Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dreaming Reality

A taste of life,
Made dark things bright.
A breath you took,
That killed my sight.

Blood did nothing but flow,
To my heart, and pushed it fro.
Some eternal feeling still persist;
Wish it lives till my red exists.

A pinpoint touch is all I need,
To kill the devil and all his creed.
But now I cry to you in dismay,
For he will be back, when you’re away.

A word not said, maybe not heard,
Still echoes on inside my head.
But you still said those tender words,
Not music, nor love, but beauty instead.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mr. Bean in the sets of 'Chemical Reaction'

An experience written by Sidharth Kumar while shooting for my film "Chemical Reaction"Everyone has his or her own passion. Each has their way of looking at the world. Some see everything as a synchronized symphony of undectable strings, for some the whole world falls neatly on a stave, while some can give you a mathematical explanation for how bad your tie is. For me, its always been movies. I cant help it, and its very frustrating sometimes, but I tend to process the world around me in terms of acting, story, scripts, shots and background score. I like to think what it would be like to actually shoot a movie. I always wonder if I will be able to materialise all those perfect scenes I have prepared in my head. I used to pretty sure that I can do a marvelous job as a director. But recently, I decided to move my butt a bit and help out with a movie my friend Vanshaj was shooting. After the whole thing, I still dont doubt that I'll do a fine job (I wont doubt it until I finally get to do a movie and screw it up), but I guess I could see how a bit of that disillusionment settles in. Making a movie isnt all haha-hehe.

Okay, to start with, the story. It was a script written by a sophomore the previous year. Vanshaj had got it from him and decided to turn it into a movie. I was a short film about a misunderstanding between a couple, who become paranoid because of the stress of exams, in particular a chemistry paper which they have to write the next day. It was given the rather cute title 'Chemical Reaction', I mean, cute title for a movie script anyway, not that I think there's anything cute about chem lab work. Okay, so the reason why I decided not to get too actively involved witht the film was that it was a relationship drama, which is, frankly, not my thing. In fact, the reason I havent yet got down to directing a short film is that Im dont have the patience to write a script, and all scripts/stories that are written by people I know are relationship dramas. Anyway, even though I wasnt too actively involved with the film I wanted to be there when they shot it.

So I showed up at Bowring Club after school, along with Abhin; with an unruly stubble on my face, which unfortunately goes very akwardly with a school uniform. Anyway, Vanshaj had taken care of whatever little pre-production there was ( I mean I call it little, for Vanshaj it was probably quite a bit of work) and had altered the script a bit to suit the location. He was his usual tense, directorial, self. The leading ladies were already there and I suddenly became very conscious of my shabby stubble. Anyway, so we had a few introductions and then ordered a bit of food and then we started rehearsing the scene. At that moment, I could find fault with everything - the acting, the direction, the setting, the script. But I like my face as it is so I didnt mention it to Vanshaj. I later realised how my third person perspective gave me many luxuries which the director's first person point of view did not. We started shooting, and immediately I recommended a better way to shoot the first scene to Vanshaj. He agreed my idea was good and we continued. In the beginning, I made suggestions to nearly every scene. Director sahab graciously accepted many of them. The I talked a bit to the waiter and got him to do an extra role in the film. Things were going okay, and I didnt talk too much about how poorly I thought the scenes had been done. Then suddenly an club staff guy showed up and asked us for our member ID's. Since most of the crew were not members, we got evicted. Okay, what to do? So we quickly made a few script alterations and I found us a new location, a nearby ice-cream parlour.

I had probably created some sort of new position for myself. There are about 50 essential creative personell involved in a film's making. We had a writer, director, actor, music composer, editor and cameraman. I found myself doing a bit of the work of the remaining 44 people. At least, I like to think so. I made suggestions on camerawork, found locations for us, gave a bit of directorial advice, nagged the composer to make the score softer; I was like everyone's nanny. Then I suddenly realised that I was involved in the film, a bit of it was my responsibility. And I suddenly found myself out of ideas. 'Is this angle okay? It must be. I dont know. I dont have time for this. We need to get on with the remaining work you know.' It was the first person perspective I had talked about. Yeah, the film went on; it had to. The editings not yet over, so I dont know how it has turned out. That's about all I had to say. So why did I tell you all this? I dont know! I mean, it just goes to show.... something. Anyway, I dont really know what to think about this but if you're making a film, and if you've understood what Im trying to get at (cause I for one have no idea what that was all about), you could make use of this experience. Actually, I guess I just meant to say that you need to freshen yourself up regularly. You should know when making your movie has suddenly become a chore and take a breather. Otherwise, there's no point in doing it.

Khuda Kay Liye : A Review

From the steaming streets of pakistan to the buzzing boulevards of new york . A story that questions one's faith.
Kudos to shoaib mansoor the director ,writer and producer of this film for showing the world and bringing to life the presence of pakistani films.
The story starts off with a father dissapointed in the lifestyle of his daughter Mariam and wants to get her back to the routes of Islam. Simultaneously thier are two brothers who sing for a proffesion. One of them(Sarmad) in an attempt to find his inner self seeks the help of a maullana .The maullana recruits him a fight for jihad in Afghanistan . The other brother Mansoor however remains with the modern times and joins chicago school of music for his firther studies.
Mariam is tricked into marrying Mansoor by her father who leaves her in a deserted village in Afghanistan .

Mansoor in the U.S. is assaulted for having connections with the 9/11 attack for the sheer fact that he happens to be a muslim.
I would love to break the climax for you . But i guess that would prevent those who haven't seen this film from seeing it.
Will mariam be able to get back to the US ?Will Mansoor be proven not guilty?Will Sarmad actually find his true self?
Watch this film for a extra ordinary experience and a real taste of Pakistan.

The Agent of Chaos : A Revisit

THE DARK KNIGHT. It's been the biggest movie event since The Return of the King. And deservedly so. This movie changed the way we look at superhero films. It changed the way we tell stories

I was a big fan of Batman Begins. So I followed this movie very closely. Which also meant that, unfortunately, I already knew all that was going to happen. I've always like Batman above other superheroes because of his vulnerability, and the noir factor surrounding him. 'Begins' was the first film to truly expliot that factor (not including the excellent animated TV series which was aired after Burton's Batman proved to be a hit). The Dark Knight took the Batman universe places where no one had taken it before.

TDK is not exactly a masterpiece. It has it's flaws and discrepencies. But it comes close to being one. Jonathan and Chritopher Nolan's screenplay is near flawless. From the bank raid to the 'social experiment', the plot moves logically and fluidly unlike so many superhero films. To be honest, one feels very unsure while calling it a 'superhero' film because it really isnt one in the traditional sense. It's a meticulouslycrafted thriller which becomes a tragedy. And the centerpiece of the whole act is the Joker.

One of the biggest things that the Joker has going from him is the fact that the filmmakers refuse to rationalize him. They refuse to give him a motivation for his acts. You wont find a failed mistreated stand-up comedian taking a turn for the worse. You wont find a thug disfigured by some kind of freak accident. In fact you have no idea who he is. He is just the Joker from hell, who wants to have a bit of fun. He's the mad dog chasing cars. He's the guy slashing his face from ear to ear, wearing war paint, and loving every moment of it. And that chills you to your spine. The other big thing going for the Joker is Heath Ledger. Watch him in a spell binding performance as the Clown Prince of Crime. He inhabits the character. And it helps that it's near impossible to recognize him. Two scenes were he delivers truly extraordinary performances are the fun raiser scene and the interrogation scene. No one has, and in all probability no one will for a long time, given a performance as intense as this.

Christian Bale gives a highly effective performance as Batman, and more interestingly, as Bruce Wayne. His character is a far more developed one in this as opposed to 'Begins' and he slips into it with restrained brilliance. Aaron Ekhart shines as Harvey Dent, the 'white knight' of Gotham. He and Gary Oldman as Lituenant, and later Commissioner, Gordon, give the film's best performances after Ledger. Oldman slips into the role with such ease that you can barely recognize him. Maggie Gyllenhall is quite effective too in a mature role.

The star which shines most brightly however is Christopher Nolan. The movie bears his stamp on every scene. The meticulousness and perfection that is so characteristic of every movie of his more than ever present here. From the heart pounding action scenes (which are a vast improvement over Begins) to the rather lengthy dialogue, every scene is infused with brilliance under his able direction. Batman fans probably owe him a lot. One of my personal favourites directorial aspects is the Jokers macabre sense of humour. Notice how he sets fire to a fire truck to create a blockade, and his dont try this at home magic trick.

Despite the brilliance, I did have a quirps with the film. For one, though less than in other Nolan films, this film too relies overtly on intellectualism. It plays out like a mindgame with twists and turns. But the emotion seems to be lacking sometimes. If it wasnt for the actors' dazzling performances and the warmth infused by Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, the movie would almost come across as cold. Another minor thing I had with the movie was that some parts of it somewhat cliched. Like the scene where the joker takes out a bazooka to shoot the SWAT van. You may agree with me or not, but watch it and you'll understand what I mean. The films too neatly and conviniently scripted in a few places, the chaos seems to be missing sometimes. A rather more notceable factor was that the 'fun' was missing. When you walk into a superhero film, somehow you are a bit tuned to expect a more or less light film with. This one's just disturbing. Not that it's a bad thing. It's jaw dropping stuff certainly, but not exactly mood elevating. It decieves you by the very nature of it's genre. You go in expecting a popcorn flick, and you come out having witnessed a tragedy. A bit more elegance and humour, done well, could have taken the film to really dizzying heights. The film could have done well by following it's own advice - 'Why so serious?'

Then again, maybe not.