Week 14

We completed the poster and the projector during the week and had only the main installation left, the dressing table, which we managed to finish during class. We then showed our model to sir after which we wrote our artist statement and also stated working on the video documentation of the entire process which we had to submit by the end of the week.

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Week 13

We had to come up with an idea for our final model during class. After a lot of ideation and group discussions, we finally narrowed down on a few ideas. We decided to make a dressing table using acrylic sheets to represent the fragility and innocent of during the era. We choose to design a dressing table to portray fashion and make which was a huge and unique part of the cinema industry and to show the rise of strong female roles. The inside of the cabinets were to have broken shards of wood showcasing the maximalism that was prevalent in all sectors during that time and the collapse of the era. We also wanted to show the different styles that were present during the time for which we thought to make a projector and use the mirror portion of the dressing table to project the images on. As a final touch to the entire set up, we wanted to add a poster of the various movies released during the time and add lights around it representing the underground or jazz and blues as shown in the movie ‘Bombay Velvet’.

We then got our idea confirmed with sir and stated getting the collage ready for the poster and stated work on the projector during class.

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Week 12

Out of the two movies that were left we watched one over the week and one during the first half of class.

Mriagayaa is a 1976 Indian period drama film directed by Mrinal Sen and produced by K. Rajeshwara Rao. It is based on a short story by Bhagbati Charan Panigrahi, called “Inaam”. The film portrayed the relationship between the British colonialists and native villagers, and their exploitation by Indian landlords in 1920s India. It also depicts the friendship between a British administrator, who has a flair for game hunting, and a native tribal, who is an expert archer. The lead actors, Mithun Chakraborty and Mamata Shankar, both made their cinematic debuts through the film.

Sankarabharanam is a 1980 Indian Telugu-language musical drama film written and directed by K. Viswanath. Produced by Edida Nageswara Rao under the production company Poornodaya Art Creations, Sankarabharanamstarred J. V. Somayajulu, Manju Bhargavi, Chandramohan and Rajyalakshmi. The soundtrack was composed by K. V. Mahadevanand remained a chartbuster. The film throws light on the chasm between Classical and Western Music based on the perspective of people from two different generations. It is a story of a rare and exceptional bond between the master of classical music Sankara Sastry and his admirer Tulasi, a woman from a family of prostitutes.

We then discussed with sir our take away and understanding of the movies along with the mind maps we had made. We spoke in detail about the symbolism present, what each movie represented, etc. Sir then asked us to make a mind map for the entire era highlighting the major themes of the time.

Week 11

We watched two movies over the week and one in class. Bombay Velvet and Chitchor were the two movies we had seen during the week.

Bombay velvet, a recently shot film set during the 60’s, is about Johnny, a commoner, seeks wealth and fame to win love interest Rosie’s heart. An entry into the world of crime gives his ambitions a head-start, but he must face the formidable challenges soon. The story is very interesting; it keeps you anticipating on what will happen next. The movie is made extremely well; the characters are believable, and the sets make you feel you are in the ’60s. The storyline is a bit slow in the first half, but the second half picks up speed. The reason why I feel people have not been able to connect with this movie is because he (the director – Anurag Kashyap) has been making contemporary movies only which usually contain a known character whom the audience can connect with. Here it’s a different case; it’s not the 60’s of India but the 60’s of Mumbai, unknown to most. So the way the story has unfurled I think is in the most natural form that could have been made. Even people who criticise the film will agree that it’s a treat to the eyes when it comes to sets and costumes.

Chitchor is a light hearted film about Geeta who ends up with two suitors after her father goes to bring home a prospective groom and mistakenly picks up the wrong man. Chitchor represented a middle-of-the-road cinema which was making its presence felt in the late 70s. In contrast to extravagance seen in usual Bollywood films, movies such as Chitchor relied on a strong plot, effective characterisations, smooth narrative and hummable tunes. Director Basu Chatterje intersperses the main plot with small incidents which help portray the various dimensions and shades in the characters. The simple treatment is embellished by small instances of comic incidents which are subtly introduced. There is a streak of innocence about the romance that signifies the essence of this movie, a typical Basu Chatterjee presentation, so infectious, so appealing. Simple, realistic and aesthetic to the core, you will want to revisit and experience the joy of quality and meaningful cinema. No big stars and devoid of glamour, this was a standout offering by Rajshri Productions.

The final movie we watched in class was Manthan: A veterinarian, Dr. Rao, makes a visit to a village, where he intends to commence a co-operative society dairy for the betterment of the rural people. Though I found the movie tp be a bit slow, what I found interesting was that it was produced by the farmers community; as in a small amount was collected from over 5 lakh farmers in Gujarat for the production of the film. The film has a timeless message: It is set against the backdrop of Operation Flood which replaced the era of measly milk production and restricted distribution with one of plenty and depicted the bargaining power of the collective. In the film, it is shown through Dr Rao who comes to a Gujarat village to set up a dairy cooperative, which upsets all existing socio-economic equations. At one level, the economy is jolted out of stagnation, at another, the caste system is scoffed at. At another, feudal traditions are done away with. All this is done with fine performances, minimal dialogue and soothing music. Above all, “Manthan” is a director’s film. Benegal was earlier making Amul ad films and had made a documentary on Operation Flood. He uses his research here to devastating effect: the caste politics shown here is a result of a ground level work, and the district cooperatives in many States watched the film. Later, they went on to have their own cooperatives. Power of cinema, power of the vision of one man. A legend answering to the name of Dr Verghese Kurien.

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Week 10

We started of by  Griha Pravesh – Amar and Mansi have an arranged marriage. Amar falls in love with another woman and asks Mansi for a divorce. She agrees to do so only if he lets her meet the other woman. We found the movie to  have a lot of hidden symbolism in terms of him referring to his his wife as coffee and Sapna as tea. The transition of his liking from coffee to tea and back to coffee also in a way summarises the plot line of the movie. Other than the basic plot line, we found the movie to be a bit overly dramatised and slow. We felt that maybe if it had been a little fast paced and the transitions between the scenes had been a bit more smooth, the movie would have had a better reception overall.

Sholay by Ramesh Sippy was the next movie that we watched. The movie, unlike the previous one, was very fast paced, entertaining and filled with action sequences. The sound and music played an important role in bringing out the essence of the movie. Though the plot line was very straight forward, this too had a lot of underlying context to it. The droll as hitler by one of the characters stands out and adds humour to the movie.  There are many layers to the movie starting from Gabbar’s entry and his very famous dialogue. having watched the movie twice, I felt that there is something new to take away from the movie with every watch.

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Week 9

We were screened a film, Harishchandrachi Factory, which is a biopic on Dadasaheb Phalke, the pioneer who brought cinema to India with Raja Harishchandra (the movie that he made based on a famous Indian character), the first motion picture to be made. It traces the journey of the visionary who gave up his printing press business to create India’s dream factory in an age when the arts actually had no place in the commoners’ list of priorities.

The director sets the effervescent tone of the film from the onset when he introduces his protagonist, Dadasaheb Phalke, playing the magician Professor Kelpha with his young son. He soon takes an interest in films after tumbling into a theatre by mistake and looking at the wonder which is now a thing so common that we don’t even have a second thought about

The making of the movie, Raja Harishchandra, is equally riveting, with the director trying to convince his wife to pitch in as Taramati. When she refuses, he roams the brothels, to find his first actress and finally ends up with an all male cast, performing the female roles too. It’s quite an astonishing to see that people working in the film industry were treated so poorly and considered to have such a low self esteem, worse than those working at brothels.

The film also  works as a period drama, with an exquisite eye for detail. But most importantly, it lays down the mantra of Indian movie lore. When someone asks Dadasaheb what kind of movies he would like to make, he replies: The one’s which are resplendent with our culture and ethos. The movie also portrays his life to be full f happiness and perfection with not many hurdles to cross what so ever which is quite understandable as it was directed with the mindset of the target audience being children. It is an interesting and a must watch film as it shows the thought process of those living during that time and also the efforts that went behind shooting a single sequence.

Towards the end, we were then divided into groups for our and each group was given a time frame with an assortment of seven movies based on which we had to study the history of Indian Cinema.

Week 8

We had our final reviews in class. Each of our videos were played to the entire class after which we had a peer plus faculty review. This way we came to know how other people perceived our videos before telling them what we were trying to express. I learnt a lot by watching the videos made by my classmates in terms of creativity, editing, music and even just the basic narrative. It also helped when it came to thinking about how I could have made mine more interesting. I found a few videos extremely well directed and loved the concepts. Some spoke about time through life while some were very unique and showed time through a series of pictures, the concept of friendship, and even things as simple as a persons thoughts while eating. The videos really made me feel the passage of time and some even brought out certain emotions.

When it came to the feedback I received about my video, a few said that I could have played with the music a bit more which I completely agreed with as I wasn’t too satisfied with it either. A few other pointers I got was that the title ‘A Hundred Days to Doomsday’ was a bit too direct and also that the narrative might still have put across the point I was trying to make without showing the doomsday clock in between. Overall most people understood the concept and received it well.

Music – Arvind Krishnan and Suneet Joshi (orginal composition by my friends)

Inspired by – Dakshanya Kannan (got the idea during a conversation we were having regarding another topic)

Featuring – Harshitha Sundar Ganga (in the pictures)

Found Footage – https://videos.pexels.com

At the end we were also given the groups for our second project and also had a brief discussion on what we thought it was going to be about other than the fact that it related to the history of Indian cinema.

Below are snippets of my final video ‘A Hundred Days to Doomsday.’

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Week 7

I completed the first draft of my new narrative during the weekend which was then reviewed by sir. The video has three parallel story lines. the first starts of with simple fire works causing minor pollution. It then moved on to riots and fire being thrown depicting the state of the planet and how we are destroying it. The scene after that shows fire men at work cleaning up the mess made but the problem with it is that we, as humans, never solve the problem at its roots, instead we wait till it has fully flourished and has already destroyed half the planet. I then used a bomb blast to show the end of the world.

The second follows that of the doomsday clock. The time lest till the clock strikes 12 gradually keeps decreasing till it reached its end which again is shown using the blast of fire in the last frame.

The third and final sequence uses the four images chosen from the previous assignment. In this, the ball is used as a metaphor to represent the earth and the ball is shown being smashed to the ground and finally worn out and deflated depicting the state of earth.

I was asked to change the last seen of my video (the blast) into something different that better fits the mood created during the course of the film. I changed it to a candle being blown off instead.

I also realised that the music didn’t completely match with the clips and decided to work on it a bit more.

Music – Arvind Krishnan and Suneet Joshi (ordinal composition by my friends)

Inspired by – Dakshanya Kannan (got the idea during a conversation we were having regarding another topic)

Featuring – Harshitha Sundar Ganga (in the pictures)

Found Footage – https://videos.pexels.com

‘The Land is Mine’ was another film that was screened in class during the last half an hour. It is an animated short set to the tune of Pat Boone’s Exodus Song satirising the history of the land called Israel/Palestine/Canaan/the Levant directed by Nina Paley. It shows the wars and killings that have happened just to claim a piece of land.

We had a short discussion after the film where we each spoke about were we felt we belonged. Every one had an answer of their own. Some felt it was their home town while others said it was the city they were born and brought up in. A few people had a completely different theory and answer to the question posed. I for one have always felt that identifying yourself based on your nationality, the state you are from or even your family is nothing but being an introvert on a larger scale. Only when we let go of our identities and truly become a separate individual can we even start the talks about world peace. Though I love going back home after months of being away I never really like settling in a single place. Even those few time a year I go back home I never really want to stay for more than a few days. I can call myself a nomad of sorts as I love traveling and visiting different places. It is my dream to one day travel and never come back to the same place.

Shown below is the second draft of my final video


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Week 6

I changed my the narrative for my video over the week as I felt that I could come up with a better idea than the previous one. With a bit of inspiration from the discussion about the doomsday clock, I came up with a new narrative for my video in which the ball is a metaphor representing the earth. I spent close to an hour browsing the internet for found footage before we were screened a movie.

‘It’s Such a Beautiful Day’ is an experimental clack and white comedy-drama animated film directed, written, animated and produced by Don Hertzfeldt as his first feature film.  I never though an animated film using stick figures could make me feel so much emotion and convey such deep meaning. The use of reality in bits really brings out the animation and also helps in getting attention to important parts of the movie. I really loved how the clips of reality and the rise and fall of the music magnified and brings the movie to life. The basic story line follows the life of a man through his degradation of health, family, etc. The film flashes back to Bill’s childhood and to reality multiple times showing the viewer, in a slightly more complicated manner, the life of the protagonist. At the end of the film Bill, who is soon to be dead refuses to believe that his life has come to an end. He is then shown walking away from the forest. The Narrator explains that Bill has become immortal and travels the world, learning everything there is to know, yet death remains a complete mystery to him. Bill outlives the human race, surpassing the next inhabitants of the Earth who revere him as a god. He continues living until the Earth is destroyed by the Sun, continuing even when that has gone as well. Floating in space, Bill observes the stars going out, until the screen cuts to black. The ending shows how, now that his life has no end, the first few years of his life on earth was nothing but a phase that he has no memory of any longer. What I got from the movie was that a moment that may seem the most vital at that point in time will become nothing but a mere thought at the back of your head as time goes. The movie has multiple layers of meaning to it and I don’t think I’ve even barely scratched its edge.

shown below are snippets of my initial video.

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Week 5

After a bit more research on our narratives and discussions with sir we were asked to complete our blogs and also submit it as a pdf. I finalised most of my videos and the background music for it. I planned on using on of my friends guitar pieces with a considerable amount of rise and fall for my video. The basic narrative pf my project was to show the life and training an athlete  in between the four chosen pictures from the first assignment. I wanted to show the training etc in the form of memories using different colour schemes to differentiate between reality and the past. Although this took up most part of class we got into an interesting about the doomsday clock and what it really means. We started of talking about its origin and how it came about. I found the entire concept of time by itself being a metaphor very intriguing. From there the forum opened up and I got to listen to the different opinions that people had on this concept. The discussion then  moved on to the basis of life and how things are in the current world.


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