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Saturday, January 27, 2007

still climbing


its been almost a week of no work and all thought. ever since i showed the film to sekhar on the 23rd, all i've managed to do is absolutely nothing.

while the edit studio needed a break from me and i from it, cus before i re-edit anymore, i really need to distance myself from the film,so i can tackle it again with an open mind,the real downer has been the constant non-availability and non-communication of my sound engineer.
after calling continously for over 2 days he finally wakes upto me...god i dont know why some people are created the way they are...i just needed an explanation as to when i could re-start my dub...
anyways, i am finally getting underway in about 5 hours time. unable to sleep...i have so much still to do with the film, and while i am a one man army here, its getting to be a bit tiresome having to do all the thinking,working,planning,cajoling,motivating,inspiring etc etc yourself.
i have only me for company, and while i have been used to that for several years now, i could do with a clone of myself right now. :)

many a mile to go still.
ciao

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

hmm.


ok so i showed the film to sekhar kammula today. i will reveal what he said when i hold a screening for a few members of the general public later this month or first week of february.

now moving on, i have a mountain to climb with the sound editing/mixing/dubbing of this film. its becoming more crucial than i thought it would be. actually at first i assumed it would be a piece of cake and that last thing i would need to stress about. but looks like this film is going to make me work harder before i get it ready for release.
anyways. my lead actor just dropped in, so i will turn in for today...

ciao

Monday, January 22, 2007

blues

i really dont know what the future of this movie is going to be. until now its been only me and my cast and crew who have been watching it and appreciating it. maybe we are all biased cus we worked hard on it. maybe its not exactly a worthy effort.

well i am going to show it to some members of the general public tomorrow. a sort of screening. what i really need most right now is a a big dose of motivation and inspiration, that will help me see this movie through to some logical end. technically the film is mostly ready...except for sound mix, which should take a week or so...so i am pretty much done..

now i have to figure out what to do with it.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

new flavours


its been a while since a post. i did write one yesterday, but lost it cus there was a server problem.
anyways. i was writing to say that i think the film is now moving into a new direction. the dubbing of the film started yesterday. sigh.
i have to now start planning an itinerary of film festivals, big and small that i must start registering my film for...
readers/friends, whenever you guys have the time, look through the web for me and let me know which major or minor festivals are coming up this year, i'd like to send c.o.f to atleast 5 major and 5 minor festivals. i might register for cannes one of these days....
hmm....in a bit of a limbo right now...to many thoughts to process at the same time..
will keep you posted on the dub which is giving the film a new exciting flavour and the edit which continues, till, i dont know, till i guess i realise the film is finished. a continous edit is something like, you know not knowing when to stop painting or not knowing when your painting is done...am waiting for something in me to say, "yeah,your film is ready".

ciao

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

setting expectations


so the rough cut of the film is out. just the rough cut.which means, i know how the film will eventually turn out, since i have the framework in front of me.
what do i think? i think i have made a meaningful film. and i think, unless the sun rotates around the earth, people will see and understand that it was an honest attempt made my someone who wanted to talk about his relationship with films...

q.will i be called the next spielberg,shyamalan or locally sekhar kammula or nagesh kukunoor? ans: no.
q.will this film be taken seriously? ans: i will work hard to get it its due notice.
q.is this is a great film? ans:no.well,maybe i am being modest,who knows right? :)
q.is this a good film? ans: yes.
q.is this an honest film? absolutely!
q.is this film flawless? ans: if there are flaws then i made it so everyone can see them.
q.what can we expect? ans: no lawrence of arabia or titanic. not a hyderabad blues or dollar dreams.

i think i made a film, and no one will notice. now that might be good (which means its flawless) or bad (which means...a headache of convincing people)
i am very proud this is my first film and i hope i live upto its principles. period.

i've still got miles to go...pro'lly until feb sometime before it can be ready to be seen by an audience.
q.as for a commercial release?ans: if only i was a millionaire. (fingers crossed :)

i dont know what everyone expects?...

q.but if your expecting a conventional film with lighting,beautiful camera work,visuals and breathtaking editing!
ans:sorry you will be dissapointed badly.
but,
q.if you want a very honest,very bold, very small and very ambitious film.
ans:you wont be dissapointed. i promise.

ciao
yohan.


Monday, January 15, 2007

victory in sight

a
ok so i had a great time at the edit yesterday evening. one of those sessions you know, where you have no idea where you are heading with the scene, and you are totally frustrated and clueless about how to proceed and you give in to fate and hope that what you wrote and felt will somehow miraculously fall in place and to watch those moments, as everything you did looks mediocre and amateurish and all you can do is wait and watch and watch and cringe and sink into your seat...yeah it started out like that alright....until finally, like a bolt of lightining, except it felt like bolts of lightning all coming at you, in slow motion and also at the speed of sound....
everything falls into place...
and i left the room satisfied...knowing i have a film...

i still have miles to go with this film and i will be brought down to earth sooner or later. but i have decided to revel in this moment for now...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

sigh..




ok, my film is now over 1 hour long, and i have about 15-20 min of footage to edit yet. i wasnt sure at the beginning whether it would last a feature length but it has. all of this is a rough cut, which will be trimmed down after dubbing...
what do i think about it? well i have lost all objectivity. how would i describe the film? i'll call it a love story, between a guy and his movies. yeah. what genre? well, drama-docu-noirish-cinema verite-guerilla style=confessions of a film-maker.
visually? well its moody? very moody? one thing this guy doesnt have in his life is colour. at the same time i didnt want this to be a conventional arty black and white film, so you will find a rainbow although a mellow one, of moody tones.
what else? except that, later this week someone will be asked to review my film, with all its "rough-cut stage-unpolished-work in progress" glory.
and the music? i've used tracks that suit every mood and moment. ofcourse they are also my favs, like bryan adams,john denver,lucky ali,a.r rahman etc. yeah, all these musical geniuses have kindly let me 'use' their work.

what will people think when they see the film?
a: this guy has to be crazy to make a film about his relationship with cinema. but we like him for it.
or
b: this guy is plain crazy, to expect us to take all this seriously.

ciao, am off for a noon session of editing.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

vajrotsavam aricle on idlebrain



It is a reason to celebrate, alright. For, alive and kicking well, even after 75 years, is no mean task. Ask any septuagenarian around and see how difficult it is to maintain all the faculties in tact at 75. And it is showing no signs of letting up even in, either near or distant future. When H.M.Reddy made the first telugu talkie "Bhakta Prahlada" in 1931, he would have never envisioned that the seeds he had sown 75 years ago would amount to this gigantic formation, which looks after the well-being of thousands and thousands of families.
Entertainment has truly grown into an industry, in all senses of the word. Right from the main players running the show - producers, directors and actors, down to the fringe players running the auxiliary and the ancillary industries, telugu film industry ranks next to none in terms of job creation, job opportunities, and to a certain extent job guarantee and to a large extent job satisfaction. Hundreds of movies every year, expansion of the markets to every nook and corner to where the bright sun can lay its eyes upon, sky-rocketing of the salaries, particularly if one is touched by the golden hand of the Celluloid God, the industry seems to have better growth prospects than any other hottest trend currently ruling the roost. And for nay-sayers who worry about saturation and overkill, the industry hasn't yet scratched the surface on untapped segments like content distribution over a variety of media - DVD, streaming, satellite, branding the movies, tie-ins with other industries, like toys, and many such. It seems as though that the industry has it all - a glorious past, an exciting present and a promising future. What more can any industry ask for? And it certainly calls for setting aside 8-9 crores to congratulate each other about the crowning achievement. It is time to regale and rejoice....Or is it? Didn't every success story start this way? A humble beginning that started off with good intentions and noble ideas, not to forget great minds carefully guiding even greater talent. The strong foundations slowly allowing fault lines to creep through, either due to excessiveness or through sheer negligence. The fault lines causing enough cracks in the final behemoth, collapsing the entire structure and taking down along with it dreams, hopes and aspirations of thousands, if not millions, for the simple reason that nobody accounted for the fault lines in the first place. Is telugu industry currently heading in the direction of a great demise?Content is the most contentious issue plaguing the industry. After successfully segregating the markets (for its own selfish reasons and to mask its own incompetence) into youth, family, ladies, class, mass and many such, the question remained what content endears to each of those segments? If it is a youth movie, should it be a run of the mill love story, or an action-laced, sentiment-laden story that sings paeans about the power of the youth? If a family oriented movie, does it have to be a tear-jerker, heaping one trouble over another and dragging the family through every cinematic barb wire possible? Back in the day when movies around stories and not stars, there was never this problem of scripting by numbers. Stories made stars and not the other way around. If a story demanded that ANR play second fiddle, as a bumbling slow-witted detective, coming right on the heels of the stupendous success of "Devadasu", the actor had no problem suiting up for Detective Raju in "Missamma". There was no image issue nor there were starry demands on the rewriting of the role. Similarly, if the story called for the husband to develop an inferiority complex towards his talented wife baring his dark side, NTR would gladly take up the role without apprehensions about his "image" for "guDiganTalu".From that situation to the current deplorable condition, where stars foolishly assume that they can make/break the movie, that everything in the movie needs to revolve around their character and that their sensibilities are certainly much better than the other wise, thinking heading helming the production, is definitely progress in the reverse direction, particularly when it comes to the content.

If the so called stars (they in fact should be called planets (grahaalu, not taaralu), for, they cannot shine on their own) are pulling the structure down with their egotistical wrecking balls from the outside, the system is getting eaten inside out, through a serious lack of infrastructure that fosters and promotes the nucleus of the industry - the content. For an industry that boasts about hundreds of crores of throughput every year, how many film schools are established in the state, how many acting schools have taken root, especially when there is a serious dearth of good actors, how many script-writing courses are initiated either in the mainstream educational system or on the outside, through workshops and seminars? Is this how the industry protects its most vital and valuable resource - the intellectual property - from being frittered away into ignominy? In the last seven decades of telugu cinema, if one were to chart the original output in numbers by the decade, it would be clearly evident that the industry has flat-lined in the last couple of decades and that it has been surviving solely on the hardwork of other industries, either for technological innovation or innovative narration - Hollywood, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and to a certain extent Kannada.
Take any of the industries above, each one has a strong theatrical or a literary foundation that serves as a constant source of good input to the respective industries. Unfortunately with the telugu industry, there neither is a concerted patronage to the art on stage, nor there is any genuine interest in the printed word. Having successfully dried up both those creative wells in the constant glare of bright blinding arc lights, telugu industry is found gasping for good material to quench its thirst. Every year, come the national awards time, when all the important awards (script, direction, movie) seem to adorn the mantles of the neighbors, telugu industry suddenly wakes up in a fit ("aarambha Sooratvamu") and criticizes everyone, but itself, for its current sad state. Is there any practical situation to end the current imbroglio?
Yes, there is. And as always, like in matters relating to charity, it has to come from people with deep pockets - the prestigious production houses - Suresh, Usha Kiron, Vyjayanthi, Annapoorna et al. Set up a separate wing that deals exclusively with innovative intelligent movies that do not need great budgets. In fact, discourage any project that costs more than a crore just for the content and the presentation. The crores and crores that are thrown at risky projects involving top stars and item numbers, are enough seed money to spawn a new silent revolution, which would further the cause of telugu cinema. Even if one movie strikes the right chord with the audience, the impetus and the momentum generated are enough to kick start 10 other movies of such kind. May be they would not pull enough crowds on the first day for the first shows, but history has shown time and again, that good movies seldom fail. When the current audience is currently split among TV serials, game shows, internet etc and their interest has been splintered by the divisive policy of the industry, that such and such is a mass movie and such and such is a ladies fare, the time is right and ripe for good movies to make a comeback and reclaim their spot on the top, one, they have been forced to relinquish a few decades ago.
Content is what that has been keeping the industry ticking. Content is what that makes the industry work. When the whole industry can come together to celebrate the 75th year of its inception with such fervour, it certainly can do more than that, when its own survival and its own existence is on the line. It is never too late to wake up, take stock, and start working immediately on a survival strategy. Otherwise, by the time centennial celebrations come around, telugu film industry would be taken in the same breath as the might Mughal Empire, the golden reign of Krishna Devaraya, and the exciting age of stage dramas.

Friday, January 12, 2007

editing heaven


alright even further delays, before i finally got underway today at noon. i am ecstatic with the results as the movie touches the 42nd mark on the timeline. i dont know man. how can i not 'move' anyone with this film? how can anyone not be effected by this film? i am, for the first time nervous, nervous with excitement, nervous with the knowledge that i have something here, that means something, means something special. yes, maybe my dream wasnt that much of a goofball idea, i can see it taking some definitive shape. i am keeping my fingers crossed that i will maintain the magic that i see right until the end.
yes, the film is shaping up to my expectations. not more and certainly not less. its exactly matching my expectations and i am delighted by that. what can i say.

.....except that i cant wait until i have an audience.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

editing shediting




ever since the last post, ever day has been excruciatingly slow. everynight my trip to the edit room, would either result in a power breakdown,memory problem, or non availability of the bloody hd-dv recorder (the only one in a.p) etc etc.
it was only yesterday that my editing got back to speed and with that session, i finished editing all the crucial talkie protions in my film. thats 31 min so far and i have another 60-75 min to do...mind you this is only a rough cut for the dub, the final editing will take longer. anyways....
the question you probably want answered is was i happy with the results, yes i am, very happy...i think i have, or i will manage to get a few people to shed a tear or two. very happy.....but also at the same time, i know taking the movie further chosively will be a major task.....i have a mountain to climb still, i was only setting the groundwork so far....the next scnenes that follow are a little abstract,open for interpration,dont rely on dialogue etc etc....so it has to be cut perfectly to commentary....at the same time the story needs to progress...hmmm...i think this task ahead is too overwhelming for me to feel good about myself right now....
ciao..off to work today evening...

you know what i was waiting for the pic to upload and i just got a call from the editing room...the work is post-poned to tomorrow morning at 9. sigh...what do i do man....have to take what comes my way, since i am getting a lot of credit from the studio...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

editing report today- ELATED



frankly i wasnt at all elated by yesterdays cut. but today, well today was something else man. i am totally joyous. I could for the first time see my film come to shape. yesterdays pensiveness has been replaced today by sheer confidence. i am confident finally that i am definetely making something worthwhile and something that will be long lasting. i edited 21 min of the film, and i still have quite a story to tell.
a pat on the back for my editor....
and me.
happy thoughts, pleasant dreams are forthcoming after a while.
GOD LOVES ME

Friday, January 05, 2007

article from telugucinema.com



To All those Committee Members who Organize the Diamond Jubilee Function,

I am a great fan of Telugu Film Industry since my Childhood and never missed any film that can be watched even though I was at Anantapur / Nellore / Shriharikota / Chennai or USA. Currently I am working as a Software Engineer in USA. In this Open Letter I want to convey a message. I am not in a position to advise or guide but rather I am trying to share my thoughts with you guys.
This is all about the so called ‘Diamond Jubilee Celebrations’ which is going to be held in a gala way on 26th , 27th and 28th of Jan in HYD. And now the organizers of that event are announcing in a proud way that the whole event is going to cost few crores of rupees (around 8 or 9 crores in total). I am really surprised that why all these people who are considered to be the big heads of Telugu Film Industry never even thought a minute that
“Do we really need to spend so much money just because we are going to enter the 76th year “?
“Is there any better way we can spend this money on the eve of entering 76th year”?
All those Directors / Producers / Actors / Artists / Camera men and every one who tried to direct a film like Tagore or a film like Stalin or a film like Rudraveena or a film like “Criminal” never thought once that why can’t we spend this money for a better cause?

All you guys are going forward to spend such a huge amount just to have fun for few days / few hours? You can very well built a Hospital or an Old Age home for poor people or an Orphan age for hundreds of kids who are left by their Parents or can donate money to poor Schools or can educate thousands of kids who don’t have money in their pockets to study. There are many Organizations in our country that really really need money seriously? You the Industry people direct films like Criminal where the hero fight until his death to construct a “Amma Hospital” which serves the needy people for free and why can’t you guys just give a thought about it in real life when you have a chance? We the audience when ever see such a Message oriented Movie we are getting inspired from those films and trying to spend at least few hundreds from our pockets to help the needy, then why can’t you guys think on those lines?
I myself know hundreds of NRI’s who help the needy people in India by maintaining so many forums and chat channels thinking that back home in India may people need financial help. Even though we stay thousands of miles away from home (India) we do get inspired by your films and want to do some meaningful things in life. You guys know the situation better by living in India and by directing Films taking the social elements then why can’t you react in a better way when time comes?

You just Direct / Produce and Act in such message oriented Movies with out a cause? You are thinking that it’s prestigious to call a Bolly Wood actress to sizzle on the screen by paying hefty amount and you are announcing in papers with pride? I don’t think that’s not what Telugu Industry is entering into 76th year. Why can’t you spend that money for a better cause? You can sponsor few operations in Govt hospitals and what not we can do in India if we have that much money? The director of Tagore Movie and Script writer gave powerful dialogs giving the exact statistics of the needy people (for which we literally got tears when we heard that there are so many people in India who need help) / the script writer of “Aparichithudu” Movie gave even more powerful dialogs saying how the youth is not helping the Country to grow? How we are leaving the Country behind and going forward with selfishness (which we should not) like that you encouraged the audiences. Why is that spirit missing in you now?
What are you guys doing now? Will any one in the Country get benefited by this Diamond Jubilee Function? Please think twice Sir and spend the money for a better cause.

You build a Hospital and name it after your Industry and that name will remain for ever or

pick a village and reformat the entire village and built a school for poor people name it after Telugu Film Industry
or construct a old age home for poor people
or give donations to those poor students who really need financial help to study further
or construct a house for all those poor technicians who r there in your film industry from years together and serving you people
or donate clothes to all those SC / ST Hostels where kids are dying in winters with out proper clothes and bedsheets
or help those heart patients who don’t have the money to get operated
if you do such things then every Telugu guy in this world will feel proud of their Telugu Film Industry.

If the Directors / those powerful script writers or the so called Organizers are running out of thoughts do take the audience advise and believe me we can offer a better way to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee Function than the one you opted for.

Regards
Haritha Machineni

editing day 1




alright, so i finally got started last night. the first scene came out exactly how i wanted it to. so that was a perfect start. the scene right after had me pulling my hair and questioning why i ever made this film. sigh! well it was frustrating, because that scene asks all kinds of questions,both literally and metaphorically, and i found myself groping for answers. i found some of them, however i will need to look into it again tonight. the 3rd scene which followed was pretty much a breeze, except that i found myself digging a bigger hole. a hole which i never intended in the first place. i called it a night as soon as i saw the asst.editor falling asleep on the system. i was too tired to laugh at that sight.
need to do some serious r&d today before i continue editing..
i am thinking too much about how people are going to react....is that a good or a bad thing?

Monday, January 01, 2007

cof day 28/theend/finito/fin





ok i am done shooting my film. strangely i dont feel overwhelmed or emotional. maybe the new year coming in and the energies that went into shooting last night, took away from this moment somewhat. no matter,still, i started shooting today at 3, one scene. took 3 hours to get it right. its also the first scene in the movie. i'm glad i was able to shoot exactly the way i first visualised it. however it took around 12 retakes. toughy.
so yeah, its been 28 days of shooting, which started on the 28thofnov and ended on new years. i didnt plan for it to be a long schedule, nor did i initially want to end shooting on new years day. but the story seemed to be taking its own course, we (my crew) all had our own self journeys of doubt,dream,angst and expression.
i'll miss the pointless drives for hours on end on highways, and the discussions about movies in cafe's. but i am looking forward to now taking this film to its 'logical end'-pun intended.
yeah...i will hit the post-production suite from the 3rd. atleast thats what the editor says....i hope he means that...i have no more patience for any sort of delays, i want to get this film out of my system...
i dont know if stupid blogger will let me ipload some pics, i'll try. i also dont know if i'll keep writing on this blog frequently....maybe i will.
but meanwhile please do check my other blog" whatastateofmind.blogspot.com

my minds travelling. i think i'll take a trip.

cof day 27-new years eve

i deleted my earlier post 'no sympathy', i was overwhelmed with responses saying that i may have been 'inspired'. god, lol. well i deleted it because i didnt want anyone to misunderstand further. especially the press.
anyways. well today is new years. so i'll say 'happy new year'. ok, thats done with. i've been shooting the whole of the 31st. we started our day at 5:30a.m and we made our way from medhipatnam to well all over basically. the first half of the day canning flashbacks etc. however, the second half started off with my actor making some major physical changes within himself to get ready for the climactis scenes of the film. it was a brave effort on his part. i cant reveal too much about the plot, cus if i were to talk about it, then there wouldnt be a film to watch.
i understand from feedback that my blog is too internal and talks about all things vague. well yeah, thats why its a blog and not a website. also at this point even before i have gone to the press with the film details, i can only write about how i am feeling most of the time,rather than what i have been shooting.
last night was all about getting some moments from our mad hyderabadu crowd as they go about dragging in the new year. i have either grown too old or i dont know how to have fun anymore....but i just dont see the point in yelling and screaming 'happy new yearrrrrrrrrr' into every hapless souls ear.
for me the new year this time round was just another day winding to a close and straining to open for the next day. if anything the new year is a reflection on what one did and hopes to achieve. in my case the hopes are monumental and i have a mountain to climb.hopefully i will have the lung power.
anyway like i was rambling earlier on...the focus was to capture some silent,thoughful,introspective,calming moments from hyderabad.
i think i achieved it to some extent. the highlight was the coverage of the new years mass at st.mary's. it was light up spectacularly.
meanwhile i am getting ready to shoot the final scene today in a few hours. need to work on that...will write later.
ciao.
oh i had a feast of a dinner at 4 seasons medhipatnam.
fuck it,not able to upload any pics..