Hues of ‘Rang De Basanti’ 0 (0)

Rang De Basanti began its victory march in style.
The film took in Rs 22.8 crore around the world in
just four days. The winning lap still continues, the
crowds still flock to the theatres even after months
of its world wide release.Infact, Rang De Basanti emerges as the second film
this decade to cross the Rs 50-crore collection mark
in the Indian market.(Source: Business Standard).

Interestingly, it shares this honor with another period film ‘Gadar.
Both ‘Gadar’ and Rang De Basanti are products of media corporate
houses. Thankfully, for all of us, the similarties between the two
films end there.

What makes Rang De Basanti such a huge success? A success that
can measured both in terms of box-office collections, and the interest it

  • Is it Aamir Khan? (Possibly not…sure, we all remember ‘Mangal Pandey’)
  • Is it A.R.Rahman? (nope, ‘Mangal Mangal Ho’)
  • Is it Raakeysh Mehra (The shadow of ‘Aks’ still hangs in there)
  • Is it UTV (‘Swades’ and ‘Lakshya’ didn’t do well.)

All of the above? Yes, you have the reason for its success.

Lets change the order a little bit.

1) First Mr.Mehra deserves credit for making a honest, intelligent
and a clever film.

Honest, because, the film is based on the script rather than the
stars who are/would be part of it. Hence, you do not see a special
introduction song or an item song, no matter how badly the
box-office pundits want them in.

Intelligent, because the film makes you ponder on a few things just
as the protaganists did. It is only incidental that the protoganist fought
against corruption. Actually, what’s simmering inside is the hurt…the
hurt against injustice committed to the dignity of the human soul.
While the ‘Jalianwala Bagh’ did it back then, it is the MIG crash for the
lead characters now.

Clever, becaust it does not preach. The beginning, the middle and the
end are conceived from the point of view of the characters, and the
denouement of the plot ‘merely’ happens, as the characters themselves
would have taken it forward. Even when the protagonists ‘kill’, it is not
presented as THE solution. The message,if at all you could call it that way,
is ‘You sure need to act, but in your own way’

I remembered ‘To Kill a mocking bird’ and ‘The GodFather II’ while watching
this film. This is probably the biggest compliment I can pay to Mr.Mehra.

2) Prior to Rang De Basanti UTV made two films. ‘Swades’ and ‘Lakshya’.
Both enjoyed luke warm success. But it is heartening to see UTV learning
from its mistakes. There is no ‘Swades’ like brooding/preaching or a ‘Lakshya’
kind of tailor-made scenes/songs for the lead stars. UTV believed in what
they had on paper and backed Rang De Basanti to the hilt. It allocated almost
a whopping 40 per cent of its production cost of Rs 25 crore to marketing.
Rang De Basanti signals the coming-of-age for UTV.

3) After Dil Chahta Hai, Aamir Khan could do no wrong. And ‘Mangal Pandey’
came along.He is back with a bang with Rang De Basanti. He did what he
always does best–believing in script. After ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander’, his
character in Rang De Basanti is probably the best for the ‘actor’ in Aamir Khan.
The risk was so high for him, almost akin to Sunny Deol playing a ‘Gandhi’,
but Aamir thrived on it.

4) Offlate, A.R.Rahman, has been accused of delivering mediocre and
repetitive musical scores. The truth is, he heavily depends on the script and
the success of the film. His musical score unlike other composers does not
stand out, instead it blends with the film. All he needed was one great script
and that script to convert into a hit. Rang De Basanti provided him with both.

So, goes my reasons for success of Rang De Basanti. May be, I could also
think of another one…the mother of all reasons. It is the team work of four
stalwarts who have tasted failure…who wanted success, and wanted it bad.
And may be, may be, so did the cause against the injured human spirit.

Yes, folks! Rang De Basanti is here to stay…in spirit and as one of the best Indian films.

Hitchcock’s Notebooks 0 (0)

If there is one mind any movie buff would like to read or re-program, it has to be that of Alfred Hitchcock.

Famous for his suspense and the sudden shocks in his films, surprisingly his film making technique is stripped of all such uncertanities. Each of his films were pre-planned to the minutest detail, leaving nothing to chance. The master story teller was also a master planner who seldom left little for manipulation for the editors or for the studio honchos.

Hard to believe? How about some documentary evidence ? Here comes the book ‘Hitchcocks’ Notebooks” by Dan Auiler. This book is a collation of everything Hitchcock did on paper prior or during the production of the film.

Dan Auiler divides the book in to three parts : “Building the Screenplay,” “Preparing the Visual,” and “Putting It All Together.” In each section he provides documents, including memos, script excerpts, sketches, and storyboards from a selection of films.

For any process oriented film producer/director this book is a treat. The book picks several films of Hitchcock at various stages and presents snippets. For instance, the book showcases the detailed treatment of ‘Rebecca’, the final storyboard of the famous crop dusting plane scene of ‘North by Northwest’ and the lengthy correspondence on the composite visual effects/sound effects for ‘Birds’.

This book is a must for any film maker who believes in the Hitchcock’s tradition of ‘a-film-is created-on-paper-first’.

At times the book appears a little tedious as the narrative jumps from one film to the other, but if you have learnt to sustain on an over dosage of Hitchcock’s films, you wouldn’t mind 🙂

Producing Animation 0 (0)

Producing Animation by Catherine Winder and Zahra Dowlatabadi is written from the perspective of a producer, hence it is more process driven.

The art and craft of animation has evolved over the years and it is a global industry today. It is not uncommon for the producers of animation projects–both TV and feature– taking the outsourcing route with the pre-production stage in USA/Europe and the prouduction outsourced to a studio in Asia.

This book presents the nuts-and-bolts of how a project is created in addition to describing the role of the producer at each phase. The producer here is seen as both a project and process owner. Hence there are chapters devoted to the non-production aspects like sales pitch, concept marketing etc. It also makes an interesting surfing material  for the not so hands-on-producers, who would like to limit themselves to the deal-making and then hand over the reins to a day-to-day person.

The book dwells at length on each process and provides pre-requisites, crew requirements and check points for each one of them. This information is often supplemented by the authors’ past experience. This information is very helpful in setting up a tracking sytem.

It would be nice if the authors come up with two seperate versions for 2D and 3D animations and supplement these two with a good companion website.

Overall, if you are looking at a decent head start on the making of an animation project, this book is for you.

ET, IT…and the rest