Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

3 Years screening at The Lit & Phil


The film '3 Years' was screened on Nov 5, 2011 at the The Literary and Philosophical Society, Newcastle upon Tyne followed by a presentation and Q & A on the same. The event was organized by The North East Screenwriters Group, Newcastle. Thanks to everybody who attended the event and shared their varied experiences, interpretations and opinions on the film. Thanks to the group, especially Keith who organised it, for giving me a chance express my views and the unconventional making of this film. Thanks to Tim, the cello musician friend from Northumberland street who helped me make this film with him. Thanks for everyone who made it a success. Cheers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

3 Years @ Lit & Phil Society Newcastle



North East Screen writers group organises a screening session for '3 years' @ Literary and Philosophical Society*, Newcastle on November 5th. In the session Tim & I will be talking briefly about the evolution of this film followed by a Q&A session with the viewers. Thanks for all your support.

* The Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle Upon Tyne, founded in 1793 as a "conversation club" by the Reverend William Turner and others – more than fifty years before the London Library (or the Lit & Phil as it is popularly known) is a historical library in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and the largest independent library outside London.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ivan's Childhood

Andrei Tarkovsky's - Ivan's Childhood
Medium: Ball Pen

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Medium: Acrylic paint

ajnana-timirandhasya
jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah

- Bhagvat Gita

I/Eye was darkened by the cataract of ignorance -
He/She painted ‘anajanam’ (medicine ink) in my eyes
Letting the light of knowledge enter my sight
Teacher, I bow to you…

I remember you Grandpa -
My first guru who wrote 'Hari Sri' on my tongue

Whether it is a tradition from yesterday, today or tomorrow, least bother, I believe that Vidyarambham is something that connects yourself to goodness of mankind. I respect the ideology of treating teacher and the supreme power as one and the same. In my memories I have my grandpa holding the fingers of toddlers writing hari sri. My Grandmom who suffered from Parkinson disease, for many years used to make us hold her shivering fingers tight to write Hari Sri on the day of Vidyarambham. Both of them were teachers by profession at Nadukkara School, Avoly. I guess, any tradition is good if it connects people breaking the barriers giving self respect and respect for others. I also remember grandpa traveling behind the scooter of a fish seller beside the fish basket, on an inactive 'Kerala Bandh' day morning to go to a temple for children who arrived for Vidyarambham. :) My childhood was a learning from him.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Paper Boat - In OneWayTheatre

One way Theatre - A moving open theatre that runs on environment friendly solar power, picked up 'My Paper Boat' for screening at various venues across UK. The theatre travels in a van that works on 'waste cooking oil' and screen films at open spaces. Thanks to the team for selecting 'My Paper Boat'.

For more details on the film visit: My Paper Boat

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

3 Years



Genre: Drama/ Live Action
Duration: 25.13 mins
A young man who lost his leg in an accident 3 years back, finally comes out his depression accepting his reality on the same day after 3 years and walks in search of that someone who was killed under his car. Whilst the real victim of the accident leads a different life making people smile. The victim and the culprit remains two sides of the coin connected by the destiny without their knowledge...
The film is made on true guerilla filmmaking means and methods without any written script. There is no artificial lighting, synthetic locations etc. The actors were the film crew itself and real people from the road. There was no panned budget for the film and it evolved from real situations.
*Thanks to all who unknowingly became co-actors, co-creators, co-producers of this film.
Camera : Arun Bose, Akhilesh Namath, Tanweer Ahmad, Muzammil Rahman, Drew Knight, Lana E Bowman, Peter Sarremets, Liam and Rosina
Cast: Tim Foxall, Arun Bose, Sue Dunne, Drew Knight, Lana E Bowman, Peter Sarremets and passerbys of Northumberland Street
Cello Artist: Tim Foxall
Concept and Creation: Arun Bose


The film was first screened for Tim at his house and he asked me, "I thought you were doing a documentary film about Cello. Didn't realise that I was doing a character in your story."

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Life & Death

Life,
Love you,
I,
Live with you.
Death,
Love you,
Do take me with you,
Love.
_____
Sketch: Life & Death
Medium: pencil, ink, colour pencil

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Life Art Session



Life Art Sessions at Newcastle Art Centre
Model: Rachael
Medium: Pencil, Charcoal

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Guerilla Film Art


ONE PLEDGE ( TEN RULES ) FOR A PERFECTLY IMPERFECT PROCESS-LED COLLABORATIVE GUERILLA FILM ART
No ten rules, No pledge. BREAK the RULES. Be a free Guerilla.

No story, No script, No screenplay, No Storyboard. Films are not MADE, they EVOLVE. FLOW with it.

No producer, No investment. Don't SELL, do SHARE.

No cast, No crew. EXCHANGE roles/ MULTITASK. Be the cast and the crew, carrying the emotions of the character and the creator.

No genre, No duration. GENRE & DURATION of the film stay unknown. Non-fiction is fiction/ Fiction is non-fiction

No perfection. No plan. Be an IMPERFECTIONIST. PERFECTION is unreal. Be unplanned.

No targets. TARGET GROUP is not identified or defined.

No paid components. Available camera, trees for tripod, sunlight, public transportation, real people, real locations etc.

No professionals. Be a first timer/ one-timer/ part-timer/ full timer. Film is a passion, NOT a job.

No Strain, No Stress. ENJOY the process/ companionship

&

LOVE for ART.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008)

Made by Matt Harding and Melissa Nixon. Lyrics adapted from the poem 'Stream of Life' in Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore

Matt is a 34-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. Matt achieved this goal pretty early and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on. In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he'd saved to wander around Asia until it ran out. He made this site so he could keep his family and friends updated about where he is. A few months into his trip, a travel buddy gave Matt an idea. They were standing around taking pictures in Hanoi, and his friend said "Hey, why don't you stand over there and do that dance. I'll record it." He was referring to a particular dance Matt does. It's actually the only dance Matt does. He does it badly. Anyway, this turned out to be a very good idea. A couple years later, someone found the video online and passed it to someone else, who passed it to someone else, and so on. Now Matt is quasi-famous as "That guy who dances on the internet. No, not that guy. The other one. No, not him either. I'll send you the link. It's funny." The response to the first video brought Matt to the attention of the nice people at Stride gum. They asked Matt if he'd be interested in taking another trip around the world to make a new video. Matt asked if they'd be paying for it. They said yes. Matt thought this sounded like another very good idea. In 2006, Matt took a 6 month trip through 39 countries on all 7 continents. In that time, he danced a great deal. The second video made Matt even more quasi-famous. In fact, for a brief period in July, he was semi-famous. Read More

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wilson Periera




A beautiful animation film by Dhaneesh, dubbed by Mohanlal in Malayalam.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Old Code @ D'Oscar Film Fest

The Old Code will be screened at D'Oscar FIlm Fest at The Queen's Hall Art Centre, Hexham on 18th July, Monday. Congratz to everyone at Skimstone... Hatzzz offf to u guys ....... really, Hatzzz off

Sunday, June 26, 2011

With Tim - A journey in search of a story


Last Wednesday I went to Hexham to meet a friend who I met in Northumberland Street, Tim – an old man probably of my eldest uncle’s age. He survives on the money gained by street basking, making music with his Cello. I makes film with the tip money I earn by serving in a restaurant. Can there be a better collaboration? I went to his house in Hexham, the nearby woods, a country church on a hill top and a graveyard - in search of a story. Walking through the woods with wild rabbits and birds quietly moving all around was a thrilling experience. Finally it is happening, I am making a film with Tim and I am super excited about it.

A few weeks back a friend asked me what would I call my film style and I quickly replied -‘IMPERFECTION’. Its true. I have made all my short films with an imperfection. I would call them perfect only when those who view, make them perfect in their minds with their own corrections. I admire that mental communication, they are definitely my intelligent partners. So far, I've never written a script for any of my films except for the very first short film ‘My Mirror’. I never had anyone who has prior experience, for both the cast and the crew. I can confidently say that every single person who involved with me in filmmaking is a first timer or just one timer. They are not perfect, I am not perfect and our film is - hence - in simple words imperfect.

I’m on my way to make my next Imperfect film, with Tim. I've all liberty to be excited about it. :)


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Screening: After Getting a Job


After Getting a Job, was screened at Northern Film and Media, Studio 3 on June 8th as part of Concept Film Night by Institute of Digital Innovations by Teeside University. Special Thanks to Peter, Manoj, Tanweer, Dewanigi, Naveen, Jijo Chettan, Allison and others in the cast and crew who made this film possible. It was nice talking to the audience on the film and the process by which it was made – How the film was evolved from the silly dreams we all have as Immigrant students in the UK. The reason for keeping names of the characters of this film as the real names of actors – Arun, Tanweer, Manoj and Dewanigi – was deliberate in the objective of bridging a link between the fact and fiction. A lot of immigrant students in UK did share their own silly little dreams ‘After Getting a Job’ before the making of this film and after seeing it. Three things that I admired about the Concept Film Night this time was watching some real good movies, sharing thoughts with their directors as well as audience and some interesting remarks I heard about 'After Getting a Job' from young people who attended the event as part of the community group Humanah. During the break the young people shared with me their dreams ‘After Getting a Job.’


The film talks about the dreams of four immigrant Indian students in the UK, that they want to realise 'After Getting a Job'. As they decides to make a film about their situation they also realises that they can fulfil it only 'After Getting a Job.'

....now I am waiting to a buy a new camera to do high quality film ‘After Getting a Job’...

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Value: 30 Silver Coins

John 6:64

"Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.

…all on a sudden, a serene beam of morning light saw its way in through a tiny keyhole on top of the jail room bleaching his wide open eyes contributing him a meek moment of darkness yet again - for one last time - and then quietly punched a spark of unwanted hope of life in his quiet closed heart. It was clear that Jude could not sleep even a bit since the previous evening as the result of a long meeting with the jail warden. He became an inhabitant to that place many centuries ago as a middle-aged man and since then the time carefully sketched quite a lot rude art works on his forehead and his ever sinking skinny figure offering the status of old man. Lifetime imprisonment was the curse of destiny for his inhuman behaviour that resulted in the agony of millions of people for losing their only guiding star, while a different destiny, after very many years, seems to have decided to offer another fate for his changed mind. The warden’s words meant the same. The light that left them returned back to their lives as a miracle in just three days after his crime, and he who committed the crime was arrested and kept in jail for many centuries by curses. To be exact, 21 centuries passed for the world though he never felt the same.

He was more obedient to the air and environment of the jail and it was evident that the world outside its rock walls vanished from his mind without any hint. Or, in other words it can be identified as a choice he made for himself than living with all those curses and the pain of that wild sin he committed to his guru and friend, for some silver coins. Naturally, the moment he heard that the authorities decided to relieve him; an alarm sign rang so loud and clear cautioning him that he was then in the middle of an ocean where the waves behaved as uncountable thirsty tongues competing with each other to swallow him. He was always been free from any such illusion or illness like hope and ambition, but not anymore since the previous day.

Jude decided to follow the instructions of the beam of light and got ready much early and peacefully waited for the policeman to come and open the door. The one who came to perform that task was found least interested in his assigned duty. Yet he did it calmly. Jude followed him struggling with his skinny body to match the pace of his companion; while his mind went way back in time to those younger days he closely followed the guru of mankind preaching his vision and wisdom. While signing the documents in front of the warden his hands shivered. He realised that he even forgot his signature. Well, he never fancied that there could be a use of his signature like that anytime. The world outside is made of many such signatures agitating for ownerships, but not the world inside the four walls of the jail. Nature of the people is also like their signature, some straight, some bright, some harsh and some fit for trash. The policeman gave him the dress in which he walked in to the prison 21 centuries back. As it was left in some dark corner for that long time, it was shabby, torn and unfit. Yet he removed the prison uniform and wore the one of his promised freedom. The warden gave him a leather pouch with the 'famous money'- 30 silver coins. They seemed to talk something to each other. The very glimpse of it gave him immense pain than a gain. Yet he took it with a question and a promise at the same time,

“Can there be a corner in the world where they can be thrown and no one could search it back or remember it? If so....If this is the start, that is my destination.”

Finally the massive jail gate opened in front of his eyes.

“Jude”,

As he took his first step out of the jail, he heard a call from a very familiar friendly voice he once followed so religiously. How could he forget it? He was been hearing it in his every single dream for past many centuries while in the jail. He feared it. His eyes filled with tears and they rolled out in uneven proportions over his cheeks covered by the marks of his old age.

He saw Christ in his long hairs, long beard and smiling face. The guru was still young, the same way he was first seen centuries ago. He was silently standing outside the jail for that many as centuries Jude was inside, spreading his hands waiting for that moment. Jude heard his heartbeats load than ever before. He felt that it was going to burst any moment. But before that he longed to reach guru’s hands. He realised that his legs were numb, yet he dragged his body with his only force, will. All on a sudden it rained heavily, but the sun stood right above his head brighter than ever before. In fact, that was his state of mind too. Jude struggled on the floor to reach the Lord. He found his shabby over coat heavy. So he tore it and threw it away. He fell naked like a baby. The only thing left in his hand was the leather pouch and the coins. He realised that he wouldn't be alive to reach that corner of the world he wanted to go and throw it. So he threw it there itself. Jude found his new destination as the hands of Christ and dragged his body on the floor towards him.

The moment he threw the pouch away, from somewhere, a stone came and hit his forehead. It was just one first, but in a few seconds there were many. A rain of stones soon covered his body tearing his skin. The blood gushed out and dissolved in cold rainwater. Sun faded behind a massive dark cloud. Behind Christ he saw millions of angry people with sacks of stones. Judas calmly closed his eyes, took his last breath away from his destination, whispering one last prayer ‘Jesus Christ’.

Christ turned back and looked at the furious people holding stones in their hands with burning eyes. He shouted,

“Whom are you doing this for? Don’t you all know that I forgave him even before his crime? Still, for many centuries you kept the stones safe in your hands waiting for this moment. Shame on you… You betrayed me, you betrayed yourself.”

Christ lifted Jude’s body in his arms and wiped the blood with his cloth and rainwater.They vanished leaving the people down, while they remained busy throwing stones at each other fighting for 30 silver coins.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Chimney Story


Yesterday lightning hit the chimney of our house causing shower of bricks from the building over a car parked right in front. My faltmate Muzammil's room that is right under the chimney has now got a hole in the roof with dust falling down from there. Thankfully there wasn't any other unhappy incidents. The fire fighters marked the whole area, used a crane to climb over the chimney to remove the loose bricks. We were surprised to see the two fire force vehicles, police cars and the insurance guys rushing to the spot. Every thing got back to shape in an hour's time, so quick and clear. Still struggling to believe that all this happened in our home.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Arranged Marriage

Quite a good film :) Well what came to my mind was the title of a book - Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. No offence :P

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vishu @ Rasa


It’s been almost a year since I am working part-time at Rasa India restaurant at Quayside. Undeniably there was been quite a lot of learning experiences from the restaurant job by serving customers. There is a sense of pride in talking to the them as it is more an art of communication, a culture connection and fine food serving. Now it has become a routine of my daily life in Newcastle to invite whoever I meet for a meal at Rasa promising the taste of Kerala. Being a cultural ambassador is what probably thrills me the most. Well, there is definitely another intention too. I know nothing about cooking Kerala dishes to invite friends home for a good meal. My restaurant job helps in that way too. From intimate friends to my faculty staff at Northumbria University came to Rasa for dinner and its a pleasure to serve them.

Just remembering my favourite film character here. As many of you know my dearest female character in cinema is ‘Yesterday’ from African film ‘Yesterday’. Let me just talk about the male character that fascinated me the most. He is ‘Guido’ of ‘Life is Beautiful’. I guess Life is Beautiful is the film that I have seen maximum number of times since my college days. While in MCC, visitors to my room were not allowed to leave until they have a glimpse at this film. My Heber Hall friends know this fact pretty well.

Guido was always been ‘the personality’ who I wanted to become in real life. I’m not denying that my first choice was always been Chaplin of the 'The Kid' but Roberto Benigni seem to have an equal charm when he comes in front of the audience. More than any of those action heroes or charming Tom Cruises, Guido is still the first choice as a role model. He was a family man. When he was around everybody laughed and smiled. Those who hasn’t seen the film, I really don't want to explain about him but let you see the film yourself.

Now what is Guido’s connection to this post? Well, he was a waiter like me in real life. Ever since I have seen this film there is one favourite scene and dialogue that I kept sharing with friends. It’s about the first day of Guido’s work at his uncle Leo’s restaurant. Guido was a bit annoyed when he had to bow in front customers. He asks uncle, “How long I am supposed to bend?” Uncle explains, “Think about a sunflower. It can bow to the sun, but as you see them low it can very well straighten up too. You are serving but you are not a servant. Serving is the art practiced by the Supreme Being himself. God serves man but he is not a servant”

Last Sunday we celebrated the famous Kerala festival Vishu at Rasa. It was a memorable day in life as I had my studio friends Claire and Pete as well as good friend Indu too enjoying the traditional Vishu Sadya at Rasa. Pete also had his birthday celebration with his set of friends too. I felt so homely serving them. Quite an amazing time in the restaurant.


Now I realised one thing funny. All my favourite film characters had children :P whether it is Chaplin of 'The Kid', Guido of 'Life is Beautiful' or Yesterday of 'Yesterday'. I guess I want to become a crazy and funny dad. :P he he

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Life Goes On


Quite touched by this movie directed by Sangeeta Datta. A poetry of life. Life goes on...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

If you fall, I... ?

Lots ‘n’ lots of kisses,

Lost is nothing,

Look we see us,

Loads are desires,

Lets fight,

Love,

If you fall,

I… ?

Hear my lullaby,

Hidden in breath,

Caressing your cheek,

Kissing your neck,

Caring you tight,

Love,

If you fall,

I… ?

We needn’t look, listen, learn,

World’s will, wisdom and ways.

Wider the hands, so the horizon,

Wind, wishes and waves.

Waking up your lips,

Love,

If you fall,

I… ?

Many oceans away,

Mermaid, I see you stay,

Making a home,

My heart.

May I let you hear,

Love

If you fall,

I die.

Lots of Hugs.

Loads of kisses.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Sign language



A Lovely Little film I saw in Shooting People. Can't be but share it. Dedicating it to someone who became pregnant yesterday :P Hugs Alterego

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cockroach in Cocktail

Vaishaka Sandhye


Is there a better depiction of common man and his dreams in Malayalam screen, I really doubt. Leaving all the intellectual masks if there is one sincere outlook towards the very commonness of a basic Malayali mind, he is or she is none other than the one who lives on the joys of their reality, love and companionship experienced from their partner and a life fighting with the gentle truths of life. I can confidently approve on this song and its visualisation as the mind of a true Malayali. A very sincere song sequence without any exaggeration to the possible reality of the protagonists of the film. Kudos to the makers who realised it. One million times I personally felt, well why can’t my life be like this - simple and quiet, close to anything and everything that pulls me keeps me to my reality and inner essence.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Black Angel

“The novel that you are reading now isn’t about me.” Her hot breath whispered in my ears. I closed the book and turned to the thirst of her lips and thrust of her breasts. Another cold night perished quietly in her arms drifting me away from the warmth of my angel who stood awake talking to herself in vain. The practicality and reality of wife (life) kept clashing and colliding on the walls of a world only we understood. She, the black angel, isn’t a seductress but definitely not like my mistress who pressed more stress. The times I used to spend long hours looking at my wife's eyes and called them deep as ocean has faded away. Now it is my painful known truth that they are in deed deeper and treacherous as an ocean. We live together, if togetherness is only about the money we shared and the smiles we wore on every single day for past many years.

The history of black angel was still a mystery yet her misery, in a week, became mine too. I haven’t seen her but kept learning about her and her daily life. Her baby has no father, but she is breast-feeding him without questioning about his origin. Among the four (or more) men who shared her skin on a cruel night would never fight with each other to take her back to their life for that child. None of them would claim for fatherhood. She knew that fact. Today what is important to her is that fatherless baby than anyone else in this world. No baby can be born without a father. That is the reality. But in her case such a reality stays out of its value. Being a mother at the age of 16 and roaming in the streets for survival is her destiny - if destiny is the definition of all such disasters that has no specific solution or future.

I found her and took her with me last week as I knew that she was in need of my hands. To be honest, I bought her from the street in spite of my wife’s disinterest. Being a woman I thought she would understand her and spend some time with her and her little one. Instead of that she looked at her for a few times and laughed so wild. ‘The black angel’ was her biggest question. “How can a bitch be an angel and that too BLACK angel? Have you heard of an angel who is black?” she questioned me, as I stood silent holding the angel in my arms. I mumbled to myself, “Please, Oh please stop it. She is listening.” Since her arrival, I have learnt to believe in the purity of woman in its true sense. I adopted her baby as mine. He has a charm that my own children who are away in boarding schools don’t have. His smile is so beautiful. It is not easy to get hold of him as the mother always keeps him so close to her warm chest. Her dreams are about him. He is the reason for her very existence today. In her words, “At one point of time I kept the poison tablets in my mouth. Before I could swallow them I vomited revealing that there is a fresh tiny life in me and I am not alone anymore. Why both had to happen at the same time, I really didn’t know! I saw both death and life in front of my eyes. They both looked like twins and I heard a baby’s cry in my womb. Someone kept hands on my head and ordered that he is not a devil’s child but mine.”

On one occasion I was drunk with a BEST buddy talking all nonsense. He took my mobile phone and browsed through all the pictures and started laughing like mad. Then he told me a theory called ‘The ear-ring theory’. He said, “I can understand a woman changing her ear rings when they are single. But why do they have to do it after marriage?” I didn’t understand a shit. He continued, “Look carefully. Your wife is definitely an attention seeker. Even after having you in her life and having four children, she kept showing up with weird earrings. Brother, now listen to the great ‘Theory of Ear-rings’. Earrings do force attention on face. Amidst all the other women I noticed her face only because of her earrings. I became mad for her face because of her earrings. I made love to your wife because of her earrings. Don’t trust earrings.” He fell down on the floor and I fell down in front of me. I just walked out from the pub. It wasn’t his mistake but I left it as my mistake and assumed it as the mistake of her earrings. Even that night I slept with a seductress, my wife.

The black angel must have felt lost without my company. I dreamt about her whole night and woke up late with heavy eyes. The coffee was cold and the newspaper looked much older than me. It was clear that my wife was away. I didn’t care about her for the first time in my life but grabbed that muddy second hand copy of ‘The Blank Angel’ into my hands. Definitely she had passed through many such hands before reaching me. I really didn’t know where I stopped the previous night but continued from the page that opened in front of my eyes. There she was, smiling at me with her innocence, charm and purity holding her baby close to her chest. I kissed her tight.

I whispered to myself, "Yea, this novel is not about you- my wife."

On the back cover there was an image of the writer of 'The Black Angel'. He had a different beard and moustache on the back cover of his previous novel. Well, he does that all the time.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Skimstone- Exhibition, Screening & Awards

Doing


Doing is Art
Done is Achievement
Done is not the end
Doing is what I meant.

Photo: A man fishing at a temple pond in Bhubaneswar

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Acting Profile

Being a celebrity actor is not the aim, but to be the part of a good film realising a character that probably suit me is definitely one of the aims. I made this profile to send it to a friend who asked me for stills for a character. Thought I will make it appealing for him, even if it may not serve his purpose. I used a few stills with different colour schemes to suit the mood and expression - like authoritative green, cool blue, brutal red, earthy brown, vintage grey etc.- as used effectively in cinema to create mood.
I did the first bit of acting in school Nirmala when a set of seniors didn't find a candidate to do an old farmer woman character. They found me beside their makeup room and forced me to do that character. I didn't have any dialogue to deliver but stay at one corner doing the action of harvesting paddy. Thus stayed on stage for five minutes covered with mud holding a sickle.
The second stage performance was for a comedy play at Arena multimedia during graduation days in Hyd. Ironically it was again a female character but as the central character Anarkali. In the climax of play I had to throw away the Anarkali outfit and show that I am a man who came as an actor for their play. I just had to be quite natural on stage being freaky and goofy and it was hilarious to make people laugh. It worked well. I remember my best friends then, Yamini and Dileep following me to the changing room laughing and making fun. I remember Yamini shouting "Please let me in, Just want to see Anarkali one more time before he changes". Crazy goofy days. But that wasn't the best remark I had for Anarkali. Almost four years later I went to Hyd for a visit. There were no familiar faces in Arena except for an old maid servant of Arena. She recognized me and the words came from her mouth surprised me a lot, "Anarkali Beta, Kaise ho". (Anarkali son, how r u?). She remembered me as Anarkali, not with my name. Felt so good and gave her a hug. The image given below is of that performance.If you look carefully the old woman who is standing behind my character in brown sari on the steps is her. I found this pic in an old CD and kept it carefully coz of that memory.
I have acted in many of my own short films starting from My Mirror. I did it mainly because cheap benefits like I need not be paying myself for a role, I enjoy doing it and that I am never bored of undergoing any number of retakes to improve. But direction and acting together is really a painful task. The worst is when I have to handle the camera myself too. Well, I feel things are getting better these days and I am trying the best not to fancy doing characters that doesn't suit me but discover new actors around.
Recently at skimstone my friend Chris Hall forced me into a funny character called Lord Mongomery Smithers as his character had a Chaplin shade and he knew very well that I'm a hardcore Chaplin addict. Thankfully it went on well and yesterday for the screening at Newcastle Art Centre, I received good remarks from viewers from North East.Not bad, they laughed for sure.
http://skimstone.org.uk/yac/the-old-code
I really don't know whether I would ever take acting as a career but sure to continue to do it once in a while when someone offer a good character. More than anything else I thoroughly enjoy the process of it. I love the acting workshops at Skimstone and at MCC. Also remember a good day at Marathi Theatre club Sudarshan Rang Manchan in Pune once trying to do theatre exercises with young professional actors there. My director friend Titty told me to stop acting after my first short film 'My Mirror'. After 2-3 years he told me that if I have had a little more height he would have taken me for acting. But interestingly today he msged me in FB that he will have a role for me in a film sometime in future.
If life is to surrender for something then I don't want to live at all. Life might not take me to any heights but it will definitely make me better in confidence as a common man. So let me just act and live the moment now :P

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

With mad Naranath and a mad writer

Till today I have never heard a word from his mouth than his silent surreal deeds through which meanings are moulded. Peeping into his world is assuring that words are meaningless and language is at a lower level. Isn’t language a nasty tool forcing someone into a specific path murdering his ability for wider interpretations and innovations that signs and actions could have encouraged in man? It is said about film editing too. His actions speak louder than words. That looks like his philosophy.

He is a short dark man with lean body and no muscles. I am not sure whether black brown is his actual colour or not. He sleeps peacefully on the burning sand and hard rock as if the hot summer sun is a shade. Only the monsoons can give him a bath in the entire year. Those days he stays wet even for a week or more until the sunrays eventually suck the water drops to its collection for next monsoon. He eats like a beast when he is truly hungry unlike other human who are open to grab a feast at any hour of the day and chew betel leaves in between those feasts. He seems to compare the process of chewing the cud among all the specious. I heard that he once did the same with his Brahmin brother Agnihothri and the cow at his cowshed. He fishes for his own reflection in the temple pond when nobody is around. As he finally stands exhausted, the ripples too seems to stop their naughtiness revealing his image. He then smiles at his mindless-lifeless-hopeless lifelong companion showing his dirty teeth in the belief that he is still growing with his growing beard. That looks like his philosophy.

He weeps in happiness and laughs at sorrows. Ironically neither the happiness nor the sorrows are of him but of others. For that matter he hardly has any emotion or preconceived notion about anything. He never meditates to know the reason about his existence to himself or questions about his birth to his mother Panchami or breaks his head blaming his father Vararuchi. He always hesitated to accept his relation to all of them, as he actually had no reason to understand its meaning. Yet all his ten brothers and one sister knew its meaning and they all keep smiling at him with immense love whenever he appears in front of them. The only brother he can relate in its true sense is his last brother who died by birth, Vayillaakkunnilappan. The mouthless dead boy Vayillakunnilappan is the only one who talks to him and he does reply back in silence to all his silly questions. He too smiles - or rudely laughs - back to all the others fancying their dress, teeth, eyes or even their mouths stuffed with betel leaves. He seems to enjoy the way the green betel leaves turning red with the mix of lime, tobacco, arecanut and saliva. That looks like his philosophy.

He is not a dumb man though he keeps his silence in agitation to the words. There are a lot of wise men who heard him speak to himself or to just nothing on unpredicted occasions. Why I need to say just others, I myself have seen him doing it at various moments in our journey together. To be honest we never travelled with each other with such an intension. It’s written on my forehead that he is meant to be my co traveller for no reason. Today it’s written in this story too by the writer without any academic proof or argument about him or me. The story itself is the result of his escapism from that spiral staircase of arguments and proofs he is dealing with these days in his thesis on films. That looks like his philosophy.

Once the wise men heard him talking to goddess Kali of cremation ground. For some reason Kali was so impressed by some of his action. As he was trying to sneak out without a word she forcefully stopped him and told him that she cannot leave him without giving a blessing. He stood scratching his head for nearly seven hours. The impatient Kali was forced to stand quietly until he opened his mouth and said, “I need one day less in my life.” She was surprised. Shaking her head in a big ‘No, no’ mode she replied, “Sorry it's not possible by me. Ask for something else.” He didn’t have to think much at that moment, “Ok then give me one day extra to my life.” Kali didn’t know what to say, but she had no choice but to say no again, “Sorry son, boon for birth or death is not in my hands. Please ask for something else.” By then he was so irritated. He gave a nasty look at her as if she is such a waste and that she was unnecessarily trying to waste his precious time. Kali was adamant that he must not leave without taking one blessing from her. He stood looking up for the next two hours and then looked down smiling at his feet. He asked, “Mother, there is a little ailment on my left feet, can you shift it to my right feet.” On that moment Kali became confused. But from that moment he didn’t leave Kali until she actually gave him that blessing. With an ailment on his right leg he struggled to walk out of the cremation ground with a happy face. That looked like his philosophy.

As I keep climbing every single hill or mountain he joins me from nowhere. He smiles at my trekking costume and shoes. As I struggle to climb he too does the same alongside me pushing a huge rock with bare foot and bare hands. Naturally the smart I always reach the top faster than him. By the time I finish and relax with the water from Aquafina bottle or a cigarette he touch the top point with the massive rock dragged from the bottom of hill. As I throw the cigarette bud or empty bottle down from the hilltop, he too drops the rock with a wild laughter. As it rolls down faster and faster at each stage making loud noises through the surface of hill mocking back at the pain he took while pushing it up, he gets high with claps and laughs. That looks like his philosophy.

As always I have to say, “Naranath, you are MAD.” He then smiles with his dirty teeth.

“Well, I don’t know whether you are mad, Naranath” I always have to contradict with words. That was always been my philosophy.

I guess the writer also has no argument or proof to define our madness and analyse it like in his film theory and definitions. Today in his heart he is busy hugging her tight and travelling with her to her baby's grave. He started loving both. That looks like his new philosophy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pravasam


Pravasam is actually a journey with the symbols of mother land in heart.

I designed this short film with the shots taken from my trip to Kerala & the poem was written during school days that has a little story of its own. I can share it with you some other time. :)

Life in the UK

It has been a year and two months since I came to the UK. Yesterday, my flatmate Tanweer and I had a good discussion about what we learnt or achieved from our life abroad after I received an email from British Council. I can confidently say that the last two years in my life was the most productive and creative time with regard to the academic and professional front. Leaving that apart I would like to talk about my personal life that took a new turning point, which I realised only during my visit to Kerala this January.

The simple things that I kept ignoring in yesteryears that I managed to adopt as the needs of today’s life here in UK seems to push me forward to be more confident on nearly everything that I was been longing to do in life. You might find it silly but I can bet that almost 80% of my confidence generated from a newfound love for cooking. In future I can be a loser at a lot of other places and activities but I am sure I will stay an achiever in kitchen. The most relaxing time I spend after work or studies is in kitchen with stupid experiments on what could be a truly new tasty dish. It is like painting or making a film. Well, the dishes might not fancy everyone but at least a few could have a positive opinion about it. J It’s been true about my films too. So far I haven’t followed any recipe. It is like writing without proper grammar and spellings or filming without script. I remember a long fight on phone with a good friend from English literature background Susan Deborah on my immediate and important need for a new word ‘fourbile’ or probably ‘frible’ in English that can follow the sequence of ‘single, double and triple’. Naturally it is not practical but I love this experimental way and I don’t think I ever looked for any takers whether it is film or food for good. I will give you an example of an experimental dish from the kitchen that my sister liked a lot - a curry with ivy guard, mustard, aubergine and boiled eggs. Have you heard of this combination before!

In spite of my dad’s words, I never thought of exploring ‘cooking-as-a-need’ for years, though I had all possibility for that during my stay in Chennai. I thought it could be time killer and hence wasted money at restaurants. Now that notion has been proved wrong. I cooked for my mother on most of the days I spent at home. I enjoyed intruding into her territory that she cherished for many years. For the food and me there were some interesting remarks from family. The funniest was my uncle’s, who said that he now truly agree and support to my plan of a single life as I proudly proved to him that I can cook a good meal, enjoy it and wash my plates all alone.

Let me get into my second achievement. I guess I have learnt to live with people now. From that loner of Chennai who was cocooned inside his own room marking it his only world, he had grown to a 99% social being. I used to believe that I could never share a house with someone else. For that reason I lived in a single room in Chennai for almost four years. Like my notion on cooking it is proved wrong. I am terribly happy with my two flatmates here who are more like brothers. I guess I was more selfish and self-centred during my lone life and I feel better with this new change. It feels good, funny and freaky.

This time in Kerala I designed the most satisfactory film I ever did, my sister’s marriage video. I was not with her on her engagement. On that day while video chatting with her she asked me for a promise that I would stay with her throughout the day of her wedding. I gave her a little plan that I remain at her side shooting her marriage video so that no one calls me for any other task. It worked and she smiled at me all the time I stood with the camera in front of her. Today, my parents know only two of my films - My Paper Boat (because of the prize) and Aakkutty’s wedding video. I feel more addicted to Kerala and my family than ever before. I realise the need of happiness as a family, for the family and I need to get back home for my parents.

Today if I feel confident to create something new at kitchen and share with my flatmates, I am equally confident to do a film and share with audience. Art of cooking and life with my flatmates surely contributes to all the films I probably do in future. I got an email from British Council that they are sending a certificate for a letter I wrote for a competition conducted on ‘Life in the UK’. I shared only the academic and work life that the judges of the competition called highly commended. What I never mentioned was the other learning in personal life and social life that I will cherish for this lifetime as my confidence.

I just cooked something quick for breakfast. Would you like to try? - A mildly spicy omelette with desiccated coconut, tomato and tiny slices of chicken ham along with a few slices of bread and a pint of Apple & Raspberry Squash. Give it a try…

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Oormayai


On my visit to Kerala, I found this video I did ten years back as a project for my course in Multimedia. Like everybody else my interest in film started with the idea of doing a music video. As I didn't know how to handle a camera then, the visuals were created in animation softwares like Flash and 3D Studio Max. Also a foolish attempt to make a song by myself. Kindly ignore it as an amateur's attempt.
My only creative partner for this video was the pune of Arena Multimedia, Vinay. He used to stay back until late night as I was stuck to the computer to finish this work. Late night, as everybody leave, we used to record in the silence using pocket Walkman and the basic sound editing software Sound Forge. After finishing this video - truly my very first video ever – we both sat down watching it putting it in a loop for at least fifteen times. Being a Telugu guy, he didn’t understand not even a single word in the lyrics. Yet I remember how much he cared for my love for this project. We used to close the shutters of Arena and walk home late night talking all nonsense.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Voices of Victims








While I entered the Clark’s Inn canteen for dinner, a woman of my mother’s age folded her hands with watery eyes and said ‘Thanks’ in colloquial Hindi. I had to struggle to make her understand that I came for that event only as a documentary videographer for a friend. Yet she continued, “Beta, the only thing I know is that you are doing something good. My son’s father is still alive with us.” Thankfully Kurup sir entered the room and she moved to him with the same words. I sat down watching at the struggle her husband had to put in to eat food.

I was in Delhi for two days in February with retired High Court Judge, Justice Narayana Kurup - who banned smoking at public places by law for the very first time - to videograph his speech at an anti-tobacco seminar at Deputy Speaker Hall of Constitution Club Delhi. It was an event titled Voice of Victims organized by two doctors from Tata Memorial Hospital in association with Salaam Bombay Foundation and Voluntary Health Association of India. The event saw cancer victims voicing their concerns against tobacco lobbies to the public, media and politicians.

More than anything else what fascinated me the most was the words of the wives of the male victims. They spoke boldly with their husbands who stood beside them covering their cancer-affected mouth, about their battle for survival. In two of my blogs I talked so passionately about the film 'Yesterday' and the African wife/mother of the same name as of the film who faced life with courage in spite of her illness of AIDs. Hearing each of them was like watching that film again and again; there are still more ‘Yesterdays’ around me that I am yet to discover. The woman who folded hands to me was one among them. There was so much of simplicity and courage that made each of them special. The men who cried standing beside them on the podium were real. Those women were real. I wasn’t seeing any cinema there. They didn’t generate any sympathy towards them, but hummed a new tone of life.

While travelling alone in the flight from Delhi to Chennai I had mixed feelings in my mind. There was immense excitement to see my best buddies from Chennai and to spend some lone nostalgic moments roaming in my most loved city to those good old corners that gave and took memories from me. It was great walking through the corridors of MCC with my twin-soul Swarna and having lunch with her, Deepu and Barath. Chennai changed but not the people. It was nostalgic to recollect the memories of Kanchipuram with Sunder who had a few tears when I left NFSC. He hasn’t changed either. As always, it was equally exciting to hear long intellectual words of Muthu sir and Mohanamma’s long chat about her two sons. I could make all of them smile the same way I used to. That was a success. While leaving I carried a wonderful photography book created by my good friends from NFSC, about the art form Sarikala Chhau. Later at home, I was glad to see my father seeing it with interest. Value of good work!

The next day I walked around searching for Hope Foundation at Medavakkam area to see my baby girl Joshna, but nobody in the locality knew the new location of the AIDs home. It showed the stigma common lot still carry for AIDs infected people. I remembered Joshna’s mother’s words about their struggle of relocation because of people’s behaviour.

I had to leave the search mid-way and return back for my bus to Kerala. What else I have had done.

After two days there was an exciting shoot on anti-tobacco campaign organised by Kurup sir, with the medium of traditional Kerala art form Kadhakali. The same day I had a very promising chat with actor Captain Raju who was so down-to-earth to voluntarily spend time helping me shoot Kathakali visuals.

Life’s journey… continues…