Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Art of the cinema

Is Art inside cinema ?
Is Cinema an Art ?
Why make movies ?

Tried to solve some of this existential questions with a bunch of really solid students at Sacred hearts college Thavera. Nice experience and nice folks

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


I do not remember anything from my Bachelor days. I vaguely remember our college trip. I remember getting late and being fired. I also remember how my principal had denied my bank loan to buy a computer.

I have very few friends from those days and they are pretty close to me. In fact chances are if I see someone whom I vaguely remember I would hide and not give eye contact. The system at our bachelors college was authoritative, disturbing and submissive and they wanted to create minions engineers.

I loathed it more since there were vaguely discussion on being a better human being. It was all grades and marks. A set of rules which were to be followed blindly.

Luckily i found a job in college which I pursued in vain after i got out.
Luckily I found a life partner in college. This was almost when the college was getting over.

It gave me a degree and it gave me a loan which I paid off recently. Last feb to be precise.

Thanks to Reshmi Nair my batchmate , My principal called me back to college to give a talk on 'how an engineer can lead a life of artist/filmmaker.'

My brother in law  (Manjith )is a student in the same  college and he helped me set up the show. The students were not keen and I was honoured with a memento.

I think that is one good memory that will be added to my Bachelors memory stack. I remember bit more things now. 

The kick was gentle and slight and very less than I expected. Too early to be doing this dance.

There must be this one person out there who will be inspired by what I said. the rest of them can sleep. He/She need not remember my name or my work, but the possibility of getting out and pursuing what defines him/her. We never had the hope. We had a dress code, an id card, executive shoes and a bus to catch. We had rules to follow.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Utsaham WindUp

WHY did you make this series ? What is that you want to tell through the film?
Utsaha Ithihasam is a straight from the heart buddy comedy drama. It revolves around two men Kristo Kurishuparambil and Nitin Rajendran. I found a producer who was willling to start my feature film MulluMURUDuMoorkhanpambu with Tovino as lead. Tovino somehow was not very convinced with the playing a multicast film. He had just found a hit . I didnt want to rush to another producer and convince him and do the same drama that i was doing for sometime. So screw all the big guns i produced my own stuff. I made it lighter and got the politics and social narrative to the back seat and put entertainment forward. 
Utsaha Ithihasam is about squeezing this moment and making the best or worst of it, but making the most of it. It is about nihilism and chaos and friendship.

Thursday, September 20, 2018


"Lower your expectations. Don’t try to find happiness through others. They’re busy. Like you are."

When I was doing 'Utsaha Ithihasam' I was suffering from a terrible depression. I used to take a knife and cut myself at places so that the blood and the pain would help me forget whatever the cause of my depression was and get through the day. The reasons for the depression were sometimes clear. Marriage, family, parents , money, the trouble with no work or less work, no close friends around. Sometimes it was not so clear. I used to get in to the loo to shit and the sound of water used to get me sad and loose out for hours together. I couldn't tell it to anyone because I had lost faith in people close to me. I may have mentioned it a few times  when I felt like opening up but they didn't know what to do. I am somehow glad that I could understand that I was going through depression. I wanted to jump of the building sometimes or hang myself in my room. The only reason I didn't do it was because that would surprise my wife and more importantly I was yet to make a feature film. I wait for her to come in the evening because it makes me feel so loved and wanted. 

i made it a point to meet my friends (or even people who are almost friends or friendly people) so that once in a while my brain gets filled with random noises and happiness. This had kept me alive.

Not to mention that I was also happy when i was not depressed. There was no intermediate stage of calm and silence. It was extreme

Me and Venu during Utsaham Shoot Gokarna

me shooting Utsham at Kuzhipalli beach

Ratan, Sasi , Me and Syama at Seagul after a dinner

Tarun , Saira and Me at some pub after a lunch

Me , Kiron , Dheerej and Nistul's wedding

Now I am shooting my feature film. It was not as big as i expected to be. It is a small independent content.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


Utsaha Ithihasam ended up winning the "BEST DRAMEDY" at Seoul Webfest. A proud moment for everyone associated with the content. The Webseries was represented by Rahul Rajagopal one of the lead actor, Syama Bindu the costume and art department and me.



We had a swell time and surprising win

Friday, August 10, 2018

peace of mind

It was a tough decision when once in a good peace of mind i decided that i will not shout or loose my temper at people. Maybe it was reading a little bit of J Krishanmurthy. However this time teaching in Uniterdworld school of design I lost it. i shouted at students and was verbally rude.

The class was filled with young people staring down their cell phones, giggling to each other, sleeping in my class. Some even had the audacity to open their laptops and work on other assignments. I gave it up by day 5. They are young kids. They are probably paying a lot of money to be in that space. They are also too young to understand the greatness of things they have taken for granted. They are young and foolish. i wish I could see the world from thier shoes. Its that time of the life when they get to enjoy without a care in the world and I want them to give a damn about my class. How naive of me.

Shruthi and Bhushan watching the film

the new building

Ms Menon watches the film when the class sleep

Monday, July 30, 2018

Webfest Selection

The official selection was not much of a surprise because in the back of my head I knew that Utshaham has substrate inside that will get it into the selected series but getting nominated was indeed a real surprise and we are honoured

Shaymin Gireesh - Best Supporting actor nomination

Shweta Netam Khare - best supporting actress nomination

Pooja Nair - Best Actress nomination

Syama Bindu - Best Production Design nomination

Rahul Rajagopal - Best Actor nominations

Meanwhile Zee5 has dubbed Utsaha Ithihasam into four other languages. 
Uchaka Ithihasam in Tamil where the dubbing is decent and bearable
Urumi Utstaham in Telgu which is again not so bad
Utsaha Ithihasam in Marathi which i am unable to figure out if its bad or really bad
Jashne -E-Zindagi in hindi which is realy bad and below par. What can we do if all the character voices are given by the same guy. 

Each content has a fate.  
Once we attend the Seoul web Utsaha Ithihasam will be buried into the cask of films made.
So far so good

Thursday, July 5, 2018


This was the first time I was shooting on a Panasonic GH5. The two days I had in Bengaluru I read up on all I could about the camera and its operation. We have a 16-45 lens and 8 batteries. We wont get electricity to charge the cameras. I decide not to shoot on 4K since the data would be too much and handling it would take a lot of space. I decide to shoot on 1080 HQ HighRes. i also decide to use my 6D as a secondary camera since I am not very happy with the lowlight reviews of Panasonic GH5. I have tried a Panasonic Gh4 for a shoot the GH5 was no different.James Cavallaro is jovial and relaxed and uses humour to get the best out of the team. Ruhan is always on her toes. Vaishnavi takes a special interest in these areas and Sathia is meditative. Steve was more energetic and had camera knowledge which helped me quite a bit.The nights are surprisingly cold as we sleep in houses of the people who are direct victims of the dam or in schools built by the NBA. the schools are called Jeevanshaala (the life-school) where students stay and learn. They play and cook and learn science, language and games. The School is funded by Narmada Bachao Andolan.Its dark, the moonlight lights up the horizon but we can't see beyond a few steps ahead. There is a tender smell of stagnant water. when we walk from our vehicle to find a boat. The boats have no lights, the river is lit by the moon. I am being ambitious in calling it the river because it is the Dams reservoir. The silence disbursed by the rhythm of the motor and darkness fragmented by the boatmen shining light torches across the river to indicate on-coming boats. The slight cold that creeps into the blanket at night as we all sleep on floor as dogs bark at a distance. Walking miles with my travel bag which is not a backpack. Weights that I thought i could never carry with my lumbar damage. Most important of all meeting the people in this part of the country. Ignored, tormented and thrown into havoc by development. When we speak about development it should be cohesive and it should be organic. It should be inclusive of the people who is going to suffer because of the dam. Here in Narmada - the people have been ignored government after government.When government stops bus roots into the interior villages so that people in the villages leave their land and decide to shift, When government decides to blow up the bridge that connects villages in the submergence to the main township, When government tricks people into destroying their own houses so that they can be moved easily, When government fails to help communities living in the land before governments were formed , before nation was formed. When we see such atrocities we start feeling that we are just lucky that government has not planned such a development model in our hometown in Kerala, Bangalore, Mumbai or wherever we live. These people are not poor people. They are in tryst with nature.Where do we draw a line for development ?The project video will soon be out. I hope the video makes a rattle at wherever the Standford Lawschool preents it . I hope the documentary does not end up where all other documentaries end up. In a shelf which evokes pity for a second and the viewer moves onto a teaser for Friday pop corn blockbuster

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


In 2016 did a few classes for Sacred Hearts school of communication.
Putting it here as a gentle reminder.

Sunday, March 25, 2018


Don't know if this makes me happy at some level. I am on a trip.

Monday, February 12, 2018


Feb 8 - Bangalore

Landed from the rigorous shoot at Narmada.

Woke up and Got ready with some corrections in Utsaha Episode 1. The client Zee5 didn't want any mention of any vendor in the documents. Arjun Ratan has handled himself and went and recorded the corrections. Needed Prashant's voice for the character of the Boss Selvakumar. Prashant has been blocked and Jim John's  studio has been blocked. (no delay)


Told Syama that I wont be able to accompany her to drop her at the bus stop. Its been a while since we have seen each other. The Naramada shoot  and Ahemedabad classes has taken up my time. I was away for 10 days with just a ay in between with her.
She is pissed. Will go with her an drop her. (Delay by 40 mins - can be handled)

A day before Studio Mojo asked for a new trailer and a new teaser. The trailer and teaser need to have some specs and files from Zee5. We added that onto the video. However the edit takes time. (Delay by 2 hours). I am at Pranava studios to get Prashant's sound correction. That goes fine


Anoop sent my old posters to Zee5. They have approved it . However they don't want title credits. Or any credits. They want the poster ope files. The open files are on laptop far far away. I search for a sensible deisgner. I remember Shyamin's friend who is a good designer. I communicate with him. He agrees to do poster. He makes a wonderful poster in two hours. The poster is beautiful but he ignores the logo placement. The logo should be on the right corner. I tell him again He doesn't listen. A very skilled person but somewhere chances are he has not worked with stubborn clients. His poster is beautiful but doesn't work for Zee5. I don't have photoshop or laptop or nothing. (Delay by 2 hours). 


Anoop at Studio Mojo has got me into an email chain. A lot of conversation has been happening at their end. I am updated only now.

______________________________________________________________________________ 2.30pm
The final formats of the video is "Avc intra". I wonder why a broadcast format is used on web content. My format was Prores422HQ so I am supposed to convert it to AvcIntra.  I speak to Sam Santosh my sound designer. According tour logic Zee5 will needs it in Avintra and they will reconvert it back to my format. (This is what happens when u copy paste requirements from older docs) Just to stick to a guideline this is dumb. I tell Anoop that it doesnt work that way. He puts me in touch witha guy good with tech at Mumbai Zee office. (Rohan)


I ask my college friend Shishir Bhagade to help me. he is in between work. Sents him a documents and get requirement in 15mins. Updates it Anoop. Anoop sents it to Zee. Loosing time since A person in between is actually communicating requirement.


Teaser updated and approved by Studio Mojo which in turn was approved by Zee5. Still there are changes. I don't concentrate on it. I need to sent both the trailer before midnight. Their deadline is 6pm. This is unreal because I got info only in the morning. I can take my time. if they pisses me off I will decide not to sell my content. That is very clear. I wonder how Syama will react if I do it, i can't do it.


I fall on a ditch on the road. I am still alive. Hell YEAH

First trailer is ready. Have placed start slide and end slide. trailer is kind of approved. Communicated withAjmal Hasabullah. he is available. Sent files to him


Trailer files sent for sound correction to Ajmal Hasbullah. He did the music in 40min. first trailer is ready. Sample is uploaded as a link on youtube and sent for corrections at Zee5. Informed Sam about the crisis we are having. Sam is still figuring out the clients audio requirement. Multitrack audio. Spoke to my professor about the Multitrack audio on FCPX.

 Internet is gone. This has not happened before. Suddenly the Net seems to be out. It will take a roundabout time of 24hours. I am unable to sent the second teaser corrections. Anoop at Studio Mojo and people at Zee gets mad. I am irritated to the core at the internet. I should be irritated at them but I am irritated at ACT fibernet my internet connection. Don't keep your work for the 11th hour you may die at 10.30. (Delay by 24 hours). 

I call up Radhakrishnan Ramakrishnan who is my distributor from Studio Mojo, I ask him if I can go to his office early in the morning and complete the task. He approves. 

I am told that the logo in my poster which was corrected by Shihsir is small. I have already sent them a .psd file. they cant figure what shishir did. I call up another friend Vishnu (who I believe is good with Photoshop) I ask him if he could help since Shishir internet at home  is bad even for downloading a 50mb file. Vishnu decides to help. In half an hour the logo is bigger and poster is sent back. Such a wonderful person he is.

I finish the trailer corrections and add the requirements. Without internet things are impossible for me. I pack everything and waits for sometime. Syama is asleep. She has an office camping tomorrow morning. She has to wake up at 5.30am. I can drop her and come back and then go to studio mojo.

Feb 9- Bangalore

I wake up and sleep again. I can't makes tea for Syama. I copy everything onto a folder. Syama is late for her camping. I decide not to accompany her. She understands. (At least I hope she does)She does. She books a cab. She is gone.  She has her vacation and camping.

I call up Syama and ask her to book a cab for me. The Uber in my phone is fucked. She books a cab for me to studio mojo. Radhakrishnan at the studio gives me a space. Sadly there is no Mac in office. There is no-one who knows FCPx. There might be a person who knows premier but he is not around. I am screwed. This is not what I imagined Studio Mojo would be. I have been there several times but expected them to be top notch. I am stuck. (Delay by 2 hours)

I need a sensible person with FCPX and fast internet. I call up Rakesh. He doesn't pick. I call up Suhail he doesn't pick either. later he does. he is good with the tool but his net is screwed up. I call up Jishnu and ask if he can help. He is far from IIT Mumbai. Sam my sound designer stays in the Mumbai campus. He can help. I call him. He decides to help but it will take some time. Zee5 wants HQ files. they have agreed on Prores and not the AvcIntra. (a very logical decision ). Sam and my proffesor Sudesh Balan sir has figured out the MUltichannel output. Jishnu reached IIT AV lab. He knew it before hand it seems. They are rediting my trailer which I could uplaod from Mojo office. The files are big and in Gb's. (Delay 4 hours)

I retime the trailer subtitles. I also make the subtitles for episode 1 in sync. I sit at Studio mojo and do it. I am also waiting for a token payment which I need to Pay Sam and Ajmal. They have been up with me since this last minute -cookery has started. 

11.00 Am
I get my payment approved from Studio Mojo. I am glad there is not much haggling. I still don't trust them from the bottom of my heart. I know the final price with which they are selling my content. I am maybe getting a quarter of it. Sam is working on the teaser. He sents me the teaser in the format they want with the end slides. I rush home since they want all the episodes before morning

The Zee5 requirements have changed the want the video tonight. Which is impossible for me. Isay it is impossible. Meanwhile the Studio Mojo office sets up an FTP for file transfer. 100Gb through FTp seems an impossible task.

The Zee5 requirement has changed. they need a hard-disk before 12 noon tomorrow. This is again impossible for me. I tell Studio Mojo that I can give them files by 8.30am in the morning. Each rendering takes two hours. they book a ticket for one of their employees. I have to reach Studio office at IndiraNagar before 9.00am tomorrow. I approve. I don't have an extra hard disk. At 10pm I will get a hard-disk from studio Mojo. Anoop is calling me from Studio Mojo.

There is a correction with the trailer. i haven't eaten anything. My head hurts.
But there is no internet. Episode 1 subtitles are ready. Episode 1 is almost packed. Sam Santosh my sound designer has already sent the first episode mixed sound as a multitrack. I need internet to download them. he is working with me simultaneously on this. I am-glad he is as committed as I am.

4.45 pm
THE INTERNET IS BACk. Episode 1 titles are corrected and packaged. Episode 2 has started. Studio Mojo lets me directly interact with Zee5 now. This is a boon and blessing. I am working with a person called Suriya from Zee5. Even though he doesn't understand and doesn't care about my troubles He is patronising. I can work with him. "Kaffeiene Media" is replaced by"Studio Mojo"


The trailers are updated in a drive with .srt corrected. Anoop is calling me from Studio Mojo.

Sam has sent me the episode2 files. Episode 2 will be packaged by 10. I am hungry once again. I need to eat. Anoop is calling me from Studio Mojo.

I receive the hard disk from a nice gentleman. i have fried rice . For a change I drink Pepsi. The sugar will directly help my brain. I have given up Pepsi and Coke earlier because of the health impact and the callous environment impact imposed by them. My brain is more important. i call up Shamin and asks if he can help me with the subtitles re-syncing. He waits.

Feb 10 - Bangalore

Suriya is not happy with the initial credits. He says "its too long'. his boss says"who will have patience". They want to remove "krishand films " and "Neelavelicham". They also want to remove all disclaimers since Zee has its own disclaimers.  I am agitated. I can remove the disclaimerrs but the company logos won't be removed. I become agitated and raise my concern. Suriya is silent. I chop the initial part and keep the logoes. Suriya is sent a copy of the film. Low res youtube link. He approves.

There is a power failure. i am two episodes down. I close my eyes fro 20 minutes.

Suriya wants more logos to be blur. Blurred all logos. Exported the episode. All going well. I fond a glitch in the removal of a word 'maruthi' from the dialogue. How can we solve it. Sam is working in Tandem with me from IIT. Sam solves it for me. Its a blessing to have him around. He makes his own decisions, which works wonders for me.

I am hungry. I drink more pepsi and correct episode , Meanwhile subtitles for episode 2 is also getting synced.

Nobody is mailing me anything. It seems like everyone has slept. I am reduced to a man who waits for files to render. Should I watch porn. Nope
Should I do the subtitling. Nope
I will go out for a walk. The files need to be delivered by 9 (I am ahead by an hour)


Anoop is up. I had chai. I ran for 5 minutes. Should have worn my running shoes. Wait my running shoes are my casual shoes. Damn. I need running shoes. Will I run. Render must be 85 percent

Render failed notification. There is a train of thought passing through an abyss of pain> i haven't failed anyone but there is an indispensable feeling of loss. I give render again and run for chai. (Delay caught up with me)

The rendered files comes out. I have finished work. I check the files. I havent deleted a text in the video. I call up Anant from trivandrum at the Studio Mojo office and ask if the person who is supposed to deliver the hardisk to Mumbai can meet up in between so that I can have time for another render. He agrees

Power failure. This is a fucking piece of shit. Electricity is so fucked up !!! (Delay by 45 mins)

Power is back. I take rendered out and I run to the meeting point. We meet I transfer files. Will wait for payment tomorrow. Need to work on subtitles. Shyamin is ready to help. He wouldn't take pay. I wonder. I eat brekafast. I doze off for 20min.  (Fuck the delay )

Poster design by Rahul from SH college

Poster design quickie by me