Tuesday, February 28, 2017



A lot of things were going right for me with my life as an independent filmmaker when suddenly 'project NCETIS' video happened. Nothing will ever be the same. Sadly my faith in the IIT system which had quivered when I was a student is further shaken with the NCETIS's approach to my project.

When Seema Periwal called me first time to go ahead with the projec, a lot of my fellow filmmakers who had been contacted by NCETIS earlier told "the whole deal regarding the video seems fishy and the lady is playing around". However my instincts told me to go ahead with the project. The same evening she canceled the project since  being a freelancer my payments can't be processed. The next day she said she had figured a way to go around the project and get my payments on time. (In the meantime she had in-fact asked one of my friend/fellow filmmaker to make the film which upon her inconsistent vision made him step out ).

I decided to take it up.

The video is designed according to documents and requirements sent by Seema Periwal ( Senior Project Manager )and Abhay Karandirkar (Head of NCETIS, . He is currently spearheading IIT Bombay's efforts in setting Research and Innovations Park at IIT Bombay. He is also the Coordinator of Tata Teleservices IIT Bombay Center for Excellence in Telecom.).

Seema was indeed very sweet to help me with my queries and had a vision regarding the project. I had constant discussions with Seema to see if we were making the same film with its right aspirations. Here 'right' means 'right for NCETIS' and not politically right.

I collaborated with Dhaksha animation regarding the animations of the project. This was very fruitful and my editor Rakesh was on the edit.

The visuals in the video are designed around interviews. Most people in the bureaucracy spoke about the need and vision of NCETIS which is repeated throughout the video. The video has more dialogues than vision (this is against my approach but here things cant be helped).

Everyone who speaks about vision and idea of NCETIS speaks to the camera and everyone who is a team member in the project speaks to the interviewer. This is to create a candidness to the members and direct eye contact for the owners of the project.

The prompt work of Manu from Dhaksha animation needs to be acknowledged. Rakesh  created the entire structure of the video and I like the way he has chosen content. The order of interviews is also his choice. Vishnu Haridas was my chief associate in the project and had done a wonderful job with blocking and lighting.

Anil Kumar , Professor Department of Chemistry

Abhay Karandikar
Head, NCETIS and Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay

Hemendra Arya
Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Bombay

Subhananda Chakrabarti, Professor,
Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay

Hemanth Manchella and his team working on the ROV

                                                                Anirban Guha and his teammates

Shalabh Gupta
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering


Joseph John
Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay

Madhav Desai,
Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay

Meeran Borwankar, IPS
Director General, BPR&D

I was caught by the Mumbai police while I was filming the 'Gateway of India'. They were taking bribes and feared if that appeared in the video. Moreover I was filming on DJI OSMO which scared them. They were rude , unapproachable, arrogant and confiscated the DJI OSMO and my ID-cards. I had to call the chief of CRPF whom I had interviewed earlier that morning. Rahul Bhasarkar spoke to police over phone and they let me go.
Rahul Bhasharkar
Assistant Commandant, CRPF, Navi Mumbai

The music given was progressive to create a feeling of 'unfolding'
. Ajmal Hasbulla did music to the film. The sound design was done by  Sam Santosh who  worked on the film throughout the 6 months of its inception. (WAIT !!! 6 months ..how did this project go six months)

The timeline is given below. The project has been closed from my side. I have got the bulk payment, thanks to Abhay Karandirkar and Sudesh Balan who understood clearly that the project is going in the right direction and released payment.

Several times during the project after everything is completed and  my team got on with their personal work, Seema would pop in with changes. Most of these changes were incorporated and the video took its final shape. Seema would also tell me how she had intimated the concerned departments regarding my payments and video. However I understood that she was pre-occupied. I had to take care of this part myself and it is clearly sorted. Indeed she has done a lot for releasing my money nevertheless it was not a priority for her. Maybe if my point of communication was someone else this would have been different. Maybe it would have been worse but I always hope for better.

21st August 2016
Project confirmed from both sides, The project was promised to be wound up by 8th September from both sides subjected to payment of entire advance amount before shoot starts.
Initial Proposal without TDS
23rd August 2016
Shoot started in iit - All people mentioned by Seema Periwal and handled personally by her team members were shot in the next 3-5 days.

27th August 2016
First token amount paid from NCETIS

26th August 2016
Editing first line up started
Rakesh did the initial line up which was available to the directors perusal
27th August 2016
Animation started with Dhaksha Animation
First token amount paid to Dhaksha.
29th August 2016
Specification sent for IG-SPG’s shoot

30th August 2016
Voice over script confirmed from NCETIS side

31st August 2016
Shoot in Delhi and all interviews completed

1st  September 2016
Voice over  - with Neelima

5th September 2016
Revised amount proposal with TDS sent to NCETIS

6th September 2016
Entire Advance paid by NCETIS with TDS cut
Advance amount paid to all artists and technicians
7th September 2016
Advance paid to animation studio from Krishand’s side

10th September 2016
First final edit sent to NCETIS

14th September 2016
First set of corrections from NCETIS side (TBRL needed to be changed to State police forces, Designation change, animation change)

17th September
Re-edited version with changes submitted to NCETIS
Submitted on-time before the scheduled meeting of NCETIS on September - 19th
23rd September 2016
Rework on ven diagram motion graphics with Dhaksha

26th September 2016
Re-worked on the audio since animation duration changed
Audio synced and mixed
October 5th 2016
Received IG -SPG file from Smita (NCETIS)
The file video quality and sound quality was low and hence discarded
October 6th 2016
Reworking with animation of the organisations

October 11-12-13 2016
Sams date blocked for shooting Prof Karandikar’s interview
Shoot couldn’t happen because the professor was unavailable
October 14th 2016
Final edit sent for sound and music (Long version and short version)

October 17th 2016
File sent to NCETIS - FINAL

October 21st 2016
A new Request to include the director of IIT-bombay in the video.
Proposed to shoot in december since technicians were unavailable.
October 24th 2016
Request to NCETIS to wind up the project and insert the add-on’s as a separate work in December
No response from NCETIS/Seema
Oct 25th 2016
Sudesh sir offers to use his team to complete the project

Oct 26th 2016
Sudesh sir , Jishnu and Sam shoots IIT director and sent file online- file transferred to edit. Informed Seema about the updates
No response regarding payment from Seema Periwal.
Animation company sent a complaint mail regarding policy of use of footage.
Nov 2nd 2016
First update from Karandirkar sir regarding payment  that payment will be made

Nov 8th 2016
Sudesh Sir finished shoot and sent an updated file via we-transfer

Nov 9th 2016
Update from Seema Periwal that the bill has been prepared by IRCC

Nov 15th
Finished file and sent for Sound - Still waiting for Payment - Enquired with Pradeep in IRCC who said the process will take another day

Nov 22nd
Payment reflected in account from IIT bombay. transferred money to all

December 4th
Sam Santosh re-edited the sound and sent files to Rakesh

December 5th
Completed the project nd shared files with Seema and prof.  Abhay Karandirkar

December 8th
Seema Periwal sents a minor change request
Two of these changes could have been incorporated in the earlier version. This would have saved a lot of effort. Since animation studio is under re-vamp
December 12th
Spoke to editor and animation studio regarding changes

December 13th
Confirmation mail sent to Seema to lock changes and asked for further changes. Confirmed with the studio that changes can be made.

December 17th
Confirmation mail with Screenshot sent to Seema.
No response
December 27th
Seema confirmed on the changes also gave a set new changes. Asked Seema to check if the changes are final

December 28th
ANother set of additional changes which include expanding the organisational names demanded by Seema .

Jan 11th
Additional changes conveyeyd to  Rakesh

Jan 12th
Final version and additional fee sent to Seema
No update from Seema or Ncetis regarding final file - remaining payment
Feb 12th
Reminder mail sent to Seema
Seema Periwal informed that professor had not seen it and will get back in a day.

Some images and visuals from the project. (I have crossed checked with NCETIS and have not put anything which hey have not published in their website.)

Remotely operated vehicle to search and destroy bombs

circuit of ROV

A small reconnaissance drone from prof. Hemant Aryas lab

A device to detect explosives from far away

The thermo imaging project under NCETIS

Vishnu Haridas -Associate Director for the shoot 

Seema Periwal has not communicated in the last 30 days. The bulk amount has been paid and I have paid all the stake holders. There is a small amount pending. My TDS documents are pending too.  I am worried  NCETIS which does research for paramilitary forces, has such a pedestrian attitude when it comes to their own videos.

Lot of learning.

Meeting Meeran Borwnkar and IAS officer Ajay Kumar was very refreshing. 

Director and DOP

Associate DOP
Vishnu Haridas

Rakesh Cherumadam

Ajmal Hasbullah

Sound Design
Sam Santosh

Voice Over

Seema Periwal/NCETIS

Script and Design
Krishand (with supervision from Seema Periwal)

Additional Shoot
(Rakesh Chermadam)

Equipment Rental
Accord equipment

Dhaksha Animation

Creative Director of Animation
Nitin Anand

Motion Graphics Chief artist
Manu Sankar

Stock footage and templates

Additional Music Design
Sam Santosh


Additional Cinematography
Sudesh Balan Sir
(who decided to help me out since a lot of additional clips which were not there in the initial script were demanded)

Creative Contribution
Deljo Thekkekara (typography animation)
Syama Bindu (pace and emotion )

I usually put my mistakes and learning in my blog.I have tried hard to be diplomatic here.(very -very hard ) .  However this time the most important learning is that "When a number of filmmakers prefer not to take a project there must be a reason"