Monday, December 1, 2014

Retreat - Resurface

This was a time when stretching my aching back for half an hour in a comfortable room was indeed a luxury. 

I had just finished shooting the major scenes of ghoda 22. After working on the edit almost every day and working of Sudesh Balan sir’s project I had grown used to sleepless nights.
After the first phase of Ghoda 22 I took a break. I was in Indore after taking a workshop in Baroda at the MSU department of Sociology. The workshop was on Shadow puppets and its visual dynamics orgainised by Krishna Acharya (mountaineer, sociologist, art patron)

Once in indoor I never moved out during the day. Slept all day eating my meager chai and rice plate thali in the afternoon. Rakhil (friend, photographer, scientist and partner) would join me in the evenings and we would go and eat at the Bada Saraffa. Shahi Paratha, Shikanji and Dosas.
Ujjain was shear stree buster as well as a fearful sinisterish relapse. In Bhopal met up with a friend and an artist Vidushi (artist , illustrator, painter) along  with Tanushree paul (photographer, painter). A few days later visited Sanchi. Broke with no money. 

The next phase of the retreat was seasoned with a lot of travelling. Me and Rakhil went half way across Gujarat to reach the white sands at Kutch, the crowded beaches of Mandvi and the Buttered streets of Anand.

The white sands and the crowded beach keep coming back again when I close my eyes tired from work. Will I ever go back.

Like Budha said. “We think there is time. That’s the problem.”

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


I get a call from Palash Vaswani. He is shooting a short film which is a part of feature film. The project is supported by PVR.

I am surprised at first.  I am not a cinematographer. However I know i an light up and lens up if given the appropriate time.

As soon as I reached mumbai the shoot was set. Two schedules. A content that would take 10 schedules was squeezed into two schedules. We had to rush.

Palash the director and Guatam ved the script writer had wonderfully crafted a humouros take on B grade horror film makers of bollywood.

Joined in with Anmol dharmadhikari and Sonal Gupta as associate and Girish Atuvalapil as my associate DOP we started rolling. Shantanu yennemadi on the sound design we finished it in the given schedule.

The movie didn't work out as much as we expected but technically it was the best in the lot. 'Audacious' was the word media used for the film.

The project can't be called as one of my best work but the output and the parties that fllowed, the red carpets and the people I got to meet was enthralling at various levels.

One thing that kept us going is Palash vaswani's spirit and the actors who gave us 24 hours straight.

Interval 3d w ka as released along with 6 other  compelling films as a single film called Shuruvat ka interval.

Grace to be a part of it. Peaceful that it hit the PVR. Unhappy since i could have done a lot better.

Kudos to the team.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


After spending about 6 months on the draft of my feature film I decided to go to Chennai and spent time with my favorite people. Rakhil Akkali (scientist, photographer, model, friend)  had a room in iit madras.While fighting with his inner demons and outer demons I crash and occupy the space in his room.
There were discussions about life, love, philosophies. Meanwhile I took a retreat into Yelamalai, Yercaud , hoggenekal only to come back with bigger deeper demons that I collected on the way. The sweet ones and the sour ones. A week was spend running around in adventure.
The time was spent in making decision on how to approach producers and life. Rakhil was a great inspiration. So was Regan. (Photographer, filmmaker, friend, artist )A week was spend in Ooty discussing cinema

Another peaceful period was spent in pondichery.

Thank god for Priyanka (designer, friend) for being around in Chennai. Even Naveen a music director doing Phd in madras was an inspiration. A period I will never forget.

Rollercoasters, temple runners, memory makers, Life givers, breathe takers and me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Shoot n Run

When Vinamra Pancharia spoke to me about making “Shade Away” (as it was previously envisaged) I thought to myself. WIIIFM. (What is in it for me ?)
I had brought a 1984 manual lens and made a lot of adjustment to mount it on my camera. The kind of bokeh’s it gave was truly breathtaking and when an ND filter is placed on it,a natural vignette is formed.
Vajra Pancharia (artist, animator) explained the script and visuals to me. It was explained that the final colors would be warm. So I decided to shoot it cool so that finally the color is increased to yellow(warm) the blacks would thus remain black. (this never happened since colr correction was done on After Effects which has more presets and gimmicks rather than just controlling contrast and making the blacks black)
The director had already arranged everything in favor of the shoot. The team was ready and early morning on a cold January me and Girish Atuvalaipil who helped me in Cinematography travelled to the location and shot it.

I had decided to frame everything as a candid observer.  Since Vinamra had envisioned it like a theatrical performance it was easy for me to push in the idea of a candid secretive observer encroaching into a kids life. He totally agreed to my frames and soon we were shooting it all around Mumbai..

The film turned out to be a visual treat of its kind. (here I Flatter myself) and the pacing and story telling helped to tell the content in the right direction.

However the film failed .

Where did we go wrong ? In inception or conception or in content. Probably one of my best learning regarding visual story telling. Had fun working with Vinamra pancharia and later his brother Vajra Pancharia the editor.

Why do we make films ?

Transient shade aka Adhoori chaav
VInamra Pancharia

Vajra Pancharia


Sound Design and Mixing
Shantanu Yennemadi

Ramprasad Sedouram

Associate DOP
Girish Atuvalaipil

Associate Director
Himashu Katara

The team at Black Salt film
Anish Kumar

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Debtor's Prison

Why Kochi ? KOchi is the new Chennai ? the new hub for malyalam film industry. So with my script I found a space (thanks to valuable help from valuable people) in Fort Kochi.

Fort kochi is an organism which had not changed much in the last 150 years. Enveloped in the shattered glory of the Dutch, Portuguese and English, fort Kochi lives like a woman whose lovers have left her but their love still lingers.

Staying by the shipyard watching unknown vessels make dragon whimpers,  inspired me to do so many wonderful things. However the lethargy of a beach holiday spot can get only 10% of the work out of you.

                                                      The monsoon makes it way into Kochi (photograph by Rakhil Akkali)

heavy rains and buoys learn to survive ((photograph by Rakhil Akkali))

The backyard of the space where i stay in fort kochi ( photograph by Rakhil Akkali)

 ((photograph by Rakhil Akkali))

 ((photograph by Rakhil Akkali))

 ((photograph OF Rakhil Akkali) at the pepper house cafe

me with a DVD's and a nice expression

There is the library of visual arts in the pepper house cafe where i spend days watching films and reading random books on film theory and visual communication.

Budget is stringent, People i meet are big, friends are fresh and new, Inspiration is a daily activity, trust is a luxury and people around are survivors.

mermaids in fort kochi ( photograph by Rakhil Akkali))

Fort kochi is a survivors hub. like 'backyard civilization' ( ) claims- a Debtor's prison