‘NFDC Film Aaj Kal’ – A Marathon of NFDC Classics In Mumbai To Begin From July 15

NFDC India is coming up with its Cinema Outreach Initiative, Film Aaj Kal, a radio show as well as the Ground-Activation event – Film Aaj Kal Screenings and Conversations to build film communities and empower the viewer.

As part of the 360-degree initiative, NFDC collaborates with 92.7 Big FM for a weekly radio show named, ‘Film Aaj Kal’ on Cinema Education and Awareness program which has the filmmakers discussing about the classics, bringing these films back to the fore.Continue reading “‘NFDC Film Aaj Kal’ – A Marathon of NFDC Classics In Mumbai To Begin From July 15”

24 Hour Film Marathon in University of Mumbai

The Department of Communication and Journalism Film Club, University of Mumbai is requesting the pleasure of your presence to cover at 24 Hour Film Marathon on 13-14 April 2016 at 11 a.m.  at University of Mumbai Green Technology Multipurpose Auditorium, near Nano Science Technology Building,University of Mumbai Santacruz (East), Mumbai.Continue reading “24 Hour Film Marathon in University of Mumbai”

NFDC Film Bazaar 2015 closes, marks new beginnings

~ Shanker Raman’s Gurgaon (Work In Progress Fiction) and Rahul Jain’s Machines (Work In Progress Documentary) won the Prasad DI Award~ 

~Music Maestro AR  Rahman spoke about his remarkable musical journey Nasreen Munni Kabir in the  Knowledge Series session ~Continue reading “NFDC Film Bazaar 2015 closes, marks new beginnings”

IFFI 2015 to showcase works of Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner Shashi Kapoor

India’s prestigious and one of Asia’s biggest film festivals, IFFI 2015 will be organising a Special Retrospective of this year’s Dadasaheb Phalke Award Winner Shashi Kapoor. In a career spanning over four decades, Shashi Kapoor has given some spectacular performances and has donned many hats as a producer, director, and actor. He appeared in 160 movies including 12 English and 148 Hindi films out of which he played the solo lead hero in 61 films and played lead hero in 53 multi-star cast films. He has also produced 6 films including Junoon, which won National Awards in 1979.Continue reading “IFFI 2015 to showcase works of Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner Shashi Kapoor”

CINEMA AND THE CITY: Lecture Series, Film Screenings and Guided Walks

AsiaticSocietyCinephiles in Mumbai are in for a treat this march as the very highly regarded Mumbai Research Centre of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai is organising an event which aims to explore the city with cinematic lens. It will involve lecture series, an exhibition, walks and film screening. It will be held from 20th March to 30th March, 2014.

PROGRAMME SCHEDULEContinue reading “CINEMA AND THE CITY: Lecture Series, Film Screenings and Guided Walks”

15th Mumbai Film Festival Unveils An Impressive Lineup and Events

Amit Khanna, Trustee, MAMI, Ramesh Sippy, Trustee, MAMI, Shyam Benegal, Chairman, MAMI and Srinivasan Narayanana, Festival Director_At the curtain Raiser of 15th Mumbai Film FestivalThe 15th edition of the Mumbai film festival presented by Reliance Entertainment and organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) will be held from 17-24 October 2013 at Liberty Cinema, Metro Big Cinema, Marine Lines as the main festival venues and Cinemax, Versova  as the satellite venue.

The 15th Mumbai film festival’s impressive line up of 200 movies and other highlights were revealed today at the curtain raiser press conference held at the Taj Mahal hotel  in the presence of Mr. Shyam Benegal, Filmmaker and Chairman, MAMI, Mr. Amit Khanna, and Mr. Ramesh Sippy, Trustees, MAMI, Mr. Srinivasan Narayanan, Director, Mumbai Film Festival along with various dignitaries from the Indian Entertainment industry.

 

Shyam Benegal, Chairman of MAMI_Amit Khanna,Trustee, MAMI, Jaya Lamba, Artist, Ramesh Sippy, Trustee, MAMI, Srinivasan Narayanan, Festival Director, Mumbai Film Festival_ At the curtain Raiser of 15th Mumbai Film FeThis year too the festival has announced new initiatives as part of the Mumbai Film Mart (Filmy Room and India Project Room) and a brand new Experimental film section to the festival. These new initiatives will be in addition to the other competition sections such as the ‘International Competition’, ‘Celebrate Age’ and ‘Dimensions Mumbai’. The total prize money at this year’s festival is USD 220,000.

The 15th Mumbai film festival will also host a celebration of Spanish Cinema organized in tandem with the Embassy of Spain in India.  This celebration package will also include classics such as El VerdugoSeven Days in JanuaryCarmen amongst others

Aval Appadithan(1978): Review of Classic Tamil Cinema

Historically, the 70s are a very important decade in Indian cinema. Not that the others are any less important but the 70s hold a special place because more than any other decade it was in this that films on social stigmas, society came into play and film makers like Balu MahendraBharathirajaMani KaulShyam Benegal etc. started making waves. Also, this was the period where master auteurs like Satyajit RayMrinal Sen etc. started getting noticed abroad. All in all, the 70s gave the Indian films a global audience and appreciation that it didn’t have earlier. Among the  wonderful films that came out during that period came what is probably one of the greatest films, and arguably Tamil cinema’s finest – Aval Appadithan.Continue reading “Aval Appadithan(1978): Review of Classic Tamil Cinema”

Shyam Benegal: The Master of Indian Parallel Cinema

“Benegal has put up a model of committed film-making in a thoroughly professional manner that could be eminently useful for both the mainstream, with its recklessly expensive habits, and art cinema, with its holier-than-thou attitude and amateurism.”

It is ironical that talking about Shyam Benegal is extremely easy as well as quite difficult at the same time.

Considering the repertoire of films that he has given us over a period of last 35 years or so, it is easy to slot him as the “art-house” director. However, look closer, and the diverse topics that he has addressed over the years, talking about secularism, pluralism, democracy, equality of opportunity, human rights, women’s rights, study of human psyche, superstitious myths embedded in our culture, satire, etc humbles us to the extent that it becomes impossible to gauge the vast repertoire that he possesses about understanding the human nature and the reflections of shifting nature of our social values.Continue reading “Shyam Benegal: The Master of Indian Parallel Cinema”

A Personal Tribute to Rajan Kothari

Cinematographer Rajan Kothari passed away recently in Mumbai due to a cardiac arrest. He was just 60 years old. His biggest collaboration was with Shyam Benegal for films like  Zubeida, Welcome to Sajjanpur, Subash Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero etc. He won a Filmfare award for the Rajkumar Santoshi film Ghayal(1990).

His sudden death has saddened many from the film industry. Vikram Bhagwat worked closely with Rajan Kothari for the adaptation of the famous marathi play starring Nana Patekar called Purush into a film. The film was also directed by Rajan Kothari. Vikram Bhagwat has to his credit several marathi plays and has also written the famous marathi crime serial ‘Ek Shunya Shunya” and another popular serial “Chaal Navachi Vaachaal Vasti“. Here he gives a very personal and heartfelt tribute to the ace cinematographer, Rajan Kothari:-

When a friend dies, something within you also dies instantaneously. This is not an emotional statement but a fact experienced by me when I read the news on the internet of Rajan’s sudden death due to a massive cardiac arrest this week. I was stunned for some time, bereft of any emotion. I was also surprised since we had not even met during at least the last 10 odd years if not more. At that moment I scribbled on the paper, “Relationships that you cherish do not require physical proximity”. 

We have many such relationships. We relate to writers through their books, painters through their paintings, actors through their portrayal of a character, directors through their productions and so on and so forth. Through their arts we possess them, almost personalise them. And when they die, then, the nourishment such a relationship requires vanishes and that part within us dies an instantaneous death. But memories still linger and this is the tribute to those memories.

I still remember my first visit to his house in Andheri when I agreed to work on the screenplay of Purush. He was a known name in Hindi Film industry and had won Film Fare Award for the blockbuster “Ghayal”.  As I entered his house, I started looking for the famous FilmFare trophy and could not find it in the drawing hall which normally is ‘the’ place to display the glory.  I asked Rajan about this who in turn offered an sheepish smile and said “Vikram, it is on the loft”. I was incredulous! FilmFare trophy on the loft? Was he in his right senses? My face showed my disbelief!  “Are yaar, it has already happened!  What can I do with it now! If I remain anchored in the past glory, I won’t  achieve anything in future!  So loft is the right destination for this trophy!”, was his answer!  At that moment I realised that we are going to be friends.

Rajan had a very gentle way of dealing with his colleagues. He put me at complete ease while working as a Screenplay consultant for Purush. I  was bit worried initially since I was working on the screenplay already written by somebody and secondly while Rajan had achieved so much, my achievement was limited to the success of Marathi Crime Serial “Ek Shunya Shunya” and four well accepted plays on Marathi Theatre.

Next six months, while we recreated the screenplay for “Purush”, I understood  Rajan as a person. He came from a very decent middle class family and inherited values from his mother and the camera from his  father who was also a well known still photographer. He was deeply attached to his mother who I still remember was a very soft spoken and loving person. She could never be harsh and I always believed that he adopted his soft approach from her. This was also one of his drawbacks! And there were not too many!

The house was simple with no aura of Hindi Film industry. When he mentioned Purush he brought down a suitcase. As he opened the suit case I was amazed to see bundles, rolls, sheaf of papers.  They came in all sizes and types. Ruled, plain, one side, two side…you name it! With an apologetic smile over his face he said, “Vikram I have to organise everything properly. Whenever I get time, I scribble, write because I am afraid, without camera, I will forget thoughts which hover around in my mind”.

During the making of “Purush” we spent lot of time together, sometimes staying overnight working on the script, or travelling to Wai for location hunting. During this time I got to know him also as a director and cinematographer. He had tremendous eye for detailing. When I remember our discussions a famous quote of Gordon Willis comes to my mind “A cinematographer is a visual psychiatrist – moving an audience through a movie … making them think the way you want them to think, painting pictures in the dark.” It fits in so well for Rajan.

“Purush” was a well made film which went beyond the original play and made a hard hitting statement. Though film neither went to Indian Panaroma nor did well on the box office due to various reasons, but it caused great pain and hurt to Rajan, who had put in couple of years in this project and had rejected many Cinematographic proposals from Hindi Film industry which came his way after “Ghayal” so that he could concentrate single minded on “Purush”.

After “Purush” we worked on many stories together without really caring for their commercial outcome! I wanted to adapt “Money Changers” for a Hindi film and we worked extensively on the script. And what we came out with was completely Indianised script with no iota of a trace of “Money Changers”. We developed a complete screenplay of the script. It was a pure happy, creative experience.

Another story which comes to my mind is “VOTE”. Again months together we kept tossing ideas at each other and took the story forward. Rajan was able to make space for an author to exist an attribute which very few directors can claim to. He would contribute to visual side and left thought and theme flow to me. He could easily take a back seat in these departments though he had very clear views and would make them known very softly.

He liked developing young talent and was a visiting faculty at Film and Television Institute of India(FTII) in Pune. I think his penchant to work with and develop youngsters and give them a perspective of images took him to  “Whistling Woods” as head of the Cinematography division.

He had presented me with a book, “Something like an Autobiography” by Akira Kurosawa which is a cherished book in my library.  On the first page I can still see his handwriting saying “To Vikram on the day of deliverance. Many Happy Returns – Rajan”.  Beyond his wishes, the handwriting says many things to me even now.

We were in touch until 2002 and then I parted ways since had to follow my career path as Supply Chain Manager with Bayer besides focusing mainly on play writing and he continued with his passion for Cinematography. Though we were not in touch, I am confident that as much as I remembered him fondly all these years, he must have also thought about me on and off.

I had not imagined that I will be writing an obituary for Rajan so early.  Sixty,  now a days, is not an age that anyone dies.  His death due to massive cardiac arrest suggests that he neglected his health either due to work pressure or his inherent nature of putting himself low on priorities. He had to his credit 27 films as Cinematographer and if you look at their years, it was merely one film per year.  I am convinced he was capable of much more and there were many unfinished challenges in his mind when he breathed his last.  He cannot leave them unfinished simply because it is not his nature.  I am sure he will have to take a rebirth in the same industry to complete them.  Till then rest in peace my dear friend.  In your departure we are left poorer by one great soul.