Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Growing Rendezvous with Films

It’s that time of the year again when we tend to look back on what has gone by in the past months and what new to expect in the New Year. Numerous blog posts about the best moments of the past year are surfacing online every moment. Facebook is giving out the opportunity to check out your ‘20 Best Moments’ from the last year. ‘In Retrospect’ and ‘Expecting a fresh beginning in the new year’ status updates are seeing a rise as we move closer to the end of the year. Think about it seriously- 2013 is going to change to 2014 but everything else is going to change as much as the change in today and tomorrow! Anyways, I have been thinking about some ‘Year End Entries’ and there seems to be only one major thing that has struck me- films- and about which I think I ought to write a bit.

You never know, someday some director might be seeing this for real on some reel! ;) Photo at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad
So much has happened since the beginning of 2013. So many things that were normal for me, changed. So many unexpected new situations turned up. While on one side, this was a relatively bad year for my journalism-career, if there is one in the future (At the end of 2012, I stopped subscribing to a newspaper completely simply due to lack of time to read one!), my film-related career prospects did rise on a positive note, or so at least, I like to believe.
 
For me 2013 began with the announcement of First Frame 2013 on the 3rd of January, just hours before we left for our college trip. The three months that followed were spent in planning and organizing the event. The months of February and March saw me having telephonic conversations with some eminent film industry personalities including the likes of Sharmila Tagore, Nafisa Ali and Chetan Bhagat. We were looking for celebrity presence and jury for the festival. And so, there were many more conversations on phone, twitter and email and meetings during the time. Having that personality on my facebook friend list and he/she personally knowing me- that’s an amazing feeling. More than that, being offered a job at a production house by one of them, and the prospect of taking me on an outside-India shoot; those were completely unexpected and I-am-not-ready-for-this-right-now situations, specially because they were the last few days of college and my film needed some attention.

Yes, my film. My first film. It started as my final project for graduation. Shot over less than a week’s time with at least 3 shooting schedules between February to May, the post-production led to the conversion of over 5 hours of footage shot on Mini DV tapes to a 24 minute long ‘short documentary film’. Originally planned for an entry into First Frame 2013, the work of the film and the festival didn’t seem to work out simultaneously for me and the film fulfilled just the objective of my final college project. I am yet to give finishing touches to the final edit and hopefully, 2014 will see the entry of the documentary in some student film festivals across the country.

Then there was the supposed screening of Bombay Talkies before its theatrical release at the Siri Fort Auditorium during the 100 years of Indian Cinema celebrations. The screening was cancelled at the last minute because apparently the film was to be screened at Cannes first. But then, I was more eager for the hour-long conversation with the directors of the film. The entire 1800 seater auditorium was brimming as Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Dhritiman Chatterjee were in conversation with Kaveree Bamzai, the editor-in-chief of India Today!

Centenary Film Festival, Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi
Kaveree Bamzai, Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Dhritiman Chatterjee
at Centenary Film Festival, Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi
With my college friends at Centenary Film Festival, Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi
By mid-May, First Frame post-event work had almost finished, my film was done, college came to an end and entrance exams for Masters were going on. In short, I suddenly had a lot of time to do nothing. My long cherished dream of wanting to see every film that released last Friday, suddenly, came true. I saw 10 films in less than 30 days in the theatre that included the Thursday night premiere of Fast and Furious 6.

And then, I somehow managed to clear the entrance and interview and get into Jamia for India’s first Masters course in Visual Effects and Animation. Although entering Jamia was a huge thing, it was never a dream come true situation. I had been sure when I took admission at Jamia that within the next week I would be withdrawing admission and going to a place which I could actually term a dream come true destination; but fate managed things differently and I stayed at Jamia for animation. As the classes started, I had two big realizations- One, nobody here seems to even know (let alone, care) which films released last Friday and Two, I have a lot of free time. And that led to more and more films at the theatre including many expeditions alone.

Finally this week I got the chance to visit Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad. I remember seeing the ads of the place on ETV and wanting to visit the place many years ago. Supposedly the largest film studio in the world, we spent an entire day there and I was not satisfied. There were so many more things I wanted to see and there was so little time. Plus, the tour didn’t allow us to check out each set on our own- something I had wished I could do. Nevertheless, I loved the experience. Someday probably I would visit those sets again with a different purpose in mind. Well, more about it sometime later.

A regal red tour bus at the Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad
Just the costume and the superpowers left to be acquired! Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad
The Welcome Ceremony at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad
So that’s about it. A roundup of the year. Watching over 30 films in the theatre, organizing an international students’ film festival, directing my first film, and visiting the world’s largest film studio- that’s about my growing rendezvous with films in this past year. Considering how none of this was expected by me at the beginning of 2013, I am sure 2014 is going to get another set of new things to add to this list of new-filmy things in my life.


I am not sure if the next 48 hours will see me writing another post and so, assuming that this is my last entry for 2013 (I can almost hear you saying, Why not another entry?) I wish you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2014! Have a great year ahead and keep loving my blog posts! ;)

2 comments :

  1. I visited Ramoji a few years ago and the stunt thing was the best part then (or at least I thought so). I hope they still do that. :/
    Good post, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes Prabhjot. We saw the stunt show. It was great!
      And thanks for the read :)

      Delete

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