Friday, September 17, 2010

Formation of Units & Documentary Shooting

We were twelve students in the class and were divided into four unit groups of three persons. When one person does the job of lighting and operating the camera , one of us will do the follow focusing and the other push the trolley or help with lighting etc. Our Unit consisted of myself , Ram Agarwal and Kasturi R Murthy. Also Filming units were formed with one student each from Direction, Photography, Editing & sound departments for making the Documentary and Diploma films.
We were to start our work in our Documentary films and my Director was Baba Majgavkar. Akki Hame Chander as Sound Recordist and M.A.Singh as Editor completed the crew.

With Baba (Right) and Agarwal ( L)

Baba looking thro viewfinder, Murthy standing beside Camera

The title of the Documentary was BHAJIWALA and was supposed to be a parable on the misadventures of a vegetable seller in a multilingual community in a humorous manner about our linguistic problems. It was shot on the exteriors of a housing colony and was enacted mostly by the Direction students themselves, K.G.George as the vegetable seller.


The shooting location was in the foot path outside a housing colony of flats and a small crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the proceedings. It gave an opportunity to Assistant Director Raina to bring out the megaphone and wield it to make himself the centre of attraction.

Raina with the Megaphone

The shooting was a really a fun experience with all characters speaking in their own language and finally the commotion ends in a big fight amongst themselves. It was not a choreographed one, but a free for all fight! I had to do a lot of hand held shots to film that sequence.

Me with the camera and Baba guiding me from behind

I am standing on the wall with support from Agarwal, Baba
looking on & Singh noting down.
K.G.George is sitting in the centre

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Food crisis

Being in the Final year, I was allotted a single room for myself at the hostel. But the food at the Hostel Mess was always a problem as the students came from all States of India and foreign countries too! It was an impossible task to cater to the tastes of the inmates who are used to their regional cuisines with limited resources. Last year a Malayali , Mr. Panikkar was the mess contractor and so the menu had Sambhar, rice etc which was quite acceptable to the South Indians. He had also provided North Indian dishes and Roti etc for other students. But this time a new contractor, a Punjabi Sardarji Mr. Chadda took over the mess. The food turned out to be mostly of the North Indian variety and rice was limited to only a cupful and we coming from the South found it difficult to digest this change in cuisine. Since I was in the Mess committee which decides upon the weekly Menu, I reintroduced Sambhar and rice. But unfortunately the experiments by the Punjabi cook to prepare Sambhar turned out to be a disaster in the form Dhal with some added chilly powder. Ultimately we conceded defeat and swallowed our pride and ate the North Indian food provided. Some ingenious students had electric hot plates in their rooms and did their own cooking and managed with pickles and other condiments.

Some students found out that nearby Law College Mess was providing reasonably good food with unlimited rice too, and they were allowing students from outside to eat there. Added attraction was the sweets served with Sunday lunch, which you can have as much as you want. So I along with Murthy and Venugopal Thakkar, I joined the Law college mess and our food crisis was happily solved.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Debu, dear friend, Bye......

Yet another personal loss - My dear friend and batch mate from the Institute, Debu Deodhar passed away in to eternity this evening ( 1, September 2010)

Debu Deodhar

A very close friend from the Institute days he was one of the two day scholars in our class, hailing from Poona, the other one was R.S. Agarwal. Now we have lost both of them, Agarwal having taken the lead. As I had written in an earlier post, we used to keep in touch with each other quite often and whenever possible during my short visits to Mumbai myself, Jaiswal and Venugopal Thakker used to have a get together and talk about good old days at the Institute. I found him always with a smile which was spreading cheer all around as a source of positive energy!
One of those Happier days at CC

This time about a month back while I was in Mumbai for the CAS program Jaiswal told me about the critical condition of Debu. Kanal and Kondra who were also attending the CAS , told me about Debu's illness. It seems Cancer had gained an upper hand as it was detected rather at a later stage. Since I had to leave as soon as the CAS was over, I could not pay a visit to him. I was not able to get him on the phone either and left an SMS message.

On my recent visit to Chennai, I happened to meet Kasturi Murthy and passed the information about Debu. I was hoping that Debu will get better and had only today sent a mail to Jaiswal inquiring about Debu's health. But, this evening I received the message from Kanal that Debu is no more!
God calls those dearest to him much too soon! May the Lord give strength to his near and dear to bear this untimely loss. I join in their prayers for the departed Soul to Rest in Peace.

Debu in 1968, at Film Institute

Short Bio and Filmography of Debu:

Debu Deodhar had worked for Directors like Raj Dutt, Amol Palekar, Aziz Mirza, Nana Patekar, Bhimsain and many others. He had also bagged awards like Maharashtra State Award, Zee Gaurav Puraskar, Goa State Award etc.

His work was last seen in a recently released Marathi film ‘Marmabandh’. His forthcoming films are 'Laadi Goadi' and 'Tamashaa'. Some of his other films were - Savalee 2007, Maati Maay 2006, Kshan 2006, Lal Salaam (2002), Pehchaan (2005) , Stumped 2003, Dhyasparva (2001), Kairee (2000) ,Lekroo (2000), Silsila Hai Pyar Ka (1999) ,Daayraa (1996), Bangarwadi (1996), Prahaar: The Final Attack (1991),Thodasa Roomani Ho Jaayen (1990), Lapandav (1993) Shejari Shejari, Gav Tas Changal, Tinhisanja & Akriet (1981).

He is survived by wife Shrabani, daughter Sai and son-in-law Shakti Anand.

Final Year at the Institute

After the vacation, returning back to the Institute for the Final year was a mixed experience - meeting friends, missing old senior friends and making friendship with the bunch of new arrivals. The seniors(1970 MPP Batch) who have passed out were V. K. Gandhi, S. Ramchandra, Lai Teck Kwong, K. K. Nayak, J. K. Patra, J. P. Bhagat, Biman Chandra Sinha, A. K. Nigam and Abdul Sattar Mokurwal. A batch of Malayalis consisting of G.S.Panikkar, Bhaskaran Unni, Kabeer Rawther ( Direction) Muralidharan ( Sound) and M. Azad ( Screenplay writing) also completed their studies and left the Institute.

There were no theory classes, only hands on practicals and practicals with NC and BNC Mitchell cameras! This time the Direction students joined us to do combined dialogue exercises etc. We took turns lighting the sets, Operating the camera, pulling focus and pushing the dolly etc. That way we got trained in all aspects of camera including mounting of the camera and lenses and loading the film in magazines etc.

V.N.Jatla ( Direction) and me on Camera

Myself on Camera and S.K.Jolly Follow focusing