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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

a little bit of avakai in my life....

As I sit watching the edit happen on my movie Avakai-Biryani (Mango Pickled Biryani), I am reminded about how all of this first started……..
Back in 2006. Sekhar Kammula’s ‘Godavari’ had just released to good reviews but to an unfavorable box office response, finally ending as an ‘average’ film business wise. Having worked as both the executive producer and associate director on the film, I gave it my all and I mean MY ALL, shooting in the middle of that amazing river for a 100 days, with more than a 100 people on board 3 launches, bang in the middle of the monsoon, with the heaviest rainfall and floods being recorded ever, the production of Godavari was a truly life changing experience for me, something I will take to my grave, something that made me believe that we could shoot on Mt.Everest next if we wanted to….something that really made a filmmaker out of me…
and watching it not making it in the box office, disheartened me, depressed me and pushed me into the blackest phase of my professional career…..I was questioning why I had spent the last 10 years of my life in this cynical-tough as nails-bitchy-unforgiving place called ‘the film industry’…
Sekhar had me take time off, I went on a bit of a soul searching trip across the konkan…drifting from one low to another….this trip was just a pretext to finally sit down and write a feature film, something Sekhar has been goading me to do since my ‘Anand’ days with him…little did he know, I was only making the trip to escape from the industry here in Hyderabad….The ‘Godavari’ experience left me feeling bitter about the people working here and the public….I was hard headed, I know, but I thought I needed to get away and re- renew my career…..my life….
This was when I tried to write something ‘happy’…something optimistic…something inspirational….something lighthearted….the result was Avakai-Biryani…but….I didn’t actually write the entire draft of ‘AB’ while on my trip on the konkan….instead I would write and leave it midway to wallow in self pity and a few vodkas, the depression wouldn’t leave me…..but I still managed to write a treatment which will make COF look like HAHK. (sigh….alright the full form “Hum Aapke Hain Koun”)
Anyways….The result of all of this was “confessions of a filmmaker”-(shot on HD-released on the internet, with assistance from PFC)…….but then, let me skip a few chapters after that….and talk about the immediate past and the imminent future….
Avakai Biryani….my first movie…my immediate past and my imminent future…
Hello PFC readers, don’t think anyone here would have missed me….but I am happy to be back, writing again…
Right after “Happy Days” began my “Happy Phase” (corny-I know)….but seriously, the super success of Sekhar’s ‘Happy Days’ revitalized me….so much so that I re-visited my once darkly written AB script….
The result was a happy, progressive, optimistic ,movie draft….which I was happy to present to Sekhar and which he readily agreed to produce….
And so today as I sit watching the edit….I am also reminded about what big adventures it took to make this small film…..but more about that in a later post….
For now cheers PFC.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Last Post Until Further Notice.

Yes, this will be my last post Until Further Notice. There is just too much to do on a daily basis, its becoming increasingly difficult and therefore redundant for me to continue writing this blog for now....

I have just a few weeks to go before shooting starts, and all my energies are focussed on achieving just that.

Things are looking great and progressing well....

So thats it for now guys. Sorry, but maybe I will write later, who knows, when things are calmer....like when the shooting is actually done.

until then....

bye for now

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

wed, feb 06(2)

A good day today, finally I see my characters emerging through the rehearsals. This is really quite heartening. A bright positive day for me....

A first unit of technicians have left for the location to assess the situation there and make plans for some pre-liminary arrangements.

lets see what tomorrow has in store, today had good momentum....so much more exciting things to look fwd too.

wed, feb 06

i have 7 min to go before my batteries ru out on the comp.
its been a tough revelatory day....tough times on the rehearsals, the actors are finding their way slowly but surely.....i really should try and spend some more time with them....

the complexity of the schedule becomes more and more evident and the pressure to make every day count is immense....
still m0re casting work to do...more logistics to be worked out....

i have to take my time out of all of this and write a bit, but i also need to be at work every minute, cus i wanna make sure we arent getting complacent...

there aren't enough hours in a day right now....the clock is ticking!!!!

Monday, February 04, 2008

mon,feb04

Interesting days so far. Actings workshops have started. Our executive producer is in the house, taking over production issues, a location rekki is due in a couple of days, lyrics are being worked on....

more importantly, today i meet our cameraman....the man, whose vision is key to this films success....am keeping my fingers crossed that everything works out well for the both of us....lets see...

i am hoping the cameraman understands whats in store for us and i hope it inspires him...i am hoping the production designer gets going with his work asap....keeping my fingers crossed, my town is waiting for me....

all days from now lead to the shoot day...scheduled for the first week of march...i am really hoping we meet that deadline...if we do, super, that would be with only 1.5months of pre-production behind us....

everyday must count....

Saturday, February 02, 2008

day 16 or is it 17, pre prod

moving into February now. we have finalized the main leads, rehearsal workshops start tomorrow. action stations!!

the art team, costume team and the rest of it is closely coming together.

need to get back to work for now....will write in details in a later post.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

day 14, pre-production

the most introspective day so far. full up major up's and down's. boy, the day whizzes by so fast, so much happens and still not much happens....its a constant swing....

whats the fate of this film? what will happen? too many 'what's' too early in the day...
what seemed impossible yesterday, suddenly seems possible....what seemed a certainity now seems like a huge doubt....uff....

hmm....we have some way to go, its so hard to find talent, i cant come up with an innovative casting call option....we dont have professional casting directors, i wish we had professional location managers.....professional fund raisers....the list is endless :).....

i want to bring about a change in the way a film is produced with this project....there are so many innovative things i want to do...so little time to apply them right now...dunno know.....anyways..

more preparation, better mind and body co-ordination....more focus on the end goal....more emphasis on immediate targets....more, more, more....

lets see what tomorrow has in store, the months is coming to an end....we have about a month to go for shoot, i see the start day being pushed by a week....why? cus feb has 29 this time round, right?

enough time....dunno....so much has to happen?....hmmm........

later

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

day 13, pre production

its been a whole week since i posted anything here...i dont know why...its been a whirlwind few days. a lot has been happening, i know i must make more of an effort to post regularly...

i just got back from chennai, had a few sessions with the music director, gave him the script and everything, had quite an intense time with him...the result is a few good tracks....happy about that....very happy...

we have also roped in the main female lead in the movie...so thats terrific too...

i know you guys have been saying, more pictures, no more cryptic messages, etc etc....i have to take a call on this....its not like confessions you know....this time its a high profile thing, and i dont think i wanna reveal too much about the MD or the heroine, the industry is a....so competitive....my assets soon become a liability.....i dont know...i see your point, let me see if i can work something out....

but yeah, lets see, its almost two weeks since pre-production started, and we have the main leads fixed, we have most of the tunes ready, i have an art director working on the designs, just waiting for some confirmations from the DOP and Cost.Designer....hmmm....

a lot of the casting is due though....lot of roles to audition for...maybe i must hit the 'press' button and get some more people coming in for auditions....lets see...

otherwise, tons of stuff happening everyday...i'll stop here for now, am blogging for work, so feeling kinda guilty about that.....must focus on some work....

till later guys

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

day 6 pre production

was a terrific day yesterday, we might have found the perfect girl for the project, lets see if it works out...wont say anymore at this point.

things are moving on quite well....auditions and talent searches are in full swing...almost...well it could be better...

will keep it short this time....have to get back to some work right now...

Monday, January 21, 2008

day 5, pre production

I told everyone to take it easy, was a sunday after all. Came in later to meet a few costume designers. All of them were not what I wanted in a film costume designer.....hardly anyone these days has any sort of passion for film costume designing....cant blame them I suppose, I guess they dont see much of a future here....

So here is a call out....is there a costume designer out there....I need one for my movie....he/she must be real/original/passionate and desperate to want to proove themselves in this field :) please do pass the word around, its a major position as far as my crew is concerned...

A few exciting things are in store this week...have been working on the title design for the movie....its still in its early stages, but we are getting it ready for a possible press conference later this week...

And from today its audition time....people are going to be coming in for screen tests...gotta rush out so later guys....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

day 4, pre production

the best day so far. had a day long script reading with the entire team....was a terrific session which ended with everyone debating about the film with passion...
good stuff.

as i went through the entire script one more time....it just re-affirmed to me, this is a monumental project...atleast for me...looking forward to the challenges ahead...

capped off the night with dinner with the team and headed back home...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

day 3, pre production

Its been great to see how the industry reacts to Sekhar. He is easily today the most eagerly watched and anticipated of all filmmakers here in A.P....from the days when he wasn't allowed into a studio floor and was asked to wait outside, to today when people leap out of chairs to greet him.....wow!
the industry is a funny place huh....

again not much happened at work yesterday, it was a nice lazy day spent chatting about the script and so on...but today morning is important...i must have already mentioned...a team script session...i am hoping for some bright ideas and questions....

last night i watched nagesh kukunoors bombay to bangkok.....a very bad movie....2 hrs long....but it felt lik 4hrs.....is this the same guy who made Iqbal and Dor...hmmm...

well, need to get ready for work...so will catch up later guys...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

day 2, pre production

I am writing while I am still at work. Goes to show that nothing much happened today. Most of the crew had to catch up on the script, so they have been spending the day reading, while I have been trying to put some of my thoughts about the project on a whiteboard.

An extremely dull day at work. Tomorrow will be better cus everyone would have read it by then and I am sure they will have a million things to say or maybe not...my direction team never had much to say, actually they had nothing to say after watching 'confessions'....so I'll be surprised if they have anything to say this time round....

sigh...."you guys can speak up you know...its a free country..."

So to encourage that, I will have a team script session tomorrow....that will get everyone on the same plane as far as the script goes....meanwhile my music director says he has a new tune coming up....keeping my fingers crossed on that one....

Have also let a leading art director read my script...I want him on the project, he is easily the best in the business right now and it will be a first for amigos if we hire a art department like his...lets see what happens with that.....

thats it for now

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

day 1, pre-production

Wednesday, July 04, 2007 that was my last dated post in my earlier blog.

Lot has happened since then. Some of you might already know....I am on the verge of starting my second feature film.

Like I said, a lot has happened since the 4th of July last year. To start of Happy Days is the biggest hit of the year and then a script which I first started working on in 2006, came back to life late in 07.

So after months of making notes and rewrites, the script is finally done and official pre-production started today. well 16th actually.

I thought it was time for me to once again bring a blog back to life and get into the hang of writing....that will take a little time, but I must document this I feel....

Its going to be two months of pre-production starting today, followed by two months of shoot and a release hopefully in august-september or maybe winter (if post takes time).

I have so much more to talk about, but let me get this blog out of the way today.
I promise to have more details in tomorrow..

for now...I want to say 'hi' to all my friends who have been looking forward to hearing what I might have to say next....its been a wait huh?

bye for now.