Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Family weekend

Mohammed as "Golu, the spoilt brat" in my film.

When my brother Ali and nephew Mohammed descend on us, noise levels increase. Mummy and sis-in-law Farzana are quieter. We play "Life". Aiman cries, jealous of Mohammed and his attention-grabbing ways. Mohammed whirls around oblivious of anyone's likes or dislikes, waking us up rudely from bed, with huge hugs and incessant questions.

My family is completely non-intellectual. When I was growing up, their lack of Apparent Culture embarrassed me. But now, I find it immensely rejuvenating. We talk of films, ofcourse, and politics, and the world in general, but in delightfully naive terms. The absence of any jargon, political or aesthetic brings laughter back to the Pursuit of Art.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Apple v/s Steinbeck

I know my editing friends from FTII will kill me. But I do love editing on a non-linear system, more than I ever did on a Steinbeck. And no, I don't miss the smell or touch of film. Blasphemy!

As a direction student at FTII, my on-hand editing experiences were limited to the 1st year practicals. Getting into the freezing studio after a warm lunch in the warm afternoon, when more exciting things were happening near the Wisdom Tree was bad enough. The heavy metal doors of the editing studio locked out the whole world outside. Then Dalviji handed over the spools to us. I dreaded the moment it was my turn to wind or rewind the film. The congenitally clumsy person I am, the exercise started with the spool dropping from my hands, being retrieved, me cranking too fast so that the film rushed through my hand and snapped at some point, or too slow so that it wound in loose bumps. Dalviji didn't look at me too kindly.

The bins with their bits of film flapping were too disordered for my liking. And the worst was when one decided one needed a bit that one had casually chucked away. Searching in the bin, coming up with lint on one's fingers, peering at pieces of film, and wondering if looking for those two frames was worth all the bother.

And then, ofcourse the splicer. I was always afraid my finger would get chopped off one day. It felt so much like a guillotine. And the perforations that always threatened to tear. And cellotape that never stuck in a neat line for me.

The only thing I loved was the funny old student exercises that we practiced on. Asrani, and Paintal and assorted actors, in their young days. But I don't think I learned a bit about editing. Anyway, we were only foolish Direction students, and Mr. Mehboob Khan didn't condescend to pay us too much attention.

Hmm, so I love my Apple and FCP. I can look out of the window whenever I want, and the noises of the house reassure me.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sleeping beauties

Noorbhai, the camera attendant has handed over his duties to Raees.

Anjibabu, the make-up man, asleep for the day.

"Rhea", played by my neice Anushka, has finished shooting for the day, but must wait for all of us to pack-up to go back to the hotel.

Looks like we are all working very hard indeed. But what better than a cat-nap to compensate for late nights, and all too early mornings?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

jacks, all of us

Suresh at Rudraprayag, with his head in the continuity book

Manoj at Forest Castle, Pune with his head in the costume trunk

Working on a low budget film, or rather, ultra low budget film has it's own postpartum glamor. On "Lilkee" most of us were working overtime, managing more than 2-3 departments. Manoj not only played seven cameo roles, but also helped me to write the script, rehearse with the children, and take care of their costumes on the shoot. Suresh was not only playing the main lead, but also taking care of continuity and background action. Vipin took care of sound and frayed tempers. Satish did the stills, and helped me with accounts, and production work. I discovered that my sister, Farida and sister-in-law, Farzana were excellent costume directors apart from being caretakers for the children. Vivek had to be the art director along with being the cinematographer. Aiman not only played her role to perfection, amidst conditions of extreme stress, but helped with choreography and make-up. And me, what did I do, amongst all this? It seems to me that my biggest strength has been the people around me, and my ability to pick their brains, their talent, and their hard work.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Rough cut

Vivek and Noorbhai at Rudraprayag, Garhwal.

The crew at Korlai beach, near Alibagh.

Hemanti has finished the rough cut. It's bliss to edit at home. After ages, my MAC behaved perfectly. Found out that all the trouble had been caused by a corrupt hard disc. And so many people had been going around in circles, trying to find the problem, loading and reloading again. Anyway.

After having given the DVDs to CFSI, there is a lull. Oh, these lulls. I hate not working, I really don't enjoy the emptiness of waking up, with nothing to do, the way Vivek seems to. I'd love more than anything else to be tearing around, stressed out, trying to manage a hundred things, and failing miserably. Instead, I have the calm of a not too busy director around me.

Satish has uploaded some photos from our shoot on Yahoo. To see them, go to the link below.

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