July 27, 2010

Just An Interesting Observation

This Hollywood film, released in 2010, by one of the most famous filmmakers of our time has Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. The protagonist has lost his wife but keeps having visions of her. And circumstances have forced him to stay out of his homeland, though he badly wants to return. The film's biggest strength is the way it plays with real and unreal, and the last shot of the film - one important visual motif, keeps it open-ended, or tries its best, to leave us wondering whether the entire film was a dream!

Which film am I talking about?

Your instinctive answer would be 'Inception'.

But, what about Martin Scorsese's 'Shutter Island'? Go back to the first para and you will observe - this interesting connection between the two films. A good trivia for quizzers. And I'm sure these films will share some Academy Awards nominations as well.

On a different note, I am planning to plant an idea into the minds of some of our biggest financiers and producers. Perhaps I'll go to Ashtavinayak. They spent more than Rs 120 crore on a movie called 'Blue' last year, without caring to look at the script. I would use the art of 'inception' and convince them to give that amount to me: I'll make an entire career out of that amount. Would make at least 15 films which, together, will recover the cost as well. Some will win, some will lose, but in the end, Ashtavinayak will end with profits, unlike their water-adventure that shares its name with my favourite film of all time, from Kieslowski's 'Colour Trilogy'. (I can not forgive them for this sin and would plant some sick perversions in their minds too.)

All details for the desired 'inception' have been planned, including the designs of the different levels of dream-consciousness. I have also selected a 'totem' - a miniature Rubik's cube that has a faulty colour scheme. Seems everything is done and I'm raring to go. There is one problem, though.

I still need Christopher Nolan to direct it for me!

July 20, 2010

More Poems By Rohan

Thank you all for appreciating my poems in ‘Udaan’, and especially for applauding the film. This is the kind of cinema I believe in, and the response we are getting assures me that a good and honest film will always find its audience.

There were continual requests for the poems to be featured here as well as on the Udaan Facebook page. Today, I had a call from Ishika, Vikramaditya Motwane’s wife, informing that they are adding the poems on the Facebook page. Here is the link.

Although, I have decided not to share my random poems on this blog as it is dedicated to cinema, here is some more of Rohan’s poetry that could not find a place in the film.

The poem that Rohan recites in the park to his uncle and dad had three stanzas. The film features the first and the third, the second stanza was edited out. Here is that ‘deleted stanza’:

मीठी-सी धुन वो तुम्हें क्यूँ बुलाती नहीं पास अपने, पड़ा सोचता हूँ;
थाम हाथ लहरें कहाँ ले चलेंगीरेत पर तुम्हारे खड़ा सोचता हूँ;
खोल खिड़कियाँ जब धूप गुदगुदाए, क्यूँ नींद में पड़े हो, क्या ख्वाब की कमी है?
अखबार और बेड-टी के पार भी है दुनियामैं रोज़ इन सवेरों में गड़ा सोचता हूँ.

And now the poem called ‘Udaan’. This poem was my immediate reaction to the script. I wrote this just to get into the mood of things. Vikram, the director, selected me for the job when he read this poem. But there was no scope for it in the film. Let me share it here. Consider it Rohan’s work:

आदत उस परवाज़ की पड़ी है जिसके कुछ पार भी नहीं,
वहाँ जहाँ का सफ़र मिले तो चाहूँ मैं घर-बार भी नहीं,
वहाँ जहाँ से जहाँ खिलौने जैसा लगता है देखो तो,
वहाँ जहाँ होने को हो फिर पंखों की दरकार भी नहीं.

कच्ची किरणें सोख जहाँ अम्बर कुछ भूना चाह रहा हो,
घटता – बढ़ता हुआ चाँद अब कद से दूना चाह रहा हो,
कभी अब्र का कोमल टुकड़ा उलझ गया पैरों में ऐसे,
जैसे बारिश बने बिना मिट्टी को छूना चाह रहा हो.

ख्वाबों के पंखों पर उड़ता-उड़ता रोज़ निकल जाता हूँ,
अरमानों का असर कि हो जो भी ज़ंजीर फिसल जाता हूँ,
नहीं अकेला पाता खुद को, खुद टुकड़ों में बिखर-बिखर कर
नयी मंज़िलों की कोशिश ही प्यास बने, मचल जाता हूँ.

ओस छिड़कती हुई भोर को पलकों से ढँक कर देखा है,
दिन के सौंधे सूरज को इन हाथों में रख कर देखा है,
शाम हुयी तो लाल-लाल किस्सा जो वहाँ बिखर जाता है,
गयी शाम अपनी ‘उड़ान’ में मैंने वो चख कर देखा है.

July 02, 2010

I Hate Lousy Spelling

I don’t have stats to prove my point but I believe that the most common spelling error in written English among literate people today is the interchangeable use of its and it’s. People all around, some indubitably better with their English, surprise me with this mistake that they so generously commit. A few weeks ago, one dear friend of mine had a detailed conversation with me on the changing trends of the written language. He was mighty pissed off with the double-‘errors’ in the title of an upcoming film – I Hate Luv Storys. I argued that this is an intentional ‘error’ and certainly not an act of ignorance, on which he said – these irresponsible ‘errors’ on something as public and omnipresent as a movie poster/trailer is further going to screw up the spelling sense of the new generation. As Godard believes, “…the cinema both gives to life and takes from it.” I agree with my friend. But I am more forgiving in instances like this. I generally have no problem with people who make conscious spelling ‘errors’ to look cool. But I hate it when it comes to the interchangeable use of the derivatives of it mentioned above. I can not believe that this is done intentionally. And I fail to buy the excuse that it is a ‘small mistake’ that someone overlooked. There is hell lot of difference between its and it’s, enough to make a tolerant, non-judgmental man like me go crazy. In the next email that this friend of mine sent me, he too had committed the same error, and yes, his English is better than mine, any given day. What more, this film that we are talking about ends with the text: Its not a love story. Its a saga.

(Hey! I just realized something. While typing the last three words of the last paragraph, MSWord tried to correct me by adding an apostrophe automatically. I had to go back and delete it. How is it possible then, in this world of green and red error marks that come automatically on our typed documents, to repeatedly commit errors like these?)

On a different note:
I watch most movies at Fun Republic since I shifted to Andheri. After the show ended this noon and I walked back to my home I realized that the two buildings closest to the theatre are Yash Raj Films Studios and Balaji Telefilms. Not that I didn’t know, but it just looked more apparent today. The climax of I Hate Luv Storys has a line: Aur dialogues yaad nahin aa rahe, sab use ho gaye hain. So true. I really don’t blame the writer-director.

July 01, 2010

My First Flight

“Read the script of Udaan… So well written… I wish I were a part of this film.” - My diary entry dated 25th May, 2009.

“Congratulations Saty. You have been asked to write poems and a short story for Anurag Kashyap’s next production Udaan which is being directed by Vikramaditya Motwane.” – My brother’s SMS dated 8th June 2009.

“ Talked to Mummy. I hope they are glad. I don’t know…” – My diary entry, same day.

“Vikram gave me my cheque, signed by Anurag Kashyap. I do not have a Xerox copy of my first paycheque, but I’m definitely going to keep one of this.” – Diary entry, 28th June 2009.

“It was a strange feeling, definitely. I could feel goose bumps all over me as Rohan started narrating my poem on screen. Although I wasn’t satisfied with the way the poems appear, I liked the movie. I’m happy with the way it has shaped up. I’m satisfied with Vikram’s direction and impressed by the 16mm-sync sound he has used. And I would ask my friends to go watch the film.” – on Udaan’s rough-cut screening, 11th Jaunary, 2010.

“What a news! What a start!! Udaan has been selected for Cannes. Un Certain Regard. Vikram is so happy and proud. He must be. What a great beginning for him! It is competing with 18 other films, one of which is Godard’s!” – Diary entry, 15th April, 2010.

Udaan doesn’t quite soar.” – a not-so-positive review by Gautaman Bhaskaran from Cannes.

“well made, involving…” – Roger Ebert from Cannes.

“… unlikely to secure widespread critical support but… even the most cynical might find it hard not to respond with a lump in their throat.” – Allan Hunter from Cannes.

“…a well told story that speaks from the heart and goes right through it.” – Fatema Kagalwala from Cannes.

“I complete two years in Mumbai today. What a journey it has been!” – Diary entry, 30th June, 2010.