CARMA !!

Anand C who was posting guest blogs here, couple of years back, is now an executive producer. When I first knew about it, I thought, Gosh !! What a deep problem he got himself into ?. That’s until I read more about it. Here is what the crew has to say about Carma

Carma is Anand’s first film as executive producer and is directed by self-taught filmmaker (and concert pianist / Stanford Ph.D Ray Arthur Wang). At 81 minutes, Carma features Academy Award Nominee Karen Black as the voice of the main character. CARMA is a chilling tale about a CAR haunted by a psychopathic killer’s dead MA. Carma’s last prestige festival stop was Cinequest Film Festival alumni 2005 (one of the Top 10 U.S. Independent Film Festivals), and after it was one of the Highlight Films at the Delray Beach Film Festival. Its next stop is the Bare Bones International Film Festival (one of the Best Truly Independent Film Festivals) 2006.

As the literature says, CARMA is an independent film. Just that fact differentiates it from other hollywood studio flicks. Studios don’t go with experimental films, all the time. Due to the big-budget spendings on films, studios are usually conservative and cautious in approach. At such junctures, independent films are the only way to get creative. So if you check-out CARMA’s trailer it wouldn’t necessarily look-alike MI.3 trailer. Independent Films have their own short comings in terms of financing and marketing. Still, the only reason for independent films to prosper is due to film buffs, around the world, who love good cinema.

Keeping the lazy lamenting to a seperate post, here’s the news. An exclusive screening of CARMA is happening at Stanford University. There is also a post-screening Q&A with the cast and crew:

When – April 14, 2006 | 8 PM.
Where – Fisher Hall, Arillaga Alumni Center, Stanford University. Directions.
More Info –
CARMA website .
Carma Trailer
Teaser Trailer:
Making of Carma

If you are a blogger/press media person, mail Anand[anand.chandrasekaran@gmail.com] for a special invite / backstage pass. Others please book tickets online, here.

Spielberg, Sundance & Selvaraghavan

Oscar nominees are announced. Spielberg is still in the race. Kong awaits four oscars. Have to watch Brokeback Mountain, Syriana and Walk The Line before they start feeding us with too many spoilers. Just 32 days remaining for the Oscars.

These two blogposts[Part 1 / Part 2] are probably the best curtain raisers to Selvaraghavan’s Pudhupettai. Though I did read these posts when they were written, I forgot to link them. These posts also made it to the print world.

Quinceañera wins the best dramatic film award in Sundance 2006. Anand C has some pictures from Sundance 2006.

Looking at Madhavan in Thambi, I am reminded of ArvindSwamy’s Thaalaattu.

While the King talks about his music for Rang De Basanti, Gautam Menon starts to market Vettaiyaadu Villayadu.

NY Times – How Pixar Adds a New School of Thought to Disney.

In Kollywood we (never) trust

**Hasn’t been spell checked. Was just blowing some gas. Read at your own risk**

The latest picture postcard of Rajini[looking energetically as in Billa/Mr Bharath] in Sivaji makes me fear that this Shankar flick will also turn out to be another Baba. Baba was a flop mainly due to the hype that was created by media. Now that blogs are trying to match the media in every other area, news is spreading like nobody’s business on blogosphere.

If only someone kept track of that picture, it would possible be the most e-mailed picture in the last week or so. I got atleast 6 forwards of the same picture from various newspapers. Sujatha and Shankar should be grinding their teeth to catch hold of that photographer who paparazzi’ed the whole thing. Me too. Just because I am going to miss the surprise of meeting the ‘old’ rajini in a ‘new’ movie. Starting now, we will have numerous stories floating around on Sivaji that would even entice Shankar to include in the original script.

I was also bloddy irritated about Selvaraghavan’s pre-release marketing of Pudhupettai. While making a whole movie on gangsters, an interview that’s sounding as cheap as, “This is a special movie for Sneha. She is acting as a prostitute. It would be a milestone in her career”, doesn’t suit. For someone like him, I would expect a rather sublime interview and not being so obvious about the characters which spoils the whole fun of watching a movie. I care a damn if its a milestone for Sneha or not. Especially not before the movie. The pre-release marketing should only being hinting at what the movie is aiming to do. Whether its going to be a milestone or not is for the audience to decide. Also this attitude of glorifying someone is he shaves his head or he acts with lungi or if a heroine acts with a saree through out a movie, doesn’t stand a chance to make an impression. Come on dude, I’m expecting Pudhupettai should do atleast 50% of what Marti’s GoodFellas did to Hollywood. If only its turning to be a pot boiler, I’m no more bothered. BTW, Pudhupettai has many context based songs/themes that may not be once-more numbers but they will sure be an enjoyable watch.

Killing the Commercial Cro(a)p !!

Hemanth’s note on Killing Michael Bay, pushed me to watch the film on iFilm. And a big WOW, I let out after I finished watching this shortish fiction movie with classy motifs. An upset digital filmmaker, alongwith his friend, plans to kill the famous commercial movie maker, Michael Bay. Bay known for his famous masala movies like Bruce Willis’ Armageddon, Sean Connery’s The Rock and ofcourse the movie in context, Pearl Harbour. These two dudes upset by Bay’s bad(read commercial) films which kills the ‘good’ movies’ business, abduct him to a faroff place in Los Angeles. What happens when Michael Bay escapes forms the rest of this short film. It’s certainly a must watch provided you have a broadband connection and fifteen minutes to spare. It might tell you what a shoe-string budgeted short film can do.

The theme here is that commercial movies kill the good films with their sheer box-office money, studio power and ofcourse the intoxicating elements that gives people a real doppy feeling. They don’t allow people to look beyond the commercial stuff and there-by kill their intellect to appreciate worthy films. A brain dead scenario. But these guys who made the movie don’t tell such stuff directly. Rather they symbolically represent the current scenario as in Hollywood and how finally the commercial crop win over the spirited independent filmmakers. More than the inspiring theme, the movie itself is a nail-bitting satire on hollywood flicks which have Matrix style stunts, Bond style car chases and Arnold style WWF fist fights. The only thing missing was a bikini clad vamp. That would have completed a full circle.

I immediately thought about the comparison to Michael Bay in Tamil cinema. While we have a thousand such directors in kollywood, naming just one wouldn’t do justice(!!) to the entire group. But if someone were to even make a movie with a similar name, ‘ Killing XYZ’ in kollywood, even as a joke, they would be contested by the mushromming political parties with venom and anger. The kodambakkam heroes/heroines would walk, with their coolers(on a rainy day!!) from liberty theatre to beach as a token of showing opposition to the movie. One group would fire the theatres which features the movie. Thousands of cases will be filled in a zillion courts. If those film makers don’t appear even in one of the courts, it would become a contempt of court like what’s happening with Kushboo. I don’t suggest its all freedom here. But atleast this short film was released in 2002 and still lives on the internet.

Anyway, coming back to the title, I truly feel the class of independent film-makers are nearly non-existent in Tamil. It doesn’t need to be software engineers, running back from US, who should make independent movies. It could be anyone from a journalist to a cinema-loving Gumasta of a govt office. Such a wave of good cinema is yet to rock kollywood. I am sure that war will be staged soon. No matter who wins, 5 years from now if mainstream commercial movies( despite an awful storyline), be picturised without songs, I think its the victory for everyone collectively. What say ?

So they actually gave PAGE

So they actually gave PAGE 3, the national award for the best film ? God save the Indian film industry.

I couldn’t believe, Swades lost out to Rituparno Ghosh’s Raincoat on the award for the best hindi film. While I just saw Raincoat and liked it, I still think Swades was one of the best hindi films in the last couple of years. Virumandi was released in 2004 and Aayitha Ezhuthu / Yuva rocked in 2004. What happened to those ?

I know why mature directors still day-dream Oscars. Because we have such screwed up ways to judge ourselves, they have started looking else where for proper recognition. No wonder !!

P.S – I didn’t want to open up yet another comment war but someone posted a comment in the previous blogpost looking for this. Neyar Viruppam.

Matrubhoomi – A social sci-fi


[Pic – Frontline]

Reading this quasi-review Matrubhoomi directed by Manish Jha, I’m pushed to look out for the availability of the film in video stores around me. While most science fictions deal with gizmos and fanatasy stuff, here’s a sci-fi with a social sense.

From what’s been written, the movie could also end up as yet another message movie. It’s the premise of the movie excites me for this is what is expected from our folks at woods of India. Also the note that Jha, the director of this movie had already won a Prix du jury at Cannes his feature, for A Very Very Silent Film, makes me have high regard on his abilities as a director.

From Frontline –

Futuristic films are supposed to be an escape into fantasy, even if they do make passing or pointed references to current attitudes and cultural fashions. They are usually not grounded in current social reality – a reality rooted in centuries of accumulated prejudice and burdens of history. Jha’s film is more a doomsday warning – of the approaching apocalypse of moral collapse and sexual depravity caused by selective decimation of women – than a futuristic sci-fi scenario. The film describes the nightmare of what happens to a society that systematically kills girls – after they are born, if they have not been finished off in the womb itself. Our past foretells the future. The past Jha resurrects is from the Mahabharata, of a Draupadi married to five brothers – in this case, not out of the choice of a swayamvar but because there is a dearth of brides in a sex-starved patriarchy. Will this enhance the value of women and the girl child? So the proponents of sex-determination tests would have you believe, as they try to offer a sociological rationale for the morally indefensible practice of selective abortions.

His short A Very Very Silent Film (a pavement dweller is raped through the night by the many passers by till it is discovered to be a corpse the next morning) won the Prix du jury at Cannes in the year our media went gaga over Devdas (ignoring the quickly emptying halls) to the exclusion of everything else – including the arrival of a major new talent.

LMAO !!

In the case of new films, the ban would be subject only to some rare situations such as the treatment of historical personalities known to smoke, and period films. Also, it would be allowed as part of social messaging against smoking itself. As for old films, due to technical difficulties, it was agreed that instead of a prominent scroll containing a health warning accompanying smoking/tobacco-using scenes, theatre owners would have to show warning slides.

What else to say of this. I remember a short story which a friend of mine shouted over my shoulder while biking on GST. A greedy disciple wants a boon from his guru while leaving for his hometown, after schooling. The guru understanding the covetousness of his disciple, plans to whack him smoothly. As the disciple asks,” I need a magical power that would give me whatever, when I think of it”. The guru says,” Given. But whenever you are using the power, you shouldn’t think of a monkey”. The disciple thinks,” I need a ton of gold and yeah !! I am not going to think of a monkey”. Whacked !!

Similarly during a smoking scene in the movie, if they are showing the scroll, Cigarette smoking is injurious to health, our friend would get reminded of the single cigarette left in his pocket an walk out of the movie hall, to smoke. Aren’t you LYAO ??

Bubblegums for Heroes

Going forward we will only have movies which are rehashes of Thiruvilayaadal or Thirunilaakandar and Veera Pandiya Kattaboman. No Mughal movies as they have scenes where the Sultans smoke Hooka. Why ?

Smoking to be banned in movies, television serials. All our movie heroes will chew bubblegums from today, on-screen.

Let them even ban making movies in India but in the name of censor or such explicit laws, I hope these wouldn’t happen to the growing media industry. Why wouldn’t they ban making movies in India ? Why won’t they ban cigarettes itself from entering the country rather than resorting to such bans ? Both these might not happen because both fetch money like nobody’s business.

Let’s not fool ourselves that media reflects society or viceversa anymore.

An Aayitha Ezhuthu and 3 no-yap situations

a) During today’s Seattle Pallavan journey, was catching up with a friend, who stays in the same community, about the weekend that went by. I have to say that we just met a month back, in the same bus. He was aware that I went to Mumbai Xpress and asked me about it. When I said it was OK but not as expected, he pointed out to various reviews on the net and said Chandramukhi wasn’t better than Mumbai Xpress. Cut here.

After few more minutes of discussion as to why Mumbai Xpress was only OK and not great, he dropped a surprise bomb. He remarked,”Even in lazygeek site ‘they’ said it was not that good“. Read again, ‘they’ said. I was stumped. Missing bails. Curiously I asked him how he got to ‘that’ site. He said he got through Google and was not a regular reader. He wasn’t aware of too many details which I had asked only to drive him to the fact that it was my blog. He wasn’t too sure and I left it there. I am sure he would read this in a day or two and then kick me up for the dig. Funny though.

b) It was Ram Ganesh who picked me up for Mumbai Xpress movie. But thats not the reason why I am writing this. I knew Ram Ganesh only through email that he sent me with regards to screenplays in tamil. He sent the mail long before I came to Seattle. He was also from Seattle. So when saw the note on the blog that I was at Seattle he sent an email asking if I needed some help to move around and some help. I did reply him back that the local bus is keeping me mobile. For a night show of Mumbai Xpress, he came over to pick me up. When co-ordinating for this, we sent a series of emails. One of his email, he sent me his blog address which he never sent before on his emails to me. It was his personal email address and it contained the blog address in his signature.

I was throughly impressed by his photo blog, Point and Shoot. They were full of realistic pictures with blurred backgrounds making his subject’s emotion being expressed very well. And while running through his lbog I found that he was the top finalist for the Grand Prize in the prestigious National Geographic Celebrate Photography Contest. This was my favorite picture. Much to my surprise he also passed me a PDF file containing a script. It was copyrighted with the Writers Guild of America and was a unique one. Could be made into a good 10 minute short film.

c) Balaji from Singapore was a stranger and became an acquaintance to me only through this blog. An ardent Kamal fan who would IM me in Yahoo messenger to find out about the Kamal movie/music review. We were chatting today on IM when we started discussing about European films and their sheer greatness when compared to Hollywood. As he works at Singapore, he gets to see a lot of them and made some worthy suggestions of European films which I have queued in my personal ‘must-see’ list. He also said European film had much superior screenplays which were atleast a decade ahead of these Hollywood ones.

From Malena to Facing Windows to 5*2 his list of European films kept growing.

Three different people, three different situtations and full of surprises. No yaps, just a joy.