Thursday, 14 August 2014

Two Deaths

14th august 2014

I don't know if it's a coincidence that most of my movie projects happened during the most trying and mentally unfit phases of my life. May be it was the beginning. The first short film that I did was conceived in a hospital bed. I was there after a suicide attempt. I made two more short films and a music video thereafter and every one of them was during similar phases of my personal life. The first big project in my life as a film student is just two weeks away and once again I am grappling with a break up. No, it doesn't help me work better.

I try not to make a big deal out of it. It is also called being in denial. It is easier for me because I don't have many friends. I think it is right because it is only my burden to bear. The truth, however is that I know I am only fooling myself. I don't know if talking about my depression will help. It never has. At the same time this is the biggest hit I have had. The only good thing I see is that at least for the time being I am not suicidal.

It's a bit funny how people ask who dumped whom when they hear of a break up. I don't see how that is important. I don't think people can be dumped. You dump garbage not people. In my case no break up until this one had ever affected me because all of it had come out of hatred. This one came out of love. Therefore it hurts and it is unbearable.

I am grappling with the situation like a toddler. Falling, gathering, falling. I never planned to write about it even in this way but today something made me. Seemingly insignificant events affect you in inexplicable ways when you are depressed.

NN, my room mate was leaving for Italy as part of a student exchange programme by the institute. Yesterday while packing she casually mentioned that one of our common friends' friend had died that day. Today in the canteen, our graphics professor came up to me and said that he and I were both mourning. When I asked why he said that he said it was because both of us were wearing black. I thought it was a lame conversation. Sometimes during such conversations I feel very violent inside my head. Today I felt like smashing his head with a hammer when he said that.

Soon after when I was on my way out to grocery shopping S Karmakar HOD of editing called out to me.

Do you remember a group of kids who were working there when we went for the film festival in Nandigram?”
Yes”, I said.
You remember the twins?”
Yes,” I said.
One of them-”

I knew it even before he completed the sentence. It is that moment in a movie, you know, when the epiphany happens. In most movies with puzzles I get the details right before it is shown on screen. I take pride in that. Movies which completely surprise me in plot impress me that way. Only this time, it was not a movie. Not everything in a film school is about movies. One of the twins had died. He was the same person NN had talked about.

I tried to force tears out of me while I received the news. I really wanted to cry. I was fond of the deceased. He was a sweet kid. Not more than twenty. He was only an acquaintance.

It took me back to that crazy night in Nandigram. I was totally unimpressed with how things were, there. The group of youngsters were all from Jadavpur University, as far as I can remember. It was a film festival organized for the people of the village. It was a success but I felt that the group was inefficient. There were people in love there. There was a lot of sex. Of course neither of it is a problem. Using a space for personal needs while holding resposibility however is a huge problem for me. If you are entrusted with a job and a space to do that job you cannot make use of it to run personal errands or have sex and thereby jeopardize the job itself. In Nandigram the youngsters were having a lot of fun and handling the screenings irresponsibly. I disapproved of it but I was nobody to comment and not in charge and it remained just a mental note.

The trip itself was the best one I made after coming here. For two whole weeks I was in a magic spell. I wanted to go back and stay there for a month. It was beautiful.

There was a drinking session at night. There was a fight between couples and friends of couples, the usual. I was observing all the people. That is when I talked to the twins. They had rhyming names. Same but for a syllable. I remember talking about it to my then lover and now ex and laughing. One was a poet and the other liked to paint. He showed me his drawings. He later came and whispered in my ear that one of the poets there was in love with me. [That was when I realized that in a bengali drinking session almost everyone is a poet]. Before I went to bed he stopped me in the stairs and with all the love in the world offered me a joint. He was proud of his rolling skills. I was a bit sad, seeing how young he was and how he was so much into weed. He was happy.

He died. I still remember the excitement and the life I saw in his eyes. He was on a train and was singing hanging by the door before his head hit a pole and killed him.

I am not sad. I want to cry. I want to cry all the time. Every time NN leaves the room I lock myself up and try to cry. Doesn't happen. I want to mourn the boy's death but I can't. When a person dies we have a defence mechanism of creating a picture of a perfect human being in our heads about them. It is because we think it is unfair to think about a dead person's flaws. The boy was like any other kid of his age. He was creative and mischievous and all things kids can be. He died and it made me sad. He died and made me want to write about my sadness. I did. Now I can go to sleep. Have coffee or something.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Chronicling the mise en scene exercise #2

So after the prep. We moved on to what we call principal photography when we feel like sounding important and what is commonly known as 'shooting'. Contrary to what I had expected I had a great time. It was the first time I was working with children. All the cast were non-actors. Ranjan, who works at a juice shop nearby provided me the child actors. Gardeners at the institute, the librarian, our favourite tea shop owner were the other actors. D Jeet gave me enough time to rehearse. We were shooting on 4:3 aspect ratio but there was some glitch with the 'gate' and when we got the telecine we realized that we had more than what we wanted in the frame. Anyway, I liked what I saw. One day of sound post production and we had our output file. Ta da.

Chronicling the mise en scene exercise #1

Friday, 8 August 2014

Short Film Trajectory #2

So D Jeet, my cameraperson, NN, the sound designer and I went to the original location. We collected as many reference materials as possible. It is important to take a note of all the things which make the place that and this includes anything from a broken chair kept in the balcony to the switchboards. These are some of the photos we collected.

Based on this D and I went to Rana, our professor who was going to help us with the set design. He used a software called Sketchup Make. In the first semester of our specialization we had been taught to work with it and create set designs. It's good to learn it, yes. I gave it up because it didn't work on my OS. So with the reference photographs D and I gave Rana our floor plan with measurements. We completed the plan in a day. It looks like this now.

The basic things to be kept in mind are that according to the camera movements you have on mind, some walls will have to be made removable. Some walls will have to have two sides. These are important and these are also some of the advantages of shooting on set.

The next step is to decide on what props to use and the texture to each and every wall, paint etc. A working model will have to be constructed. I am currently working on the 6th draft of my script under the mentorship of P Mahmood, my professor. We have to shoot in the first week of September. Yes, i am shit scared. 

Short Film Trajectory #1 
Short Film Trajectory #3
Short Film Trajectory #4 
Short Film Trajectory #5