Collective (2019) Documentary Review: Deeply impactful, highly relevant

‘Fuck all your wicked corruption
It’s been there since our inception, but we couldn’t see
All the times we’ve felt so hollow
As our hopes were hanged in gallows
All this time we’ve been locked away
And there was nothing left to say
Until today’

Goodbye to Gravity – a heavy metal band – performs this song at a concert in what seems like a clip recorded on a phone. Given the genre, the song is more a roaring cry. Fittingly, the end of the high octane performance is met with a fireworks display. As the vocalist is acknowledging the applause, he notices that a spark from the firework has lit the sound proof ceiling of the nightclub named Colectiv that they are performing in. “That’s not part of our performance”, he quips. Wit then gives way to fear as he asks if there is a fire extinguisher around. He receives no response. Flames start erupting from the ceiling. Chaos and cries of fear engulf the arena. The handheld device shakes violently, screams and wails can be heard, silhouettes are barely discernable in the blaze of the fire. And then suddenly the screen goes blank.

The name of the song performed – The Day We Die.

Continue reading “Collective (2019) Documentary Review: Deeply impactful, highly relevant”

A Perfect Crime (2020): Who Killed Rohwedder?

A Perfect Crime is the first documentary to come out from Netflix’ German production team. It deals with the assassination of Detlev Karsten Rohwedder.  As Indians for us, the early 90’s was a period of turmoil with socialist policy combined with licence raj that had crippled the nation on the verge of bankruptcy, forcing the Indian government to open up to the market. In three decades after the forced reforms, India still grapples to maintain balance with socialism and capitalism due to vote bank politics. Even the recent right-wing government of India has embraced a more socialist approach.Continue reading “A Perfect Crime (2020): Who Killed Rohwedder?”

Notes from editor Jabeen Merchant’s Masterclass

Ever since I have started to take an interest in film editing, I have learnt how crucial editing is to the documentary. More often than not, a documentary film gets made on the editing table. While shooting a documentary there are far too many elements out of your control, so the use of determining the structure of the film in a screenplay is quite limited.

There are a number of blogs, website and video channels that help you know more about the craft of editing (documentary as well as fiction films), but nothing beats a live interaction with a stalwart in the field. So when I learnt of a Masterclass on ‘Constructing the Documentary Narrative’ was to be taken by veteran editor Jabeen Merchant at the ongoing Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), I made it a point to attend it. And as expected, it was quite an enriching experience. These were the major takeaways from the Masterclass:Continue reading “Notes from editor Jabeen Merchant’s Masterclass”

Coco & Chavela: Two films that make you fall in love with Mexico

Art evokes empathy, it makes you more open and mindful of others. Cinema has done just that to me and a bit more. Cinema is my guide to the world. It is the lens through which I have come to know people from lands as varied as Japan, Chile and Iran.  Often, I have not just felt empathetic but also deeply fascinated by these people in movies who speak in a language foreign to me. The most recent film to give me the pleasure of this experience was the marvelous animated Pixar feature, Coco.Continue reading “Coco & Chavela: Two films that make you fall in love with Mexico”

Sunday Watch: Dunkirk Real Footage

Christopher Nolan’s latest offering, Dunkirk, released last week and cinephiles have had long and hard discussions over it already. Nolan has gone on record saying he wanted the audience to feel what the British soldiers felt while awaiting their evacuation at the French coast. Few would disagree that Dunkirk indeed was an ‘immersive’ IMAX experience as was promised. Nolan’s mastery over technique did put you right into the middle of a World War II battle scene.

Back in the pre-television days newsreels were shown before the feature presentation at the theatres. During both the World Wars these newsreels were an effective tool of propaganda. Thanks to those filmmakers who risked their lives to capture the ongoing war, we have some real footage of the Dunkirk evacuation. Charles Martin was the brave filmmaker who captured Operation Dynamo on his camera. You can check out his footage here:


There is also a documentary called the Cameramen At War which highlights Martin and other filmmakers of his ilk, who braved bullets, bombs and dynamites to bring back home the moving pictures of the armed forces which were later incorporated into newsreels. Some of them even got killed in the line of duty.

Junglee Music acquires music rights for “Sachin A Billion Dreams”

Junglee Music, a division of Times Music, has acquired the music rights for the much awaited film of the year “Sachin A Billion Dreams.” Music composed by the Academy award winner A R Rahman and directed by James Erskine, the trailer has already crossed 21 million views on YouTube creating a buzz nationwide.Continue reading “Junglee Music acquires music rights for “Sachin A Billion Dreams””

The Things Which We Fail to Express in our Words…

   [life is what happens to us when we are busy planning other things – said John Lennon. And that precisely what  happened to us when the series on Guns & Guitars journey got derailed – or rather took a long halt on the way… But better late than never. We restart the journey here with a visit to the state of Assam…]Continue reading “The Things Which We Fail to Express in our Words…”

Machines: Trailer

machinesRahul Jain‘s documentary film Machines presents an intimate portrayal of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India. Premiered at IDFA,Netherlands in 2016 and an official selection at Sundance Film Festival 2017, the film examines the dehumanizing physical labor and hardship in the factory, exposes the pre-industrial working conditions and the huge divide between first world and developing countries. Though “Machines” only portrays one of these factories, it also represents the thousands of laborers as well.Continue reading “Machines: Trailer”

Abhay Kumar’s Placebo

Not every storyteller is ambitious, but Abhay Kumar certainly is and if you watch Placebo you might realise it. If you have been following MAMI over the years you would perhaps know that Abhay and his shorts have been a regular feature of the festival. I have been wanting to watch Placebo, for a long long time. Finally I watched it last week, it has been more than a week since I watched it but the film still keeps playing in my head. Like his short film Udaan this is not an easy watch, it disturbs you.

The best thing about Placebo is that it is not interested in a linear narrative. Even though the screen mentions the day, after some time I was overlooking it as it wants and makes you feel a gamut of emotions.Continue reading “Abhay Kumar’s Placebo”