It’s Time for Bollywood To Shed Its Homophobia

It’s Time for Bollywood To Shed Its Homophobia

In September last year, after a long fought legal battle led by activists, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised homosexuality. In the landmark ruling, the Court unanimously declared that Section 377 was unconstitutional “in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex.” Judge Indu Mishra, one of the judges on the five-member bench, further asserted that “History owes an apology to members of LGBT community and their families for ostracisation and persecution they faced because of society’s ignorance that homosexuality is a natural trait; its penal suppression infringes a host of fundamental rights.”

The judgment was celebrated across the country, with members of the LGBTQ community and their supporters pouring out into streets, waving rainbow flags and holding up posters. On social media, the tag #LoveWins trended, with people from all spectrums hailing the right to love across genders. Prominent figures of Bollywood too, such as Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Aamir Khan, Karan Johar, Anil Kapoor and many others hailed the decision and tweeted their support for India’s LGBT community. However, the hypocrisy of Bollywood and its under-representation and misrepresentation of LGBTQ characters was soon pointed out.

For a long time, LGBTQ characters in Bollywood movies have been represented on the sidelines, shown either as cross-dressers or as mere caricatures defined by their clothes and bodily movements. Homophobic depictions have been common in mainstream films and songs, using LGBT themes and characters as tools for comic purposes.

Take for instance, Dostana (2008). Directed by Tarun Mansukhani, under the banner of Dharma Productions, the movie was considered by many as the first representation of the LGBTQ community in a mainstream movie. The comedy film depicted John Abraham and Abhishek Bacchan as two men pretending to be gay, in order to share a flat with a girl. They both, ofcourse, end up falling for her. It is the way they’re portrayed that stands out. In order to make others believe they’re gay, they wear flowery shirts, hold hands and adopt laughable body gestures. An extremely homophobic song in the movie “Munda Sadda Gay Gay” depicted a distraught mother’s concerns, showcased by Kirron Kher who tried all ways to “cure” her son, including voodoo, black magic and emotional blackmail. In many ways, a dramatic Kirron Kher resembled a shocked Kanta Ben from Kal Ho Na Ho (2003). Kanta Ben’s trembling hands, outraged face, and mumbling prayers were her response, everytime she saw Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan together. In both these movies, although the leading actors were not actually gay, the mere thought of them being so was portrayed in a ridiculous manner. Student of the Year, a movie made as late as 2012, too carried forward the caricaturish and comic representations of gay characters. The principal of the school (played by Rishi Kapoor) is shown to be a comic and horny man, hitting on and making uncomfortable the happily married sports teacher (Ronit Roy).  As if all gay men do during their day is hit on other men.

Source : Dostana (2008)
This is not to say that there didn’t exist any movie in Bollywood which did justice to LGBT issues. There was Deepa Mehta’s Fire (1996) which boldly portrayed a lesbian romance between two women who went through failed marriages with men. Then there was the very mature My Brother Nikhil (2005) which looked at the life of a gay protagonist diagnosed with HIV. However, such movies were few and far in between, catering to a limited audience. Mainstream cinema, actors and producers in Bollywood continued to shy away from such themes.

Source : Fire (1996)
This is in stark contrast to Hollywood, which has produced some beautiful and heart wrenching movies centred on LGBT characters in recent past (such as Call Me By Your Name, Imitation Game and Blue is the Warmest Colour). However, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. In recent years, Bollywood has witnessed the coming up of both independent films and those backed by big productions and stars, that have introduced LGBT characters and themes. Three movies which stand out are Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh, Shakun Batra’s Kapoor & Sons, and Shelly Chopra Dhar’s Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga. The three films, all belonging to different genres and made in very different styles, they opened curtains to subtle and realistic portrayals of LGBT characters in mainstream Bollywood cinema. They also brought a welcome shift, as they contained some of the leading actors of contemporary times, including Manoj Bajpayee, Fawad Khan and Sonam Kapoor who played LGBT characters with ease. While Fawad and Sonam portrayed the struggles of coming out to one’s family, Bajpayee put the spotlight on the way society stifles an individual’s privacy and makes them pay the price for love.

Source : Aligarh (2015)
Apart from the winds of change in mainstream cinema, several independent production houses and directors are also embracing content which focus on LGBT-centred stories and characters. For instance, HumaraMovie, an independent production and filmmaking house co-founded by Vinay Mishra works with young filmmakers and is producing Kaizad Gustad’s gay-themed feature film Lala & Poppy.  Similarly, the movie Loev (2015), produced by Sudhanshu Saria (also the director of the movie) and Bombay Berlin Film Productions, made waves on the international film festival circuit. With Shiv Pandit and late Dhruv Ganesh as its leads, the movie threw the spotlight on the nuances of a homosexual relationship and also dealt with the issue of homosexual rape. Margarita With A Straw (2014), directed by Shonali Bose and starring Kalki Koechlin, deserves a special mention. It focused on the complex intersectionalities of sexuality and disabilities, woven around the life and desires of  bisexual woman with cerebral palsy.

Source : Margarita with a Straw (2014)
Thus, both mainstream and independent movies are slowly but steadily adopting a more nuanced approach to the stories and lives of the LGBT community. With the Supreme Court having done its job, it’s now up to the artists, filmmakers and producers to move away from homophobia and tell the narratives like they should be told: devoid of pretense, judgment and ridicule.

About The Author

Shruti is a journalist and poet based in Bangalore. She loves to dig into movies and find the intersection between politics and art.

Dear Comrade: A Review

Dear Comrade : A Review

The much hyped Telugu movie Dear Comrade released in cinemas last month & made its digital debut on Amazon Prime recently. The Rashmika Mandanna & Vijay Deverakonda pair returned to screens after their hugely successful outing Geetha Govindam. 

Dear Comrade was a highly anticipated film because of various reasons – Deverakonda’s rising stardom, its release in 4 languages & the announcement of a Hindi remake by Karan Johar even before it was released. I recently happened to see it on Amazon Prime, and I can finally say that while the film is far from perfect, it is deeply layered & was indeed an extremely satisfying watch. 

It is the story of Lilly & Bobby, two twenty-somethings figuring out what they want from life. Bobby is a student leader following his grandfather’s legacy of fighting injustice, and being a “Comrade”, which means supporting his friends & family through thick and thin. He’s extremely hotheaded, and is always ready to break some bones which on the surface might look like Deverakonda’s famous Arjun Reddy. However, the anger here is very different. It’s the cry for justice, and the fight scenes feel extremely real. The anger & confusion comes naturally to our lead actor. 

Lilly, on the other hand is a state level cricketer, extremely passionate about the sport, describing it as her first love. She’s charming & confident, sweeping Bobby off his feet pretty early on. She’s unimpressed by his overbearing personality. Having lost a loved one in a college conflict; she fears that Bobby’s violent streak might land them in a bad place.

When he initially expresses his feelings to her, she refuses him in an instant, without a hint of doubt on her face. Her love for cricket means that she make a choice, and fully knowing Bobby & how different their paths are; she knows the right thing to do. The scene is wonderfully written, giving us a female lead who is more than just the love interest. In fact, that is the most refreshing thing about this love story – the fact that it places the woman’s journey at the center of the plot. 

The rest of the film follows their romance & the struggles they face with or without each other. This makes the story so deeply textured, for the intensity of the love story never takes away from their individual journeys. In one of the film’s key moments, Bobby tells Lilly – the day I become more important to you than cricket, is the day I’ll distance myself from you. It amazed me to see this scene because the kind of cinema we have fed on boasts of “love before everything else” always. The romance is extremely powerful & the music by Justin Prabhakaran only makes it more beautiful. Kadallale by Sid Sriram is my personal favourite. 

The film is also extremely relevant in the times of #MeToo in India. It makes poignant arguments about sexual harassment, never once sounding preachy. There are no token pleas made. It shames the hypocrisy of abusers, family, lovers and everyone else who forces their decisions on the victims; never once waiting to ask the victims themselves what they actually want. This makes the most powerful scene of the film. However, the scenes concerning the abuser in place are not dealt as much sophistication as the rest of the film is. 

Dear Comrade ultimately becomes the story of how one man supports his woman unconditionally; on the way dealing with his anger, her career & professional choices. It’s unique because there are no external barriers to their union- no angry parents, no caste divide, no lecherous villain. In fact, the love story is only secondary to our female protagonist’s professional journey. 

There are some obvious flaws in the movie & parts that do not add up to the larger story. At 2 hours & 50 minutes, it’s way too long. The strong characters are ultimately let down by the screenplay, which feels inconsistent & sluggish. The film wastes a lot of time setting up inconsequential sub-plots, like Bobby’s initial fight scenes which are one too many in the first half or his new found passion for sound healing, which feels contrived & never fully shapes up. However, if you’re a sucker for flawed characters, you will be rewarded. The leads are so good in their parts, with not a hint of vanity, they overcome all these issues. And boy does Vijay Deverakonda know how to cry. It’s special because we don’t see our male leads do that on screen very often. For all his issues, Bobby is a keeper. He’s there to support his partner through all that the world must put her through. Rashmika Mandanna is a revelation in this extremely complex & sensitive performance, going from confident to vulnerable, with as much conviction. 

As much as it is a love story, Dear Comrade is also a movie about self-discovery; and this time it is about our female protagonist too. 

About The Author

Chirag Malani is a 22 year old fresh out of B-School. In his free time, he loves watching (and rewatching) movies and TV shows from all over. He loves cats and hopes he will be able to adopt one someday.

Film Music Today

Film Music Today

As we all know, cinema is both visual and auditory medium, and especially now with technology taking the upper hand and driving the filmmaking process, new age films are moving beyond the 4th wall and breaking the 5th wall as well. Yes, Bandersnatch. But these inherent elements or building blocks have remained the same. Sound being one of the biggest and the brightest. Since the beginning of sound cinema there has been a massive progress in the way sound is perceived, or even designed. 

A motion picture soundtrack is like the perfectly stitched seam of an expensive garment. We are in a day and age where creativity and scope are abounding, films are that one art form which cater to most of our senses and sensibilities on a whole. Perfectly made movies make you forget that they are fundamentally different bits; artistic and technical put together, of which the score is that element which holds everything together. 

We talk a lot about the visual aspects in cinema such as direction, cinematography but hardly ever notice or talk about the background score unless the pounding guitars add more meaning to John Wick’s suave movements. They are a beautiful and wonderful thing to exist. They help to build the narrative, provide depth to actions, aid in providing meaning to something which is probably not visually possible.

A motion picture soundtrack can be arbitrated on two criteria, firstly, how well it fits as a score and secondly as an autonomous album. 

So here I am writing and not analysing a few of my favourite scores which mostly are brilliant albums in themselves. Old classics and canons aside, I would like to talk about film scores from 2010 onwards which I love listening to and love the movies equally.

The Social Network – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Directed by none other than David Fincher and starring Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, The Social Network’s soundtrack was and is a widely appreciated score of recent times. You must be wondering why this movie out of all the other Fincher movies out there, but this one is a gem and scored by none other than half of Nine Inch Nails! I would have written Gone Girl, but I think I appreciate this score more. This soundtrack is everything industrial, dark and ambient and most of all as synth-y as it can get. ‘In Motion’ is a club banger with typical blips and bleeps layered under a steady beat which will make you want to get up and get work done. I hope Bombay traffic listens to this. ‘A Familiar Taste’ hands down sounds like a Nine Inch Nails’ song with eerie notes and occasional glitches, all very industrial sounding. The score has its ambient moments, especially in ‘Hand Covers Bruise’, a piano piece accompanied with an ominous sounding drone at the back and downtempo piano notes which are dark and gloomy and provide the sense of urgency to Mark’s life. 

This score is certainly entertaining and stands out as an album. What is even more exciting about it is that it strengthens the anxieties of a boy (Mark Zuckerberg played by Jesse Eisenberg) wanting decent and lasting social relationships and not merely about the birth of Facebook. 

Top Tracks: Intriguing Possibilities, In Motion, Painted Sun in Abstract.
Also check out: Gone Girl, Before the Flood

Annihilation – Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury

The 2018 movie starring Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez, Oscar Issac and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Weeks Later) was not talked much about after its release but is not a sci-fi movie to miss and certainly not the typical at-the-worlds-end type. Garland also took his Ex Machina collaborators, Geoff Barrow (Portishead) and Ben Salisbury on board for this score which is orchestral, lingering and not as synth heavy (as Ex Machina.)

The sound has emulated the films psychedelic insanity with the use of waterphones and guitars which linger around keeping you at the edge of your seat. It has infrequent melodies but are certainly haunting. Every track enhances the mood of the moment which most of the times is fear and uncertainty, coupled with beauty. The very first track ‘What Do You Know’ is a great mood cue has an unsettling guitar notes that are used throughout the film. ‘The Alien’ a lengthy twelve-minute track which is a part of the ending sequence builds up slowly and steadily, making it gloomier by the minute and guide us through the entire sequence where Lena meets the eerie metallic version of herself. With synthetic and heavy vocal chorus, ‘The Body’ is yet another of the uncomfortable sounding piece. This score as minimal as it is, certainly cues the mood but also provides room for the emotions and questions to flow throughout. 

Top Tracks: What Do you Know, The Alien, Ambulance
Also check out: Hanna (prime video), Ex Machina

Suspiria – Thom Yorke


Hands down one of the best pieces of music ever written by musician Thom Yorke of Radiohead This chef-d’oeuvre by Luca Guadagnino is remake of the Dario Argento’s Suspiria, a classic like no other. The original movie soundtrack was written by italian progressive outfit Goblin and was gaudy (in a good way, unlike the fake blood In Argento’s version), almost metal and nothing short of haunting. The film has its charm and is quite different from the original and contains a few what-on-earth moments (yes, Mother and the breaking bones), but the movie is wonderfully shot, and every track and sound is highly relevant for the film. 

‘Suspirium’ a waltz in 3/3 makes an occasional appearance throughout the film and is disquieting like most of the songs in the film and album. As for ‘Volk’, I cannot listen to this at night and on earphones which proves that this disputatious song has served its purpose. Yorke’s delightful and moody falsetto makes a comeback in ‘Unmade’ and is tragic at its best. The thing about the soundtrack is that it has given horror a new perspective. It is not just about women laughing, couple of minor keyboard melodies put together and “surprise, the ghost is behind you” sounds. Extremely unpredictable yet perfectly defined, thanks to Thom’s ability to create lingering soundscapes.

Top Tracks: Unmade, Volk, Suspirium, Open Again, Volga’s Destruction
Also check out: Anima 

The world of background scores and OSTs are endless and once you delve into it, there is no turning back. They help in defining emotions as well as give a completely different perspective to the audience and push the narrative forward, which relates auditory and visual in the most symbiotic fashion. 

Film scores aside, the world of possibilities is more enhanced with series scores. They are a whole different game altogether, but for now let’s stick to film scores. 

A few more scores worth listening to – John Wick and the Punisher OST by Tyler Bates, Arrival OST by Johann Johannsson, 28 Days Later by John Murphy and Clint Mansell’s Requiem for a Dream. 

About The Author

Priya is a 20 something yoga instructor and avid beverage enthusiast who is fueled on coffee and loves taking pictures on her 35mm and secretly believes that she is as badass as The Punisher. She is also a tree hugger, a lover of noisy music and is extremely awkward when it comes to getting her pictures clicked.

How Digital Platforms Are Shaping Indian Cinema

How Digital Platforms Are Shaping Indian Cinema

While browsing through the endless catalogue of Netflix on a lazy weekend, I came across an unassumingly named film that promised nothing but the mundane from the poster art and the description. Aadish Keluskar’s Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil was fashioned in the format of the Before Trilogy where an invisible camera follows a couple around a city as they are deeply engaged in a captivating conversation. Unlike the romantic setting of a European evening, Keluskar’s characters were a ragtag couple roaming the grimy, dusty streets of Mumbai under the scorching sun. Even though there was hardly any exposition about their backgrounds, one could clearly make out that they were the children of want, a faction of the society that was sexually repressed and had accepted the inevitable despair of life. Their conversations were anything but romantic. The guy constantly demeaned the woman for her appearance, claiming that no one would spit on her if he left her, while the woman established her worth as the only person in the world who cared to tolerate his abject bitterness. In a discomfiting scene that would make you squirm in your seat, they make out aggressively in the backseat of a moving kaali-peeli grabbing at each other while the Haryanvi driver regales the guy with his tales [not sic] – “Kuch nahi hua sirji. Yeh to hota hai…”. As an audience, you would either completely reject this film as being too unrealistic, or you would think to yourself – ‘This film would never have seen the light of day but for Netflix.’ So, here we are.

In an industry where muscular Production houses, monopolistic distributors and a reactive audience hold sway, Digital platforms barged in like rebels and challenged the status quo that had existed for decades. They had ridden the wave of smartphone penetration and the rise of a data-hungry generation, and had found the only window they needed to establish a whole new ecosystem. Suddenly, the “Friday opening” had been diminished in its stature as people knew that the film would eventually end up on one of the myriad of platforms which they could watch anywhere and on-the-go. What’s more, these platforms were not bound by all those stringent (and often nonsensical) rules that governed traditional releases. Even though the Supreme Court, in a recent judgement, directed the Centre to ‘regulate’ OTT (Over-The-Top) media platforms, there is no law as of now that mandates their censorship. And this is good! Film-makers who had to scrimp their creative liberties to adhere to the whip of the CBFC could go all out to bring their stories to your digital screens exactly how they wanted it being shown. It’s even better for us, the audience, as we get unfettered access to a wide variety of films and series that we otherwise couldn’t have seen. What had started out as “just another media channel”, had now become the great leveler – the players, who had removed financial clout from the equation and made content king.

For film-bloggers like myself, the theatre had always been sacred ground. Watching a movie was a ritual that was akin to meditation, where I would immerse myself into the world concocted by the director, the writer and the actors. Even so, the medium has always been a one-way street with fixed rules. A film-maker can gauge the reaction to his work only after the numbers came in from the faceless masses. Although social media has changed the level of engagement over the years, a film-maker would still largely be prone to using the same template that had helped him get a good ROI. Besides that, a film had to be of a certain length. If a writer wanted to flesh out the story or the characters, he/she couldn’t, unlike on  a platform where the script could be turned into a limited series. So, the producer’s money was being put on a product that was an abridged version of the original and which still had to be promoted widely through hoardings, ads, TV space, etc. There was far too much at stake, and failure would always hurt. This again feeds into why film-makers keep on making the same kind of films. The simple answer is – because they are the least risky. Now, skip track and jump onto a Digital platform. Here you have only one distributor who takes the onus of promoting your film on its own social media handles, and amongst its users. That platform, let’s say Amazon Prime Video, knows exactly how big the audience is going to be for that film, all thanks to the humongous data they have about their audience’s preferences and watch-patterns. What’s more, the pressure of a Friday release is completely taken off the shoulders of the film-maker. Now, the film can remain on that platform for as long as people want to watch it, which can technically be forever. And all this for a fraction of the cost! Once this crippling financial load is shifted, the film-maker would now dare to experiment and try out new things. He would like to test the limits of this new, all-embracing audience. The result – the same old, stale, formulaic content goes out the window. 

Netflix and Prime Video are not just mere ‘Media Middlemen’ now who survive on creating partnerships with content-creators. They have now evolved into venerable production companies who have the wherewithal to finance independent film-makers who usually have nothing but a good story to tell. There are aggregators today who have created a business around helping new filmmakers refine their pitch to platforms like Netflix. Based on who you pitch to, your royalty may vary. For instance, Netflix would pay you a flat licensing fee as well as an amount for the number of hours your film is being watched by their audience while Prime Video doesn’t pay you any licensing fee and pays you just for the hours. Once Netflix picks up your film, they will purchase global distribution rights from you. In many cases, subtitles and artwork are also provided by the film-maker or the aggregator. The discussion thereon would be between Netflix and the aggregator, who will basically represent the film-maker. This entire process makes for a very interesting system where selections are made on sheer talent. A film-maker who is the son of a sister of a bigshot producer does not automatically get financed. There would still be loopholes, but by and large it is far more impartial than the industry right now. Precisely because of this nature of these platforms, they have become petri dishes for experimental content from every conceivable language with every single region where films are being made. They have become this huge melting pot where a Bollywood fan may be driven to watch a Super Deluxe, a Tamil film which had gotten a very limited release, just because his friends had watched it on Prime Video and couldn’t stop talking about it. The language and regional walls that had existed in the theatres earlier, are now being torn down. Audiences have become fluid, just like the content they are now consuming. 

Now, this begs the question – in this new ecosystem, are Theatres going to become obsolete? Would they become the unwitting casualties? In a 2018 article by Variety, they brought a research study done by Ernst and Young’s Quantitative Economics and Statistics group into the spotlight. The study basically debunked this notion that Digital platforms were eating away into the market share of Theatre chains and were gradually pushing them towards bankruptcy. In fact, the study found that the two mediums were “more complementary than cannibalistic”. Among the 2500 participants in the study, those who had visited a movie theatre nine times or more in the last year, consumed far more streaming content than their peers who visited the theatres just once or twice. While the former spent an average of 11 hours on a digital platform, the latter spent 7 hours. This fundamentally meant that people who were passionate movie-goers, were passionate streamers as well, and vice-versa. What this proves is that, there is ample space for the two mediums to co-exist and thrive. In this symbiotic relationship, it is inevitable that the culture and ethos would pass from one to the other through osmosis. Once the industry sees what writers and film-makers can do when given a free creative hand, they would want to replicate that in their own space. Is it surprising now that we have seen a paradigm shift of sorts in terms of content in Bollywood right from Andhadhun to Tumbbad to Gully Boy? 

No matter who loses in this system, if at all, Indian Cinema would have won.

About The Author

Screengobblr was created by a couple of die-hard cinephiles who strive to spark a conscious conversation around cinema, not just as a form of entertainment but also as an art-form. Since its inception, Screengobblr has become an active community of movie-buffs which is evolving through active conversations every single day. You can follow their work on their various social media handles on Facebook, Instagram, and Quora.

4 Books That We Can’t Wait To See Adapted As Films

4 Books That We Can’t Wait To See Adapted As Films

Films or Books
This debate will never end right ?
We are of the opinion why not both!
There are so many books that were masterpieces in their own right and were so huge in themselves but when they were made into movies, the books were added with a different dimension and a visual perspective to them, and also the piece of art became more and more accessible to the people through the cinematic medium.If the books are adapted well, with an ensemble cast and crew that can together work towards putting up the show, we can definitely get a much needed visual perspective to the story. In our series Book To Film, we take such hypothetical conversions of some of the meticulous and popular books into films with a well thought star cast and technical crew as well, the cast and crew is decided on the basis of the mood, tone and of course the story of the book. We aim at making it as relatable as possible for both movie lovers as well as bibliophiles.

1. The Immortals Of Meluha

Amish Tripathi’s The Immortals of Meluha (the first book in the Shiva Trilogy) re-imagined Indian mythology in a whole new light, where Gods were ordinary humans who created their own legends. The book follows the story of Shiva who is the chief clansman of the Guna tribe as his people migrate to the Suryavanshi kingdom of Meluha where he becomes embroiled in a bitter war with the Chandravanshis, a rival race that has joined hands with the fearsome Nagas.

This fantasy adaptation of a well-known story opens up a lot of ideas for a film-maker to bring on to the big-screen. Since here a god is being portrayed as a human, his human flaws can be explored which couldn’t have been done in a TV adaptation of Shiva Purana. What makes the narrative all the more interesting is the territorial dynamics of the various warring tribes that add more layers to the creation of myths. With well-written characters arcs and a fast-paced screenplay to go with it, The Immortals of Meluha can be the fantasy franchise we had all been waiting for.

Author – Amish Tripathi

Director – S. S. Rajamouli

Cinematographer – K. K. Senthil Kumar

Original Score – M. M. Keeravani

Cast – 

Vicky Kaushal as Shiva (Chief of Guna Tribe),

Radhika Apte as Sati (The Meluhan Princess) ,

Vikrant Massey as Nandi (Captain in Shiva’s Army & loyal devotee)

Abhimanyu Singh as Veer Bhadra (Captain in Shiva’s Army & fierce warrior)

Naveen Kaushik as Brahaspati (Chief Meluhan Scientiest)

Adil Hussain as Daksha (Emperor of Melhuans)

 

2. The Alchemist 

Paulo Coelho’s definitive semi-philosophical novella The Alchemist tells the story of a shepherd boy named Santiago who embarks on a spiritual journey of sorts to find the proverbial treasure that, according to a prophecy, waited for him somewhere in the Egyptian Pyramids. Through a self-realised belief in himself that he would indeed find this treasure that would set him free, Santiago learns a valuable lesson in life about the panacea that we all have within.

This philosophy of finding fulfillment within oneself instead of running after material pleasures is an age-old premise that has been used in films many times. And yet, it is still so relevant for all ages that it never gets old if woven around a story in an engaging way.

Although Coelho’s original creates a mirage of fantasy in the reader, a modern adaptation of the same may also be alluring especially for the fact that it would be highly relatable for our world that is ridden with consumerist ideologies and shallow lives that are devoid of meaning. A young shepherd boy named Sanatan (Sanskrit for ‘infinite’) hears a prophecy from a local fortune-teller called Najumi (an Urdu word for fortune-teller) that his treasure awaited him in a big-city (like Mumbai). And so the story goes.

Author – Paulo Coelho

Director – Imtiaz Ali 

Cinematographer – Rajeev Ravi

Original Score –A. R. Rahman

Cast – Shashank Arora as Santiago ( adapted as Sanatan aka Santu Charwaha), Surekha Sikri as Romani Fortune – Teller (adapted as Najumi), Zoya Hussain as Fatima, Kulbhushan Kharbanda as King Melchizedek (adapted as Zamindaar Sahab)

3. The God Of Small Things

Arundhati Roy’s Booker Prize winning debut novel The God of Small Things made a dent in the literary world through its stark prose that interweaved tragedy with romance, narrating a story that spanned across generations. Roy’s epic drama runs parallel to the political upheaval in Kerala, as seen through the intertwined fates of the twin siblings Rahel and Estha.

Although Roy has strongly suggested that she would never sell the rights of her book to be adapted into a film, we can only dream that someday she might yield so that this work of art can be amalgamated into a visual tapestry. Her visceral story-telling guised behind a simple form can prove to be a great translation elevated only by deeply poignant performances. The director, here, may have to take some creative liberties regarding the age of the siblings owing to some of the sensitive aspects of the story.

Author – Arundhati Roy

Director – Mira Nair

Cinematographer – Nikos Andritsakis

Original Score – A. R. Rahman

Cast – Nivin Pauly as Estha, Trisha Krishnan as Rahel, Kavya Madhavan as Ammu, Fahadh Faasil as Velutha, Mohanlal as Chacko, Revathy as Baby Kochamma

4. The Great Indian Novel

Shashi Tharoor is well-known as an eloquent, media-savvy statesman, and an author whose books on revisionist history throw a lucid light on India’s story both during the British era and in the contemporary age of information. Besides writing insightful non-fiction, this illustrious Stephanian diplomat also dabbles himself in fiction, especially in the genre of satire. The Great Indian Novel, first published in 1989, is a modern retelling of the Mahabharata where Tharoor weaves a semi-historical story with characters that are inspired from the epic. What comes out of this ingenious reincarnation is a deeply engaging satire that revolves around the giants of Indian democracy, and their political idiosyncrasies.

The Great Indian Novel is an assortment of chocolates in a box, as Forrest Gump would say. Keeping aside the fact that it adapts the complex dynamics of an age-old story into satire, the narrative would also bring together some of the greatest figures in history through characters that are their direct inspirations. For instance, the character Ganga Datta, inspired from Gangaputra Bhishma who is equated to Gandhi in modern history, is shown as a spiritual leader who lives a celibate life. Despite its mythological origins, this modern adaptation with an ensemble cast would be an epic in itself – every bit as theatrical and dramatic, and witty and enlightening in equal measures.

Author – Shashi Tharoor

Director – Umesh Shukla

Cinematographer – Shanker Raman

Original Score – Indian Ocean

Cast – – Amitabh Bachchan as V.V. ji (Ved Vyas : C. Rajagopalachari), Satish Shah as Ganapathi (Ganesh), Anupam Kher as Ganga Datta (Bhishma : Mahatma Gandhi), Rajat Kapoor as Dhritarashtra (Dhritarashtra : Pandit Nehru), Boman Irani as Pandu (Pandu : Subhash Bose), Rajit Kapur as Vidur Hastinapuri (Vidura : Sardar Patel), Paresh Rawal as Jayaprakash Drona (Drona : Jayaprakash Narayan), Tabu as Draupadi Mokrasi aka Di Mokrasi (Draupadi : Democracy), Manoj Bajpayee as  Shakuni Shankar Dey (Shakuni : Siddhartha Shankar Ray), Kirti Kulhari as Priya Duryodhani (Duryodhan : Indira Gandhi), Randeep Hooda as Mohammad Ali Karna (Karna : Muhammad Ali Jinnah), Irrfan as Yudhishtir (Yudhisthira : Morarji Desai), Abhimanyu Singh as Bhim (Bhim : Indian Army), Farhan Akhtar as Arjun (Arjuna : Indian Media) 

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Sacred Games – Characters That Made This Series Iconic

Sacred Games – Characters That Made This Series Iconic

Last year, Netflix gave us Sacred Games, its first Indian original and the most popular one to have come out of any Indian platform ever since. The show was instantly renewed for a second installment that dropped in last week and while some might debate, it seems to have reached a conclusive end now. 

What made the show so iconic? Was it the setting – a mafia leader based out of Bombay and a police inspector racing against time to save his city? That might seem familiar. The exceptional writing, which has given the social media, memes for a lifetime? Somewhat. But most importantly, it was the way this story unfolded through the characters. From Bunty to Isa to Jojo, every little arc made the show worth a binge. The reviews for the second season might have been mixed but what still kept the viewers invested in the story were these characters.

Here, we look at the five most iconic characters that Sacred Games gave us – 

1. Ganesh Gaitonde

After Faizal Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui pulled off another winning gangster act with Gaitonde. The part is perfectly up Siddiqui’s alley. And it works especially in a series format because we experience his entire journey; from the time his young-self killed his mother to his last days where he feels guilty to have let his father suffer for that crime. 

It’s a break from the obviously masculine anti-hero in Hindi cinema. We see him through his relationship with romantic partners, his henchmen, his mentors and ultimately himself. He talks about being immortal at his peak and also wishes for death when he can’t take it anymore. In the second season, the story somewhat derails but Gaitonde keeps you invested. The show serves not just as a first person account but also as Gaitonde’s dialogue with Sartaj. The showmakers smartly continue the narration even post his death in the first season and he stays with us till the very end. Siddiqui makes you care for the bad guy, for he is so real. The artist and art here are inseparable and it’s all to his credit. 

2. Guruji

In what might look like Osho straight out of Wild Wild Country, Pankaj Tripathi as Guruji played the crucial role of Gaitonde’s third father, and the sole cause for all the menace to follow. The part seemed to be heavily inspired by Osho’s story with even Kalki Koechlin’s character loosely based on Ma Anand Sheela (Osho’s principle aide). However, the mystery around Guruji in the first season worked wonders – his only appearance being through a phone conversation with Gaitonde while he was in prison. It was after the second season released that he truly arrived and wreaked havoc through his long, one note sermons. To be fair, Tripathi never faltered in his portrayal & the Guruji-Gaitonde dynamic was indeed interesting. If only his actual presence was as exciting as the aura he created in the first season.

3. Sartaj

The other protagonist of the show, Saif Ali Khan as Sartaj acted as the viewers’ guide to this neo-noir world. Saif, without a hint of vanity sunk his teeth into what made Sartaj – A troubled alcoholic with an unsuccessful marriage, a failed cop struggling with the moral ambiguity in his profession, a son who must come to terms with his late father’s hidden beliefs & value system, a friend burdened with guilt and a citizen who felt responsible for saving the city. Too many emotions packed into one, Sartaj grew as a person with every episode- learning, making mistakes, unlearning. His imaginary relationship with Gaitonde also oddly made him wiser. 

Through Sartaj, we learnt the harsh realities of our society today. In a chilling scene, one that seems like the makers wanting to show us the mirror on mob lynchings in the country, we saw a minority teen being mercilessly beaten to death & an incapacitated Sartaj unable to act. Through him, we saw an impressionable kid being brainwashed with a communal mindset. Faced with these dilemmas, we saw him emerge stronger & act in time of need.

4. Katekar

Jitendra Joshi’s Constable Katekar brought in the much needed sunshine moments in a show full of gloom. We saw him as the loyal friend, the ignorant yet loving husband & father and a committed cop. The Sartaj-Katekar bromance, much to his wife’s annoyance is especially something to cherish. Such was the bond that Sartaj preferred spending time with him than going back to his lonely apartment. He was his 4 AM best friend in the most literal way possible. His death became one of the most unfortunate events in the first season leaving a void in Sartaj’s life. Katekar also made his presence felt in the second season in the form of Sartaj’s guilt. 

In one of most emotional flashbacks, Katekar tells Sartaj about the importance of living in the present without worrying about tomorrow. What might feel like the most simplistic advice became a lesson from a TED talk and a scene to re-watch. Moments before his death, we saw his dream of watching Zoya Mirza (his favorite actress) come true. His innocent, childlike joy when he saw her & his family smiling away watching his reaction was so heartening & in many ways, ominous.

5. Kukoo

For the first time in the world of Indian content, Kubbra Sait gave us a complete flesh and blood transgender character that in fact, was anything but powerless. Kukoo exuded confidence & charm making “Kukoo ka jadoo” truly believable. As the romance unfolded, we saw the revelation of her gender in a very powerful scene. However, the strongest one came right before her death. With a heavy heart, she understood that she had to let Gaitonde go as he was destined to make it big and their union would be the biggest obstacle in his journey. Sait communicated most of this with her eyes in her final scenes making the relationship Gaitonde’s most memorable romance. 

With her limited screen time of about 3 episodes, Kukoo moved from being powerful and taking charge of the relationship to being achingly vulnerable when faced with social stigma and ultimately giving up. 

Who would’ve thought that the romance between a gangster and a transgender would be a part of pop culture?

Here’s a shoutout to some special characters who didn’t make it to the list: Bunty, Isa, Majid, Kantabai & Parulkar.

 

About The Author

Chirag Malani is a 22 year old fresh out of B-School. In his free time, he loves watching (and rewatching) movies and TV shows from all over. He loves cats and hopes he will be able to adopt one someday.

The Story of Bollywood’s first Superhit Film and Nationalism

The Story of Bollywood’s first Super-hit Film and Nationalism

It was six months after Mahatma Gandhi had started the Quit India Movement and promulgated a nationwide non-violent campaign against the Britishers. In Bombay, lyricist Kavi Pradeep was working on a song for the new movie Kismet (1943) which was to star Ashok Kumar. Although the movie was about a small-time pickpocket and had a few bold themes for its time, Pradeep wanted to use the platform to send across a message to the colonised Indian masses. What better way than to compose a song about rising against oppression and giving the people a rallying cry. The song ‘Door hato duniya waalon, Hindustan hamara hai’ (Go away foreigners, India is ours) became a de facto slogan which could be heard everywhere post the movie’s release.

Source :  Kismet  (1943)

Kavi Pradeep had defied the very system which had an iron grip on anything which reached the masses. Kavi masterfully hoodwinked the Britishers by making them believe that the song was addressed to the brutish Germans and not them. The censor board of that time, mostly old Englishmen, liked the idea of a song denigrating their perennial enemies of that time and it passed without cuts. Kavi had done something which was hard to imagine during those days, that is, reaching the masses with a war cry of sorts. However, it didn’t take much time for the Britishers to figure out their ignominious mistake and Kavi Pradeep had to go underground for a while. But it remains the first instance of an artist weaving nationalism in a Bollywood movie. In fact, the masses were so enraptured with this smart act of defiance that theatre owners had to replay the entire movie just for the audience to watch the song and sing along again! It’s no surprise therefore that “Kismet” became India’s first superhit movie, grossing almost 50 times it’s production budget.

Bollywood has since come a long way since J. P. Dutta’s iconic multi-starrer ensemble Border which was a genre-defining film in its own right and quite ambitious for its time. From the unidimensional emotion of Patriotism, we have now moved on to a more multi-dimensional aspect of Nationalism – an idea which propagates a collective vision of a future India. Today, movies of this burgeoning genre have a multitude of categories – some reminiscing historical events, some showing our crowning achievements in sports, and finally some which eulogise feats which place India in the global podium, like the upcoming ‘Mission Mangal’. For a country like ours, which grapples with demographic challenges, these movies are a great unifier. A country divided by language, garb, and colour, comes together and celebrates Uri : The Surgical Strike as a festival, chanting “How’s the Josh ?  High sir !” with fervour. Actors like Akshay Kumar and Mohanlal have made entire careers out of hard-hitting movies which directly address social issues and evoke a sense of ‘Indian-ness’ among all. 

Source :  Border (1997)

Even though writers have broadened their scope to such a wide range of subjects, we are not moving away from the time-tested formula of war movies. However, even in this beaten down subject, there has come about a subtle change that has imparted a certain realism to its treatment. While Border and LOC Kargil were large productions, their treatment was invariably focussed on the emotional aspect of war which was reinforced by its iconic song ‘Sandese Aate Hain’. The imagery of soldiers leaving their newly wed wives and old mothers behind for a dreadful war from which they may return wrapped in the tricolour was powerful. The stories were more about sacrifice and love than about the operational intricacies of war. This is where movies like Uri became a turning point. Although the film also provided a very personal motive for Major Vihan Shergill to fight against terrorists, it also delved into a very tactical style of warfare which was usually not explored before.

Source :  Uri: The Surgical Strike(2019)

The 2017 Film The Ghazi Attack also came close to creating the atmosphere of tactical warfare by showing the story of the Indian Submarine P21which thwarted the undersea attack by Pakistani Submarine PNS Ghazi. Shooting an entire film within the confines of a submarine set was praiseworthy especially with a working budget of merely 16 crores. After the horrid Pulwama attacks, the story of the brave retaliatory efforts by the Indian Air Force in the Balakot Airstrike is also in the process of a film adaptation. Commander Abhinandan’s intelligent maneuvering through which he put down a more advanced enemy aircraft is the stuff of legends and the perfect raw material for Bollywood. War would continue to move audiences like never before, but as the writing gets more mature, we would start seeing movies that are more objective in portraying war as a necessary evil rather than a chest-thumping declaration of patriotic fervour.


Source :  The Ghazi Attack (2017)

2018 itself saw more than a handful Hindi movies which had Nationalism as its central theme. From Raazi to Parmanu, we saw a range of films that focussed on stories that had remained buried behind the uproarious clangour of patriotism. The recent Article 15 touched upon the sensitive subject of caste discrimination which is constitutionally prohibited and is yet practised with aplomb in the hinterlands. These movies did not have epic battles with enemy nations, nor did they employ war-cries as an instrument to evoke the patriotic emotion. And yet, they were equally powerful in their message. From Kavi Pradeep going against the establishment to sneak in patriotic elements in the pre-Independence era, to Bollywood coming up with stories that represent us globally, nationalism has grown and so has Bollywood. For a country with a rich history and with no dearth of epochal events, Bollywood has found its footing in bringing these stories to the fore. In this emerging transformation where writers have found a voice, Nationalism is going evolve even further asking pertinent questions about India’s role in the world and, even more importantly, the role of its people in making it a superpower.

Source :  Article 15 (2019)

About The Author

Screengobblr was created by a couple of die-hard cinephiles who strive to spark a conscious conversation around cinema, not just as a form of entertainment but also as an art-form. Since its inception, Screengobblr has become an active community of movie-buffs which is evolving through active conversations every single day. You can follow their work on their various social media handles on Facebook, Instagram, and Quora.

Is Laura Mulvey’s Feminist Film Theory Still Relevant?

Is Laura Mulvey’s Feminist Film Theory Still Relevant?

Laura Mulvey is a British film theorist who moved the realm of theory and film perception through her writings by combining film theory, psychoanalysis, and feminism. She is a pioneer in breaking down the role of men and women in Hollywood. Her essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema was first published in 1975 in the journal Screen where she extensively applies Freud and Lacan.

Films and TV shows are dropped every day in massive numbers. Just like in any other industry, it goes without saying that progress shares a symbiotic relationship with cinema and the visual culture and that the visual arts of an era depict and mimic the ideologies which are heavily laced with biases and linear viewpoints, but as all art is political, the aforementioned qualities cannot be dissociated. Period. One of the most striking features of cinema (and mind you, not just Bollywood) is the way in which women are viewed and represented. This was first theorized and broken down by Laura Mulvey in her essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ (1975) wherein she looks at the position of women through a psychoanalytical lens. The film form is inherently structured by the patriarchal unconscious of society is the central focus of her essay. Mulvey suggests that a woman is always the object to the subject of the man. This binary opposition is established by the structuring of the narrative, and the use of the camera (movements and angles) help in fixating and strengthening this position. In short, the camera’s gaze becomes the spectator’s gaze when the fourth wall is obscured, and hence this gaze intrinsically becomes the masculine ‘male gaze’. Although Mulvey’s theory is based on Hollywood, gender treatment is observed to be the same even in Bollywood.

The spectator always sees through the eyes of a heterosexual man and the pleasure derived is scopophilic in nature. Scopophilia in simpler terms is the pleasure derived by looking at something, in this case, the pleasure derived looking at a woman who is often naked or scantily clad (what did you think Sheila’s ‘jawaani’ was?) A man is always considered as the active member (I mean, take any mainstream Bollywood film) whereas the female is undoubtedly the passive counterpart. The heterosexual male as represented in Hollywood through various cinematic apparatuses is the owner of the sight and the woman is the image who is the object of a man’s sexual pleasure. Few unambiguous examples of the male gaze include shots which pan and fixate on a woman’s body, medium close-up, over the shoulder shots of women and scenes which show a man actively looking at a passive female. Mulvey also points out that the woman is always at the two ends of the spectrum; someone who is to be saved by the ‘hero’ (yes, Basanti, looking at you) and/or someone who needs no rescuing and is the ultimate threat to the man; the Femme Fatales who weaken a man’s ‘manliness’, but are again sexualized and/or unattainable and there are no better Femme Fatales than Catherine Tramell of Basic Instinct, Amy Dunne the Gone Girl and Khalu from Ishqiya.

Catherine Tramell from Basic Instinct (1992)

Hitchcock’s Rear Window is a brilliant example which helps us understand the “gaze”. Jefferies, a photographer in Rear Window, is put in such a situation which makes him a voyeur. Due to a broken leg, Jeffries is confined to the four walls of his bedroom, his only pastime being, looking at people through his bedroom window. This film reveals to us one of the most important needs of a man; to peep through the keyhole at every given opportunity which is often supported by ‘curiosity’. The film is highly male-centric and a direct representation of how the visual culture in Hollywood is male-centered. The second example on the other side of the spectrum is Uma Thurman’s character ‘The Bride’ from Kill Bill, who in the very first few minutes of the film commits two murders, steals a car and escapes from the hospital where she was in a coma for four years. This strong-willed character posits as a threat to the man. She hardly wears make-up, rarely smiles and is more ‘manlike’ than most female characters. These two characters in the narratives in the respective films, drive them in two different directions which ultimately provide the position of a woman in commercial cinema. As for Bollywood until recently, most films are through the male gaze to satisfy the very same pleasure-driven voyeuristic attitude. Going back to Sholay, both the women characters; Radha (Jaya), a meek widow and Basanti (Hema Malini) an extroverted cart driver is portrayed to be on the opposite ends of this spectrum, but although independent, Basanti is saved by Veeru (Dharmendra) from the hands of Gabbar the iconic villain played by Amjad Khan. The recently released Kabir Singh is another such movie which disturbingly aids and strengthens the male gaze that runs rampant in the industry. 

L.B ‘Jeff’  Jefferies from Rear Window (1954) 

Mainstream cinema aside, we had Satyajit Ray bring female gaze, or rather a refreshing perspective with Charulata which is one of the most monumental films of Indian cinema. In recent times there has been a slight shift in the way in which women are portrayed or even “looked at” Vidya (Vidya Balan) in Kahaani, the relentless and thrifty protagonist who does not resemble a generic Bollywood heroine or Meera (Anushka Sharma) in NH10 and Sehmat (Alia Bhatt) in Raazi are the ones who have made that shift seem natural. All the three characters portray a varied mix of revenge and survival which makes it believable, interesting and realistic. Another notable character is Shashi from English Vinglish written and directed by Gauri Shinde. Sahashi’s character is a docile homemaker cum businesswoman who is taunted by her husband and daughter for not speaking English and hence finds it empowering to learn English. Her character is beautifully created and has no frills or any glamour element attached to it which keeps it away from the generic male gaze.  As for the literal ‘gaze’ viz. the camera angles and movements are again quite neutral and well-rounded rather than linear. Their characters are not viewed from the dominant male ideology, but rather an impartial one. 

Shashi Godbole  from English Vinglish  (2012)

Mainstream cinema is making a definite shift from dominant ideologies, but as long as women are looked at like objects, the movies made by men will always be portrayed through the ‘male gaze’. This pattern is, unfortunately, a vicious circle where the cause and effect of what is portrayed on the screen seem to have a blurred line. To put this into perspective – we don’t know if a man treating a woman as if she needs saving is largely a product of what we watch, hear and see and vice versa as most of what we see and experience in the realm of pop culture is what gets internalized. Mulvey arrived at this conclusion mainly because the cinematographers, writers, directors, etc. who were mostly men made a film based upon their outlook and ideologies. This is nevertheless taking a turn as we more women filmmakers in this vast field of visual culture. 

Works cited: Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” Literary Theory: An Anthology. Eds. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000. 585-95. Print.

About The Author

Priya is a 20 something yoga instructor and avid beverage enthusiast who is fueled on coffee and loves taking pictures on her 35mm and secretly believes that she is as badass as The Punisher. She is also a tree hugger, a lover of noisy music and is extremely awkward when it comes to getting her pictures clicked.

4 Characters From Hindi Cinema That We All Love

4 Characters From Hindi Cinema That We All Love

There are some films that stay with us for a long long time. They become eternal in our hearts, and what makes them eternal could be the story or music, but more often than not, its the characters of the film. There are so many brilliant characters penned down in the history of films who have multiple layers to them, back stories and overall depth that add to their screen presence. Through #CharacterCanvas, we bring to you a bunch of really interesting characters – we delve into their lives and paint them into our interpretation by adding some artistic element around them on our canvas.

1. Rumi from Manmarziyaan (2018)

Manmarziyaan has got three really interesting characters, every character has their own persona which is very evident throughout the film’s narrative. But the one character’s development who we couldn’t resist adoring was Rumi’s. Rumi is one of the most flawed characters that we have seen in recent times, yet she manages to charm a lot of us. In fact, it’s Taapsee Pannu’s favorite character too.

The first impression of Vicky’s is that of an irresponsible douchebag but we can’t deny the fact that Rumi is equally flawed, if not more. She can’t seem to be decisive about her relationship, lashes out at her customers over which hockey stick is better, bashes the pani-puri vendor for not making them as spicy as she likes them, and humiliates Vicky over his complexes.

Basically, at many points, she is unreasonably annoying and irritating, but then what makes her so adorable? Probably, the relatability factor. As humans, we too have our own share of flaws – we screw up things and we are unreasonable at many points in our lives. We see a hazy mirror in Rumi’s character.

Rumi and Vicky are known for their “Grey Wala Shade”, but if we were to paint a color around Rumi on our canvas, it would be close to her shade of cool hairdo – Red. Red is universally used for appetite or hunger which clearly goes with her thirst for regular ‘Fyaar’, the color also defines her bold, boisterous, and full of energy attitude. Actually, she is so full of energy that it creates tension which bursts out in the form of jogging rigorously in some scenes throughout the film. And lastly, everyone knows how hot-headed she is, we could not think of a better color than red to justify Rumi’s rage.

2. Kabir Khan from Chak De! India (2007)

“Mujhe states ke naam na sunai dete hai, na dikhai dete hai. Sirf ek Mulk ka naam sunai deta hai – India”This line really sets up who Kabir Khan is and what does he stand for. Khan’s backstory of being an alleged traitor is probably the heaviest load on his heart because he’s never played hockey for any other motive than making his country proud. He makes it very clear in one of his speeches “Is Team ko sirf wo players chahiye jo pehle India ke liye khele, fir apni team me apne saathiyo ke liye, aur uske baad bhi agar thodi boht jaan bach jaaye, toh apne liye”

Khan’s character arc has been well written, the younger self is shown for a very little screen time but he’s shown as a fierce passionate bloke who will probably give it back to you aggressively. This was evident in his tiff with the media after they call him a sellout. But with time, he has evolved as a person and become calmer as the team’s coach – he uses sarcasm and a smile to send across the message clear.

Looking at him, it reminds us of the famous expression “Ice & Fire”. Khan is the right combination of both – he has the balance of passion and composure, he can send a chill down the spine of a player by firing them if they’re wrong but at the same time is also compassionate about their situations and dreams.

But if there has to be an element that could define kabir khan it would be the ‘Tricolour’. It is the biggest motivation for him in life, to make his country excel in the sport. That’s why the first exercise he does with the women’s team is to paint them in one mentality i.e to play for the country, to play for the tricolour.

3. Rani Mehra from Queen (2013)

This coming of age tale of Rani Mehra is awe-inspiring in many ways. Her character arc has been designed in a way that you see her grow by leaps and bounds but it is still relatable and believable because of the way she overcomes her vulnerabilities.

There are very little details shown in the film that define her beautiful journey of discovering the true Rani in herself – like the initial scenes in Paris when she struggles to carry her hefty bag wherever she goes but towards the end she is confidently shown carrying her rucksack symbolising how she no longer needs anyone to lift her up. Interestingly, she is never shown going out anywhere without her little brother but for her to take the intuitive decision to go alone on her own dream honeymoon speaks about her hidden strong character.

It’s known how travelling can help shape a person’s thoughts, and we are so thankful to Rani for taking this wonderful trip which helped her discover what she’s capable of and breakout from a lot of wrong notions about herself and the world. It was because of this trip that she could do some crazy things like her first kiss with an Italian guy, making new friends from different cultures, drunk dancing to Bollywood songs and much more.

The pink colour on the canvas is to capture the naivety and intuitiveness that spills out of the character, but the main reason behind painting her in the hues of pink is “Hope”. Pink is the colour of hope, and surely this character gives just that to many women in this world who deserve to be the ‘queen’ in their own right.

4. Piku from Piku (2015)

Piku was a celebration of true feminism, representing a large section of women who find no place in Indian cinema – women who don’t fit either of the standard female characters in Bollywood – ‘descended-from-heaven perfect’ or ‘rebel-without-a-cause sassy’

As the film opens to the scene of morning chaos in Banerjee household, you sit in both awe and amusement of Piku’s quintessential behaviour. She handles everything impeccably but not without her acidic anger in high decibel.

As she watches Rana leave, she’s vulnerable, sensitive and full of love, but she can never let anyone see that. It’s her little secret, reserved only for those who deserve it. She would keep reiterating, “Don’t think ki main impressed hoon”

She’s beautiful, but that’s the least of her concerns. When she bursts out in anger as Baba goes missing, that’s the real beauty of her character. She’s human, and doesn’t try to be any other way. She’s flawed, but she owns up to it.

And just when you think you know her completely, she amazes you again. When Baba passes away, she’s heartbroken, but not angry, not devastated. She was content knowing that he died peacefully.There’s perhaps no other colour as multi-faceted as purple, like Piku herself. She’s intense, yet calm. Full of courage with an underlying vulnerability. Its the color of grace, but doesn’t scream for attention; subdued, like Piku. It stands for power and gravitas, but not without a hint of love – like the closeted romantic that Piku is. But more than anything, it embodies the mysterious charm. Unpredictable, always.

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World’s Largest Filmmaking Challenge – Success Stories

World’s Largest Filmmaking Challenge – Success Stories

There are many ways one can start their career in filmmaking – be it film schools or on-set exposure. India Film Project, in its 9th season now, has been consistently giving a platform to aspiring filmmakers to showcase their passion and work. A lot of aspiring filmmakers who may or may not have formal education or training in filmmaking have participated over the years at IFP’s 50 Hour Filmmaking Challenge to kickstart their career. The logic is simple – all one has to do is Shoot, Script, Edit and Submit a short film within the course of a weekend ie. 50 hours. These films are judged by the top filmmakers of the country (Sudhir Mishra, Milan Luthria & R. S. Prasanna for IFP Season 8 ), the winning films are then showcased at Asia’s Largest Content Festival which is attended by 100+ prominent personalities from the industry and 15,000+ content creators, thus giving a strong platform and exposure to the aspiring filmmakers. Here are some of the winners who participated in Professional and Amateur category of the 50 Hour Filmmaking Challenge and their experience of making a film in 50 hours. Have a look at how this experience helped them shape their career.

1. Dabba Gul (MissMalini Productions)

Gold Film of the Year (Professional Filmmaking)

“We are a bunch of blogger turned writers at MissMalini along with their in house shoot and edit crew weaved magic at #IFP8 with their film ‘Dabba Gul.’ A first of its kind weekend for all the people in the team, the 50 hours filmmaking challenge encouraged great teamwork and free flow of creative juices. It was a great instant, on-the-spot class in filmmaking that brought out the best of everyone who became a part of it as it provided a seat-of-your-pants introduction to the act of making quick decisions and snap judgments.

From hastily picking out costumes to yelling at each other for forgetting the make up, we weren’t the most disciplined film-making crew ever, but we did end up with a great BTS reel. We are still laughing over the jokes we cracked and the mistakes we made while making ‘Dabba Gul,’ especially the awkwardness that came along with us scouting for locations and calling actors at 4 AM in the morning to check their availabilities. Because of similar ideologies and interpretation of the theme, making a film together with this team was a great bonding experience. Whether you walk away with an award-winning film or a lifelong bond with someone special, it’s sure to be a memorable weekend.”

Kushal Verma (Team Leader, MissMalini Productions)

2. Kaali Peeli Ride (think BIG)

Bronze Film of the Year (Professional Filmmaking)

“think BIG is a team of creative personas who want change in every so called processes of telling a story through visuals. We can create anything out of nothing. Sayan and Sujata deals with content and direction, Sourav with camera and Gourab and Milan with editing. Avijeet creates music and Sujoy arranges fund. Mafin is an actor cum outstanding dancer. But we all want to create heart wrenching stories in visual medium. We are ready to face any hurdles. But we know if you think BIG, you can never compromise with your art form.”

Sayan Dasgupta (Team Leader, think BIG)

3. Sveekaar (Red Matrix Productions) 

Platinum Film of the Year (Amateur Filmmaking)

Red matrix productions, was founded in 15th April 2013, with the vision to meet the real in reel life. This production house was founded by Sayandip Sikder,then a class 10th student, who had discovered his passion in film making. Gradually, people having dreams of showing the stories through beautiful pictures, joined in to make the members’ count more than hundred. The production house has created short films, advertisements and are currently working on a web series and in future they plan to explore much more with better achievements, having support of each other in the team, who are always dedicated to perform better. The first project of the team is, “That Shelly”, and after that they have created short films like, “Kamalini”, “The Farewell”, and much more are coming in the way. The team has recently participated in Indian Film Project 2018, and has got the first prize in their category. This can be considered as a success for a team who had participated for the first time. The team spirit is visible when the non-participating members of the team also rejoiced after the win. The team though is climbing the stairs of success day by day, had to face various hardships at times, many members came and left but the team of Red Matrix Productions is a group of losers, who never give up.”

Sayandip Sikder (Team Leader, Red Matrix Productions)

4. Maggi Readyeeaaahh?! (Parichay)  

Platinum Film of the Year (Amateur Filmmaking)

“We are Parichay! A bunch of passionate film enthusiasts and performing artists, stuck in the monotony of the corporate life, dying trying to make our real dreams come true!”

Dhananjay Gandotra (Team Leader, Parichay)

5. Wake Up! (not.just.a.dentist films)

Best Film #5 of the Year (Amateur Filmmaking)

“It all started with me and my brother discussing the concept of narcolepsy and how it could be used perfectly in relation to the theme. The whole night was spent on connecting the dots and prepping up for the next day. The whole of next day was spent shooting all around the city. Be it hospitals, dental clinics, dance studios, jungles and busy roads. The thrill of shooting round the clock was something we could never forget. I’m glad to have found people who believed in me and the story and I’m thankful to #IndiaFilmProject for giving us this push to create something that we’re really proud of. Winning 3 awards at the ceremony was a surreal experience. I was nervous until the last minute. The feeling when your film, the product of your hard work, is screened and people around you gasp and laugh and clap and enjoy it, can only be described as overwhelming.”

Rishab Joshi (Team Leader, not.just.a.dentist films)

6. Bungee Jumping (Teacup Films) 

Datsun Change Film of the Year (Amateur Filmmaking)

“We are a group of freelancers from different fields of filmmaking. After working in different areas of commercial filmmaking, re. commercials, corporate films and even weddings for close to 4 years, I decided to take a break for a year to work on something that I actually wanted to do. So with all the money I had saved up over the years, I set up my production house with the sole aim of crafting stories. My first task was to put together a team of like minded and passionate individuals; and IFP 2018 was the best place to test our skills out. To my utter surprise not only did we come out with something we can be proud of as a team, our first project together was also widely accepted by our peers and even honoured at IFP 8 with the “Datsun Change Film Of The Year” award. This platform, provided by India Film Project has not only showcased our abilities but also brought us all closer together. We entered as strangers but came out as a family. Even though we all have our different jobs, we still meet every other week and have started work on our next film together. My heartfelt thanks to IFP for making this possible.”

Aditya Chandrashekar (Team Leader, Teacup Films)

Looking to gain some exposure in field of filmmaking or maybe just experiment with your skills and make your weekend productive? India Film Project is back with the 50 Hour Filmmaking Challenge from 27 Sept. 8 PM IST to 29 Sept. 10 PM IST. Choose between Professional, Amateur and Mobile filmmaking categories and win prizes from GoPro (action cameras), Aputure (professional lights) and Deity Microphones (audio gear). Click here to know more. What are you waiting for?!