Wednesday, November 22, 2006

uploaded quiet a few video clips at youtube.
its fun!!
why am i spending so much time on the net these days?

leaving for Guwhati tommorow.
tenth flight between Guwhati to Kolkatta since jan. add 2 for a round trip tmrow. why the hell am i shuttling between these 2 cities so much??
i have inflight headaches.
but i like watching people at airports.

Monday, November 20, 2006

12th Kolkatta film festival! Somehow I am not so enthusiastic about this year’s festival as last year. Maybe I’m just tired. I feel tired. I just want to sleep, sleep, sleep. Could only start attending from the third day and that too only in the afternoon. The clouds above Nandan were beautiful. Saw a few movies. One I was looking foreword to was the movie Sonam, as it was shot in my state Arunachal by an Assamese director. The script was an adaption of a story by a well known writer from Arunachal, Yeshi Dorjee Thongchi, who recently won a Sahitya Academy award for writing.

the director has posted a clip on YOUTUBE.

The story is therefore a mature piece of work by an experienced writer dealing with the subject of Polygamy and how this tradition in a small mountain community brings in complex sufferings to those who practice it. As it was a mature subject with a very strong core human element, it demanded a subtle yet complex study of human relations. The director was unable to do full justice to a story that deals primarily with inner human feelings. If anything, it’s the story itself that carries it forward aided ably by the cinematography, which again was aided a great deal by the beautiful outdoor scenery itself. Indoors however could have come out far better than it did. The homes of the Tribal people have a distinct character and atmosphere which could have aided so much to the triangular relationship of the three characters. Even the light from the central fireplace of these homes gives so much character, which wasn’t studies at all. In a few scenes that light was used creatively, along with the smoke from the fireplace, it lifted the scene between the characters. However they were few and far between.
In the very first fifteen minutes itself one gets to see the actors not fitting in at all. They seem to be very consciously acting their roles. I met the director after the film and he told me how he did a long period of workshop to get the actors familiar with the camera. In spite of this if that was the way the actors acted then that either required a change of actors or a change of approach. The only saving grace was the two principal character of Sonam and her first Husband. They could have brought out a lot more of their characters with the directors help.
The wife’s makeup just went overboard. She had noticeable features which didn’t require makeup in the first place. And why make characters wear makeup when the setting and story itself doesn’t require it in the first place? This was a village story with hard working village people as their central characters. Where does make up come in???? It seem it is a sort of norm while making films that there has to be makeup on actors. Rubbish!! Unless the situation and story demands it, people look wonderful on celluloid without any touches to their faces.
The directors touch all over is quiet lacking and at places where it could come out, it does so with a distinct hindi film style which is very unsuitable for such stories that require a deep human study, which requires it to be subtle and not loud and brazen as in Bollywood films. With large parts of this film devoted to taking in the scenery, the director ignored to a large extent the study between the three principal characters, the very base of the film. This director like so many others seem to have a ‘Bollywood’ hangover, bringing in hindi film style movements, action and expression. This fatal influence needs to be pushed out entirely from our system for good regional cinema to come to its own and find it’s strength.

The best film of the festival?
People experience. The place? The stairs beside Nandan.
The last day I didn’t watch a single film. Just sat on the stairs and watched real life cinema! The whole Nandan area was choc-a-block with people going nowhere. It was an experience standing in a corner just watching such variety of people passing me by. Every face was a different expression. Different body languages. And this flute seller standing nearby playing away on his flute.
It was the best cinema of all and I had the best seat in the house. Nice……
Mr. Kumar Shahani just finished doing a workshop with us. It was nice doing the workshop and acting in it as well. On the spot improvisations and no fixed scripts were the working order of the day throughout the workshop.
From the rehearsals in the Green room that seem more and more like a one act play to the sudden one night desperation to change it all after watching ‘Coffee and Cigerattes,’ to overhauling the whole story just a couple of days before the shoot to Amareshda’s presence in the act salvaging a lot, it was a hectic, tiring, back paining, ‘enough already’ learning experience. The more this goes on the more I get the feeling that we student directors are fucked. If we don’t manage to assemble a good crew under us, we’r majorly screwed.
It’s great that Kolkatta now has a processing lab of it’s own. Hopefully our future work will now reached us on time.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I’ve begun to realize just how far off from my people I’ve been.
In our quest to educate ourselves and learn the skills for survival, we seem to be moving further and further away from our community and our culture. I must have visited my village and people a hundred times in the past, but all I ever did was to have a good time sightseeing and passing away my time in idle leisure – fishing, hiking, hunting, sitting around the fire spending the evenings in nonsense chatter. I never considered observing my people and culture and to understand them in a better manner. Perhaps I felt it was always there so that is how it would stay. I have had a very delayed awakening to the fact that the culture and ways of living of my people like so many other small tribal communities all over and especially in the northeast states are fast eroding against the forces of modernization and time. Traditional rituals, ways and customs all over the world are fast becoming just occasions for festivals and prayers.
It was a very fruitful stay of around fourteen days in my village this time. Since I had to make an ethnographic study of my people I began asking questions in a serious manner probably for the first time to my people. The answers and discussions that came out was I guess unexpected in a way because all my previous assumptions about modernization affecting small local communities came much closer to the truth than I believed, and that this was bringing subtle but wide affecting changes to my Tribe as well.
I took out my handycam and started documenting people talking about themselves and their ways of life. What came out was fifteen Mini DV tapes in just ten days. Most of them however would be unusable professionally due to poor camera quality and format. I am hoping however that it would help me bring in sponsors for funds. There is an urgent need to document and archive the cultures and traditions of my people.
I have been cut off from my people. It’s time I turn back to rectify that.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

am home after a tiring journey. my frns and i nearly missed our flights this time. half an hour before the boarding time and the front desk absolutely refused to check in our luggages. we literally had to beg, pleade and argue.
sandeep just called frm maio. he was a bit nervous going all by himself to an unknown place. snehal's on his way to tawang.
i hate these bus journeys. it really tiring. have been sleeping the better part of the whole day. and to think i have another journey coming up in two days time to my village. i'm having a headache.
itanagar is cold. and it's raining.
my village is going to be more cold. i hope it's dry.
body ache. i think i'll go to sleep again.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Srinath, my roommate has left this morning for Cherrapunji. hope he gets there safely. he's going to the northeast for the first time. and he's done up a lot of studying on the net about the place. hope he's ready to get drenched! strange that the wettest place on this planet suffers from a water crisis during summer. shows how ineapt the civic administration is. someone there should file an RTI and get some answers.
i leave on the 10th with snehal and sandeep for arunachal. sandeep will go east to the Namdapha national park and Snehal to the buddhist town of Tawang in the west. great places, both of them and great for ethno studies. i hope sandeep gets to see lots of wildlife and take a hand at fishing in the river. he should reeally take a good camera along. same with snehal, who i hope gets to go all the way to the border to china. those guards at the chinese post freak out when we take their picture! hehe..
it's one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. great for long hikes and camping.

(note to self: post some pics of tawang after coming back frm home.)

my brother's phoned in asked me to get a whole lot of mp3's for his discotheque. i hate travellin around kolkatta in the sun looking for stuff when i don't have an exact idea where to go.
but i do have to go over to Landmark once before i leave. my favourite place to shop for music/books/comics in Kolkatta. i often went to Crossword, but Landmark is so much better. if only they had a better Coffee corner like Crossword!!!

I DO NOT LIKE MY PHONE! why didn't i just get one of those n series? n to think i paid Rs 19000/-!!!!! yeah thats right, stupid, jerk ass me shelled out a whole month's earnings for this !@@#$^&*(*)$#$#$@#@#! 6708 smart phone from nokia which runs as fast as a roadroller and has a camera that's ..#@$@#$$#$#%^%$^%^$% i'll kick myself 19000 times now.....


anybody wanna buy a phone....?? he he...

uploading a whole lot of pic's at photoblog now. but it's slow, maybe i'll leave some out.

wanted to issue a few books from the library to read during the trip but one of my friend has already issued a couple in my name and hasn't returned them as yet. my flight is on monday morning and now there's no way to get some books issued. . ugh! n just when i was finally 'inspired' to read books on film theories. eeeeee...

Thursday, September 07, 2006


funny, had a class test today and it felt like high school all over again. i was the last to arrive in class (everyone had punctually reached at 11 am ready and prepared for whatever question was about to be thrown at them and THERE i was... leisurely sipping a warm cup of tea outside of campus and thinking what important work might i do today... and then, i get a call, 'sange where r u?' 'um, i... am having TEA!' he he.. 'you'r having a test remember? come over at once' o boy, the head of department called so i guess i have to rush over, which i did feeling quiet embarassed and stupid)and what a sight! everyone bent down on their papers and studiously writing!! no way we ever do that normally. we usually groan and moan at the very mention of class test or a project work. aghhhh!!!! awwwwww!!! arrey nahi!!!! and all those noises showing immense inner displeasure. i mean those groans and moans really come out from deep within! and added to that one of our faculty has given us a very innovative/deep/intelluctual/etc question to write four lengthy pages on....
HM..... on the other hand.... I GUESS maybe it's kinda valid question? i mean...i certainly don't have the answer. o boy o boy.... O BOY!!! how the hell am i suppose to give the answer to that in ffooouuurrrr lonnnngggg pages!!! it could have been so much simpler with options
option a) YES
option b) NO
guess i'll scratch my head over it for a few days....

(NOTE TO SELF : get album of JONOTHAN CLAY and MINDY McCREADY. Also look up other country/pop singers.)

hm... seem i wasnt here for the past three days. what on earth was i doing for the past three days? oh yeah, all those project work that our facultys been dumping on us since it's the last week of class for the year.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Steve Irwin.

why the hell didn't our institute invite Hrishikesh Mukherjee for workshops?
AARRGGGHHHH!!! such a HUUGEE lost for us. BIG BIG BIG TREMENDOUS lost!! yup, stupid us.
i would no more have the plesure of watching new adventures of the Crocodile Hunter! i saw a pic of Steve Irwin once somewhere with an accompanying article. a ballroom sort of place where everyone was regally dressed up in tux and suits. and here he was, Steve Irwin, in his classic KHAKIS and Boots. HE HE ... those tux guys must have felt REEALLY out of place!!

Sunday, September 03, 2006


the rain taken has a break for a while. it has been a bleak, water clogged everywhere day. listening to jessica andrews as i write this n it's beginning to grow on me... uploading my pic's to yahoo. no bloody wonder digital is pushing off film to the sidelines, with such ease of use..... n just no botheration of development cost. been clicking off to glory my phone camera n uploading them, never in a million yrs would i do that with a film camera!!! but the megapixel is wwwayyyyy below giving any decent pics. it just about reproduces an image, JUST!
but i guess these pics are ok. at least i have pics to upload around my blog!
no matter by how many leaps n bounds digital technology is advancing, but the look of film- that's entirely something else!! the first time i shot 16mm for our project film and it was screened... GOD O' MIGHTY WOW!!!! the image!! so bloody 'can it be this beautiful!!' wonder what would happen when our diploma in 35mm film is screened!!! i'll go crazy and do gymnastics on the floor! on the other hand... to be realistics i would probably end up working a lot in the digital medium, so am looking up digital cameras. probably be able to affors an hdv camcoder and i'm beggining to like the JVC HDV camcoder. worked a little with the sony hdv a couple of months back and the images are really startling for a camera this size! a good cameraman can do wonders with this medium! anyway, like they say, it's always the person n never the machine
on the other hand...
been thinking about my field trip all morning and i've decided to head back to my village. it was nearly the andaman islands or nagaland but i guess i should get to know my people better first! n anyway, the inst. isn't paying us much for the field trip. plus being back home i can get hold of my camcoder; maybe i'll end up making a documentary that way.
it would be interesting studying my own people. i think we pple from the northeast are fast losing our history in the absence of written scripts.. we neet to record and catalog our culture n traditions, n we need to do it fast! time is outpacing us n we'r losing bits of history by the day!
coming back.... i've decided to do a field study of one of our traditional dance. i have only a month of break n even less of official time, wonderin whether i can make any substancial study......but i guess it'll be a start. there's hasn't been much study done on our people and i shouldn't just be sitting around like i've done so much in the past. why is it that we look back and most of the time end up saying 'if only........'

Saturday, September 02, 2006


the surroundings of SRFTI, seems like a holiday resort, and it has all sorts of wild animals and birds that treats us humans with disdain. a shooting in progress of a fellow student.

Khawab's near the institute. i stop here for coffee sometimes...
great parathas and biryani!

i am not going for my field trip today. i have been frying in the sun for a whole week and this day i take a break!

In a week i have to leave for my field study anywhere in INDIA. I AM SOOO bloody CONFUSED where to head off to......!!!
the NORTHEAST is always a good place for Anthropological studies, but I AM from the northeast and i don't think going back would be a good idea. on the other hand... i have always wanted to study my tribe and it's customs. but this is a trip of only TWO BLOODY WEEKS!how the hell is anyone suppose to make any significant field study in such a short bloody time!!!!!???????
more the reason to head back home and fill in on details u already know about instead of starting with something entirely new n then discover that there's no time for any indepth study! this two week thing is so stupid!!
on a brighter side -- got myself a camera phone and now i'm now posting all those photos online.... although i'm not sure about the image quality.
I NEED A DIGITAL CAMERA FOR MY FIELD TRIP!!at least 8 mega pixel for any decent pic's, no way am i taking my Nikon SLR n spending tons of money in developing those film negatives. i am never gonna get any pic's anywhere near the quality of my SLR though... hm.....CHOICES!choices!choices!!!