November 29, 2013

Some Wisdom from Wim Wenders

This is an interesting read, where the legendary Wim Wenders shares his 50 golden rules of film-making. I am sharing seven of those here, which I want to remember forever:
  • Respect your actors. Their job is 10 times more dangerous than yours.
  • Don’t look at the monitor. Watch the faces in front of your camera! Stand right next to it! You’ll see infinitely more. You can still check your monitor after the take.
  • Before you say “cut,” wait five more seconds.
  • Rain only shows on the screen when you backlight it.
  • Mistakes never get fixed in post!
  • Having a tight schedule can be difficult. But having too much time is worse.
  • Don’t tell a story that you think somebody else could tell better.

November 23, 2013

The Blog Turns Five

During what can be safely called the most stressful and emotionally challenging period of my life, a little over five years ago, I was struggling with my inability to create something worthwhile. It was the time when I had just shifted to Mumbai, and was trying to arrange a massive sum of money to buy my freedom from the Indian Armed Forces. Giving up the service liability was expensive in more ways than one - not only was I letting go of the job as a Doctor in the army, I was embracing a life of "struggle" - in the conventional sense - as an aspiring writer-director in the Mumbai film industry. Emotionally isolated by all my family, all trying their best and ineffectively so to make me change my mind, I was going through a stubborn, confident, but difficult time. And could hardly do anything productive and fulfilling. Then one evening, I chanced upon a blog by one of my juniors, and thought of starting one of my own, dedicated to cinema. That was how, in November 2008, this blog was born, to celebrate cinema as a film-buff.

However, in the following years, I kept updating almost every cinema-related event of my life in this space. From what I learnt from my self-study of the medium, and my experiences as a teacher, to all professional acts and achievements - articles of all kinds found its way into the film-buff's public display of obsessive affection with the movies. Today, despite any active effort to promote this blog, I have a healthy bunch of dedicated readers, some of them very regular, and the traffic of daily page-views has increased remarkably. With 300 posts in last five years, an average of one post every six days, I do not claim to be an avid blogger, but am happy to have stayed consistent, always trying to present something not too technical or academic, but informative anyway, hoping to share whatever little I know and discover of this amazing and magical art and craft of film-making. During these five years, I have also met people who have known me through this blog, and have even been approached by a studio marketing unit to attend their previews. Today, when I read some of my old posts, I smile at my own innocence and naiveté, closing to embarrassment. I continue to struggle with my English, and it is never easy to write on this space. Every time I attempt to write a post, I feel the insecurity of how it will shape up and how my readers will receive it. One of the biggest struggle has been to keep writing personal accounts without making them sound egotistical, as well as to balance the much-aspired modesty with the desire to share my achievements and successes. Despite all this, the only truth is that the blog continues to evolve, with me, and remains a very important inspiration in my life. I hope this blog remains alive as long as I live. After all, it is the only social medium I am active at.

On the fifth birthday of my blog, I would like to thank all my readers, regular or otherwise, who have constantly motivated me with their kind comments about my writings. And would also like to share some good news, that would also explain my absence from this space for more than three weeks. Well, simply put, my brother and I have just won our first award as film-makers - a Golden Elephant trophy at International Children's Film Festival India 2013, Hyderabad, for our Kashmiri short film "Tamaash". There were 16 films from all over the world competing in the category of International Shorts, and the Children's Jury adjudged our film as the best, over the Oscar-nominated "Buzkashi Boys", the Golden Bear winner at Berlin "The Amber Amulet", and several other beautiful films, many of them, according to me, being better than our film. The Jury thought otherwise and gave us this award that has brought an exceptional joy to all my friends and well-wishers. You, the reader of this blog, are also a part of this moment of celebration. I hope you keep witnessing this fascinating journey, as I continue the unending struggle to create something worthwhile, including the posts on this wall.