Wednesday, May 30, 2007

On the Lot

Reality shows...ahhh, don't we love them? An easy, lazy but sure-shot way to make better dramatic Television. How many TV fiction scriptwriters have been made to re-think their genres?
By now, I'm sure we have all been bombarded by hundreds of reality shows on mainstream networks.
Well, here's another one added to the lot...well, "On the Lot" actually! I didn't wanna start on a negative note but hey, this one's good. Ok, so I'm avidly following this one on Fox that's actually Stephen Spielberg's brainchild where the contestants/filmmakers fight to win a $1-million movie deal at DreamWorks. There's a great deal of diversity in the show...the token black guy and now even the token brown girl, yes, there's an Indian American on board. So far, three have been eliminated and 15 remain. Great show to look out for, especially for upcoming directors. Don't go by the masses, be your own judge. I try to watch & listen to the thought processes of the filmmakers, that's the best part.
(pic courtesy on the lot website)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

DISTRESS SEASONAL MIGRATION - 2 - Locked Homes Empty Schools

Am trying to put the whole process in simple sketches...more to come.
Courtesy: LOCKED HOMES, EMPTY SCHOOLS. Smita, Prashant Panjiar,AIF

GI - MUN - DO (Ji - MUN- doe) a place of inspiration, hope and goodness; a better world!
Came across this website and the positivity they want to spread...
Check them out at
And also if you want to turn yourself GREEN in every possible way...try this website...
Take care and enjoy the Summer!!! It is Green,Green everywhere!!

Coffee & some Special FX please

Just came back from an incredible Spiderman 3 experience. I saw the trailers, anticipated the tremendous Special FX and also got what I went for. The film was a tad melo than the other two, but nevertheless, excellent.
The point here is, the movies we get to see these days are laden with incredible amounts of Special FX and are virtually a part and parcel of every movie. And we take them for granted too. Dramatic storytelling through CGI and graphics has reached a zenith, almost to a level of saturation but again, it's the same saturation that has become a basic commodity like coffee. You can actually pick out any movie from a bunch of them with varying degrees of Visual FX. Mild, Rich or Bold.
But my question is, do these movies raise the standard for traditional storytellers/directors who use primarily live-action only? I for one, am increasingly veering towards FX laden movies, because, like coffee, they've become such a basic want.

Post-screening of Men of Burden

Things have been crazy the last few days. But didn't want to forget about the May 12th, 2007 screening of 'Men of Burden - Pedaling Towards a Horizon'. The screening went well but wished we had done more promotion. Getting people to an independent screening, that too, of a documentary film is definitely a not-so-easy task.
Journalist(SAJA-er) Aseem Chabra was kind enough to moderate the post-screening discussion. We had a good discussion with some in the audience, some backs and forths and a couple of leads for the rickshaw projects. Hopefully things will work out towards the contribution.
Aicon Gallery was supportive with their help during the screening. Thanks to everyone who contributed towards the screening. Also gotta thank Nanda and Arvind for their help with the audio system and ALM Associates in Rahway and Ram Lakhani from Digimax for lending the projection and screen systems.
Anyways, do look out for our next screening at the NJSAICF on June 2nd, at 7:45 p.m. Hope to have a good NJ turnout.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Puff the magic dragon

Here is one of my favourite folk song that has taught me a little bit of singing. The song takes us to our childhood time and i hope you all enjoy it.

DISTRESS SEASONAL MIGRATION - 1- Locked Homes Empty Schools

It is time to visit such worlds and see what we can contribute...I have tried to simplify what I read in the book, Locked Homes, Empty Schools in some flow charts...
Locked Homes, Empty Schools, a study commissioned by AIF, examines the plight of migrant families by drawing on the work of four NGOs in different parts of India across several sectors: sugarcane harvesting in Maharashtra; saltpan, roof tile and charcoal making in Gujarat; and brick kiln migrations from Orissa to Andhra Pradesh. more...
The book LOCKED HOMES EMPTY SCHOOLS by Smita, Prashant Panjiar
Book review on AIF by B G Verghese

I had the experience of reading the book and it took me to a world that runs parallel to the one I live but yet is oblivious to it my ignorance that I fail to tread into such worlds or is it the so-called sense of security that I think I possess in this world of mine that I am too comfortable with...????

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Here Vs There (3)

Here's the third installment of the "Here Vs There" series . To read the other entries in the series, refer to the link HERE.
"Observe around you and be thankful for all that you have in this transitory lifetime…
We are fortunate, we have much more than what we need to be content. Let’s try not to feed this endless cycle of consumerism and immorality in which this “modern and advanced” society forgets and ignores the other two thirds of our brothers and sisters.
Let us complain less and give more."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Pondicherry Cycle Rickshaws & Drivers

These are some pictures of 'Men of Burden' though not necessarily film stills, these were taken at different times. Although some of them are available on our film website 'Accessible Horizon Films', take a look again. Somewhere, somehow, they resonate with the beauty of Pondicherry. It reflects the pace of the town that was. But now, with the Autorickshaws and motorbikes, things have changed a lot.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Men of Burden - Exclusive NYC screening (Re-post)

Accessible Horizon Films in association with Aicon Gallery(formerly Gallery ArtsIndia), presents an Exclusive Screening of “MEN OF BURDEN – PEDALING TOWARDS A HORIZON

Total Running Time: 66 minutes
Screening Venue: Aicon Gallery, 206, Fifth Avenue, New York, NY – 10010
Date & Time: 5:00 p.m – 6:30 p.m, 12th May, 2007
Post-Screening Discussion with Filmmakers: Moderated by Aseem Chhabra
Tickets: All proceeds go directly to a Social cause (Men of Burden Cycle Rickshaw Revival Project)
$12 cash at the door
$20 cash donations at door(Receive the Men of Burden Sound Track CD by Steve Gorn)

For more information, please visit:


My aunt used to say that FASTING is the most effective way to teach our bodies to live in harmony with both our outer and inner worlds. My father fasts for a whole day, once a week. To think of fasting does not bother me too, as I feel it heals a lot of issues which are both psychological and physical.
Here is an article I recently came across on CULTURE CHANGE.ORG

Fasting for healing and inner peace

Fasting (i.e., water only) for health is a human and animal process that needs no scientist, although the extent of knowledge from western medical science is wondrous and can help a patient. Once a fast is directly experienced, however, one can see how superfluous medical doctors can appear.

Doctors realize this themselves when faced with natural healing methods, and they see that their income would plummet from fasting. So it is no surprise that fear of fasting is instilled by for-profit medical professionals, academia, media, and their corporate support base. In contrast, there are at least several countries -- especially where health care is socialized -- that utilize fasting openly and do not consign it to the closet of MORE...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

On Permaculture...

Picture Courtesy:

PERMACULTURE or otherwise Permanent Agriculture is something I came up for the first time when I signed up for the School for Designing a Society summer course.

There are a lot of people in this world trying to create a positive change to make this world a better place for everybody... and for that... there are many systems already in practice. If we keep our eyes and minds wide open, we can find all these people and reach out to them...and work in unison and make it happen in many cultures simultaneously!

Check out all these links for PERMACULTURE.

Related links in this blog

Here Vs. There (2)

Here's the second installment of "Here Vs There" . To read the first of the series, refer to the link HERE."Observe around you and be thankful for all that you have in this transitory lifetime…
We are fortunate, we have much more than what we need to be content. Let’s try not to feed this endless cycle of consumerism and immorality in which this “modern and advanced” society forgets and ignores the other two thirds of our brothers and sisters.
Let us complain less and give more."

Friday, May 04, 2007

India's Lawless Legislators: Life reflected in Cinema

Do you wonder why there are so many films in India focusing on the politicians as the villains? Sometimes you would think as to why the film media has to portray them in such a bad light. But the truth is, almost every scene we see in these types of films are basically a reflection of life. Truth reflected back on the screen. Corrupt politicians, subservient police, caste distinctions and elections gone awry...all not just fantasy or fictional work to thrill the audience, but a deliberate showcase of the status quo of Indian politics.
A glimpse of a case in point: Mukhtar Ansari - Here are some excerpts from this article on Wall Street Journal, POLITICAL CONVICTIONS,Lawless Legislators Thwart Social Progress in India,Malnutrition, Polio; A 'Superior' Jail Cell for Mukhtar Ansari, By PETER WONACOTT, May 4, 2007; Page A1
Mukhtar Ansari with police - Picture courtesy: Tribune India
GHAZIPUR, India -- Since late 2005, Mukhtar Ansari has been confined to
this ramshackle town's jailhouse, accused of conspiracy to murder. That
charge and 27 other criminal cases lodged against him over 19 years
have done little to derail a long political career.
In 1996, months after being charged with firing an AK-47 at the local
police commissioner, Mr. Ansari was voted a member of his state's
Legislative Assembly, the equivalent of an American state senate. In 2002,
while facing a charge of illegal arms possession, he won re-election by a
wide margin.
Now, the 40-year-old Mr. Ansari is running again for re-election in
Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state. He's expected to sail back
into office in elections next Tuesday, thanks to a potent mix of divisive
politics and political largess. His brother, Afzal, locked up with him
in the Ghazipur District Jail, is a member of India's national
parliament in New Delhi.
Police accuse the brothers of masterminding the assassination of a
political rival and five associates. Both deny all charges against them;
neither has ever been convicted of a crime.
Many countries, including the U.S., have lawmakers who run afoul of the
law, and it's not uncommon in developing countries for those fleeing
the law to find sanctuary in political office. Brazilian legislators, for
example, have been accused of entering politics to take advantage of a
law that grants them immunity from criminal prosecution in office.
Few countries, however, can match India's numbers. Following the 2004
election, almost a quarter of the 535 elected members of India's
national parliament have criminal charges registered against them or pending
in court, according to the Public Affairs Center, an Indian elections
watchdog. Half of those with charges pending against them face prison
terms of at least five years if convicted.
For some insular communities in India, criminal charges carry much less
of a stigma than in other countries, or even more mainstream parts of
India. Such charges may even be an asset, since tough characters can
help bond together people of the same faith or caste, especially if that
person is seen as one who will help resist bullying by other groups,
says Rashid Alvi, a Congress Party member of parliament from Uttar
. "They will elect the hardcore criminals if they think it will teach a
lesson to the other castes," says Mr. Alvi. "It's the idea of who cares
if he's a rogue, he's our rogue!"
For alleged criminals, political office is alluring: If they haven't
been convicted, they can remain in office, even while in jail. And if
convicted, politicians often manage to hold onto their jobs while an
appeal is lodged. India's justice system grinds so slowly that cases may not
be heard for years. Meanwhile, police escorts deter their foes -- often
other legislators -- from trying to kill them.
Prior to the elections, slightly more than half of its 403 legislative
assembly members, including Mukhtar Ansari, faced criminal charges. In
the first six phases of the elections, there were 48 constituencies
offering four or more candidates with criminal cases pending against them.
The criminal justice system remains vulnerable to political pressure.
Political rivals often direct charges against each other, and work to
withdraw cases against supporters. Still, many of India's legislators in
legal trouble faced criminal charges well before their political
careers began, according to I.C. Dwivedi, former director of police for Uttar
and now the state's head of Election Watch, an NGO. "They were
criminals first and politicians later," he says.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Excerpts from...

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
One of my favorite books and some passages worth mentioning. Of course, there are many more but let's just soak this for now.
- "when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it"
- "When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision."
- "...intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it's all written there."
- "When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke - the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert."(Excellent)
- "You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny. If he abandons that pursuit, it's because it wasn't true love...the love that speaks the Language of the World."
- "There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure."
- "And there were dunes, rocks and plants that insisted on living where survival seemed impossible."
- "When you are loved, you can do anythingin creation. When you are loved, there's no need at all to understand what's happening, because everything happens within you, and even men can turn themselves into the wind. "
- "Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World....It is we who nourish the Soul of the World, and the world we live in will be either better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse. And that's where the power of love comesin. Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are."