jump to navigation

Water makes it to Oscar shortlist January 17, 2007

Posted by Priyanka Varma in film makers, news.
1 comment so far

Canada based Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta‘s “Water” has been selected as the official Canadian entry for the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s hit Rang De Basanti was the Indian entry for the category but couldn’t manage.


Starring Lisa Ray, John Abraham, Seema Biswas, “Water” is about the plight of Indian widows during 1930’s. The movie was in lot of controversies before production. The movie was originally supposed to star Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das but the production could not continue in 2000 because of Hindu protests and attacks. Finally it was shot in 2005 in Sri Lanka with a new cast. Our best wishes are with the Water team..

Read our previous story on Water here….


Maachis January 12, 2007

Posted by ujj in film makers, Mood: serious, Reviews, Screenings.

According to IMDB, this is Gulzars most personal film till date and so it seems. Gulzar, a manMaachis known more popularly for his lyrics, understands and portrays human emotion like noone else, the plot and the dialogues of Maachis seem to highlight this fact. Maachis is the story of the aftermath of the 1984 anti Sikh riots, following the assasination of Indira Gandhi after operation blue star, where young Sikh men and women were taken away by desperate police officials for questioning about the various extremist groups operational in Punjab at the time. One of the important notions displayed, is the irony, in which terrorists are born out of supression of the authorities that exist for protecting them.

Superb acing performances by actors like Chandrachur Singh, Tabu and Om Puri do justice to the brilliant plot which narrates the becoming of a few young men, unhappy with the system, into extremists. Unlike Rang De Basanti, this film actually makes a lot of sense and is much more mature than a group of angry collegians shooting out. Tabu and Om Puri got national awards for this film. Maachis is a typical example of film-noire.

The songs are simply beautiful. Chappa Chappa Charkha Chale and Chod Aye Hum Wo Galiyan are to this day one of the most popular songs, not just in Punjab, but the rest of the country too. Gulzar known for portraying complex emotions into 5 minute songs, has done a great job in making a standard length Hindi film. The film is not the best or the most accurate political description of the 1984 riots aftermath but it doesnt aim to do so. It aims to show the case of families that suffered then and that it accomplishes very well. Its perhaps one of the most simple and yet popular films of the Indian film industry. Should’nt miss an opportunity to watch it, in a group if possible, its one of those films that rise to become universal, its complete effect takes over you, if you’re in a group.

N N Sippy passes away November 8, 2006

Posted by ujj in film makers.
1 comment so far

Producer-distributor N N Sippy passed away at Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai on Tuesday. Sippy (75) was suffering from cancer for a long time but the immediate cause of death was jaundice. He was instrumental in launching many personalitites of the Indian film industry like Subhash Ghai and Jaya Prada. Some of his well known films are Woh Kaun Thi, Kalicharan, Sargam, Fakira and Chor Machaye Shor.

Sargam one of the most successful films by Mr Sippy introduced Jaya Prada in Hindi films. Jaya Pradas role of a dumb and deaf girl who loves to dance is perhaps her best appearances on screen. A collection of some memorable songs of his films have been collected by Kamla here.

Legacy of Spielberg September 19, 2006

Posted by haxx in film makers.
1 comment so far

I am sandeep, new kid on the blog. This blog doesn’t restricts itself to just reviewing movies but cater to the larger community of movie buffs in DA-IICT by talking all things cinema. In that regard my first post is about one of the great directors Steven Speilberg. Unfortunately or fortunately, in the middle of my writing i found an article by one of my friends, which aptly conveyed everything i wanna say about Speilberg’s films. Hence i am presenting his article here with few changes. Hope you enjoy.

Steven Spielberg has had an amazing career as a director; he has made a string of hit movies and has unquestionably changed filmmaking (for better or for worse, I won’t argue which). But do you realize his last truly great movie was released over thirteen years ago?I kid you not, for the last thirteen years while he has made good movies and many movies that will go down as being “classics”, his last truly great movie, Jurassic Park, came out thirteen years ago. From that time to now, Spielberg has directed ten movies, most are very good and some are just fine, but not one of them is truly great. They are, in chronological order: Schindler’s List, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, Artificial Intelligence: A.I., Minority Report, Catch Me if You Can, The Terminal, War of the Worlds, and Munich.
Okay, so what makes a movie great? After viewing it you need to ask yourself a series of questions. Did it take you somewhere you hadn’t been before, show you something you hadn’t seen? Did it leave you with a sense of wonder and awe? Did it make you think? Was it good, was it fun, did it show you the world in a whole new light? What about the characters, plot, and storytelling? Were you intrigued and enthralled, engrossed and enraptured?A group of Spielberg’s films from Jurassic Park to now are what I will refer to as the historical epics (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and Munich, and to a lesser extent but it still fits the category, Amistad) are all good movies, but none actually approaches greatness. Every time Spielberg makes one of these epics there is a certain tangible feel to them, they all feel a little desperate. Spielberg may be the greatest popcorn filmmaker ever, but his attempts at more serious, dramatic fare are lacking. Each time he goes and makes one of these historical epics one cannot help but watch and feel as though Spielberg is desperately trying to earn a place as a serious filmmaker, a filmmaker that has changed not just the way movies are made but the way people see the world.

Schindler’s List is certainly the strongest of these historical epics, the one with the most gravitas, and yet even Schindler’s List is discussed in critical circles more for its representation of the Holocaust and whether or not the depiction is well constructed. One of the arguments against this film is that to tell the story of what happened to six million Jewish people, Spielberg chose to deify a Nazi; it is less the story of what happened to the Jewish people and what they did to save themselves and each other than it is about how a Nazi came to their aid. Granted, Spielberg depicted atrocities with a brutal honesty and unflinching eye, but these horrifying depictions do not make for a great movie. Saving Private Ryan suffers from this problem as well. Spielberg was able to recreate D-Day and some of the horrors of war with an unflinching brutality and a realism not heretofore put on screen, but that does not make for a great movie. There is, as with Schindler’s List, an undeniable import attached to the film, and it is a good movie, but outside of the war scenes, the movie did not fire on all cylinders. The plot was certainly lacking, and almost seemed as though it were completely an excuse to make the movie so that he could accomplish his true goal of creating the battle footage.

As for the two other historical epics, while they are both good, both worth watching, and will both teach you a little about American history (not every detail is correct), neither is arguably great. That just leaves us with The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Minority Report, Catch Me if You Can, The Terminal, and War of the Worlds.

Two of these are easily dismissed. The Lost World is but a hollow sequel, a mere shadow of the original film. From the thinnest of thin excuses that get Ian Malcolm to go back to the island on to the unleashing of a dinosaur in San Diego, this cannot be classified as a “great” movie. Minority Report, like The Lost World, is full of enough plot holes that while it is perfectly enjoyable – and who doesn’t like a good mystery? – it’s just not great.

The Terminal is a perfectly fun film — it’s light, it’s airy, it’s so transparent and flimsy that it’s practically not there — Tom Hanks doing Andy Kaufman’s “Foreign Man” for two hours and Stanley Tucci hating him for no particular reason. It’s a moderately amusing series of vignettes that just don’t hold together well enough or long enough or cause the audience to care enough to make this a great movie.

Artificial Intelligence: A.I., while it has other flaws, is dismissed from the list of great movies due to what has become a common Spielberg problem — his inability to end movies. If he had shortened the movie by fifteen minutes, cutting out the final footnote and postscript, he may have had a winner. The story is intriguing, the characters well drawn, and it has a great look and feel. But, by the time the credits finally roll he’s lost too much of the audience; he has let himself get too carried away and loses the heart of the picture.

War of the Worlds, you say? Just not possible. No way. The (SPOILER ALERT) son can’t be alive at the end of the movie. We actually get to see him go over the hill; everything explodes on the other side of the hill. The son is dead. A dead person doesn’t magically turn around and get to live again in order to make a happy ending. And, speaking of the ending, the machines dying off at the end felt false. It wasn’t properly built into the movie earlier, it just made it seem as though Spielberg decided now that Tom Cruise has made it to Boston the movie should end and since the movie should end the machines must die. That does not make a movie great.

That leaves just Catch Me if You Can. Probably Spielberg’s best work (not including the historical epics) since Jurassic Park. It’s fun and light, without being as flimsy as The Terminal. It has some substance to it without being as heavy-handed as Saving Private Ryan. Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio are hugely bright spots in the picture. Ask some of the questions required for greatness: did it take you somewhere you hadn’t been before, show you something you hadn’t seen? Or was your thought walking out only, “Wow, I can’t believe that guy got away with so much?” Another one of the things that stops the movie from being great is Spielberg himself. Unfortunately Mr. Spielberg has set the bar so high that many of his films simply don’t meet it. Would you honestly include this movie in with E.T. or Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark or Jaws? Is it that much fun?

Jurassic Park accomplishes each and every one of the criteria for a great movie. Its scope is far greater than Catch Me if You Can, and when the lights come up after it, you’re simply awestruck. The man made dinosaurs come to life. And while he was doing that he also told an incredible story and managed to paint vivid characters. It is the work of a master director at the top of his game. There are huge questions asked in it about science and technology and where the world will take us, and where we can take the world. There are questions asked about what makes a person good, what is right, what is wrong, and what makes a family. Big and small, grandiose and humble, Jurassic Park takes a look at everything and does it in purely mesmerizing style.

Spielberg’s name most certainly appears in the pantheon of great directors, and not terribly far from the top of the list. His recent films, while good, don’t have the same kind of pizzazz he was once able to put forth. I don’t believe it’s a question of him forever having lost what it was that made him great — it’s still there and I’m sure he can (and one day will) find it. Now that is a day I will be thankful to be in the theater.

And I truly believe life will find a way.

Anand Patwardhan September 5, 2006

Posted by ujj in film makers, Reviews.

Indian Governments have blatantly ignored parallel cinema, more so documentariesAnand Patwardhan and even more those that have exposed them and their mortal policies. Even more disgusting has been injustice given to people behind such works of real-life-art. Anand Patwardhan, one such documentary maker driven by the need to show the not so pretty picture of Indian society, has recently won the case of the ban imposed on one of his documentaries Father, Son and the holy war. The SC has ordered the DD to telecast the film in the next two months. The film perspicaciously looks at the relationship between religion and sexist tendencies woven into the religion of the majority. In the words of Gail Minault, University of Texas Austin, the film presents

Rampant machismo is never a pretty sight, and this two-part video contains a lot of excruciating imagery and some brutal truths. Part One, “Trial by Fire,” opens with flames in the dark, licking at the shops of Muslims in Bombay in the post-Babari Masjid riots of late 1992.


Part Two, “Hero Pharmacy,” continues the parallel between defense of culture as narrowly interpreted and the fear of impotence. From the pitch of the peddler of potency pills to scenes of little boys mobbing the popular cultural icon, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, in his visit to Bombay, the high value placed upon phallic masculinity is conveyed in no uncertain terms.

In his visit to the DA-IICT campus on 25th Feb 2006 (one of the highlights of Synapse’06), an utter perfectionist and outright critical Anand, though unhappy with the campus’s film screening equipment, satisfied every breathing soul with his answers to questions he must have faced over a hundred million times, after the screening of his documentary In the name of God .

Interview of Anand Patwardhan here.

Filmography and Awards here .

Satyajit Ray August 29, 2006

Posted by ujj in film makers.

Incidentally six of Satyajit Rays classics are on the LAN of DA-IICT, the film club has nothing to do with it. Some people taking HM479 course would know more about it. As a trustedpp source says, the weekly screenings of the Appu Trilogy in the library A/V room has been phenominal and has seen record turnups. Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar are the part of the trilogy, a visible change in the cinematography and strength of script make this trilogy one of the few that keep getting better and better.

The trilogy is a must watch for people who like watching films that represent life. People who believe in fate and that things happen for reason should watch this film. One of the prime things to look in the films are desires (most of which that remain unfulfilled, just like real life) and relationships and how Ray has dealt with them.

For some strange reason I feel people in research fields should take a look at Pather Panchali and read about rays research. In one of the interviews (theres also an interactive CD on Ray by the name Rays World, LAN acknowledged) says that he loved doing research. I feel the research is prominent in the film and any successful research will have to be backed by the same attitude or basics as that carried out by Ray. So a lot of stuff easily accessible in the comfort of your rooms. Go take a look!

The Best of Shyam Benegal August 25, 2006

Posted by ujj in film makers, Screenings.
add a comment

The success that New India Cinema enjoyed in the 1970s and early 1980s could largely be attributed to Shyam Benegal’s quartet Ankur (1973), Nishant (1975), Manthan (1976) and Bhumika (1977), which were artistically superior yet commercially viable films. Tapping fresh talent mainly from the FTII and NSD like Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Smita Patil, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Amrish Puri, Benegal has made several sensitive and stimulating films.Nephew of Guru Dutt, Founder of the Hyderabad Film Society and a former Ad Filmmaker, Ankur, his first feature film, is set in rural South India where Surya, a zamindar’s son arrives from the city to oversee his father’s estate. Bored and sexually frustrated, he seduces his attractive maidservant, wife of a deaf-mute labourer. The discovery of the maidservant’s pregnancy and the arrival of Surya’s wife who senses her husband’s involvement bring matters to a head. The film is memorable for its engrossing details of rural life and its exposure of the feudal system that is brutal and indifferent and is helped by a powerful film debut by Shabana Azmi as the maidservant. Ankur not only won several awards including the National Award for Shabana but also had a good showing at the Box Office. Ankur will be screened on 26, August, Saturday in the OAT.

Info on Shyam Benegal taken from here.

More info on Shyam Benegal can be found here.