Tuesday, 25 March 2014


Recently a friend and I were discussing a script and this exercise again cropped up. The instruction we were given before shooting for the exercise called 'interview' was to choose any person and extract the maximum information from them. What the ten of us in direction can be read here.

I have great respect for this exercise and believe this is something you should do before beginning on any screenplay (ideally any sort of) writing. Like our professor pointed out rightly, in most scripts we see a trend that ALL characters speak like the writers themselves. Not in terms of dialect etc, but characters are all drawn from the writer. This is not that creative. When you simply film people around you and later listen to them talk, you will see how different they are from you. This difference should be given ample representation in your writing.

Even if its not for this purpose its great to film people talking. Once in a while you can watch them and observe all their mannerisms and other ways of conducting themselves. People are always interesting. Well, most of them are.

Don't wait. Just film people talking. Go interview.

This here is Babu, a cook in a mess nearby, run by some malayalee nurses.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

A Much Needed Break

I lied at the institute that I have caught chicken pox and took a week's break. Much needed, I would say.

The problems of a person like me in a place as that are endless. Lack of a single occupancy room, poor mental and physical health, pressure of upcoming projects etc have made a menace of my life there. Friend suggested that I go to Hyderabad and I made a quick decision a day prior to this rather important workshop by Gurvinder Singh on the upcoming project that is 'mise-en-scene'. I know, I shouldn't have pushed it so far. It has cost me dearly but it's okay, I guess, film making can be attempted or learnt only when one's mind is at peace. When there is at least a wee bit of method to one's madness. This I lacked.
The last time I tried to shoot which was a few days ago I couldn't hold the camera steady for even a minute. I finally came to terms to the fact that things had hit a new low.
Hence, Hyderabad. A room of one's own. Quality time with self. Away from the sickening population of the institute. Good, I see. 
During one of the workshops of the department of Audiography that I too had attended, the professor had suggested us 'An Equal Music' by Vikram Seth. I finished it on the way here. Was a good read. Found it a bit drab towards the end. I would call it a musical thriller. Will take you on a journey through Venice, Vienna and London, musically. I wouldn't call the language lucid, interesting, rather. Has a twist to it. Found it unnecessarily descriptive in places. 

An interesting read

My new read is Camus' The Outsider. I know, its rather late, but I feel the season suits the book the best. Or is it the other way round? 

My copy of Camus

Sunday, 16 March 2014


The first assignment in II semester was what is called 'actuality exercise'. It was one I loved. This is excellent to get yourself familiar with the equipment and use it freely. You can call it the equivalent of free hand drawing exercises. All you are asked to do is film something around you without intervening in it, that is, you shouldn't make anybody perform. Film what there is. Then get a narrative flow out of it. Mostly this part happens on the edit table.

It was a great experience for me. I shot at least thrice, a different topic each time. Cut and recut the material over and over again. Indulged. It doesn't really matter if you don't have a story or great images. It is designed to make you understand the concept of scenes, flow of time, editing etc. Basically something to play around with.

I strongly believe this is something anybody who wishes to make any kind of movie, fiction or non fiction should practise. It can be tiring, but will definitely make you more confident at least on the technical front.

Here is Tipu, one of the construction workers here. Someone who should be in school, working on a building where future 'film makers' will shoot their student projects.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Bhukailash Rajbari

The book i read last was Amitav Ghosh's The Calcutta Chromosome.  I hadn't read any Ghosh and just went through his blog as an ice breaking session. It is there that i came across this place. He had listed it among the ten places he liked the most in the world. I HAD to go there. Looked up the directions on line and learnt that it was 13 kilometers from where i am. I decided to cycle. Cycling is prohibited on most roads in this route but i decided to trust my ability to pursue and do it anyway. 
When i entered Park Street i saw the entrance to the oldest and biggest cemetery here. I had once gone there only to find it shut. Had all the time in the world so decided to go in. The sepulchers are huge. Lovely place to contemplate the meaninglessness of life etc. Made a quick sketch while there. 

 South Park Street Cemetery

 Bhukailash Rajbari (pronounced Rajbadi. The 'r' is because of the Bengali accent of 'da' for 'ra'. Like how 'zee' is 'see' for most malayalees.) is really good for spending some lone time. Its right in middle of all Kidderpore's noise, but still is silent. But i am sort of allergic to religious chantings so that was a problem. It used to be the living place of old zamindar families of Bengal. What he had said in his post was true. People in the area themselves hardly knew about the place. I had to ask a lot of them and was often given wrong directions. Looks a bit like this. The blog shows a couple of photographs. 

 Bhukailash Rajbari

To be frank I didn't understand why Ghosh had found this place that intriguing. I would not have it in my top ten places to visit in Kolkata itself. 
Calcutta Chromosome is a really exciting and thrilling read. If you like Kolkata you will have a great time reading passages set in places you know and have been to. It is worth reading even if you don't.