The Man behind the “Visual Treat”: D.o.P of “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” at AISFM Campus!

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SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” is breaking all records with its successful run at the box-office. The film which is in its second week has garnered an estimated whooping 1000 crore across India, on its second Monday.

Mr. K K Senthil Kumar, D.o.P/Cinematographer of “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” visited the AISFM Campus for an Interactive session. AISFM hosted a special screening of “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” for its cinematography students and also for the camera technicians working for Annapurna Studios. Followed by the screening, Senthil was congratulated by AISFM, for the huge success of the film and the impact it is creating on millions of people.

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As VFX and storyline are an integral part of the movie, Senthil shared his thought-process and ideas on certain shots of the film.; sharing facts like – the film was shot on 4:3, rather than a 16:9 to purposely serve the IMAX screen. “The directors vision for the complete series was accurate in his head, and as the D.O.P, I helped him execute that vision through my camera. We worked with each other on most of the pre/post production,” said Senthil answering a question posed by one of our students.

When asked about ‘VFX to normal scenes ratio’ in the movie, and how it acts on his decision-making while capturing particular scenes; he said “The key is to keep it simple. I always try to keep it simple while I’m working. I have a list of scenes and I approach each one with the simplest solutions.” he answered.

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“As the film had exceeded expectations with the first part of the movie, the director had to take it up a notch, to surpass the audiences’ expectations which were set really high, already,” he added in the Q/A session, which was really insightful for the attendees who could gain behind-the-scenes knowledge about this blockbuster phenomenon taking over the world.

He also mentioned that planning and resource management is really important with a high budget project like Bahubali. He further added that, it took a complete year of pre-production before the sequel’s shoot began. If a brief idea of what has to be projected on screen is fairly accurate in the head, the execution becomes way easier. He mentions the skill-set to be prepared for instinctive decisions as when the shoot happens, improvisation for getting an edge should be done, naturally on a regular basis.

As Bahubali will be known for setting a trend, in the size that it has, it was an honour to have an interaction with the D.o.P of the biggest hit in the cinema industry, making and breaking records, in quality of talent and quantity of revenue, while uniting the world globally with the fascinating art of filmmaking.

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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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Telugu direction course launched!

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The Diploma in Film Direction for the Telugu Film Industry was launched yesterday at AISFM. Supriya Yarlagadda, Executive Director – Annapurna Studios, officially launching the course said, “This is the first time we are conducting the Telugu direction course here at AISFM and we are searching for talented professionals for the industry.”

This Telugu-medium course not just introduces aspiring directors to the craft of film and television production and the art of visual narrative, but also prepares them to work as assistant directors at a professional level and to enter their first jobs in the film and television industry.

“The first thumb rule to become a good director is to surround yourself with really good assistant directors,” said Supriya and went on to cite an example about Nagarjuna’s iconic movie ‘Shiva’. She said that Ram Gopal Varma had a great team of assistant directors who ably assisted him in bringing forth his thoughts into reality.

There is a crisis in the film industry now and that is the lack of talented assistant directors, she said and encouraged the students who joined this first-time course, and added that “you have come to learn the art of film direction and you can learn a new skillset here and get a job. Each and everyone of you should think that you are one-in-a-hundred and work towards your goal of becoming a director, and with this course you will be able to learn the skillset required to fulfill your goal.”

The lesser you read, the better it is and the more you do practically, the better it is, she concluded and wished the students success.

The course also covers the ground realities of working in this field, including how to be professional on set, how to pitch stories and how to plan a career path. Modules of the course include Short Film Making, Basics of Screenwriting, Cinematography, Sound, Editing amongst others.

Introduction to the Grammar of Filmmaking, Production and Assistant Direction Skills, Understanding The Role of an Assistant Director, Assembly Line of Production, On-set Actor Management are other aspects of the course that will help students understand the nitty-gritties of the film industry.

They will also get an opportunity to work as an assistant director and understand Scripting and Directing Teleseries, Understand Llarge vs Small Screen, Budgeting for TV production and more for Television Direction and Production.

Apart from equipping the students with the technical expertise and skillset required to excel in the film industry, they will also be made ‘industry aware’ and understand how the local industry works, how to build network and gain exposure etc.