Perception Managers has had a long term association with Onir's movies from Bas ek pal to Sorry Bhai & now I Am. It's a priviledge to work with Onir once again on I AM which addresses issues that concern and affect each one of in some way. Onir's sensitive and delicate handling of My Brother Nikhil is been seen and appreciated not just in India but globally. We wish Onir, Sanjay Suri & the entire team Good Luck and look forward to great association on this project.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
A brief conversation with actor Rahul Bose (no, unfortunately he’s not a ‘friend’, as a lot of you might presume) led me to this gig. “So you’ve studied journalism and now you want to work in films?” – he quizzed me rather skeptically over the phone. After listening to me answer in the affirmative, he told me that he’d call me as soon as something came up. While I was expecting to receive this ‘call’ by sometime next year, my phone which lay next to me began to buzz his name again in a matter of seconds. Once he was on the line, he wasted no time and asked if I would like to assist in Onir’s latest project. “Onir, as in the director of My Brother Nikhil?!” came my inapt response to that query. From my shrill tone it became fairly obvious to both of us that I would only be too glad to work on this project.I was scheduled to meet Onir for an interview on the 27th of July, which was a Monday. Sunday night therefore was spent going over blogs dedicated to this latest venture by Anticlock Films. As I sat on my bed reading about the series of shorts and learning that while meant to entertain they were also based on significant issues in our society, my excitement level began to soar. I remembered the uncharacteristic, emotionally charged speech I had made to my parents in a bid to let them allow me to work in films. I had said to them that eventually I’d make films that were politically and socially conscious and hence noble and hence they should let me and so on and so forth…. But here I was about to do just that in my very first assignment. Yes, I consider my self lucky.Luckier still because I am part of the best team ever. The team comprises of individuals who are sophisticated in their knowledge of film making, kind to me and above all, a lot of fun. The Omar shoot has been a great learning experience and I can’t wait to start work on the remaining shorts
Thursday, August 27, 2009
In the beginning there was chaos, and nothing but chaos… and I stepped into the chaos looking for an answer….
I remember from the time I was in school in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, Kashmir was the place my mother always wanted to come to… a place of romance and beauty…. Years passed by… we never made it to Kashmir … and then the unrest… but now the dream that lay dormant in her was a living dream in me. I was looking for an excuse to visit this place…
About a year and half back I read the story of a successful Kashmiri Model in Bangladesh. One fine day he was arrested as a suspect RAW agent. After 40 days in prison he was deported to India. On arrival at the Delhi airport he was arrested as an ISI agent and kept in Tihar for three months. He was released because of lack of evidence, but not given a clean chit. The contradiction in the whole episode excited me….
He flew down to Mumbai and I met him. There was the man – once a model, now a suspect, a man with a broken nose, a limp and a few scars standing in front of me. Over the next few days we spoke and I realized that his story is not what I wanted to make a film on, but it started the process of another story in me. His conversations with me raised many questions in me. These were fragmented thoughts, scattered images and half spoken words.
Then I decided that I had to go…. On the 14th of October 2007, I was driving out of Srinagar airport-“WELCOME TO PARADISE” the sign board read… and all around it were bunkers, armored vehicles, barbered wires and army men. I heaved a sigh -Paradise indeed! This was the paradox that was to become a part of my sight and sound over the next few days. We drove straight to Azaan’s (my friend and guide) house. This would be my abode for the next few days as the family absolutely refused to let me stay in a hotel. I am glad that I did not insist. This was the first time I was living with a Muslim family. And the experience was most enriching. So many misconceptions, so many apprehensions – all destroyed over the next days as I ate, slept, chatted, and discovered Srinagar with Azaan and his family.
Once back in my Versova flat I try and give shape to my story but I realize that now it is perhaps more fragmented, scattered because that is what I feel about Kashmir… The shape is shapeless.
Images, images…. The magnificent Chinar trees, the cold fresh air, the extremely polluted and dirty Dal lake, the piercing looks of the army Jawans, PTV blaring everywhere, Café Arabica, Boulevard road, The posh new cottages, the burnt Habakadal with its memories of migrant Hindus, the beautiful woodwork that adorned ceilings, doors windows etc, the magnificent Dastgir sahab, the absolutely adorable kids( what was striking is how kids seem to roam around so freely in groups without any fear), the pony tailed today’s fashionable kashmiri boys, the colourfully dressed beautiful confident kashmiri women, the nun chai(salt tea), the food( I was eating all the time), The lonely army jawan, the wandering shepherds….
The day I was supposed to return back home I took a long walk up the mountain road… and at one point where it overlooked the whole city I sat down. I felt immensely sad – sad for the valley caught in this conflict of two nations, sad for this valley where trees were disappearing, heritage structures falling apart and ugly new malls coming up. Sad for the jawan whom I was trying to photograph when he stopped me ‘mera naukri jayega( I will loose my job)… paanch minute baitkar bath hi karloh( why don’t you chat with me for five minutes)”. I sat with him as he spoke about his home in the far west, about being unloved and unwanted by the local people, about being on the brink of death all the time, about a desire to speak to someone other than his colleagues.
I smiled as I thought of the young Kashmiri girls who refused to believe that I was a director, and thought that they were far better looking than the Bollywood actresses.At the same time I felt uneasy when I saw the look many of them had when a group of pretty kashmiri women passed them. I thought how I would feel if I had to pass by a man with a gun every ten minutes….I would not be happy. I know it is much more complex, but this is definitely not it! They were not complaining because things are much better now, and they have accepted this as a part of their lives…. Would I be able to do that- I am afraid not, because they also represent memories of torture, abduction, rape and death.
I remembered my walk through Habakalal, trying hard to control my tears as I stood before the house of a Hindu friend who had to migrate after the militants murdered a family member. I remembered all the stories he had told me about the house, about the chinar outside his house, about the bridge across the river on the way to his school, about the loud speaker blaring in the night asking the kafir’s (Hindu’s) to leave…. About the house with eighteen rooms… so many memories.
Later in the night in the privacy of my room I wept… wept for all those people who lost their homes, live lives in refugee camps and who have the right to this “paradise”. I remembered my home- in Bhutan, remembered how we had to leave because of political unrest, how it affected my mothers health for good, remember our car pulling away from the house of my childhood, remember the students from my dad’s school standing on both the sides of the road and throwing rose petals on our car… and my dad’s face, unflinching, strong, trying hard to control his tears waving to the kids says a good bye to the school and house he built 25 years ago.
Memories jumble, emotions erupt, images intermingle…. And I know the script is beginning, the film that I have to make- a film set in kashmir, about the loss of identity, loss of home, of history, of fear, of hope and despair….That is perhaps where the germ of MEGHA started. I started working on a script on Kashmir with Merle Kroger called THE FACE…. But somewhere the story of the dual loss was disappearing.
As we started the “I AM” series I thought that it would be maybe the right platform to start the process. I spoke to my friend and writer URMI JUVEKAR (writer Oye Lucky Lucky Oye) about the concept. She readily agreed to write the film.
Working together with Urmi has been again something that both of us have been trying for a while …. And somehow it never happened after 1994….Fifteen years later it is happening now. … MEGHA was born……
This is a film that tells the story of the paradox that is Kashmir. The story of 300,000 migrants, who have lost their home and identity. This is the story of a population stuck in a conflict situation where nothing moves.
This is the story of two friends MEGHA and RUBINA which reflect the two sides of the same coin…..
We at ANTICLOCK FILMS offer you an opportunity to be a part of a process of the making of a film, to
be a part owner of a film. You can do this my contributing monetarily for the making of the film. To that end, we’ve established four different ways to help:
· Rs 1000 to Rs 5000 – Students category. Acknowledgement on the website and the end credits.
(Treated as donation)
· Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000 – Acknowledgements in the end credits( Treated as donation/pledge)
· Rs 25,000 to Rs 100,000 – Return of your contribution at the time of the final film release and
acknowledgement in the end credits
· Rs 100,000 to Rs 15,00,000 – Acknowledgements in the beginning titles of the film and
proportionate share in the profits.
Total budget of each short film is – Rs 30,000,00 (Rupees thirty lacs)
Funds in Place by Anticlock Films – Rs 15,000,00 (Rupees fifteen lacs)
Please spread word and help support a film that wants to make a difference. Thank you.
· Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Amar : +91 98337 48111
· Facebook: http://facebook.com/iammegha
· Twitter: http://twitter.com/iamthefilms
· Website coming soon : www.iamthefilms.com
· Cheques to be made for Anticlock films and sent to :
181 PARIKH BUNGALOW
ARAM NAGAR II
MUMBAI 4000 61
DIRECTED BY ONIR
PRODUCED BY SANJAY SURI AND ONIR
WRITTEN BY URMI JUVEKAR
DOP : ARVIND KANNABIRAN
EDITOR: IRENE DHAR
SOUND DESIGN : ARUN NAMBIAR
MUSIC : AMIT TRIVEDI
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I came to Bombay just 10 days before I joined Anticlock films and all the while I was playing safe trying to look for editing gigs. A lot of people I met from the industry discouraged me from looking for work on a film production set saying I wouldn’t be able to pull it off due to the hard work and long hours. I don’t know if they were being sexist or plain nice, but having just graduated from film school, I was no stranger to working the graveyard shift. Weekends were always few and far between. I once worked non-stop for 37 hours on my student film, doing what I love, while never letting anything weigh me down.
And so in my pursuit of achieving my goals, an aunt of mine got me in touch with her best friend – Aunt Indu (Purab Kohli’s mother) – who is a friend of Onir’s. She forwarded a copy of my resumé to Onir and I ended up meeting him at his office the following day. A script reading, a few discussions with Amar and Onir, and I was on. I joined the “Abhimanyu” bandwagon just 10 days before we went into production, and what a ride it has been since then! All of this took a while to sink in but I think it actually hit me on my first day on the sets of Abhimanyu when I was seeing what I had been dreaming of for the longest time. And that is being on set - of a film in the making; of dreams materializing.
I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be selected to be part of this team and their projects. No, I’m not about to lay it on thick, but all I will say is during the entire time of my study in Toronto, the only hindi film I actually sought out to buy and watch was Sorry Bhai!, and only because it was made by Onir. Well, you didn’t know that Onir, but I guess, now u do!
What with the Abhimanyu shoot just being wrapped up, and Omar almost close on the heels, all I can say is that working with Onir, Sanjay Suri and everyone else at Anticlock films has been my most amazing work experience by far! And with Megha, Afia and Rudra left to round off this 5 short film series, I’m only looking forward to making more memories!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Arjun Mathur (as Omar)
Banner: Anticlock Films
Producers: Sanjay Suri and Onir
Cinematographer: Arvind Kannabiran
Story Screen Play: Merle Kroeger and Onir
Dialogues: Ashwini Malik
Music: Vivek Philip
Playback Singer: Karthik
Lyrics: Amitabh Varma
Editing: Irene Dhar Malik
Sound Design: Arun Nambiar
Engineer: Sameer C
Art Director: Sujith Sawant
Still Photography: Thulasi Kakkat
Make up Director: Elton Fernandez
Costume Designs: Manish Malhotra
Publicity Design: Siddharth Dutta
Graphics: Sidharth Meer
Asst Directors: Amar Kaushik, Sundeep Malani, Akhil Chaudhary, Archis Achrekar, Bianca Saldanha, Kumari Sunayna, Sumith Arora
Assistant Cameraman: Reddy, Vidushi Tiwari
Online Marketing: Mayank Dhingra
Making of Omar: Rajeev Kohli
Production Manager: Mohan Joshi
Production Assistant: Rakesh Jain, Rajesh Patel, Lalith
PR and Promotion: Arati Salgaonkar (Perception Managers)
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
We are happy to welcome a team that believes in Bridging The Perception : Reality Gap. Welcome ARATI SALGAONKAR , CEO - Perception Managers for volunteering to manage the Public Relations and Promotions of "I Am".
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Amar and Nalini have been dating each other for a good ten years before they exchanged their vows. Amar who was accompanying Onir for AFIA's recee in Delhi, left for home with just a day in hand before the wedding and that's not it, the poor err dedicated guy will be back to work on Monday for OMAR's pre-production.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Onir needed 4 kids for the film of different ages to play the younger versions of Abhimanyu. And he was interested in casting local Bangalore talents for the kid’s role, with the condition that the kids should speak Hindi fluently. What next? Destination – Nalini Ratnam! She handles the artist management in Bangalore.
Well, when Nalini and Onir met, there was this positiveness from both the side, both got the feeling that – things would work out for the best.
Yep! Onir narrated the subject to Nalini and she understood what Onir wanted. Immediately she put up a list of photographs on her laptop – that Onir had to chose upon. Could see the sparkle in Onir’s eye, as he could visualize his Abhimanyu’s amongst those kids.
One o one for the different ages, Nalini later sent the pics to Onir and he later short listed a few of them.
That’s when, Onir had some relief in adjusting his budget, coz if the kids were brought from Mumbai, then the parents had to be accompanied as well, and then their stay, their to and fro.. would add up to the budget.
Having kids here in Bangalore, worked out in favor for Onir.
What next, Onir and the DOP left back to Mumbai to return back to Bangalore soon.
Meantime, the kids which were shortlisted from Nalini Ratnam, were auditioned with their script lines given to them. As many as 10 kids and a few teens were auditioned, sent it to Onir and from there came the Result – These are the right choice, Baby.. Ahaa!
More on Nalini Ratnam and the Kids in the next....(to be continued)
Sunday, August 2, 2009
So, as the Production Manager was not upto the mark, our DOP got someone whom he knew to help us around in getting some good locations and also help in the shooting process. And, Pradeep Belawadi, the theater person came into the picture. He showed us some huge houses/bungalows in the outskirts of the city and couple of other locations. But I guess... yet, the right and the exact look which Onir wanted were not yet viewed by his eye. And then, through some contacts of Onir and Arvind, came across Archna Balan, who was very much vibrant and read Onir's eye. His view, his vision.. was very clear to Archna. She did show a bungalow at Koramangala to us.. which was exactly what Onir had it in his mind.
Lemme add here that - If not for this Bungalow that finally got selected/shot.. I m sure Onir wouldn't have been happy much as he had expected it to be.
So, we locked upon the house at Koramangala.
Also got the Shankara Foundation at Kanakapura Road.
I could have my friend Ricky Kej give his editing Studio for the shoot.
We zeroed on a Discotheque at Brigade Road too.
And what Onir liked the most, was the Coffee shop... the one at the heart of the city @ MG Road.. Koshy's which he was very keen upon. But unfortunately, with whatever sources we used, met the proprietor and also tried all the influences.. Koshy could not be part of the Abhimanyu shoot. Instead, it was Mohan Joshi (Anticlock Films) who tried his charm and his way of speech to convince the Manager of the Coffee Day at Brigade Road to shoot by paying them their rentals.
The Reece finally was all locked with Onir finding his proper locations.
With being finalized as the locations, Onir then moved on to hunt for his starcast.. The important characters in the film - The child artists. And that's when; we got Nalini Ratnam at our rescue.
…to be continued
Saturday, August 1, 2009
We've got an interesting opportunity for Delhi/Kashmir based actors for Onir's upcoming short film "AFIA", which is third short film in the five film series. Here are the requirements, those interested should get in touch ASAP as Onir would be in Delhi tomorrow and might just meet the actors.
- Boy(19-23)... Fluent in english n hindi/ has to be Kashmiri/ boyish/ profile of character... works in a call centre.
- Boy(24-27).... Lanky kashmiri/ bony/ deep set eyes/ can look haggard/ fragile.. ex- millitant/ suffering from Trauma.
- Swiss/German man(45-55), heads an NGO/ suave/enigmatic/ attractive
- Lady(25-28) delhi girl/ works in switzerland with an NGO/ sophisticated...mother of 4 year old/well educated and well spoken in Hindi n English.
If you or any one you know fits the bill, write to us on email@example.com
And then, Onir decided to come down to Bangalore to have a look at the locations. Also his production Manager from Mumbai Mohan Joshi (working for Anticlock Films) came along.
In Bangalore, we needed a production Manager to help us getting permissions and finding locations. Although my trusted manager, Krishna (who worked with me for all my earlier films) wasn’t in town and was shooting at Vizag, he recommended someone at the last hour. Well, it’s a different story altogether that the person was slow in his work and was not punctual and not getting us into the right direction. And to add to it, blame on the Bangalore traffic, the day went slow, things got delayed and end of the day, did not achieve anything. And the locations which Onir saw, wasn’t upto the mark.
Let me add here that: Onir is actually so punctual in his casting that, even the house, the background, the block that he decides has to match to his expectations. Such a perfectionist, one need to learn a lot for him. Every thing in his movie, irrespective of the stars, his locations and the block that he decides is a character in the film. That’s why Onir films are actually ‘different’ from the regular mainstream cinema.
Getting back to Recce, not much happened on the first day, and then the second day we left early morning to a far off place, outskirts of Bangalore to find a field and a lake beside. Although it was a good long ride with fresh air in the early morning, the end result was not in favor of Onir. Hmm.. It definitely striked to my mind that, I did not do a right thing in getting a good production manager (I was in fact, calling my manager at Vizag giving him complaints about this local manager).
Joining us that day was the DOP – Arvind Kannabiran who flew down to have a look at the locations. (Its another incident that I need to mention here – but will keep it on hold for another day – exclusive).
So, we doubled with Onir, Kannabiran, Myself, Mohan & the local manager rounding about Bangalore from place to place… hunting for the locations, finding out the exact directions of the place, and wasting our time. That’s when, Kannabiran and Onir came to a conclusion – we have to find someone else immediately, and to our rescue we found someone else, in contacts through Arvind Kannabiran.
…. To be continued
For all those who need to know:
Recce (pronounced "recky") is a military term that has been borrowed by media production in the United Kingdom, derived from "reconnoiter" (the verb form of "reconnaissance"). It is a pre-filming visit to a location to work out its suitability for shooting, including access to necessary facilities and assessment of any potential lighting or sound issues.