Friday, November 12, 2010

Antardwand - Dialogue within

फिल्म मेकर हूँ, फिल्मों का निर्माता
फिल्मों से जीवन दर्शाता
कॉलेज में प्यार करे, उन जोड़ो को मिलवाता
कभी माँ मरी हो किसी की, उस बेटे को इंसाफ़ दिलाता
हर इंसान के अंदर का, देखो मैं हीरो दिखाता,

तू सपनो में रहने वाले, जीवन सच से क्या हैं नाता
वो खा रहे पैसे सारे, भूका नंगा यहाँ बिलबिलता
हो रहे यहा क़त्ल-ए-आम, तू विदेश में गाने गाता
चुप बैठ कर देख रहा तू, तेरे बाप का क्या हैं जाता,

हैं दम फ़िल्मो से जगा जोश, शिव टांडव हो, दुर्गा हो चंडी,
वरना झूठ बोल रहा तू पाखंडी, इस रंगमंच का तू शिकंडी

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

एक पेड़ हुआ करता था यहा पर

एक पेड़ हुआ करता था यहा पर
डाली डाली क़िस्सा था,
हर पत्ता किरदार था

सर्द गरम या हो बारिश
हर चर्चा मज़ेदार था

कभी डाली रोती पत्तो के आँसू
और यूँ पतझड़ आ जाता था

हर टहनी जब खिल कर हस्ती
मानो बसंत छा जाता था

देखे उसने कई ज़माने
हर दशक का दर्शक था

माटी ईंट और पत्थर
अब सिमेंट का जंगल था

जिसको दी थी उसने छाया
आज वो इसका भक्षक था

अब रहा ना वो पेड़ यहा पर
अब तो वो सिर्फ़ लकड़ा था

जिस पर बैठा इंसान हैं
उस कुर्सी का हिस्सा था

एक पेड़ हुआ करता था यहा पर
डाली डाली क़िस्सा था...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blast from the Past continues

More blast from the past. I had this urge for creative musings some 10 years back when i was in my 3rd week stay in USA.
It is not at all relevant or significance or will not even make a change in your life. No divine luck will dawn upon you. Neither you will attain salvation reading this. Having eloquently desribed the purpose of it above. Please read on.

Hi folks,

Its been long time since I wrote..what rot..wrote,kapda aur makaan, but I was really very busy...there comes all the brickbats... but I did miss you all... what no bouquets... oh you caught me this time... howzzat !! thought for writing for so long but when I now sit down to write..I am lost..know not what to write...but phir bhi, read on...

Life in Raleigh, that cannot be describe in one word..

People do ask me how do I feel in america.. (yeah, I am a celebrity..I do miss my fans and I dont have a fan in my home..) well, I do not know about that, its a mix bag.. at times, the feeling is exhilarating and at times frustrating, so nothing has changed, except for the ambience, I mean, the surroundings are different, from India to US but goals and work has not changed, I am still working hard, though its really hard to work at times, I still sleep at odd hours, and during even hours, oh..forget it...

I am scared at times for I cannot foresee the future, what it holds, and I am optimistic at times, that whatever it holds, it holds for good. I get apprehensive and pensive with no funding and aid...but I am ecstatic at least I dont have AIDS... I feel nostalgic and home sick at times..but then remember the times when I used to feel sick at home.. I feel isolated with my best friends not around and I miss them all but then there are times when I feel lucky that I can give some of the people a miss.. I get nightmares that everything is gonna fall apart but I dream that world is gonna be a better place..(altruism,nah..just plain me ...)

So this is really me, I am an ABCD, american based confused desi and I was no better in india where I was a NRI,not required indian, so what has changed, the change is gradual, I am realising my responsibilities, and also realising how to avoid them... though it may take some time to change my perspective... the truth I am not at the center of the world and world does not revolve around me is a revelation... but the Narcissus within me is still wonder I have so many mirrors in my house...

Life is cold and warm at the same time, its funny and tragic, caring and supporting but also a strict task master... may be life contradicts itself.. even I feel contradiction is my best friend.. its always like these, if there is a Yin then Yang will be somewhere nearby.. a day always follow the night.. good times are right behind the bad.. may be there is Hope, tomorrow is another day !!

If you understood what I wrote please explain it to me, for I could not, I just wrote, Dil Se..

A little bit of Zen, a little bit of sin

Again, blast from the past...few thoughts on Asoka (2001). This was written in November, 2001. The title comes from the quote used by Santosh Sivan, director of Asoka.

Much has been said about asoka. Its been panned to glory. The movie most of us love to hate. I too have my 2 cents on this movie.

Asoka, the movie is an experience. Its been bad for many and some of us have enjoyed it. I fall in the later category. I agree with the makers that Asoka the movie is "a little bit of zen and a little bit of sin". India knows who was Ashoka, the emperor. He was the brightest star in indian history. Asoka, the movie does not give a damn about the obvious instead it dwelves into asoka,the man. The man before destiny made him ashoka, the great. Here lies the greatness and the pitfall of the movie. It tries to understand the psyche of the neglected son of Bindusara who adores his mother. Who wants that his mother gets her due as the wife of bindusara and not his dasi. (watch for Asoka's expression when the king does not reward him after his triumph of Takshila)

One of the key scene is when a Buddhist monk tells Asoka that his destiny transcends that of an emperor. His destiny is that of a traveller when he completes his journey. Here is the soul of the movie. It tries to follow the journey of Asoka who does not know where he is heading. And if you dont know where are you heading, no direction is wrong.

What made Asoka transform into how we now him is the crux of the movie. He lost the love of his mother and the girl he loved (this is where folk stories come into picture). How many of us when we lose the things we love react, we become cynical and either we become depressed or we become angry. Asoka was a warrior,he chose to become angry. He became avenging and scheming king who did not fear death. (Another thing that i like were the dialogues instead of monologues, they were short, sweet and simple). Killing his brothers he says "Can i be allowed to be the king now?", a touch of sarcasm, a macabre humor.

The highlight of the movie is the post-war scene when Asoka is looking for Kaurwaki, its a magic scene. Its twilight and sun and the moon and the stars shining, as if nature is looking forward to the history that is being created. Asoka sees the death, the gory, the sadness and he sees Love, he sees Kaurwaki and dead Arya. Life comes full circle, the journey is completed. Asoka is a changed man. Movie ends, History begins.

Yuhin Chala chal

I had penned the following sometime in 2008. Reproduced in 2010. Hope you would like it.

तू परवाज़ भर, परवाह ना कर
अंबर पर चल, गिरने से ना डर
पाएगा ज़मीन गिरकर भी अगर
बन जा वो ज़ररा तू फलक से उपर

काँटे की वफ़ा, फूलों का दगा,
राहों पर ना कर इसकी परवाह,
चलता ही चल, रुकना ना ज़रा,
तू खुद को खुद का यार बना

मिल जाएँगे तुझे हसीन मंज़र
जो ढूंढेगा उनको अपने अंदर,
रोता हैं क्या, बैठा हैं क्यूँ
चल फिर से उठ और जी जान लगा

पूछेगा तुझे एक दिन वो खुदा
हो जाएगा जब दुनिया से जुदा
पाया हैं क्या खोया हैं क्या
कैसा रहा सफ़र तेरा
मक़सद तेरा वो पूरा हुआ
जो कर गुज़ारा जो करने चला

- विशेष अग्रवाल

Saturday, January 23, 2010

! Swan Song

As the Blog name suggest, it was indeed a lazy period of almost 9 months. Call it gestation period or whatever floats your boat.

So I kick-start the another season of blogging with my 1-min Short made for 1-min Film Festival.

The name is Swan Song though this post is definitely not that post.

Do let me know your views.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

My first post at PFC

Yipee! I got my first post at PassionForCinema published. Its such a great high.
You can read it at

I recommend that you read it at PFC. There are many better posts than this one. You won't be disappointed. But again, I am reproducing over here with some minor changes (I am embedding the video instead of giving the  link)

Heartbreaking account of the journey of lifetime

This post was long due. Seriously. I had been on a trip. Without Ecstasy or LSD.  Before you start thinking of directing me to some Anonymous group, allow me to explain what I have been upto.

Or lets do it my way. Flash back to December 2008. On a tiny corner of the last page of Ahmedabad Times I see this Ad. It begged to stay inconspicuous (that's the only grudge I have  with the Ad). Luck by Chance, my Lady Luck aka my Taani parnter aka my lovely wife Tina (There Is No Alternative..well thats a story for some other time :-)) saw it. So did I eventually. I was excited. Now, this Ad was not like those that had some Fraanship Clubs which are out to fleece imbecile guys on testosterone overdose. Hook(er), Line and Single and ultimately Sinker. This was different. 

I called up the number they had provided, asked for the details, gave mine in return. The voice on the other side promised me to reply on the mail-ji. Pleased with the response, I waited. Never before I would refresh Mail-G client so frequently. Don't know that pissed off Google or what, I got no reply that day. The night was long (duh, it was winter) which did not matter as I slept peacefully. 

The next morning, Bhor bhai, Panchi Jaage aur Jaag Utha Insaan. I called the number again just to confirm whether they had got my right email ID or some body else was benefitting on my behalf. My doubts were unfounded as the details were right there on top of my mail box. It co-incided with my state of my mind. I was on top. Top of the world, you sneaky perverts. Get out. Now came the part which had to come. Should I take the pluncge or should I not. No rose petals nipped, no coins to be tossed. It was a simple problem of analyzing the probability using the Gausian curve and then eliminating the choice which I never wanted to take at first place.  The answer was right there. Its the question that drives us crazy, my friend Neo would feel. In neo-Bodhi Gaya enlightening moment, I said: Yes, I can. 

With the details in my hand, I felt like a man. Baba, with other stuff also I have felt like a man. But this one is for family reading so no Dada Kondke baazi here. I met him and paid the amount. The man was portly but had tons of energy. We got talking till the next prospective and petite young thing came by. I took leave and also some gyaan on that day.

The D-day came. January 20th,2009. I was waiting for PYT. She never showed up. I felt like I was dumped. I called my wife. She promised to stick around with me still. That was close. Luckily, that man did show up. That man, He is Mr Pankaj Roy. He was meant to be our course co-ordinator. Yes, Mere dost, I had joined a course on film-making. Courtesy Institute of Moving Images. The course was short-term also suitable for people who were like in Ghajini mode lest they forget why they were here. 

Day 1 was introduction also it was the day of introspection. Why am I here? I was asked so were others. It was not meant to question whether we made a mistake being there or regret shelling out nine grand. It was meant to know what your true calling was. Like my friend Neo said, Its the question that drives us crazy. I mumbled some words. Words that I felt and meant. 

What followed in this journey for the next 11 days (spread across 6 weeks) was nothing short of magical. ThodaPyaar, Thoda Magic. Love fostered at home. Magic and learning happened in class rooms. The classes began at 5:30 in the evening and lasted till almost midnight, way beyond their end time of 9 PM. One madness survived the other. Marriage and Movie making. We talked, discussed, ranted about ideas and concepts and plots and scripts. There was training on know-how about the Camera and angles, image size. Hands-on experience with camera. We learnt about scripts, different stages of script writing. About direction and production, about planning and editing and then some.  

But I learnt something way beyond that. I learnt discipline, I discovered myself. I learned that hamari filmo ki tarah hamari life mein bhi dukaandaari nahi honi chahiye. You have to have passion in life. Passionate about movies. Passionate about everything you do. You have to give unconditionally to a movie, to life and then let magic take over. Jaadu wahi jo sir chhad kar bole.

Pankaj Sir, hats off to you Dada, you changed so many lives. you took classes for 7 hours continuously without getting tired or showing any signs of exhaustion. He enthralled us, entertained us and yes, we learnt along the way. Learning was never so much fun.

I made few movies during the course and in the course of making another one. Will leave you one of my short that I made as part of the course work. The assignment was to make a 3-minute observational movie which depicts an activity from start to end. I talk to a street side painter and took lot of convincing for him to star and paint a sketch on camera.

By the way, there was nothing like heart breaking actually. Or there was. When the classes ended. The journey came to an end. For me, it just had begun.

Friday, April 03, 2009

AIFF 2009 Promo Video

More dope on AIFF 2009.
Ajitpal Singh has made a stunning video for the promo.

YouTube wallah can watch it over here.
Or you can watch it below (Courtesy: Vimeo)

Ahmedabad International Film Festival Official Promo from Ajitpal Singh on Vimeo.

AIFF 2009

Ahmedabad is famous for few things. Textile mills, in an era lost. Stock brokers and traders in this era. Also, famous for its typical Amdavadi mentality :-)
Time has come to add, to borrow a cliche, an another feather in its Topi. The Ahmedabad International Film Festival 2009. I went and met the organizers (Shiladitya - the main guy and Ajit heading Programming) and they are gung-ho about it. This is what the organizer have to say.

We’re pleased to announce to you the Ahmedabad International Film Festival presented by FulMarxx Integrated Filmed Entertainment Company based in Ahmedabad. 

Aimed at providing a platform to showcase the works of upcoming filmmakers from India and across the world, we started as an exclusive short films festival and are now venturing into an international film festival in Ahmedabad.

We are ambitious about our foray into cinema and have worked dedicatedly for the past two years to tab the market for short films and in return find an audience for new filmmakers. We aim at making this festival an annual feature in Ahmedabad on the lines of the festivals held in various cities world over. We can’t achieve this feat without the encouragement and support of institutes and individuals like you.

The major attractions include:

- Best of World Cinema | in association with NDTV Lumiere
- Best of Berlinale | Berlin International Film Festival
- Best of Tampere Film Festival, Finland
- Best of Children’s Films
- Cinema of Gujarat
- Short Films Competitive
- Feature Films Competitive
- We Care HIV+ | in association with AIESEC
- Theatre by Cyrus Dastur and Tom Alter
- Coffee Table Book Launch
- Short Films Bazaar
- Special Golf Sessions for Juries and Guests
- Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad

We are looking at an audience of diverse interests within the gamut of filmmaking- established and upcoming filmmakers, art connoisseurs, artists, film buyers and enthusiasts and the decision makers of the global filmmaking trends, not to forget the paparazzi. However, we do not intend to be blinded by the flash lights. True to our roots, our commitment remains to bring the magic of cinema and storytelling to the daily viewer.

Veer Rasa

After a long time, I get to hear a song with  Veer Rasa in it.
The lyrics are reproduced over here, the song can be heard somewhere on this desert of world wide web. 
Yeah, the movie is Gulaal. 

Aarambh hai prachand,
Bole mastako ke jhund,
Aaj jung ki ghadi ki tum guhar do ( 2 times)

Aan baan shaan ya ki jaan ka ho daan,
Aaj ek dhanush ke baan pe utaar do,

Aarambh hai prachand…

Mann kare so praan de,
Jo mann kare so praan le,
Wahi to ek sarv shaktimaan hai

Krishna ki pukaar hai yeh
Bhagwat ka saar hai,
Ki yudh hi to veer ka pramaan hai,

Kauravo ki bheed ho ya 
Pandavo ka need ho,
Jo lad saka hai wo hi to mahaan hai,

Jeet ki hawas nahi, 
Kisi pe koi vash nahi,
Kya zindagi hai thokaro pe maar do,

Maut anth hai nahi to 
Maut se bhi kyu dare?
Yeh jaake aasmaan mein dahaad do,

Aarambh hai prachand,
Bole mastako ke jhund,
Aaj jung ki ghadi ki tum guhar do

Aan baan shaan ya ki jaan ka ho daan,
Aaj ek dhanush ke baan pe utaar do,
Aarambh hai prachand…

Ho daya ka bhaav  ya ki shaurya ka chunaav,
Ya ki haar ka wo ghaav  tum yeh soch lo

Ya ki poore bhaal par jala rahe vijay ka laal,
Laal yeh gulaal, tum yeh soch lo,

Rang kesari ho ya mridang kesari ho ya ki,
Kesari ho laal tum yeh soch lo..

Jis kavi ki kalpana mein 
Zindagi ho prem geet,
Uss kavi ko aaj tum nakaar do,

Bheegti nasso mein aaj, 
phoolti rago mein aaj,
Aaj aag ki lapat ka tum baghaar do,

Aarambh hai prachand,
Bole mastako ke jhund,
Aaj jung ki ghadi ki tum guhar do
Aan baan shaan ya ki jaan ka ho daan,
Aaj ek dhanush ke baarn pe utaar do,
Aarambh hai prachand- ( 3 times)

Saturday, March 21, 2009


"You can achieve anything you want,

If you don't mind who gets the credit."

Who comes up with this stuff?  Well, the answer is: Not one but six people. All separated within six degress, I am sure.

Unbelievable stuff, I mean whom do I give credit for this quote.

1. You can accomplish much if you don't care who gets the credit.
 Ronald Reagan

2. There is no end to what you can accomplish if (or when) you don't care who gets the     credit. 
     Florence Luscomb

3. There is no limit to the good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit.
    General George C. Marshall

4. There's no limit to what a man can achieve, if he doesn't care who gets the credit.
 Laing Burns, Jr.

5. It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
 Harry S. Truman

6. It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.
    John Wooden

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Movie List -I

I really wanted to talk about movies that I had liked in past six months or more but never got time. These also include movies that were made ages ago but I never saw them. Most of them merit an individual post. Don't know if that will happen in this lifetime. And you can blame that on hours that I spend watching movies.

Anyways, these are the movies that I would recommend, in no particular order.

1. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
2. Gone Baby Gone
3. There will be Blood
4. No country for Old men
5. The Constant Gardener
6. Sin City
7. V for Vendetta
8. Freedom Writers
9. Wall.E
10. Ratatouille 
11. Iron Man
12. City of God
13. The Motorcyles Diaries
14. The Inside Man
15. Aamir
16. A Wednesday
17. Haasil
18. Cindrella Man
19. The Dark Knight
20. Get Smart
21. 21
22. Cars
23. Little Miss Sunshine
24. Rock On!
25. Welcome to Sajjanpur !
26. Jaane tu ya Jaane na..
27. Wall Street
28. The Untouchables
29. Heat
30. The Bourne Ultimatum

Mera Joota Hain...

Its a plane, Its a bird, No, its a shoe!  

The pen is mightier than the sword. But the shoe is mightier than a pen.
A journalist in Iraq did not beat around the bush but beat the Bush with his Hush Puppies. 

I hope this act is contagious and like bird flu flies into our country.  

Hazaaro neta aise, har neta pe yeh joote nikle,
Bahut nikle yeh joote, magar phir bhi unka na dum nikle!

As they say to begin a journey of thousands miles, you need your shoes.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The greatest job on this earth...

For you, what is THE job on this earth? 
In Google ? Intel ? Microsoft? IAS officer?  
Doctor? Lawyer? Filmstar? Politician?

The one that pays well ? Lot of perks, recognitions? Job satisfaction, travelling aroun the world etc?  You may find answers in unexpected places.

On 26th November, also working were the hotel staff at Taj or Oberoi,  the measly paid Railway Policemen or almost at minimum wage paid train annoucners at CST.

Michael Pollack describes his experience with hospitality of Taj on that day. Do read it just in case you happen to visit Taj any time in future.

And if you happen to catch a local train at CST,  Vishnu Zende and Jillu Yadav may also help you.

Now coming back to your job, there is only person who can make it the greatest job on this earth. You. Don't tell me you were suprised with the answer. Oh c'mon.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Animal farm of India.

After terror, it was followed by horror which bordered on ridicule and insanity. Its like bander ke haath mein talwaar! The only difference is there are 540+ monkeys and a stray dog. 

RR Patil saab feels that he is SRK and he pays a price for his delusion. Bade desh mein ek aur chhota haadsa ho gaya!
Vilas Rao goes a step further and says "Wah Taj" with his filmi-son and RGV. RGV ki Aag burnt him too.
Naqvi can only see the powder and lipstick. When will he be shown the stick?
While Achutanandan picks up a dog fight. I think the Dhobi just found his new kutta.
Modi bashes up Karkare when he was alive and then Modi-fies his stand to pay his respect and 1 crore to Karkare's widow. 
Sharmila Thackeray sends SMSes that all the martyrs were Marathi Manoos. I guess she must have been tempted to blame the Northies this time too.
Last heard, there is infighting now after new CM of Maharashtra is chosen.
But don't worry, Shivraj Patil was changing his bandhgala when all of these happened. Luckily, his mouth is bandh too. For good now.

Funny, these are our leaders. Funnier, we chose them. Funniest, most of us didn't, we did not vote, right.

United in '03

I had written the draft around first week of August, 2008. Thought would add more to it. But don't feel like doing anymore. So I let it be. The only question is whether we will be united in '08 to fight our war?

7th August, 2008
The end credits start rolling. I continue staring at the screen. No one survived the crash on that day. United 93 flight "terminates" on HBO. In the other room, its another world. Mom and Dad share a joke. He chuckles, she laughs. The world is back to normal.

I am thousand of miles away today. That day, I was few hundred miles away.  A sense of grief, triumph, and relief interject each other. I may never know what made the passengers do the inevitable. I may never know how would I respond to such situation.