be awake, took their duties seriously and were genuinely worried about finding the edge.

I feel these men in modern times, are film directors. Worried sick over something that is fictitious.

Ah well, post production is taking its toll on me.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blogging restart

I have really hated being away. Blogging for me was a way of checkpointing my days and my life. And now I just feel that I have no documentation of my life and its learnings.
What is up on my front?

Yup, I shot a movie. It was supposed to be part of 3 short films package. And we were producing it. But I had a tough time handling production and direction at the same time. We had Zain handling production but he is actually a a director and since we were spending our company money it was getting really tough. Also our budget blew up because we were hoping to get some equipments free but we didnt get.

The good thing is now I have understood production. We had done ads but the max shoot was 2 days. Film goes on for 10 days, each day very expensive - of the order of lakhs -  and there is a host of location and many people to manage. Everyday it was like juggling balls and somedays I felt there was one ball too many. Infact I remember coming back, taking backup of data everyday after 14 hours shoots.

My biggest production learning was:
1) Invest in a good team rather than a good camera. We tried to save money in the wrong place.
2) Have people who are passionate, dont hire people in the first meeting. (Because i personally suffer from a syndrome where I like everyone in the first meeting)
3) If someone has worked in mainstream bollywood and is proud about it, chances are that he/she will disappoint you by doing sub-standard work. (This is a very sad truth but for me the biggest disappointments were the most experienced people)
4) Dont be scared of taking tough decision. I took lots of tough unpopular decisions. But I am glad I did. My film is better. Be extremely selfish about the quality of the film. Dont compromise because thats how the filsm start becoming bad.
5) Tap people's strengths, passions and enthusiasm. My best contri came from people who were fiercely passionate about their work. There will be days you will derive energy from others.

My key directorial learnings were:
1) Dont even leave one shot to be decided on location. Because that will generally be the most average shot. Magic may happen but magic is random.
2) Take coverage shots no matter what. Even if you have planned lovely takes, take your inserts.
3) Even if the shoot is for 30 days, prepare for everyday before the shoot. Dont depend on the break. Also production design wise, get props made before the shoot sched starts.
4) Preprod is the key.
5) Take suggestions and be open to people contributing but preserve your thought process. Sometimes the most popular decisions are wrong and sometimes they are right. Carry your internal compass.
6) Be early riser.
7) Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse.
8) If you cant love your actor, dont cast him.
9) Cut of the noise, protect your thought process as you are the only one carrying the film in your head so you know the tone of the scene and color palatte of the scene in relation to other scenes better.
10)I should just figure out eyeline match. Its embarassing.
11) Always have reference films. Show it to crew.
12) Even if there is a 10 page dialogue. Think about how you will shoot every word of that dialogue. Dont bank on coverage.

13) Most important -  Have a good chief AD who will shield you from all the logistic nightmare.




Saturday, December 07, 2013

Short Film Window

I am happy to announce the operation of Short Film Window (www.shortfilmwindow.com) a platform where one can Discover, Watch and Share the best stories of our time .

The site www.shortfilmwindow.com is up and running and is in Beta stage and is repository of short films from across the globe. We have managed to syndicate around 160 shorts from Film Schools and Independent contributors and am in the process of reviewing and uploading them. 
I see Short Film Window as a global platform that hosts the best short films from across the world.
My goal is to to be the one place where individuals can come and see high quality short form content on a regular basis.
Do play around with the platform. It works on iPads and computers and I am planning to have it work on mobiles too. Also I feel I should be developing an app for it. But my current focus is good content and creating a syndication team. 


Key Features: 
- Neat, simple snappy
- Integration with social networking sites
- Can choose films based on Genre, Language, Popularity, Length and Text
- Infinite scroll, List and Table views
- On-hover film info, one-click movie watch
- Content monitoring - Only well-made good short films are present
- HD films, hosted on Vimeo-Pro
- It's free and also ad-free !


So if you know of good short films or filmmakers, please feel free to ping me or write to shortfilmwindow@gmail.com


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Golden the Pony Boy

"Cotton and cardboard, cellophane and paper, thread, needle to employ,
All felt and fabric, birds fly and cats play,
 Golden the pony boy.
Made out of cloth and standing so still, just like a simple toy.
Gray as the sky on a day without sun,
Golden the pony boy.
Screwdrivers, rubber bands, glue guns and pliers, tools to create or destroy.
Patiently waiting, un-calculating,
Golden the pony boy.Flying wheels and coloured reels,
Spin into motion,
Bringing him lots of joy,
Trot, canter, gallop,
Over land and sea,
Golden the pony boy"


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pushing the boundaries

One is pushing the boundaries of form - in terms of your camera techniques, your way of telling a story, editing, acting etc...the treatment

but other is pushing the boundaries of what you are telling - in terms of saying things that have been unsaid or are difficult to say in a line or two or even in an essay- you cannot serialize your thoughts - you have to tell that in the form of a story so that the listener synthesizes that complex ambiguous thought from your story... and discovers an interesting facet about life...

isn't that what we should be pushing with all our films...

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

100 years of Indian cinema

I had the idea for this post in my mind for a long time but couldn't find time to write about it in Mumbai.

Here in a student town of Madison, spending time with PhD grads, and Silicon Valley enthusiasts - in the midst of a technology wave where "the young is eating up the old everyday", I thought my idea has reached a stage that I could verbalize it.

100 years is very less for any art form. We have art forms like painting and writing and designing that probably started at a time we were barely evolved as homo sapiens. These art forms have evolved, branched, transformed, travelled and have become an integral parts of our life. They have "matured". Has cinema matured in these 100 years -in India?
What is the benchmark for maturity ? When do we call an art form has matured, and are we getting there?

I felt one thing that sets moviemaking apart is that its main creators are concentrated in various film cities. It is not an everyman's art form.
 Ofcourse, movie making is logistically a larger effort than say painting or writing which can be an individual pursuit. Movie making is a team effort -  either a small team or a large team but generally it requires more than one person -  and is an expensive pursuit nonetheless. Making a good well-finished movie also requires training that is not integrated in out school cirriculam.
But we are not talking about costs or training right now, we are first talking about decentralization. Has it reached a stage where any person in a village who wants to make a movie can actually go ahead and make it? And what are the chances that the movie he makes can potentially move us emotionally as much as a movie made in mainstream?

I think digital revolution is one of the key things that will help movie-making ubiquitous and will bring about a plurality that is much needed for its maturity. Prob not just digital revolution but also including film making in curriculum the way drawing and painting is. Films or rather videos are now becoming integral part of our life with online educational courses, advertisements, farewell videos and even instruction kits using videos to illustrate a point. Therefore learning how to make a movie not just sensitizes people but also serves as a good skill set .

Our film content was probably more evolved in the 50s when the film as an art form was being discovered and people from all walks of life were entering it. Now, there is some sort of calcification of mindsets. Art thrives in exploring the unknown - trying out new things.  Its important to ensure we make money but why is it not important to ensure that we create beautiful original movies ?

That's why I feel that one thing that we should look out for is ensuring that more and more number of people can make movies bypassing traditional producers and traditional mindsets. More people will also comeup with smart and better ideas of tackling one of the biggest bottleneck of film business  - the distribution.

 It's hightime, like in silicon industry (which is also relatively young) for the young newer ways to start competing with older traditional ways. The day a film made by a newbee in nagpur competes equally strongly with Iron Man for our attention- I will celebrate the most !

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Love

 Normally I am pretty matter of factly about cinema but compilation of this rare chinese archival footage by Wong Kar Wai on one of my fav melodies got me really gushing.



I tried hard couldn't find the translation of the song except it's title which means "The years slipped by like flowers" . But I found some other translation of some other song (which I customized to shorted and make it prose like) and I thought I could as well ascribe the meanings of that song into this one. So here is - my customized translation - of one of my fav chinese song :):


The years slipped by like flowers:
Hazy streetlights quietly stood in the drizzle,
The past again swept me by...
I still remember at the time of parting, 
You tightly held my both hands,
You uttered lightly one sentence "take good care"
And my eyes became hazy...
In foreign land, the wind is colder and the dews are more condensed. 
Layer upon layer, the longing lasts for ages.
From distant land, arrives a secluded sound of songs.
And each melody fills my heart's fields ....

Hazy streetlights quietly stood in the drizzle.
And the past again swept me by ...


Addendum:
Found the translation of the song here: http://bbs.nciku.cn/space.php?uid=2811&do=thread&id=7663

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Power of 1 person



Every person represents the human race - to every other person and to nature. I think it's a big responsibility and great power. Because at any juncture, a singular person with his/her singular action, can redefine the character and capabilities of the entire human race.

Weird dream

Today I experienced a beautiful moment.
And then I went to sleep and I got a dream that I am someone else in some other world and the beautiful moment  I experienced was not real but a dream. And in my dream I was heart broken that my reality was not real but a dream.
But then I woke up and reality fell back in it's original place and I got my beautiful moment back :).


P.S: Bookmarking some delightful animations:

Consumption of art and moral stamina

 Isn't it great to try to touch something inexhaustible and infinite with your work and hope that it comforts the person who is exposed to it.

I am one of them who really truly believe that art/literature/movies can give birth to a tender lilly in the hearts of the cruelest of men.  It can transcend space and time barriers, it can impact your soul. There is a great joy in being exposed to evolved work that originate from intricate and beautiful minds  and that joy is similar to  spending time with a nice friend or mentor who can help you see your life through a prism. You can carry back this wisdom that (if the artist is lucky) will help you fill the gap between you and the world you live in.

I read this interview and found a  great resonance in the fundamental intentions of this artist.

To quote:

"I have difficulty giving up the notion of the nobility of art. I make money doing this, and I want to make money, and I would like to have a lot of money, but I still believe that the only reason to write is that somehow it will make something or somebody better. I do believe—and I know I shouldn’t—that art transcends money and success and any of that. You can still do it if you’re not clinging to the notion of nobility. But I am, I’m clinging to it by my nails. I really can’t justify it intellectually. I’d argue against it rationally. Yet, if it wasn’t for that—what would this life be? What would this world be? What the fuck would we do? I’m fully aware that it’s something that cannot be accomplished by me or anyone, but it’s something to strive for, and fail at, daily."

Full interview here:

http://www.guernicamag.com/interviews/there-is-no-real-life/

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Regarding mediocrity

It's hard to make something that's interesting.' It's really, really hard. Basically, anything that anyone makes…It's like a law of nature, a law of aerodynamics, that anything that's written or anything that's created wants to be mediocre. The natural state of all writing is mediocrity. It's all tending toward mediocrity in the same way that all atoms are sort of dissipating out toward the expanse of the universe. Everything wants to be mediocre, so what it takes to make anything more than mediocre is such a fucking act of will. 

You just have to exert so much will into something for it to be good.

- Ira Glass 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Midnight wisdom from a overworked mind

When u have big budget people working in it atleast get good money but when u have a small budget, there is no subterfuge-  u have to make sure u make a fucking good film!  Make that time & effort count.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Law of 10X: Doing everything better by a factor of 10

I woke up at 4 am today because somewhere in sleep I started dreaming about my work and then I just woke up. Since my husband was out of town, my dog was sleeping with me with her tiny head on my stomach - our fav pose.

Anyways I felt I was wide awake so thought I could make a nice cup of tea and work on the thing that had sparked my brain in the morning. My dog's eye was still squinting when I switched on the light so I decided to move to my office downstairs.  I wrapped my dog in my blanket and quietly went downstairs. My dog dutifully followed me and came and slept on my office sofa.

Anyways - the above para seems pointless. However what was significant was that this was not a regular day. This was once in a blue moon day - very rare days when the ideas wake me up and I get so excited that inspite of it being a wintry morning and having a cosy,velvetty dog snuggling next to me, I felt like getting to work. And there was no deadline/motivation for me to abandon a good morning's sleep.
So as a result, this morning I was way more charged up as I normally am.


I also read a thing from Larry Page. It was regarding giving 10X to everything you do. Or rather doing everything better by a factor of 10 (with age you realize that they are two different things). And I just felt that today was the right day to receive that advice. And almost adopt that as a motto, as a benchmark for my every performance, in every field.



Friday, February 15, 2013

When we look at the stars ...

Mixing science, philosophy and dreams in this post:

The light from stars take quite a while to reach us- they measure the distance in light years - some stars take 4-5 light-years to reach us, some take 100-200 light years.. and some thousands...
So interestingly when we are seeing the stars in the sky we are not seeing  the present, but we are seeing the past...
Our night sky - a canopy of stars and constellations - in reality is a web of past - a starry cobweb.

Now we are all synthesized from our environment.  Matter, atoms. We are made up of earth.
How was this earth formed?
After the big bang all the matter started spreading, all the atoms, all the star-dust started spreading in all directions.
The earth made us, but these stars, their dust made the earth.

So when we are looking at the sky, when we are looking at these stars - stars that are thousands of light years away - we are looking at a past .... but not just any past....we are looking at our own past.

Just some food for thought.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Film


One day my car was passing western express (bandra to goregaon travel), I saw a poster - probably of Dev.D and it struck me because the designs were not common for hindi posters. They were not out-of-the-world for a person following latest designs but one wouldn't find them in Indian posters. 

At that time, I slipped into my fantasy land. I wondered how the poster of any of my film should be, and I was thinking of nature not content as I didnt have a first film in mind then. I thought if my poster would be up on any highway - it should cause traffic jams and minor collisions because the art in it should absolutely fascinate the onlookers. It should be unique, radical yet familier. Like those russian posters I once saw.

And then even in the trailer, if tv is on and if the person is in another room and they hear the trailer they should drop everything and run and look at the trailer. They should feel compelled to share it with everyone and they should feel that they have stumbled upon something great - something that they cannot contain within themselves..it should fill them up with joy and anticipation...

And how should the movie be - after the movie ends - people should feel transformed - something intrinsically, they feel like being better, they feel like changing the world. Maybe they find out what is the purpose of life and value people who love them more...or they realize something significant and meaningful and pertinent - like they are alone sufficient to bring about a change and do a task and they need no one and still can influence everyone...The film  touches them in that way - it acts like a catalyst for that internal transformation and awakening.
That's why I like to give a feeling of high through films- a film shld be the best kiss you ever had, best musical symphony you ever heard, best painting you have seen, it should be the highest peak you have climbed, it should feel like victories of decades of hardwork, it should be like LSD, and it should be all of this combined. 

I think the medium has the power. I would like to wager that.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

First Blog of 2013 - Speciesism


 This morning I saw lots of picture on my facebook profile of animal testing or animal manipulation to maximize their productivity. Thanks to my friend Richa Hingle for that. If you haven't seen, do see the pictures of cows whose guts have holes so that farmer can access it directly or dogs who are gassed to death or bunnies whose neck and eyelids are opened ala clockwork orange style so that lipsticks and masscaras are tested on them.

Now hardly any of my blog posts have been about animals so why suddenly this post.  Because something happened to me in 2012. If you havent been following me and my 1000 updates then let me state - "yes I got a dog!" This was my first brush with an animal. I never thought animals were worthy of my time. They do not help me any which way - professionally, evolution-wise, they die before me so they even cannot take care of me in my old age, or even materialistically.

But having a dog myself sensitized me towards animals and nature in a way that no documentary or article or experience or trek would ever do. So this article will sound farce to lots of people. But if you have experienced animals in day to day life, have tried to invest time in understanding them, then you will probably understand where I am coming from.
In any case, I suppose articles like these are worth a thought because knowledge never goes waste.

I can testify that animals exhibit the same feelings as humans. I am talking about emotional intelligence EQ. The way we measure EQ in humans, if we could measure in animals, they would probably surpass us. And I say it with my own experience, they demonstrate lot more patience, love, affection and recall than we humans do. If you feel I am saying this because of my undying love for my dog Juno (aka Juno Singh, aka junki aka goodie girl), then believe a person who has studied animals way more than all of us combined - Charles Darwin:

"The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, is certainly one of degree and not of kind. We have seen that the senses and intuitions, the various emotions and faculties, such as love, memory, attention, curiosity, imitation, reason, etc., of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or even sometimes in a well-developed condition, in the lower animals." 

 I once had a friend and he was telling me that his sister married a Spanish - a language his family didnt know. So how did his sister's husband and his mother communicate? He said we underestimate sign and body language. And that's true, with my dog, both of us (being highly intelligent if we both say so ourselves) have developed a sign/body language which we both understand and for me living with her is like living with another human or say "a stream of consciousness". Animals can speak, its us who cannot listen (but we love shifting the blame to animals). These animals are equally emotionally rich. But any relationship requires time and patience which we lack. Forget about understanding animals, we do not have patience to understand our fellow human being.
Lots of my friends say that we are more evolved than animals, so we earn the right to rule over them. However, I have met lots of people who have very low IQ. In all brashness and immodesty, I can say they are really dumb. But then, should I round them up and gas them to death or puncture their guts or torture them, beat them, kill them eat them and feed it to our kids?  Why was there outrage against concentration camps then?

Somewhere I feel the core problem is identification. We cannot identify with animals and hence we feel its ok to torture them. Sensitizartion towards nature and animals should be part of school curriculum. Isn't that also knowledge and knowledge should first be imparted about our surrounding first. We can study and read up about Big Dipper and Ursa Major later, this is close home, this should be taught first.
This is the moral science we need - respecting other beings. We cannot justify horrible moral choices by saying "we are evolved" or "we are more intelligent" or we are "bystandars" not participants. When on one hand we believe we are peace loving, corruption or rape protesting individuals, on the other hand we cannot totally ignore what we do to animals. When we hold Nazis in disgust, we should be aware that we are being the same with someone else. And it's a moral choice we are making.

Someone once said that - "Knowledge is important. It helps us see what we are and what we might become." Knowledge is strength. I think in today's world we need to redefine "stronger". In my marathon practice, whenever I slowed down, the fastest runner ran back to give me company. That is strength - the ability to help- not ability to rape or ability to torture. That is succumbing to your weakness.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Top Post - Films Written and Directed by Arati Kadav


USS PAAR - (35 mm) 17 min: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY4Cfiz2ZfI
Film Festival selections:
- River to River Florence Film Festival, Italy, 2010
- Kalpanirjhar film festival, Calcutta
- Article 19 - Won the Best Short Film Award
- Bhubaneshwar International short film fest
- Xaverian Film Academy ( X.F.A ) 
- Newyork Film Festival 
- Germany Film Festival  (Indisches Filmfestival 'Bollywood and beyond')
-Silent River Film Festival, Irvine, CA - Nominated for Best Film and Best Director. Won River Admiration Award for Outstanding Film and River Pearl Award for Best Child Actor
- Selected for 8th International Directors Lounge, Berlin
Selected for Shorts Competition & Focus section at John Abraham Signs Film Festival 2012
- Selected for Kaala Ghoda Film Festival Mumbai
- Selected for NIFF, India, 2012
- Won Dada Sahab Phalke Janmbhoomi Puraskar for Best Short Film, 2012

Gulmohar (35 mm) 11 min : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8KywzAe2ts
- River to River Florence Film Festival, Italy, 2011
- Selected for 12th Mumbai International Film Festival, 2012
- Selected for Ca' Foscari Short Film Festival, Venice , Italy, 2012
- Selected for NIFF, India, 2012

- Selected for maremetraggio film festival Italy 2012

Reflections: (16 mm) 8:11 min: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0AgFMpxSxE

Selected for Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival


Blog on 3D:  http://aratikadav3d.blogspot.com/


Some self made HD videos:
Small Ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMNXY4GaPRc
Chalkboard Animation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyIV3tgBU48
Later chalkboard was used for Uss Paar credit sequence (in collaboration with Zenish Mehta): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ft757USiIBo
Test - generating emotions without face: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmibOqFKTXU
Some 3D tests (done with 2 HD camera side-by-side):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pUvs9lJ2WQ. Plus my blog on "home-made 3D": http://aratikadav3d.blogspot.com/


Past Credentials: Computer Engineer from IIT, Kanpur. Worked as Software Development Engineer for Microsoft, Seattle for 3.5 years. Expertise in computational grids and machine learning & AI. 2 years course on Film Making from WWI. Received class valedictorian award. Worked in Advertisement Industry - Olay, Bournvita, Puma. Made documentaries for Goa Tourism.