VOICES JUG SURAIYA S VAIDHYASUBRAMANIAM LT GEN (RETD) SYED ATA HASNAIN RAVI SHANKAR ANUJA CHANDRAMOULI SADHGURU JAGGI VASUDEV THE NEW SUNDAY EXPRESS MAGAZINE BUFFET PEOPLE WELLNESS BOOKS FOOD ART & CULTURE ENTERTAINMENT AUGUST 12 2018 SUNDAY PAGES 12 TICKING THE RIGHT BOXES: INDIE FILMS OF 2018 Nandita Das’s MANTO Actor-filmmaker Nandita Das’s Manto is a journey through the four tumultuous years (1946-50) of the writer Saadat Hasan Manto, set in Bombay and Lahore. It stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Rasika Dugal, and Tahir Bhasin. The main producers are HP Studios, Viacom 18, Filmstoc and Nandita Das Initiatives. Leena Yadav’s RAJMA CHAWAL The film revolves around a father-son and their generational divide. It has the highly selective actor Rishi Kapoor in the lead with Anirudh Tanwar playing his son. Rajma Chawal is shot by Donald McAlpine, the Oscar-nominated, Australian cinematographer of the film ‘Moulin Rouge’. Biju Kumar’s PAINTING LIFE Prolific filmmaker from Kerala, Dr Biju Kumar, switches from his usual Malayalam to English in his latest film. It centres on a film crew arriving in a tiny neglected tribal Himalayan village in Sikkim. Produced by Silicon Media and Blue Ocean Media, the film has actors from different regions. Lijo Jose Pellissery’s EE.MA.YAU Kerala-based director Pellissery offers Ee.Ma.Yau, a title short for ‘Eeso Mariyam Ouseppe’—meaning RIP. The film journeys into a complex web of human relationships, customs, rituals, and beliefs that express and mark life and death. de In Kushal Srivastava’s VODKA DIARIES Set in Manali, the film follows a mysterious woman who leads Assistant Commissioner of Police Ashwini Dixit on a wild goose chase over a series of murders that occur over a single night. The film stars Kay Kay Menon, Raima Sen. Kamakhya Narayan Singh’s OH SHIT! This promising debut feature deals with a dire problem that plagues rural and even urban areas: the lack of toilets. It is about a girl asking for nothing more than what is every Indian citizen’s due. Produced by Anjani Kumar Singh with Creative Producer Abhinandan Sekhri. t s’ en end p A slew of indie filmmakers passionately redefine the way cinema is made and watched. They are pushing the envelope of quality content with gritty portrayals of characters, and tight scripts and storylines. By SHILLPI A SINGH 1 RANVIR SHOREY, Actor “I don’t know how sustainable this (independent filmmaking) is. It is great as a one-off project but when we think of long-term, how can one receive this process?” KONKONA SEN SHARMA, Actor and Filmmaker ay D 955. Filmmaker Satyajit Ray storms the cinematic scene with his debut feature offering Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road), the first from the Apu Trilogy It wins the prestigious Best Human Document Film . Award at the Cannes Film Festival, and many more such honours wherever it goes—home and abroad. Ray who had no prior experience in filmmak, ing, brings a new vision of India to the screen—raw, rustic and real—and, to a great extent, lays the foundation of independent or indie cinema. 2018. Self-taught filmmaker Rima Das does a Ray and goes on to do the impossible with Village Rockstars. She scripts, produces, directs, and even shoots and edits her film, and as a single-member crew, goes on to top the awards charts, winning four at the 65th National Film Awards and a plethora of accolades at the national and international film festivals. “I’m more comfortable doing indie films because I find it difficult to play to the gallery or dumb down things so that it can reach more people. There has to be some integrity and honesty in storytelling.” Samit Kakkad’s ASCHARYA F#*K IT Kakkad presents his latest venture, produced by Yoodlee Films. The film exposes what underlies the dazzling veneer of Mumbai’s film industry. It stars Priyanka Bose, Vaibhav Raaj Gupta, Ankit Raaj, Santosh Juvekar. A bevy of rockstars a la Das from across the length and breadth of the country have stormed the indie scene, revolutionising the way cinema is made and watched. And coming to a theatre near you this month-end are Leena Yadav’s Rajma Chawal starring Rishi Kapoor and Nandita Das’s directorial debut Manto. INDIE-WISE: Maverick filmmaker Anurag Kashyap with a string of projects remains the most celebrated name. With Black Friday, Paanch, Gulal, Ugly, Gangs of Wasseypur, he has proved that to satiate one’s cinematic sensibilities one need not be a mute follower of mainstream trends. “Independent means the freedom to say what you want. But it is not an easy job. There will be chaos on a daily basis but being part of such a creative venture is gratifying,” says actor Tannishtha Chatterjee, who is set to make her directorial debut with Nawazuddin Siddiqui. NUMBER GAME: The mainstream model of cinema has loads of money and is backed by an enviable star cast. But realistic cinema makes no song and dance of real-life situation, hits hard with its gritty portrayal of characters and takes the plot to another level. Filmmaker Sudhir Mishra says, “Independent cinema is the one that is financially independent or a non-studio cinema. The films are made by those who are independent in the head, and the films feature non-formulaic artistes.” Money is a major stumbling block for a few good men who want to redo the way film as an art form is made and viewed. In the mid-90s, US-returned techie Nagesh Kukunoor invested all his earnings to make Hyderabad Blues. Shot over 17 days, and made with a shoestring budget of `17 lakh, it was the first commercially successful independent cinema in recent times. In many cases, a filmmaker can’t do it alone. One of the greatest indie outings, Masaan, which got two awards at the Un Certain Regard section of the Festival de Cannes, was produced by Drishyam Films, Macassar Productions, Phantom Films, Sikhya Entertainment, Arte France Cinema and Pathé Productions. “Independent cinema is the one that is financially independent or a non-studio cinema. Indie films are the ones that are independent in the head made by those who are also independent in the head.” “We have not helped educate the audience. We imagine what they want. And we are catering to what we think they want. And not what they think they want.” ADIL HUSSAIN, Actor Harish Vyas’s ANGREZI MEIN KEHTE HEIN... Starring Sanjay Mishra, this family drama explores changing relationships between a middle-aged couple. It’s about the realisation that sometimes just loving someone is not enough—expressing that love is equally important. SUDHIR MISHRA, Filmmaker Sange Dorjee’s RIVER SONG Dorjee has single-handedly spot-lit his state of Arunachal Pradesh. He presents his second feature film that talks about lone bachelor Tashi living in a defunct fuel station on the outskirts of a town. The film is produced by Jar Pictures. Onir’s KUCH BHEEGE ALFAAZ Produced by Saregama’s production wing, Yoodlee Films, Onir’s last release features Zain Khan Durrani and Geetanjali Thapa. In a world of pings, likes, tweets, shares and comments, two strangers, RJ Alfaaz and Archana, connect over a mis-dial and WhatsApp their way into each other’s hearts. On the other hand, Das’ Village Rockstars whom filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda calls “the greatest discovery in recent times”, was self-funded. “I was two-films-old. I didn’t want interference. It was difficult but it is heartening to see that my film has achieved what I had aimed for,” says the village girl. Making is not the hardest but marketing and distribution are. “In the star-dominated market, a creative person’s piece of art has to struggle to survive,” says Panda. His next, Halkaa, slated for an early September release, has won the Grand Prix for best film at Kinolub Festival for Children and Youth, Poland. It had a world premiere at the 21st Montréal International Children’s Film Festival where it won the Grand Prix De Montreal. The indie cinema largely depends on mavericks who cobble funds on their own, borrow from friends or relatives or find a producer who is not a part of the film world. “Due to the disorganised structure, we have not been able to make the kind of impact as the European, Iranian, Korean or even Thai cinema,” says Siddharth Turn to page 2
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