Movies ruined by remakes!

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Filmmakers love remaking films and presenting them to us with their own touch. Sometimes, this rendering works, but most of the times, the audience is left with half-baked stories, patchy plotlines, and terrible characterizations. Keeping the myriad of films that follow the same, we present to you the top 5 film remakes that, according to us, were the worst of the lot:

  1. Psycho

Movies ruined by remakes
Gus Van Sant’s shot-for-shot, line-for-line, inflection-for-inflection facsimile of Hitchcock’s slasher-shock masterpiece is a remake that was instantly and universally reviled, yet it’s worth noting just what an audacious project it was. It was like a science-fiction experiment: If enough care is taken in the lab, can a classic old movie literally be recreated? The answer turned out to be no, and the movie itself stands as the Frankenstein’s monster of remakes; it walks, it talks, it kind of looks like something alive — but really, it’s an un-dead thing. That said, there was an undeniable element of value to what Van Sant did. Now, no one ever has to try it again!

  1. Aag

Movies ruined by remakes
When you think of a failed attempt at a Bollywood remake, your mind automatically goes to Ram Gopal Varma’s Aag that was supposedly the unauthorized remake of cult classic Sholay. What annoyed the audience most, was the fact that there were so many unnecessary changes made to the film. When you have something as amazing as Sholay you should know better than to try remaking it. The film flopped and had people questioning Amitabh Bachchan for even considering agreeing to act in this film. The film was a lesson to all filmmakers; if something is not ruined, do not try fixing it.

  1. The Haunting

Movies ruined by remakes
When you talk of horror films, there are n-number of things that can go wrong with making one. What probably is more difficult however, is remaking a hit horror film. We have borne witness to a bunch of horror film remakes where the only ‘horror’ was how terribly the film had been rendered. One of the top contenders of this list was the 1999 version of The Haunting. This Liam Neeson, Lili Taylor, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson starrer conveniently left out all good things from the original 1963 film, scaring its audience, but for all wrong reasons. Oh! The horror.

  1. Players

Movies ruined by remakes

It is an official remake of the 2003 Hollywood blockbuster, The Italian Job.  The film follows the same plot as the 2003 version, but with a new set of characters and incidents. Despite the huge budget and major hype behind this Abbas-Mustan make, the film bombed at the box office and was an utter disappointment to all.

  1. Planet of the Apes

Movies ruined by remakes

You know a movie is going to be out-of-the-box and exciting when it is made by Tim Burton, but the director failed to remake Planet of the Apes. His version simply is not even close to the quality of the original that starred Charleton Heston. Many Burton fans were disappointed with the remake and expected something grander, something memorable, as the original is still considered to be appealing to the current generations.

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

What makes a cinematographer’s work perfect? The lighting, the framing of a shot or the movement of a camera? Is it simply one person’s work or an effort of a group of people? In an attempt to find some kind of common thread among the films that most consider “great” in terms of cinematography, Fandor’s Scout Tafoya personally polled over 60 film critics, asking them to list out films that “feature their version of ideal or perfect photography.” This is the result: 6 films that received the most votes.

  1. Days of Heaven (1978)

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

This film gave us the iconic dialogue, “You’ve got to go through Hell before you get to Heaven” amongst many other things. This romantic drama film is set in 1916 and talks about a farm labourer who convinces the woman he loves to marry their rich but dying boss so that they can have a claim to his fortune. The film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

  1. Barry Lynden (1975)

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

Barry Lyndon follows the adventures of an opportunistic Irish nitwit, Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal), as he clambers inelegantly up the social ladder in search of a title and a fortune. At the 1975 Academy Awards, the film won four Oscars in production categories. Although having had a modest commercial success and a mixed reception from critics on release, Barry Lyndon is today regarded as one of Kubrick’s finest films. In numerous polls, it has been named one of the greatest films ever made.

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Old-school films with the best cinematography!

2001: A Space Odyssey

“The genius is not in how much Stanley Kubrick does in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ but in how little”, says critic Roger Ebert. Despite initially receiving mixed reactions from critics and audiences, the film garnered a cult following and slowly became the highest-grossing North American film of 1968. Even today, it is regarded as of the most influential films to have been made. The film has also been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

  1. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

The twist is supposed to arrive at the end of the movie, but Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans pulls the rug from under our feet much sooner than that. What’s commendable is the fact that this silent film was the 1st ever film to have won an Academy Award for ‘Unique and Artistic Picture’. In this fable-morality subtitled ‘A Song of Two Humans’, the ‘evil’ temptress is a city woman who bewitches farmer, Anses and tries to convince him to murder his neglected wife, Indre.

  1. The Conformist (1970)

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

Bertolucci makes use of the 1930s art and decor associated with the Fascist era: the middle-class drawing rooms and the huge halls of the ruling elite in his political drama The Conformist. Vincent Canby, film critic for The New York Times, liked Bertolucci’s screenplay and his directorial effort. Not only this, but the review generator at ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ gave this film a 100 percent positive review.

  1. Night of the Hunter (1955)

Old-school films with the best cinematography!

Based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Davis Grubb, Night of the Hunter was adapted for the screen by James Agee and Laughton under film noir. The story focuses on a corrupt reverend-turned-serial killer who attempts to charm an unsuspecting widow and steal $10,000 hidden by her executed husband. Much like most of the films on this list, this film too was not a success with either audiences or critics at its initial release.

Hollywood celebrities who’ve starred in music videos!

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Hollywood’s famous actors have a storied history of popping up in music videos, from Eddie Murphy’s campy turn alongside Michael Jackson to Jennifer Love Hewitt’s devastated ‘Hero’ heroine. Here’s presenting to you, a list of our favourite music video cameos:

  1. Rupert Grint

The Harry Potter actor can be seen as an obsessed fan, lip-syncing to Ed Sheeran’s Lego House in the music video of the same. The song is a play on the similar appearances of the two celebrities, and was a big hit when it first released.

  1. Elijah Wood

Elijah Wood can easily be given the title of ‘Music Video King’ for the number of features he has made over the years in music videos. However, the first time he popped up in a video was during his childhood, and that too for a Paula Abdul song. He can be seen in the video of her single Forever Your Girl.

  1. Alicia Silverstone

Silverstone gained further prominence as a teen idol when she appeared in three music videos for the band Aerosmith during her peak as a teenage actor. Her most memorable feature would probably be the cinematic Cryin clip, in which the young actress leaps off a ledge with a bungee and flips off her man instead of plummeting to her death.

  1. Scarlett Johansson

Get a taste of Justin’s seduction strategy as Justin Timberlake woos Scarlett Johansson in a retro mansion with a vintage microphone, in the music video of his single What Goes Around… Comes Around.

  1. Eddie Murphy

Do you remember the time Eddie Murphy starred in Michael Jackson’s music video? (Yes, pun intended) Eddie Murphy played a sultan trying to “entertain his queen,” and the only one who can impress him is Michael Jackson himself.

Editing decoded, from the master himself!

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National Award winning film editor Akkineni Sreekar Prasad visited us for a Guest Lecture at Prasad Labs, to address our students on the topic of film editing. It was an honour and our pleasure to have him amongst us! He shared many an anecdote about his experiences while working on his award-winning films and interacted with the students.

Known for his works in Indian cinema he has worked on Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and English films and his last National Film Award for Best Editing was for his work on the feature film Firaaq. He has won the National Film Award for Best Editing seven times and owns one Special Jury Award, throughout a career spanning over two decades. Some of his notable editing works are Yodha (1992), Nirnayam (1995), Vaanaprastham (1999), Alaipayuthey (2000), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Kannathil Muthamittal (2002), Okkadu (2003), Aayitha Ezhuthu/Yuva (2004), Navarasa (2005), Anandabhadram (2005), Guru (2007), Billa (2007), Firaaq (2008), Pazhassi Raja (2009) and Talvar (2015).

AISFM Honorary Director Amala Akkineni and Dean Bala Rajasekharuni welcomed the guest, who needed no introduction. Sitting down for a long discussion with the students, he said that he was as nervous as he was as when editing a film. He got nostalgic about the place because he recalled that every time they finished editing a film, they come to Prasad Labs and view it. “That’s the most interesting part of a film when you see the first copy of a film and you know if it’s working or not.”

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Recollecting how his journey began in the industry he said, “It happened by chance. Dad and uncle were in the film industry. I was fascinated by books and thought journalism would be a good option. While that was yet to happen my dad asked me to come help out in the editing room and just watch and observe. During that process I got involved in working and then it became exciting because every day, every scene was a new story. I don’t know if I should regret not having a formal training but I think it is very important to have a formal training also, it’s a way of getting exposed to the techniques but it’s not the end of it. You will need to do an apprenticeship maybe but you will be much better trained than a person with no formal training.”

Students of different batches attended the guest lecture and trying to understand his perspective on various topics they asked him many questions and gained insights. Here is the excerpt of the session:

With over 300 films in your work record, what according to you is film editing and how has its definition changed over the years?
Film editing to me itself has changed over a period of time, from when I started off and today. If you go back in history, editing was started off mainly to join two strips of film, to make a video clip bigger so that they can see more. Slowly they realised the possibilities of how joining these film pieces into different forms could make it much more interesting. Then they tried to juxtapose a close up and slowly over 100 years, it slowly evolved. Initially editing was more functional and film was shot to a very bound script. As time passed they saw more possibilities in it. When I started, I was looking at it excitedly as a concept of storytelling and really never understood that editing can be much more than just joining those shots that the director wants to join to make it a scene. Slowly it sunk into me that a scene can be shown slightly in a different manner and you can withhold information, which was possible in editing. I should thank all my directors, for each one of them passed on some learning and a different perspective to filmmaking. Many people have asked me if I have a particular style but I have never felt it necessary to create a style and consciously I’ve never tried to create a style for myself. I would always try to get into a personal equation with the story and try to move with the story. Whatever is best for that story for those visuals I edit, we are not here to question what is been shot. Initially it was not possible to collaborate, but now it is easily possible to do that for the films I do, where I see the rushes immediately or two days later so I am able to give a creative input where it can still be corrected. Earlier that was not possible and whatever was given, we would try to make a structure out of it and polish it.

Editing impacting cinema as a tool for storytelling, where does it stand in the conventional workflow of filmmaking?
The whole concept of films is that you are trying to tell a story so that’s of paramount importance for the audience who is getting glued onto a scene in a particular story at some point. In our Indian ways of film, we have a lot of items inside a story and the audience has got used to it, like the leeway of songs etc. But if the story is not gripping for you at any point of time, then you would probably lose interest in the film. So the editor’s job directly is to make the story seem interesting and see to it that the story keeps moving all the time and it doesn’t become redundant or static; even with constraints like having breaks like songs or fights. The editor has to be conscious of his contribution and ensure that the story is moving in every frame of the film.

Is it a misconception that an editor comes only in the post-production of a film? How important do you think it is for an editor to be involved in the pre-production and production stages of a film?
I think it is very important for an editor to be a part of a film in preproduction itself because there are various things which he will be able to help in. In the story itself, if an editor is equipped enough to judge a story, he can suggest changes. What happens is that when you write a story most of it gets translated, 100% of it is never translated due to various problems. So even if 75% of what a director has visualized has been put on screen, then it is a huge effort. Some people don’t even visualize 50% of what they’ve written on paper. When a story is been written, there will be a lot of things that will not flow in the story and they may not be able to realise it sometimes. An editor’s insight will probably make him imagine how it will transition from one sequence to another, from one mood to another and can be corrected. And if computer graphics are involved, then it is better if the editor is involved from the beginning so that the whole system is smooth and there are no problems later in post production.

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So does editing start right from the development of the concept?
Yes, that is how it starts for me right now. But it is not fair for me to say that that’s how it could start for everybody. It didn’t start like that for me initially. Over the years I made it a point that it was not just cutting and pasting, and I started involving myself involuntarily also into the process with the director. You need to have a very good rapport and wavelength with the director. About 30 years ago lot of people would not have given importance to editing, and were very clear that this is the way it will be shot and edited. As time passed, filmmaking evolved and they realised that you could shoot more and get the best out of all the angles shot. Also with the advent of latest equipment there is a chance for us to experiment on a number of variations.

Editing starts during the shot division stage itself. Could you please explain how important editing is even for directors?
For a director also, it is very important to have an idea of editing in some way or another, maybe not in finesse or in totality. But if he knew from where it would be cut then it would be much easier for him. For a newer director it is always good to sit with the director and see how to break down the shots; why a close shot, why a wide or top angle one etc. The younger directors shoot with multi-cam and shoot all the angles for the whole sequence and then mostly leave it to the editor to decide. Just because we have all the shots, it doesn’t make sense to use all the scenes.

What are the misconceptions about editors that you have heard over the years?
Editing is not about lot of shots, editing is more about the shots that make an impact. It’s not about the number of cuts in a sequence. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages of working on a digital platform. Advantages are endless because you can cut on any number of options. In the olden days they were editing on a smaller platform and they never watched it only on television, they watched it in places like this lab, so people would have an idea of how much would an expression register for a person.

Sometimes we change the story in the editing stage, can you please narrate any from your own experiences?
Once the shoot is done, we are editing in sequences and the overall flow is not seen. Once you put it into a story form you realise that there is repetition of information or obstructions, which need to be solved. 80% of the screenplay does change in the editing stage which will be in the interest of the film moving at a brisk pace. You need to show it in a concise manner. But when you write, not everyone can write like that. An example is a film called Kaminey. It had a peculiar problem which was that there were two characters and one was that of a person in action sequences and the other was of a love story. So in the parallel narrative when we put more time in the love story, the other action part was getting lost, so we had to strike a balance where it was almost uniformly similar in length. Another thing was that there was a wonderful 4-5 minute sequence in the beginning which had a great impact but at the same time what was after that was losing its impact so I had to tell the director the bad news that the scene had to go and he was shocked because they had spent lots of money on it. But as a director he didn’t buy it. In Bollywood there are screening for focus groups and their opinions were similar to mine. Then we took out that scene and showed it in other places to other groups and they liked it in terms of narrative of two brothers, so we had to remove the whole scene.

Another example is Firaaq, where there are five parallel stories and we had to maintain the rhythm of the five stories equally so that no one story got prominence. So we had to restructure the timing in such a way that the scenes end in almost a similar length. We also had to move a large chunk of the story form the middle towards the end to give it a climax for the theatre audience. Screenplay does change at the editing table to a large extent.

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What according to you makes an amazing cut?
Editing is not about showing off cuts. Probably there are situations and scenes where you show off cuts to make a point. But when the audience is watching he is seeing a movie not cuts, he does not know about cuts. We do use cuts when you want to jerk the audience into something or frighten them to create a certain effect. Predominantly you should not feel a cut and it should just flow with the story.

When our students saw Firaaq, they were surprised with the seemless editing for a topic like riots?
It also depends on the director because she was not trying to sensationalise the topic. She was affected by it and we tried to be sensitive to the issue and not sensationalise it in any way. It was her idea from the start which was to be an emotional experience. It needed that emotion to be carried forward.

It is said that an editor orchestrates the emotional rhythm, how important is the rhythm?
The rhythm is set by the story. So if that is clear to me what is that you want to convey then it helps. If you are working with people like Mani Ratnam, then he is also trying to convey an emotion even in a song, it is not an escapist song. There will be a balance of romance and story and it will not look just like a song. The amount of duration of a particular moment is important to convey a particular emotion. I follow; for every action and reaction there is a particular time. It cannot be a staccato type of editing, it will not seem real. So that amount of time you have to judge and leave. How to make it real and not synthetic is what you can set. If it is a retort, it has to be immediately etc.

In the Talvar climax conference room scene, how did you maintain the cuts?
There is a slight humour in the scene and it is a very unconventional scene for a climax where each team feels their investigation is right. So as a filmmaker we slightly have a tendency if you notice, although it seems objective, to make it look like Irfan Khan’s investigation was probably the real one. So when he was saying his lines ridiculing the others it always required the underline of the others reaction to make him look like he was making fun of them. The fun was the reactions of the others, if not it would not have lifted the scene to the level it did.

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How tough was it to show the same scene so many times from different perspectives?
That was the biggest challenge in that film for me, to start the story at the same time. Although the screenplay had the structure in place, as an editor the challenge was how much to show and how much to rewind because it shouldn’t get monotonous. So we slowly filtered out the monotony as the edit went on. If you realise the third is a short version because we realised it will not hold good. We just highlighted the points of difference or contention.

What are the job responsibilities of an intern and what hierarchy is followed once a student joins the industry?
The intern should know how to handle the equipment. Probably he/she might not know how to handle an assistant director or director, so he/she will have to observe. If he/she is becoming an editor then he/she has to make his/her own game plan. But if he/she is joining an editor as an assistant, then he/she should watch their workflow. It requires a year at least for them to get used to it.

You rarely use transitions in your films?
I don’t generally see it as a requirement, so I don’t use transitions because I feel it becomes unreal unless I am really trying to tell something. But for pure film viewing I don’t feel the need unless it’s a specific purpose like denoting a passage of eight years. Usually I am able to convey what I want to convey without these effects. For example, the jump cuts in Dil Chahta Hai.

What is your advice for budding film professionals?
Be passionate about what you are doing, whatever discipline you are going to take. In editing you need a lot of patience. You should be aware of where you are going to operate and create a market for yourself. That’s very important, so work towards that and explore that. You definitely have to experiment and try to do something different, so that you can make a mark for yourself. The most important thing is that you have to be clear where you are getting into in the industry, which market and be aware of that industry before you enter that industry.

See the rest of the photos here: http://bit.ly/2baHkgt

 

Samantha visits AISFM!

 

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Spotting a celebrity at the AISFM campus has become a common occurrence over the years, thanks to the support of our founding family. Actress Samantha was seen at the campus grounds recently, along with our Honorary Director, Amala Akkineni. Samantha Ruth Prabhu is a popular Indian actress and model. She has established a career in the Telugu and Tamil film industries, and is a recipient of three Filmfare Awards!

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Amala gave the actress a tour of the AISFM campus and the new block that was recently inaugurated, Maya Bazar. They then took a small detour and found themselves amidst a lively discussion on storytelling in one of the classes taken by our faculty.

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Coincidentally on this very day, the students held a small programme for their faculty on the occasion of Teacher’s Day. Amala and Samantha, both joined in on the festivities. The students played a few games with their teachers, and Samantha was asked to say a few words on the occasion. She got nostalgic and reminisced about her days in college and spoke to the students about how they must cherish all of the memories they are making. She went on to comment on how a film school is a fantastic opportunity for budding talent and also mentioned her desire to one day, join one of the courses here, at AISFM.

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Starting out on a musical note!

bollywood celebrities in music videos

Looking at the recent craze of celebrity music videos, one may think that this is a thing of the present, but little does one know that this fad began way back in the 90’s. The 90’s was the epitome of pop music success and saw many solo artists, boy bands and girl gangs emerging into the industry. While Sonam Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan may be some of the ‘known’ stars to have featured in music videos, we present to you five B-town celebrities who practically began this fad, quite unknowingly, at the beginning of their acting careers.

  1. Shahid Kapoor:

Before blowing us away with his performances in Udtaa Punjaab and Haider, the Kapoor boy was seen as a love-struck young lad, trying to woo the girl next door, in the song ‘Aankhon Mei’ by the band Aryans.

  1. Deepika Padukone:

Little do people know that it was actually Himesh Reshamiya who launched Deepika into the film fraternity and not Farah Khan. The then model, starred in the music video of ‘Naam Hai Tera’ and this feature got her noticed and led to her bagging the lead role opposite SRK in Om Shanti Om.

  1. Ayesha Takia:

Ayesha Takia was a child model for Complan and other brands. What got her noticed however was, Falguni Pathak’s ‘Meri ChuCnar Udd Udd Jaye’ that also featured Southern actress Trishna Krishnan. The song showed Takia as a doe-eyed young girl who is feeling home-sick, and led to her bagging various roles in Bollywood.

  1. John Abraham:

Before he made his debut in Pooja Bhatt’s ‘Jism’, John Abraham starred in Pankaj Udhas’s number ‘Chupke Chupke’. Who would have ever imagined that? He can be seen flaunting his long, floppy hair and flashing cute dimples, knowing little of how famous this one song would make him.

  1. Bipasha Basu:

She may have climbed the success ladder with a spate of good and cringe worthy movies, but Bipasha Basu started out her career by starring in Sonu Nigam’s ‘Kab Ye Janegi’. Though the video may not be as visually appealing as others on the list, it kick started her Bollywood career.

Khwaish’s dream coming true!

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Khwaish, a short film about ‘a man chasing his dreams’, has been nominated for film fests this year across the country. Khwaish has been nominated for Manhattan Short India contest, Navi Mumbai International Film Festival, Slaman Farsi Film Festival, Tehran, Iran, Jagran Film Festival and All Lights India International Film Festival.

Khwaish is set in 2002 when India played against England for the title of the Natwest Trophy and is the story of Karim Khan, a small town guy from a village named Kashti. Karim unlike other small town guys is very different and still hopes of achieving his dreams at any cost. Karim being a big fan of cricket desires to go to Lords to watch the match. ‘Will Karim make it to Lords? Can Karim achieve his goal ever?’, is the rest of the story.

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Strangely similar to the storyline of the short film that shows how destiny plays a role, is the real life story of the writer-director of this short film and how destiny brought him to AISFM and how Khwaish was no more a dream, but a dream fulfilled!

Pushkar Vishwasrao, the man behind it all, the writer and director and MA 2016 student of AISFM, writes about the short film, how it came into existence and how it became his graduation film project. Here it is in his own words!

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“This was not just another short film for me. It was my graduation project and it was also my passport to get into the industry. So I had to think of the story which was very different from what my colleagues were making, so that I could stand out from it. Being from a cricket background there is always a special place for this game. The story of this film revolves around an old man who is a big cricket fan and wants to go to Lords to watch India’s cricket match. This story didn’t strike me overnight.

Frankly speaking this was the dream of my uncle, who is a 70-year-old neighbor and is a big fan of cricket. He always discussed cricket with me because he saw me playing professional cricket since my childhood. So one day when I was thinking about the project and what story I should work on, this story idea came up. This was very close to my heart and I thought of working on this story.  

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Even though I had made short film,s before I was a bit nervous before going for the shoot. This was our Graduation Project and our future depended on this. This film gave me and my team a lot of confidence and it also showed us where we stand after two years of studying filmmaking at Annapurna International School of Film and Media.

We faced a major hiccup when on the first day of the shoot in the early morning at 5:00am we came to know that our actor who was coming from Bombay has been hospitalized due to some medical issue. We had been given only five days for the shoot and the first day was cancelled due to this problem.

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Now we had only four days in hand and we needed an actor who could speak Marathi, as my script was in Marathi. Finally our Acting Faculty Yashraj Jadhav agreed to do it as he is a Maharashtrian, but on one condition that he should be left by 4:00pm as he had acting classes. We agreed to it and started shooting the next day and by God’s grace we completed the shoot in four days time.”

Pushkar had worked as an Assistant Director on ad films in Mumbai and also as a freelance casting director on ad films for a couple of years in the industry. And it was while working with his seniors in college that he was swept away by this art form. Says he, “I too wanted to be a part of this form and tell some stories about human emotions, that people can relate to and empathise with. Hence while chasing my dream, my destiny got me here to AISFM and today I am doing my graduation film which follows the theme of “Chasing Dreams”. Being a student of AISFM I was exposed to how the industry works. We also got an opportunity to meet stalwarts from the film Industry and their inputs have really helped us and are still working as we consider what each person has said and how different their point-of-view is from ours.”  “I’m currently working on a screenplay for a Marathi feature. Let’s hope for the best and I hope it will reach the public very soon,” he signs off.

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Grad Film Fest 2016 photo for keepsake! The crew of Khwaish with Chief Guests for the evening;
(Standing L-R):
Swaroop Naini, Pranav Ramani, Nidhi Doshi, Sudeep Patil, Pushkar Vishwasrao, Rachna Deshpande, Akhil D Manu, Mustafa Yusuf.
(Seated L-R): Dean of AISFM Mr. Bala Raj, famous actor Mr. Sumanth, young star Mr. Akhil Akkineni, famous actress Ms. Lakshmi Manchu, popular story writer Mr. Gopi Mohan and well-known director Mr. Kalyan Krishna.

Rangmanch’s Holi, a colourful triumph!

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AISFM’s theatre club, ‘Rangmanch’, staged the Hindi adaptation of Mahesh Elkunchwar’s ‘Holi’, an iconic Marathi play at Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Basheerbagh. Over 400 people turned up for the play and the student event was a huge success.

Harshad Dinkar Fad, representative for ‘Rangmanch’ – An AISFM Theatre Club and an AISFM MMBA III student in his own words jots down the journey of the stage play, from conception to finish, capturing its every essence in its truest form!

Witness this wonderful drama unfurl; pre, during and post, in front of you with his words!

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When the clubs were revamped at AISFM last semester before the summer break, the newly elected representatives for Theatre Club, that was me and S. Venkat Narayan Murthy, had a clear vision of starting the new academic year with a grand theatrical performance. Our vision was supported by other clubs and most importantly Dean Bala sir, who suggested on staging a play that included various performing arts thus involving several clubs in the production. As exciting as it sounds, all the clubs agreed upon taking up this challenge. The theatre club was named ‘Rangmanch’ and we were set to paint the world of theatrics!

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After a lot of brainstorming the club representatives decided to adapt a critically acclaimed film into a theatrical play. Unfortunately, the producers of this film denied us the permission citing the reason that they themselves were in the process of adapting it for stage. By the time this notification came we had already adapted the first act. With such little time left to prepare, Dean Bala sir came to our rescue and suggested we stage Mahesh Elkunchwar’s ‘Holi’. An iconic Marathi play from an iconic playwright, our responsibilities were multiplied to showcase a quality production. It was difficult to find the English or Hindi adaptation of this play and hence I asked my parents to send the original Marathi script from Pune. It took a good three days’ time to translate and adapt ‘Holi’ into a Hind-English play. The adapted script for ‘Holi’ was finally locked. It was time now to build a team.

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From just me and Venkat at the beginning, ‘Team Holi’ eventually went on to be a 42 member troupe! ‘Rangmanch’ conducted its first auditions, where we found some actors with great potential. Most of these actors were completely new to stage acting and excited to explore the medium.

‘Holi’ is a play based on a hostel where everything was as paranoid as any other hostel till something beyond paranoid happened. A group of college students gather at a hostel room to express disappointment over not getting a holiday for Holi. What begins as a fun-filled hoopla amongst friends slowly turns into a revolt and then into something outrageous.

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In all there are 19 characters in the play. The backstage crew, sound team, lights team, costumes and makeup team, finance and marketing team together took the number of cast and crew to a whopping 42 members! To manage these 42 people for three weeks and maintain co-ordination was the primary challenge we faced. At times, to maintain discipline we had to take harsh decisions like replacing the actors. A few contretemps here and there but talking about issues freely and finding solutions collectively was key to keep a healthy environment during the rehearsals. It was wonderful on the part of all the cast and crew members to do rehearsals for three long weeks after six to seven hours of a gruelling college schedule. On our side, Venkat and I tried to keep the atmosphere as fun-filled and enjoyable as possible. We all danced, did some funny exercises, meditated and laughed together. Everybody’s graph of performance in all departments only showed an upward mark.

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Meanwhile, the Dance Club choreographed an energetic performance that would open the play. ‘Aarambh’, the Events Club was constantly co-ordinating between various departments while maintaining the finances. Rohit Tkar from the Music Club was going to be the lone ranger giving live score to the play. Photography Club covered the practice sessions and also took the responsibility to cover the entire event on the D-Day. The marketing team put up posters across the city and tickets were up for sale on BookMyShow.

AISFM funded the auditorium fees and equipment. Our academic co-ordinators Ms. Abhigna, Ms. Lyzandra and Dr. Vijaya Raghava were of utmost help throughout the process. We partnered with ‘Ksheersagar Sweets’ as our associate partners and Aayat Productions as our printing partners. Everything set; ‘Rangmanch’ was ready to go on the ‘manch’ of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium!

19th of August, 2016. Nervous excitement. Stakes were high. First ever theatrical performance by AISFM. First ever Rangmanch performance. First ever grand event in the presence of our Dean and AISFM Director Amala ma’am. It was a day marked with the most appropriate use of nervous energy by 42 individuals collectively. Without any frenzy, the crew and cast reached the venue with all the required properties and equipment. After the lights and sounds settings, we did a final rehearsal and the team was ready to deliver!

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To our delight, more than 400-strong audience turned up for the show. Mrs. Amala Akkineni, our Chief Guest for the evening and our very own Dean Bala Raj sir arrived. It was encouraging to see some of our lecturers and officials from administration sitting in the first two rows. With such a massive turnout for the show and fire to give a memorable performance, Holi was performed. All the hard work and penance of three weeks was seen in every action and reaction on and off the stage. The play had three change of scenes where the complete stage was changed from one location to another. As the lights went off the crew had just 20 seconds to change these settings in complete dark and they, unbelievably, were on point every single time. Practice indeed makes a crew perfect! We were blessed with a wonderful audience who were responsive to everything that went on the stage. Listening to their applause after every scene was thrilling!

It was an emotional moment when the play got over and the entire cast and crew stood there to bow in front of the audience. Surpassing all hurdles and striving for the best at every moment, we finally delivered. And the audience loved it. What more does an artist want? To see the smiles on the audiences’ faces, to see them delighted, to see the effect your performance has caused in their eyes, is all the accolades and love won. Dean Bala sir and Amala ma’am presented us Directors with a shawl. It will remain as one of the highlights of my life and Venkat’s too. Truly humbled by this beautiful gesture! It was a shawl that not only recognized the efforts we put into bringing this entire act together from scratch but also a reminder of the responsibility we shouldered into making things only better and better from here. There’s always scope for improvement and we will only go forward from here. There is one thing I always told the cast and crew, which we again proved at the end of this performance, “Success is easy, all you need to do is hard work!”

As for ‘Rangmanch’, we are not a club anymore. We are family! 

Don’t miss the action! See more photos here: http://bit.ly/2bLgzia

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Who says women aren’t funny?!

Women in comedy

 

  1. Amy Schumer

Women in Comedy

Amy is a stand-up comedian, writer, producer and actor. Not only does she write comedy sketches for TV shows, she has also written a film (Trainwreck). She has her very own sketch comedy Inside Amy Schumer that is becoming popular by the day. Apart from this, Schumer has also acted in a bunch of films; she also has a book coming out this year called ‘The girl with the lower back tattoo.’ Talk about multi-talented!

  1. Whitney Cummings

Women in Comedy

Whitney Cummings began her career by starring on MTV’s prank show, Punk’d. Later she went on to create two multi-camera, live-audience sitcoms, Whitney and 2 Broke Girls, which were received well. The latter recently got renewed for 6th season. Cummings also took part in several stand-up comedy shows right from the beginning of her career.

  1. Mindy Kaling

Women in Comedy

Not many know the fact that Kaling is actually just a stage name that the comic adopted. Her birth name is Vera Mindy Chokalingam! She is known for the sitcom The Mindy Project, which was not only created by her, but also saw her as the show’s main lead. At the age of 19, she worked as an intern on the show Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Kaling is also the author of two of New York Times Best Sellers.

  1. Grace Helbig

Women in Comedy

Grace is an actress, producer and author and also is the creator and host of the YouTube channel it’sGrace as well as the podcast Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig. She authored two comedic handbooks, Millennials Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-up and Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It. She created and hosted the 2015 comedy/talk show on the E! television network, The Grace Helbig Show.

  1. Melissa McCarthy

Women in Comedy

McCarthy first gained recognition for her role as Sookie St. James on the television series Gilmore Girls. Her talents were brought out to the public light by the show Mike & Molly. McCarthy achieved further success and fame for her breakthrough film role as Megan Price in the comedy film Bridesmaids. She has starred in other major films apart from this including Spy that came out this year. In 2016, Forbes named her the second highest-paid actress in the world earning $33 million.

  1. Lilly Singh

Women in Comedy

Better known by her YouTube name, iisuperwomanii, Lilly is an Indo-Canadian YouTube personality, vlogger, comedian, actress and rapper. Since beginning her channel in October 2010, her videos have received over 1.4 billion views with over 9 million subscribers to her channel. She shot to fame for dressing up as her made-up parents Manjeet and Paramjeet, who also have their very own social media handles and fan following. She has received an MTV Fandom Award, a Streamy Award and two Teen Choice Awards to date in her career, and is coming out with her very own book.

  1. Wanda Sykes

Women in Comedy

This voice artist was first recognized for her work as a writer on The Chris Rock Show, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1999. She has had a very successful career in film, voicing characters in films like Barnyard, Rio, Ice Age: Continental Drift and Ice Age: Collision Course (which also starred Lilly Singh). She was named one of the 25 funniest people in America by Entertainment Weekly.

  1. Kristen Wiig

Women in Comedy

Kristen Wigg shot to fame thanks to her stint on SNL (Saturday Night Live). Much like McCarthy, she too broke into comedy with the help of the Los Angeles improv group, ‘The Groundlings.’ Wiig received seven consecutive Emmy Awards nominations and has been nominated for an Annie Award for Voice Acting in a Feature Production for her work on Despicable Me 2.

  1. Tina Fey

Women in Comedy

This actress, comedian, writer and producer is best known for her work on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live. She also starred in 30 Rock and had character roles in major films like Mean Girls, Muppets Most Wanted and Sisters to name a few. Fey has received eight Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, five Screen Actors Guild Awards, and four Writers Guild of America Awards and was nominated for a Grammy Award for her autobiographical book Bossypants, which topped The New York Times Best Seller list for five weeks.

  1. Jenna Marbles

Women in Comedy

Jenna Nicole Mourey, more commonly known as Jenna Marbles is an American YouTube personality, vlogger, comedian and actress. As of May 2016, her channel has over 16 million subscribers, making it the seventh most subscribed channel on YouTube and the top channel operated by a woman! The funny story behind her pseudonym is that Mr. Marbles was the name of her dog when her videos went viral. She also released a brand of dog toys called Kermie Worm & Mr. Marbles.

“It was a dream come true to see myself on the big screen”

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“A dream come true to see myself on the big screen for the very first time,” says she excitedly talking about the short film that is garnering more hits by the day on Youtube. Tanya Joshi, a BFA student from AISFM, is slowly but surely trying to create her own space in the celluloid world. One first step towards that is her stint with the short film Amrutha 96.4 FM. Talking about it all is Tanya here!

So, was it a childhood dream coming true? “Yes, definitely especially coming from a family who is nowhere related to the film industry. It seems more like a fairy tale, but I still have a long way to go. I really look forward to working in films soon. I personally feel that being in AISFM, I have got all these opportunities. The first ever acting project I did was in Annapurna (the music video), then I got this short film Amrutha 96.4 FM. Since then I have never looked back,” she says.

Recollecting how it came by her way, she says “Well, after the music video I started working with a lot of college students in Annapurna. I worked in their semester-end projects. People in college did notice my interest in acting and a lot of students referred my name to independent filmmakers in Hyderabad. Then out of the blue, I got a call from Kishan Katta (Director of Amrutha 96.4 FM). We sat down to read the script, I loved it and so I decided to do this project.”

How does she feel, after the star status it has achieved? “Ha-ha…Wow star status. I think it’s too early to say that I have achieved a star status. I still have a long way to go. But yes I am very happy that few people do know me in Hyderabad because of my acting. I would really thank AISFM for that. I got a lot of exposure because of this college. So I would still say that it’s way too early to say the star status thing. But I am grateful that at such an early age I have started my journey as an actor,” she goes on to say knowing it’s a hard way ahead.

Learning a new language was just one of the things she learnt whilst the making of the short film. Says she, “The only set back that I faced was that this short film was in Telugu, so I really had to learn the language. Also it was for the first time that I was working with an unknown crew. So it took a while for me to understand how things work here.”

Other projects she has been involved with so far are with her seniors’ projects like Pheli Supari, AISFM music video, In Love Dubara, Sales Girl, Lakshman Rekha (The Unwritten Law)  and she has now started doing dubsmashes, which have become quite popular on Instagram.

So, what’s next on the plate? “I am getting calls for many short films, but at the moment I am trying not to take up too many projects in hand as I am in the final year of my degree (BFA in Film & Media). I have taken some time off to work on myself, to make myself ready for the film industry. I am only focusing on myself and the final year of college. If I get a really good project in hand then I would consider doing it,” she says.

Talking about the whole experience of performing, she says, “The whole experience of working in Amrutha 96.4 FM was mind blowing. The shooting of this project was so much fun, as the character Jenny is always hyper and bubbly. That’s how I am in real life as well, so I was able to relate to the character. Before the movie released on YouTube there was a special screening in Prasad’s theatre. So that was a dream come true to see myself on the big screen for the very first time. It recently crossed one lakh views on YouTube. Hence, I am extremely grateful that I am in AISFM because of which I got so many opportunities and I am pretty sure that once I graduate from this prestigious institution, I will have a beautiful journey to look forward to.”

Check out the teaser of the short film http://bit.ly/2bitbxx and the short film itself here