Monday, October 8, 2012

Don't Worry, Be Barfi!



कभी न रुकता रे..
कभी न थमता रे..
ग़म जो दिखा उसे खुशिओं की ठोकर मरे..

These lines from the title song of the film probably best describes the feeling that I think I will be having in heart forever for Anurag Basu's Barfi. From watching it first time on the release day among a packed audience in a single screen theatre in one of Delhi's oldest market to watching it 3rd time on screen and still feeling an affection rare to exhibit for a cinema lover like me does spells wonders about a film, I truly believe.

When I first watched the film, it was 'The Notebook' (I strongly believe that you ain't romantic if you have not watched it) and few Chaplin inspired scenes which I had instantly jumped upon. However even less than a minute from the scenes, I had moved on to be again immersed in the beautiful film. As the scenario stands today, because of modern mass media everyone is exposed to the numerous scenes in the film that are unoriginal and a little search on youtube is enough for more truth. Plethora of debates have been conducted on the worth of the heaps of praises that the film received on its release, especially after its selection as the official entry from India for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards next year. The angst voices are stronger by those whose films lost out in the selection race. Sour-grapes or genuine objections, it is a matter of another debate - one that must be strictly done by those who have watched the entire 19 films sent to selection committee for consideration.

There is also an INR 100,000 fee for submission to the selection panel set up by Film Federation of India, a topic of another debate by many news mongers. Some say it badly restricts small and independent film-makers which is really true as India with its bevy of film cultures in almost all major languages produces some great gems that goes unseen because of the dictats of promotion and marketing budgets. However, the monetary standing of such films can not be ignored as the real challenge begins after the selection. The huge costs in the promotion, distribution and exhibition for audiences, critics and academy's selection panel in the required multi-global pockets can be just estimated by the fact that while at present crossing a INR 100 crores earning is being considered a stamp of Blockbuster Status in India, this amount is way less than the stand-alone production costs of major International films and many bigs stars and even directors charge a fee more than this amount, which is equal to a little above $19 million. So its completely futile to talk about selection of small films, unless the Government of India lets loose its purse strings of the taxed money for an Academy nod.

The hugely multi-billion dollar modern-day capitalised entertainment industry is still considered as a thing of 'time-pass' by government machineries at various levels to get them to promote it as a medium of global exim trade. The various film related association still as "Chai, Biscuit aur Gupshup and some family photo-ops and free movie passes for premiere whenever big names come knocking.". The government machinery is not be solely blamed, also. We never see any influence building exercise by the movie-moguls using their big political contacts, the way the top industrialists across the country lobby the opposition to agree to passage of a favoured-bill by the ruling government at both centre and state levels. Even the hungry crow had to put in efforts to drink openly available water in the clay pot by putting stone pebbles to raise the water level.

With the sweet concoction of BARFI being enjoyed by some and turning too sweet success for others to digest, the film has nevertheless crossed all expectations. It released in a meagre 800 screens worldwide when big productions in the country are crossing 3000 screens mark on release date; has netted more than INR 100 crores it is worldwide business and is running almost housefull even in its fourth week of release. In spite of all the inspired scenes in the film, what can just not be ignored is that the film has a story which is original and heartwarmingly rendered with bravura performance by all its actors in rarely seen dedication in the presentation of the characters in depth. Even the inspired/copied/lifted (whatever one might prefer to call them) scenes are so amazingly gelled in the screenplay and essayed wonderfully that they never seem to irritate, even for a staunch critic like me who watched the film this time after having seen the all original scenes in the month passed since its release.

There is a genuine honesty that seems to have gone in the making of the film by one and all involved with it. The music soundtrack of the film is one of the best in long long time with lyrics that really spells poetry and great imagination. Even the  background score (and not the soundtrack) for the movie, composed by Pritam, which is borrowed heavily from the highly acclaimed soundtrack of the French film Amélie, carries the movie forward so fluidly that not once does the audience feel the lack of dialogues for many long durations. In fact, had the film not told in a narrative format by its characters, the film would have been almost dialogue-less with its deaf-and-dumb title character and an autistic female-lead character.

Regardless of assessing the chances of the film's selection for a a nod in academy nomination which is more dependant on the promotion and marketing of the film than its merits of a 100 percent original film (as seen in the shrewd business acumen of Harvey Weinstein in recent years over better films by his apparent nemesis Scott Rudin), at least we can learn to enjoy the little things that we work for and no brood over the big benefits we are too lazy to act towards. And accept that UTV's national clout along with its partner Disney's international clout is probably the best for the academy market.

This season and every season of life and movie awards... Don't worry, Be Barfi! :)


Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Marathon Affair to Remember

There are times in one's life when no matter the time passed of a life memory, it's not easy to forget it. A beautiful and important day of life, a chance encounter and an exploration of a sweet crazy childish personality trait that was never known or thought to exist. All being presented in a silver platter during a dream work. I feel blessed to have a cherry on top time of my life. :)

Working at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon was something I have been wanting to since quite a few years. Not that its something out of the world but just that I always wanted to be part of big event's PR and Event Management team, especially after being introduced to the scenario at Commonwealth Games's Media Centre while I was also super enjoying and loving my work at International Broadcast Centre as Archive Logger.

ADHM has been a regular annual event, so I took the chance to dream of working here as a Volunteer at the Media Centre. Last year, during the time when applications were being seeked for the runners at the event, I browsed through ADHM's facebook page and official website and got to know of the openings for Volunteers. Having build up my résumé on a pretty good note I applied for the PR work post, which apparently required maximum days of work and thus maximum experience. I was confident about my application and I got called for the interview.

It was a November last week event last year and so the interview date was scheduled for 6th of the same month, which apparently was the date I was flying with my friend Karan to Mumbai for a leisure trip at Gullu's place. I replied back instantly and requested for a date reschedule one daye prior and good thing it got accepted. The interview went really good and it made me really happy when the interviewer, Mr Priyesh Sanghvi, told me that with a résumé like mine I can chose any of the available post for work. I obviously chose 'Public Relations' and he told me that I will be called again for another interview session for work briefing with a Media representative and I will also be paid for the work. The pay thing was something unexpected because, honestly, I was there for experience and work for free. I was proud of the my interview and even let go for a paid 15-day internship opportunity at a media house I had come across. But...the call back did not come.

I replied back on multiple e-mails without success. My angry post about the 'unprofessional attitude' on the event's facebook page was even deleted by page administrators. My mumbai trip went fabulous but the time following the return in delhi till the end of the event was indeed depressing, apart from the personal challenges in my professional and personal lives.

However, somewhere at the back of my mind I had promised me that I will try the next year again and make sure I take some contact number from the office. The subsequent interview day this year had lots in my mind therefore and I even mentioned to Priyesh about the turn of events last year. He specially noted on my key information form to specially give me a call but politely refused to give any contact number. However I did not want to go home this way. I spoke to his assistant outside and ask her for her number. On seeing her bit hesitant even in refusing me and also her holding a blackberry, I quickly jumped at the chance and asked for her BBM pin. I had turned Blackberry Boy just a few days back.

Staying connected with Swati through BBM paid and she called me for the media briefing. And the rest is now history; a beautiful chapter of my life that taught me a lot of the professional work ethics and also brought a lot of fun memories with new wonderful contacts I made there in the PR and Event Management team.

I still have to work a lot on my patience level on lazy co-workers as I did snap twice during the entire week, once on a guy (who openly confessed that there are 2 people at any work - one who works honestly and the other who dont work but know how to show/act in front of seniors that they do work) and the second time on a girl (the most irritating co-worker ever for patience-less person like me who used to do very little but make it a hue-and-cry about that like the event was running on her shoulder). Mixing work with fun in the appropriate ratio is an art I am inculcating every moment in me but when I was there chiefly for WORK, it was really tough for me to put on back-burner and have fun on its pretext.

Nevertheless, they both are good and nice people and everyone has their own way of working. So I am no one to judge. If at all anything, it is I who should be more flexible to any type of person in my workplace. A lesson to remember all my life.

The event went great and the best part being the compliments on my work by my immediate incharge Deepak and by Zzebra PR's Bhavisha for being really efficient in my work. The latter's compliment on her liking to see my sweet face in the morning was ultra sweet.

On another note, the Final Day or the Race Day brought a major surprise for me in the form of a Bollywood Superstar. I won't get into my definition of a 'Superstar', and just talk about the experience of coming face-to-face with the very beautiful and sexy and athletic yet feminine Bipasha Basu.

Dressed in a Black sporty dress, apt for the event, I was stunned the very first time she passed by. Her height and hairs made her truly desirable for the straight guy in me. :D And every subsequent meeting with her, be it at the Escalators outside the Procam Marquee while escorting Pantaloon Femina Miss India Hasneet Kaur or while entering the ultra-restricted Grand Stand area for VVIPs (I had infinity access, something even many celebs at the event did not have) or at her Press Conference with 2012 London Olympic Gold Medalist David Rudisha at the very end of the event day... It was a marathon affair that I will remember all my life. :) :)

This post will be absolutely incomplete if I leave the mention of the very work-ethic principled me taking my phone finally out to click Bipasha's pics for memory, something I never thought I will be doing in my life in clichéd fan-type manner. But such was the effect of Bipasha on me that even after many days since the event, I created a content post on her on the Bollywood gossip website Pinkvilla.com and also got myself to blog this one too. Restraining myself from mentioning the same things as on the other website, I have finally opened myself for a life event - a memory so amazing that it meant to be documented before time runs away in just thoughts.

Now RUN for other DREAMS. Dreamum Wakeupum. :) :)

Post Script:- My Post on Pinkvilla.com -

Bipasha Basu at ADHM - My Experience and Views

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