Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Top Post - Films Written and Directed by Arati Kadav

USS PAAR - (35 mm) 17 min:
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 :
- 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:

Selected for Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival

Blog on 3D:

Some self made HD videos:
Small Ad:
Chalkboard Animation:
Later chalkboard was used for Uss Paar credit sequence (in collaboration with Zenish Mehta):
Test - generating emotions without face:
Some 3D tests (done with 2 HD camera side-by-side): Plus my blog on "home-made 3D":

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.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shining Moments

Today our ads are out on TV.
7 webisodes that got promoted to TV and 2 TVCs.

Here is the link to first 2 minutes, a pic of our campaign and also  pic of me posing next to a tv (cheapster) :).

Parents didnt have zoom so they subscribed to it by paying 800 bucks & calling tata sky - just to see my ad. And were glued to tv from 6 pm. They were the ones who called me @ 8 to tell me that they saw the ad coming thrice.

2 of 7 webisodes: 1 of 5 TVCs:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Key to Happiness In Any Profession

I feel that if you find these 3 things in your profession, you have found your calling.

Pleasure. Engagement. Meaning.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Some awesome ipad apps useful for moviemaking

I think people management is intrinsic part of any director's profile. However, sometimes, you like to do certain things yourself (lack of budget, complicated idea that language cannot explain) and so here are some very useful apps that I think will help up maximize productivity.

1) Storyboard Software:
A picture is worth a 1000 words. And if you have to communicate a shot to your DOP, actor, production designer, AD, it is sometimes worth 4000 words.
Here is a very handy and useful app for storyboarding:
They also have storyboard in 3D:

2) Basic Animation
Don't we love to animate and are limited by the technical process. I usually overcome that by doing stopmotion. But that is also a long process. What if you are stuck waiting for someone for hours. Sometimes you don't feel like reading a book even then. So on those days you can use these app to create small animation videos for public service, for friends, for yourself. Also a nice way to have howtos for your site.
Here are two such apps:
   Animation desk:
   and a more basic:

3) Photoshop
Working on photoshop - making those posters could be easier with this app. I haven't tried it out and some feedback is that it is not very smooth (first version maybe). But I think it will make it more intuitive with time :).

So enjoy and get creative with your ipad :).


Friday, September 21, 2012

Why I love Fantasy

The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real ... for a moment at least ... that long magic moment before we wake.

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, 
rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I'd sooner go to middle Earth.

— George R.R. Martin

Saturday, September 01, 2012


There is something very beautiful and potent about transient moments.. fizz of a soda bottle, passing gaze of a stranger,  stolen glances, arriving at an idea, an image or a brush stroke ... they make you realize that your heart is deeper than the deepest well you have seen, that you are not just a random stranger walking on the road but that somewhere you are connected to a whole, that you can cause a ripple in the cosmos, that your insignificance doesn't contain you, or you realize that any mould whether physical, mental or societal ever made, cannot contain your heart, your mind...that somewhere you can free yourself from the fabric of space and time and bounce and jump and even fly ... and the truth is that it's only in these moments you realize that you are fully alive and finally through these transient moments you will live forever....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2 really good respources

I normally refrain from posting other people's articles on my blog but I really liked 2 links a lot:

1) Design Thinking: A 40 minute lecture on designing which is simple awesome.
I will find myself revisiting it often.

2) 10 ideas for people in advertising from the original Mad Man of advertising (George Lois):

Two of the pointers I swear by and I know is true :

1) The accepted system for the creation of innovative thinking in a democratic environment is to work cooperatively in a team-like ambience. Don’t believe it. Whatever the creative industry, when you’re confronted with the challenge of coming up with a Big Idea, always work with the most talented, innovative mind available. Hopefully … that’s you. Avoid group grope and analysis paralysis. 
2) To create great work, here's how you must spend your time : 1% inspiration, 9% perspiration & 90% justification.
This I am only realizing with time. Any work you do you have to justify and convince your team, your clients, your financiers investors etc and unimaginable amount of energy goes into it. The energy seems more so because we are not marketing people- we are essentially creative people. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Indian Ocean Music Video is out!

It was one helluva shoot and lots of hardwork went into it. Thankfully, I lost my mind only once - that is after the final release when I uploaded the final video on youtube I felt the video and audio suddenly went out of sink. Maybe it was fatigue of so many days of intensive edit work. And I said to Zain - "oh my God now what do I do". Obv the video hadn't gone out of sync but nonetheless I had started losing it. It takes 5 uncertain hours upload a HD video with our flaky internet and I was saying "let's do it again, let's fix it and do it again, let's not give up, let's do it again". Zain and my dog Juno both were in total state of shock - albeit briefly. Then I went to eat icecream and felt better. Maybe empty nest syndrome.  Bye bye another video - you no more belong to me now.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guerilla Branding (Post is work in progress)

Now that I am in showbiz and we have our own company Tangelo, I am trying to understand brands better. Read a few books on it and here is condensed version of all that I understood.
I would be concentrating on guerilla branding. Branding for small businesses or even industry professionals who are free-lancers like writers, cinematographers, directors.

It's a work in progress and I will refine it as I keep reading and contemplating :).  I will write it as a FAQ so that it is more precise and to-the-point.

First 2-3 days I will concentrate on basics so that when I reach guerilla branding part, the basics are covered better.

Why does one need branding ?
Before we talk about branding businesses or movies, one has to realize that every person is a brand in him/herself (whether they like it or not). Brand gives people around you confidence. And brand is bigger than what you do. It shows what you 'are'. A good brand indicates values like intelligence, responsibility and results.
I have always felt shy about these things, but even if you are not a pompous company/person, you have to realize that your brand is your credit for the value you provide. Your brand determines your perceived value.
An additional note is that branding is not a substitute for your strengths and innovations. But it certainly helps as your sphere of influence starts increasing.

What I have realized that consistency in communicating the brand and your behavior towards your customer is very important.
As it helps make people have a clear association with you. Inconsistency is one the worst brand your company can have.  Lot of times in hospitality and service industry, your contact person and service environment determines the brand. So it is very important to choose and train these contact persons correctly and invest in an environment that communicates your brand correctly. Or if you are the contact person yourself, it is better to take efforts to be be nice and courteous all the time.

What are brand components ?
We all understand what a brand is, but for precision people breakdown the term "brand" into the following components:
- Identifiers - Name (for products it can be logo, color of the logo)
- Attributes - What a customer thinks in response to the identifier.
A brand can represent
1) Need
2) Emotional Benefit
3) Functional Benefit
4) Economic Benefit
5) Feature
6) Product or service.
As you can see, for your brand to be effective, the higher you are in that list, the better.
- Associations - The wiring in the customers mind - what attribute do they give to your brand.
For example think of a few things you use in your day to day life. e.g Facebook - what attribute you associate with it (Is it a product for you, is it functional need or emotional need - every person's usage of facebook varies based how he/she associates with it).
 Or think of yourself in your organization. What attributes do you think your colleagues associate with you (are you their need?).

In a market, how do you position yourself effectively to create strong Brand Associations ?
Though you and your product can have lot of key benefits, start by choosing just 2-3. But before your customer is deciding whether to use your product/service the bigger challenge is will he even consider your product/service. Most young professionals in this industry face the challenge number one :).

To go about this, one should collect data and understand the market.
1) Do situation Analysis - Understand customers and competitors
2) Market Segment - What area of the market or what group of people will seek you e.g. Do you own a Pancake shop or a Gujju Thali joint. What appeals to whom. Someone says: "If everyone is your customer then prob noone is your customer".
3) Positions - This consists of 3 benefits that your market segment wants and how you can provide it better than the choices available to them.
4) Communicate - Now you need to find a gap between your brand position and customer perception. And work towards bridging it. This cannot happen over-night. Brand communication requires series of nudges and not a big violent push so this is a long process and happens over a period of time.

Now that I have positioned myself, how do I communicate ?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Perspective across Professions: The Best Lot

A long delayed post as it was on my mind for a while.

I have observed lots of people doing very well in various professions. Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to have experienced two diametrically different professions first-hand - Microsoft  in US and film-units in Bollywood.

Recently I came across a quote from Rahul Dravid (Indian Batsman) that stayed with me.
"I think we judge talent wrong. What do we see as talent? I think I have made the same mistake myself. We judge talent by people's ability to strike a cricket ball. The sweetness, the timing. That's the only thing we see as talent. Things like determination, courage, discipline, temperament, these are also talent. I think when we judge talent, we have got to look at the whole package"-- Rahul Dravid

I remember when I used to interview candidates for Microsoft, we used to be told that we need to evaluate a candidate not just for his coding skills but also for his core values- that included focus, personal discipline, being open to new ideas, ability to work as a team, ability to not give up easily on tough problems, ability to be accountable and take ownership, keenness to learn and grow.

And even when I work with people, in movie-making - I have felt that best people to work with are with these core values. Infact the best people who cut the clutter and have reached the top exhibit these values the most. As somewhere these core values help them constantly evolve their professional skills and ensures that they do not take any aspect of their work for granted. Moreover working with them is rewarding for others as well.
 Rajkumar Hirani (one of the most commercially and critically successful Indian Film Directors) for example meticulously works on his script draft after draft. He makes sure that he visits locations and does shot breakdown in advance, and works diligently in the casting of even small actors. He had years of experience as an editor too and directors who have worked with him confirmed that he tried his best to provide best editing solutions to their rushes. We can see that he really excels in his core values. Who knows, maybe Mr Hirani might have made a good software engineer too if he wanted to :).

 The technical skill-set of a profession can be acquired. I think rest of the qualities take years and is largely dependent on how you were oriented since childhood, or how you decide to orient yourself with time. How seriously you take yourself and if you believe that your work does define your identity. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Marketing Strategy Presentations for Films

I have been asked by lots of people - what is the marketing strategy of your film? Lots of investors/producers/dustributors expect a presentation from the director him/herself.

New/indie filmmakers, who are trying to prepare a presentation for the same, should try to cover the following points. You will see that thinking about these pointers will automatically help you devise a good marketing strategy.

1) Marketing Strategy
 - Target Group 
    Determine which age-group is most likely to watch your film. Kids, youth, adults. (Or as a distributor in Naaz will ask you: class ki mass ?)

 - Genre and Tone of Pitch to Target Group
    Now that you have identified your audience, what qualities of the film will you present to the audience. E.g Vicky Donor was a comedy-drama but they promoted it only as a comedy.

 - Creative Media Strategies for Brand Differentiation
   Incase you dont have stellar star cast, what strategies will you use to differentiate your promo from 1000 other promos. How will you excite your TG.
Personally I feel a good way to approach this is by being in the shoes of TG.
    a) What qualities in the films do they want to watch
    b) What are the locations/mediums where they discover a movie
    *c) How do they take that "decision" to go to the theatre and watch it.
 What hints will you plant and at what all places so that they are able to take that decision readily.

 - Choice of Songs to Release
   Songs play an important role in marketing. They play in radio, music channels constantly reminding people of your movie.  Delhi Belly is a great example. Hardly any of the released songs were used in the film but they were used to draw the audience to the theatre.

 - Pre-Release Word of Mouth
   What WOM willl you generate that people would really really want to see your film.

2) Release Strategy
 - Types of theatres (multiplexes or single screen)
 - Show Timings
 - The Date of release of the film. This timing is extremely important. Just the right timing can make your film a hit or flop - you need to do in-depth study to understand it.

Update: These are some of the pointers that I have arrived at after talking to various people and with time. If you have more pointers please add and help.
Any data that gives insight in Release Strategy would be really helpful.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Two secret teasers of my music video for Indian Ocean

I am really excited about the new music video I produced and directed for Indian Ocean. And it features Rajat who already published a newspaper article about us (Read it here) . Here are some of the teasers I made. A big shot out to my Co-Director Zain Matcheswalla and Cinematographer Vidyut Singh Jaswal.
These are still not final teasers but I just can't help share them in my chotu blog.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Basic concepts of Gravity, blackhole, wormhole

P.S: Just a change of mood.

Newton questioned why apple falls on the ground and deduced that smaller objects get attracted to larger heavier object. But he never explained why.

Einstein explained it as follows with a very simple illustration. Imagine space-time to be a  large white bedsheet (space-time fabric) and all the objects, our planets, suns be placed on that bedsheet.
Now if you place a heavy object on a bedsheet, it causes a depression and the lighter objects get attracted to it. So earth causes a depression and sun causes a bigger depression and earth gets attracted to the sun and spirals round it. We as humans are so light that we cause a depression that nobody cares about and we remain glued to the earth.

A blackhole is a very heavy object and huge depression in the bedsheet and anything that comes near it gets sucked in.

Now this space-time fabric will be infinite so spherical. A wormhole is a depression that goes from one end of the sphere to another end. So if you enter a worm hole you can reach the other end of the universe.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The importance of editing

Understanding editing is very important. In this post and future posts, I will try to point out to certain articles and editing techniques that I think is important for every director to know. Below is first 20 minutes of a great Documentary on Editing. Remember seeing it in WWI and great to see it again.

Dir-editor is a team that is responsible for shaping the film and telling the story most effectively.
See what Sally (Tarentino's editor) says in part 2 - it's an invisible art because the aim is to keep the viewer emotionally invested. If a dir knows editing well, she can plan her shots well and time them well. I think the process of seeing my own footage on the editing table has greatly helped me improve my directorial skills.

See my previous post:  on criteria for evaluating a cut as suggested by Walter Murch.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Story-telling - best techniques are transparent

Continuing the mood of my previous blog posts, I just wanted to write this blog as these thoughts totally pre-occupied me on my drive from Mumbai to Nashik.

The subject of discussion here is film-making craft and story-telling - and how the craft should help the story-telling and not distract from it.

I saw a short film made by young enthusiasts and I felt though the short film was made with not so developed filmmaking techniques  (bad hand held camera, simplistic shots)  it was made with such purity of heart that I felt I really enjoyed it and it stayed with me.

Why did I feel that it was made with purity of heart ? Why didn't I feel any purity so in say the recent well-crafted films I saw. How can a badly crafted film show more purity than a well-crafted film by professionals ?

Somewhere when we look for refinement in story-telling techniques, we start seeing these techniques outside the context of story itself and it's likely that we stop paying attention to the central thought of the film and  gradually start betraying the film's story. For example - "wah kya camera gol gol ghoom raha hai. Wah wah".Maybe instead of thinking about the camera, the audience was supposed to feel sad for the woman's death. So these small distractions add up. Precision is important to create a transcendance with your films.

I rem a lecture in my film-making course on causal chain given by shyamal  - esp coz he gave the same lecture twice and I was bored to death. But in the process the thing that was drilled down my head was that a given scene follows another scene and leads to another scene. A very simple but profound teaching. That is there is a causal chain, and every scene is defined by what precedes it and what follows it. So I remember when I was shooting my short fiction "Reflections", there was a scene were a classmate of mine had a small role of being a barber and he is very hilarious inherently. So during the shoot, beyond the part that was written, he would do something hilarious to enhance the performance and everybody in the crew were lapping it up. And we thought we got a good take. But I asked him to give one more take where he just walks to the lead and says just what is necessary. And he was so disappointed and everyone in the crew said why we need another take esp coz we were shooting 16 mm and on a strict budget of cans. But at that point I was remembering the lecture,  and I knew the scene before and the scene after this one and a distraction of thought from emotions of the protagonist (esp for a 7 min film) to the side actor would have really affected the film. And on the final edit I felt I took a good call (now I must re-iterate that filmmaking being subjective, people might disagree with my call as well but for a dir it is very imp that he has least number of regrets on the edit table).

I think the best films I have seen so far have impressed me with their story  first (or the profoundness of central thought and the catharsis it caused in me by emotionally involving me) and much later do I notice the acting, editing, direction and music.

 Appreciation for the parts should come only after appreciation for the whole.

But the stage of filmmaking I am in - or some of my friends or colleagues are is sort of an adolescent stage where our enthusiasm can lead us to get attracted by techniques at the cost of story.  However, with time and experience, we could also settle and aspire to be filmmakers like Koreda where every nuance, every use of technique is originating from the story and enhancing the story. Only a trained director on second viewing can point of the techniques that he slyly used, the techniques so effective that they became transparent.

Addendum: Actually the environment in which a film is made is also very important. The forces coming together to make the film - the producer, the music director, the cinematographer, the editor etc also play an important role in it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

We live in exciting times !!!!

Cloud computing/ Grid computing which was my MTech thesis topic is now an everyday reality. Now you can leverage that to do anything you want - you just need to pay a rent like electricity rent and all the cost of maintaining 1000s of servers, dealing with complexity and nightmares of their security/availability is taken care by these cloud computing vendors. You can just concentrate on your code.
Heroku (based in US) and E2ENetworks (based in India) are good cloud computing beds for deploying your apps that you want to scale as number of users or connections to your server increase.

In my prev blog post I was talking about my secret s/w venture. And now that I have done enough coding and made enough progress I thought I could share it.

But the main reason for this post is to encourage - students and software engineers to harness the power of cloud computing and push them to give way to your dream start ups. It's much easier. This project was something I did alone in 6-7 months and it will take additional 2-3 months but I did it only on weekends or weeknights that too intermittently -only last 1 month I gave weekdays too. Also I had to learn the whole web stack (and languages like php, jquery, ajax, css, sql which are actually pretty simple). For people who need not learn all that - it is simpler and easier. Also I am a control freak and write everything from scratch and obsesses about having simplest design and not use drupal etc so I had to write and test code and it took me longer (amt of debugging time is always more than amount of coding time). It will take less for you.

Anyways really-  I wish next Zuckerberg or the killer software app is from India and I hope some young s/w engg or any guy who has a dream of making a killer site can make it. In the comments later I will also post all the websites that will help you learn and create things faster.

What does it take to make your film emotionally felt ?

Recently I saw two movies from two top directors. I call them top director because I see their film as text-books, something to learn from and and get inspired from. I know they will present their stories in ways I haven't seen. They will have mise-en-scenes that are unseen, not just in India but in the world. Atleast that's what I expect.

And well when I saw the film, I was mighty impressed by the world they created. It's always good to get a refresher on how to construct a scene. Their techniques and the density of the film world they created was something that I cannot imagine acheiving in my first 3 films atleast. The "karigari" was of the highest quality.
But after seeing their films and thinking about them, I got a little tensed. Tensed cause inspite of being such brilliantly crafted, I don't know why, I couldn't feel much. I couldn't take that journey with the characters, in their highs and lows. It felt like I was the spectator and a film was unfolding in front of me. It never felt for me that I was myself going through it. Their movie-making craft was not helping their story-telling.

A good contrary example (but rather random) that come to my mind from a scene in Indian cinema is that of Johnny Gaddar when Johny is sitting in front of Dharmendra and Dharmedra has found out that he is the one who killed their team-mate and Johnny shoots at him. He is doing a wrong thing but  I was with that guy. Even my instincts were - kill him. I was one with the character.

In the past too, in one of my films I have failed to make it emotionally felt. Did I not spend enough time in making people register what my character was feeling.Was the problem in the edit, my handling of actors or was the problem in the writing itself where the thoughts in my head didn't reach my paper ?
And how to avoid being in a dissatisfying situation like this ? A story not well-told is dissatisfying for everyone.
I thought this could only be attained by taking care of feeling/emotions in every phase of film-making. Think of "feelings" like a delicate rose petal that I have to take care and transfer it - from my soul, to my mind to my script, to my shots and finally in my edit (& music) and to my viewer's mind and soul.
So these are my recommendations - moreso to myself than to anyone else to help a film convey the emotions I set out to convey.

1) Feel it - If I don't feel to or I never felt it - it will not be born. So feel the threat of being caught, feel the joys of living a life - feel it on my mind, not just in my shots or plots, but feel it in my being.

2) Write about it in script. Make room for it, give instances, experiences to the character so that they can convey their personality traits, give them specificity, give them weirdness, give them nuances, give them scope of presenting spontaneous reactions. Cross check that you have indeed downloaded your thoughts into you script. 

2b) Make those nuances visible in your shot breakdown. Make room for them. Plan shots so that we orient viewers to receive it. (An example from King's speech last shot where the coach is in his room thinking about the King and the King standing, waving people, thinking about the coach - the shot breakdown was very subtly and nicely done and they made room to convey this thought on the script)

3) During shoot- Convey it to your actors. They should be sure and very clear of the story in the point in time of the film. Incase they are not then they will not convey what you envisioned or thought of. It should reflect in their face, their body language, in the vibe or energy they exude. Give actors pauses where he is thinking and stay with him. So much of acting is done in pauses.

4) In the edit, between a good shot and a great feeling, give importance to feelings. Because even a million dollar shot will be of no use if it cannot generate a feeling. So stress on feelings and emotions.

These are my thoughts. However, if someone has pointers on text, case study or subject matter that can help me increase the emotional footprint of my film then please let me know. In the coming months, I will take up some scenes/movies and see what made them tick emotionally. Any recos ?

Update:  After discussing with a colleague, just want to clarify that beingn emotionally felt is not a mandate for any film and people can make any film and enjoy it the way they want.  And that is not the area towards which I want to steer any discussion . It's just a blog on what I feel,  and what I want to achieve with my films.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


There is a common perception that science is impersonal, non-creative and objective. I think solving math problems require as much creativity as analytical thinking and just like art, music any scientific field is people driven and subject to fads, whims and fashions.

Newton, Einstein, Tesla are as much fashion icons and are as much big artists as Shakespeare or Matisse in their resp field. Infact when I see my ex-colleagues (computer engineers) I feel lot of the top lot are also very good thinkers, exceptional bloggers(writers) and their personality shows in the work they do. So they as computer engg do not mass-produce fixed sized boxes but produce software that have their personal fingerprints. 
I wonder if our education system is to be blamed for people to believe that only analytical people can do well in scientific fields. I have actually found that people who hold top jobs are exceptionally creative as well.

Editing Techniques in Scorcese Films

Embedding of the video is disabled by request lest had shared the embedded version. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Raising the bar - the "paisa vasool" aspiration of Bollywood

I read excerpts of this book that discusses the anthropology of gift giving: The Gift.

It had an interesting point which said that sometimes when you read a book, or watch a movie, you come across an experience or wisdom that is so profound that the amount of money you spent in buying the book/movie ticket seems infinitely smaller than the value you derive from it.
The author of the book feels that the book/movie/work of art operates in two economies - one market economy and other the gift economy. A gift is a thing that is bestowed on us - it is more than we paid for or asked for. Like a gift, some work of art - are beyond "sugar for sugar" or "salt for salt" mentality and they awaken our soul in a way that no price tag can be put on it.

There is a very strong line of thinking in Bollywood that speaks about Paisa Vasool (roughly translated "to get my money's worth"). Basically there is a section of people who make films with ingredients that they have concluded to be the one people want and if those ingredients are there - the audience gets it's money worth. These makers profess that their films are the ones the majority likes and unfortunately I also sense some inexplicable aggression from them towards any kind of meaningful cinema that anyone is attempting to make.

 I agree that even "Paisa vasool" with your work of art is a very high target however it is not the highest possible target or ambition you can have with it. Any movie that has survived more than a year were beyond paisa vasool.
I feel every filmmaker should also have an aspiration towards reaching a level of transcendence from time to time. It is a tough target and even great artists have failed to touch that target with their every work but atleast they strive to do so.

As an audience as well I feel I should not cap my expectations from a movie to get my 2 hours worth of entertainment but I should look for sparks in the film that will stay with me for a long time to come. I should be greedy and not just stop at "paisa vasool" but encourage my filmmakers to give me a gift too.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The movies that we like

I have always seen some really good gems  that have come and got appreciated by people - be it Khosla Ka Ghosla, OLLO, Udaan, Delly Belly and many other ones and I have heard their makers say that their film-script was rejected by every production house in town.

And why so ? I was discussing this with Zain why a good script is rejected more than an ordinary mundane, rehashed script.
And there was very interesting point he mentioned that such films need to be really well-made, intelligently marketed to do well. Such requirements are not for films like housefull-2 who neednot even be a complete script to begin with. But inspite of that the producers know that the elements in such films: actors and the promise of brainless laughter is enough to get a substantial num of people in theatre. These films are not the first choice of people if a genuinely good film like 3-idiots with top actors is running but films like 3-idiots are few and far between and in the absence of anything good, these are the ones that run the most. So for a producer these are the safest bets.

Whereas for films like Khosla ka Ghosla - everything has to be good, story, acting, direction, edit and even then because it doesn't have big stars that draw the crowd, it will barely make enough money. It doesn't matter that over a period of time Khosla Ka Ghosla will outlive the housefull series in terms of entertainment. On paper, it is a risky proposition.


Sometimes I wonder what attracts me...sometimes I get attracted to ideas, well-read persons, who I feel have better understanding of things, sometimes I get attracted to plain simple niceness -a good person, sometimes I get attracted to cuteness, like my puppy.
Attraction seems multi-faceted to me but it always grows for me. Like in one of Salman Rushdie books he says that Akbar is infinitely attracted to Jodha who is his imagination and the more Akbar loves her, more she comes alive. Jodha is so alive that she worries what will happen to her if Akbar dies...

I guess that's what happens when we get attracted to a person, we replicate a person and create a local copy - an image of the person in our mind. And that image as much belongs to that person as it belongs to our imagination.
As we think, try to fill in the gaps, our imagination starts overtaking and somewhere we get far removed from the reality of the person and start living with this jodha ...unreal but alive...

I guess like every other emotion, attraction too feeds on itself ...

Friday, March 30, 2012


When the new leaf woke up,
The traveling wind nudged her and said, I will meet you in 12 months.
The leaf first confused, didn't believe him,
But then gradually she started waiting,
With twinkle in her eyes,
She waited every minute, every hour, ever day, for the wind to come.
And the rains came, the sun came, and the sun went.
But the leaf waited.
With the twinkle.
6 months passed.
On the 7th month,
The leaf grew old
and died.

It's the 12th month now.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Just a post where I have all the pictures of my dog that I took from my phone

Doesn't want to take bath - staging peaceful protest

Stealing onions from kitchen caught on my customized cctv i.e. my mobile phone
Peaceful protest against regular dog food

Playing with her fav toy - saurabh's shoes

wondering what Saurabh does every morning

Enjoying car rides
With my friends

with my mom
"Come - play chase with me" look

Evening walks - i like the view :)

"I want something - not sure what"- look

"I exactly know what I am getting"- look

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My milestones ...

Well yes I am full-time filmmaker now, have forgotten my coding-giri somewhere esp after going to film school. But unlike lots of people, I never hated studies or software coding.
Also I have realized that I like to be busy all the time. Some sort of a disorder, my psychologist co-writer says. If I don't have work I start going crazy, restless and unhappy.

Oflate, actually in December, I thought of doing something around films but it needed an software infrastructure.
Now right now I can't tell in the public site as I have been warned that it is vital to be an early entrant and knowing my coding pace and irreregular time-schedule I cannot claim loyalty to my deadlines of this side-project.
So anyways I call this my 10 percent project as entire week I work on films, but in the evening , to stimulate myself, I do some coding.

This blog is to mark my milestones as it give me a high and also self-accountability:
- Dec Vacation - project was conceived, discussed in white board with Saurabh. He saw potential. I drew up the first draft of visuals and design.
- Jan, Feb, Mid-march - I worked on my feature's script (we had some nagging issues and I wanted to address that). All documents around 10percent  project were placed in a folder called dreamproject. I call it dream project coz this is beyond me and an individual. I feel this will enpower so many people if rightly, neatly done with the intent of helping people rather than making revenue.
-March - Revived interest. As film pitching and cold calling was increasingly depressing me, I wanted to do something in parallel so that there is a sense of progress too. Also our production house Tangelo started and I am incredibly proud of my team so I managed to have 2-3 hours per day of free time (esp from 8-10:30 till I goto bed).
- Birthday - My father transferred me some money (40K) as birthday gift. Since it is his extremely hard earned money, I didn't want to waste it in materialistic pursuits. So Anyways, with the help of 2K - I managed to buy some infrastructure around my "dreamproject". Started looking for a web programmer (I don't have much experience in php).
- My brother coaxed me to code myself - called me names - and finally I started coding.
So it's end of march and I have managed to have xamp and login using fb on my site. This is not even the tip of the ice-berg. I have hell lots of coding to do. But well atleast getting the "hello world" right is sort of like a big stumbling block right out of my way.

Anyways ...i am liking this filmmaker by the day and geek by night thing. Incidentally 4 years ago it was opposite. I guess as someone had said when I was explaining long back that "I like coding also but i want to make films also"- don't be sheepish about having two passions.
And somehow managing both things - software and films together has imparted me a sense of self-fulfilment.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Goa Times

Hell yes! I gotta lose weight!!


Chance running into a newsletter I had started at IITK - 

Had wrote a huge anti-google article. Also all the funny cartoons there were made by me :).

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Random Dreams ....

Maintaining this post to update some of the things I keep fantasizing about. Public - coz hoping someone echoes my thoughts and contacts me to make any of these possible.. ....some scientific some social and some just pleasure....

1) Face detectors at major railway station-exits that matches online record of missing people.
2) Mass Teleportation instead of mass transportation
3) A museum of animals made of cottons each animal  doing their regular chore - going to market, eating, just woke up, reading paper...and the museum is in their natural habitat (this could be an installation too)
4) Music training and color theory available to all children
5) Every school library has library of art-work created by students....
6) Knowing before hand whom you could marry/not marry...
7) Could change your head to another head
8) Roads are colored - houses are grey. Roads are colored, houses are colored...
9) Babies sitting in waiting room watching where they will be born.....
10) India has a design adda like prithvi...
11) Indians choose the color of their building.
12) Every square has an art work
13) Mild Music - classicals playing on the traffic lights...

Saturday, March 03, 2012

The director and community

Whoever is fan of the paintball contest that happens at the end of community serial - read the struggles of it's creators - and also his theory of circles:

Below is reproduction of his proposed graph for every episode:

     1.  A character is in a zone of comfort
  • 2.  But they want something
  • 3.  They enter an unfamiliar situation
  • 4.  Adapt to it
  • 5.  Get what they wanted
  • 6.  Pay a heavy price for it
  • 7.  Then return to their familiar situation
  • 8.  Having changed

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In search for plants


I searched and asked lots of people for recos but seems like no one had any clue. Found this book - got the pdf version by the author himself.
Good and practical read for Indians.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ghar se door Seattle mein

As I get a call that one of the closest friends leaves Seattle, talking to him, I get filled with nostalgia (sort of borrowed nostalgia). I guess there is always this age when you are single and crazy and you are lucky to meet people crazy enough with whom you get drunk, walk on the empty roads, celebrate birthday near a lake or throw surprise parties at a garage. They are the first people you call when you crash your car or drag to hospital if you have a broken back or discuss about your marriage plans or for whom you click pictures they can upload on Suddenly I feel I am in my autumn years and wonder if all of us from the desi gang of "Ghar se door seattle mein" will ever be together again. What the heck - I even have the abandoned link of our super-flop blog: with the older posts ( containing where we first met each other. P.S: How cheesy were we ?

Friday, February 03, 2012

Web Designing for non-web designers

Now - I am not a web designer. But actually web designing is not tough. When we wanted a simple site up -  I started talking to web designers and they started quoting outrageous rates.

The curse of being a software engg is that you know how much work it requires to do a thing (everyone takes advantage of information asymmetry). So I thought since I wanted to make a simple website and I had a day off, why not do it myself. It took me half a day(6 hours - but non-stop and full conc) to come up with something nice and decent (and lot of that half a day went in taming photoshop). And yes I have subscribed myself and every person I care with a online Adobe Photoshop course as nothing is frustrating to have an idea in the mind and not being able to do it. Even if you hire someone to do it - it is good to know the complexity.

So anyways I used Kompozer a source forge WYSWYG html developer (which actually purges out neat html codes that you can edit yourself if you want) and I was done with the html part in less than an hour including installation. A lot of time went in testing the website in various devices - ipad, phone, galaxytab, mac, small tablet (last thing I want is a broken site).

However, though I was gloating with my simple website (yes I am a big big fan of simple websites). Clutter free- tells you what you want, loads in 1 sec - doesn't waste people's time. But my teammates vehemently opposed a simple site. They wanted anim, they wanted php. Initially I told them - it's not democracy. Secretly I don't have the budget to fund that. But anyways till I have the budget, I could jazz this even more. Here are some links to cool website designs that might trigger your imagination.

And here is the simple site I designed:

Also for new website developers and domain registerers - do submit url of your sites to google and bing.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Revisit before every startup idea

1. Exactly what problem will this solve? (value proposition)
2. For whom do we solve that problem? (target market)
3. How big is the opportunity? (market size)
4. What alternatives are out there? (competitive landscape)
5. Why are we best suited to pursue this? (our differentiator)
6. Why now? (market window)
7. How will we get this product to market? (go-to-market strategy)
8. How will we measure success/make money from this product? (metrics/revenue strategy)
9. What factors are critical to success? (solution requirements)
10. Given the above, what’s the recommendation? (go or no-go)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Accidentally in love

Got a new pup - a beagle. When we found out about her, I was totally against getting one as I thought my film is my pet, but when we saw her, I and Saurabh immediately felt that we wanted her. Now, I am not that much of a dog person. Infact I hate lots of condescending dog owners whom I sometimes run into a petshop (btw pet shops are chors - another blog on that). But it has been one week, she is quite a handful but a superduper cute, sometimes naughty but mostly a loving puppy. Every evening I feel that I am really asking too much of myself, working, shooting, handling people and then after giving her a brisk run in my roof I feel dead. But the love she gives me so much compensates for it.  It's been a week and gradually a strong, beautiful relationship - of a friend, of a parent is blossoming and I am realizing what an amazing thing is happening in my life.

And see this video of Juno - they say a dog becomes like her owner after a while. Now ain't she smart ;)?

Advice for new first time dog owner:
- Be patient - invest time in first 4 months - you and your dog will reap the joys for remaining 15-20 years.
- I adopted marker training: - used nope (with sharp sound), yes with a friendly sound and after that rewarding a good behavior . In a week she learned sit, down, come, she understands the gestures for going to her bed, tries to pee and poo on paper (am still not 100% successful).
- You don't need full days but you surely need to give her 10-15 mins in morning and 10-15 mins in eve. I share the duty with my husband. It's advisable to teach her fetch command. That tires her without troubling you. I try to really tire her in the morn before I have to go for long hours of work. This puts her to sleep.