Sunday, January 27, 2013

Why, Mr. Kamal Hassan?

First of all, I never intended to write this. I know that in a few days our angst will subside and we will continue to live on with this issue comfortably tucked in the deep recesses of our memories, until one day, the same will come back and bite our collective asses in a much cruder form. So, with that in mind, and today’s impending Court decision on Vishwaroopam’s atrocious ban by the Tamil Nadu government, I decided to write it, in the form of questions for Mr. Kamal Hassan. Yes sir, you. In fact, 20 questions to be precise.
  1. Why did you remind us that we pretend to live in a democracy?
  2. Why do you have to be an artistic rebel in a country where socio-political art has been long dead?
  3. Why did you have to show us that our society's tails are curled up tightly between our ass-cracks?
  4. Why did you point out the wimps within us, who sit by as our toothless government does NOTHING, fucking nothing, as ‘cultural terrorists’ wreck havoc upon us?
  5. Why did you give yourself up over the last 50 years for cinema that doesn't let you do what you want to do?
  6. Why did you have to become the bait of our failed political system?
  7. Why did you unravel the vestigial nature of our Censor Board?
  8. Why did you make us realize us that we deserve the governments we elect, and the cinema we are ‘approved’ to make?
  9. Why did you make our artists realize that their country is no longer a haven for their angst or expression?
  10. Why did you remind us that our governments still continue to be held hostage by vote bank politics?
  11. Why are you thinking ahead of your time when, according to society, you should be towing the line, following conventions like sheep in a herd?
  12. Why are you trying to show your peers – in vain – that being an artist means having the balls to stick with their artistic conviction?
  13. Why have you made us realize that it now means nothing to be an artist in a country that once consecrated art in every form?
  14. Why have you reminded us, that tomorrow if we want to take a shit, we need to wait for approval from the thought-police of our society?
  15. Why did you have to prove to us again that this country can no longer be called secular?
  16. Why are you representing all that is seemingly progressive when the truth is so far removed from it?
  17. Why have you given us and our artists another ugly battle to fight?
  18. Why did you have to open up the hypocrisy of ‘shining, incredible’ India?
  19. Why did you reveal more than the tip of the iceberg floating right under the surface of our fucked-up excuse of a country?
  20. Why did you wake us up to the reality that anytime is a time for a revolution to happen?

Monday, January 07, 2013

Human Element - Short film based on a true story

A little over 2 years ago, a little incident happened to one of our team. And we thought why not make something out of it. That's how this short film came into being. Anyways, here it is...

Sunday, January 06, 2013

A thought on rape and Arundhati Roy's take on the issue

It seems that in the after-math of the rape incident and the furor over it, we are slowly starting to see misogynistic patterns emerge in if this is opening up a pandora's box of misogynistic assholes. This is not a one-off incident as many seem to think of it. The rape only opened up a can of worms that is seemingly more and more harder to swallow. Though the incident has thrown light on the under-belly of the issue, it only reminds one of the ghastly truth, that we are surrounded by highly conservative and traditionally patriarchal values that provide the actual reasons for rape...that women who have been conditioned over centuries of servitude are skeptical about confronting their sons and men about how they should be treating women in general. Case in point, 'literate' mothers with sons would rather reprimand other liberal women than try to teach their sons a thing or two about respecting women. That's how deeply rooted this problem is.

The above interview of Arundhati Roy offers an alternative, incisive analysis of the social-class implications of our society. I'm amazed how almost always she comes up with a holistic and bird's-eye-view point of an issue. But my point is, now is the time when we have to fight harder. No actually, now is when the fight has actually begun. And I don't mean it for women...but for our society too, if we want a dare-i-say 'progressive' society.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Where the heck did 2012 go?

Wow...seriously, when the bloody heck did 2012 fly by? It freakin' feels like last night when exactly 364 days ago we were beset by a severe storm shutting down the power of our city, forcing us to open our eyes to darkness and mayhem on January 1st, 2012. But anyways, that's not the point. The point is, this so-called thing called TIME just whizzed past us, leaving us dumb-founded and as lost as a stray on the highway. So many things happened at break-neck speed that we didn't even realize when and where these days slipped by us. As they say, 'Life is what happens when you are busy doing other things'... But one thing is for sure, we got a bloody short life that there's no reason for us to compromise on the things we truly love. Whewwww! Ok, without rambling too much on the philosophical aspect of things, we'll just reminisce a bit on 2012.
I guess 2012 was a rolla-costa year...full of inspiring, adrenaline-packed stuff. We completed 2 projects - Metroxical New York(our latest feature documentary film) and 500 & 5(our first feature length narrative film project in Tamil), made some crazy artwork, travelled 8000 kms to parts of India that seemed like another planet(Ladakh, Himachal, J&K), did a dangerous(no kidding) trek to Kheer Ganga, climbed 16000 feet, met other whacked-out Nomads(from Uruguay, Sweden, France, London, Israel, Tibet, US) like us, met the Dalai Lama(sat through a little during his teaching), volunteered to teach and interact at SECMOL(Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh) teaching Ladakhi students Science, Maths and English, did a mini documentary film for them, met the awesome and humble Sonam Wangchuk(rumoured to be the real life Phunsukh Wangdu, a character played by Aamir Khan in 3 Idiots, the hindi film), attended the world premiere of 500 & 5 at IFFK, Trivandrum and a ton of other stuff. 
Most importantly, it was the people and friends who made it for us. People who inspired us with their minds, their creativity and amazing personalities. It's only when we interact with people like them, we truly feel we are all connected and are directed by this collective consciousness. Anyways, since some of you couldn't come for the film festival premiere and have been asking about it, a little update on that - We had 2 shows in total. The first one at Anjali Theater was pretty decent and the second one at Kalabhavan theater was ok, not bad. But the good thing is that, we had a lot of our other awesome friends at the festival who came out to support us. A special thanks to all our actors and crew who helped in bringing 500 & 5 to life. I would love to share some of the reviews and feedback we got after the screenings, but I guess I'll wait until the next step.
We had some reasonable press coverage from The Hindu(here and here), The Indian Express(here) and other Malayalam Press/Media. The funny part was, in the Malayalam Manorama newspaper, there was a headline that said – “Cosmic Sex(the movie) is the result of my research” says Raghu – Apparently, I had directed the movie about sex and spirituality. Poor Amitabh Chakraborty, the actual director of the film - he had worked so hard on Cosmic Sex(interesting film) and I get the damn credit. But anyways, the world is never fair and true. We also met some amazing filmmakers from Iran, France, Chile, Mexico and Turkey & got to watch some awesome, crazy-ass whacked out movies. A few worth mentioning are Holy Motors(French), Sister(French), Nos Vemos Papa(Spanish), With you Without you(Sri Lankan), Ini Avan(Sri Lankan), Tungsten(Greek) among others. Moreover, we have some interesting developments happening around our film. And just a note, nothing...nothing comes easy to independent filmmakers. Will elaborate further later.
Also, last week I had gone to the Chennai Thiraipada Sangam(Chennai Film Society) organized by Mr. Vijayan in North Chennai where they regularly have guest filmmakers to teach/interact with their students. They had invited me last week for a session. It wasn't really a class, at least that's what I told them, that a class would serve no we had more like a Q & A session revolving around filmmaking, cinema in general and 500 & 5's making and the production process. It was heartening to see lots of like-minded aspiring filmmakers who really felt the need for alternative cinema in Chennai. Some wanted to be directors, some cinematographers, some writers...and the class' age group ranged from 20 to 60. We had an energetic session as we explored what's really stopping independent, low-budget filmmakers from taking their next step. Met some interesting personalities who seem to give hope towards the future of Tamil cinema. Alright, that's that for now I guess. And I won't say Happy New Year because I hope we 'show' and don't 'tell'...