a high of 2009

Mr.Saeed Akhtar Mirza and Dr.Mohan Agashe

Dr.Mohan Agashe and Mr.Saeed Akhtar Mirza

Looking back to 2009, it has been a whole range of new experiences. One of which I cherish is the opportunity to be a Jury member @ IFFK for the Hassankutty Award for Best Indian Debut Director. The Award is based on a model where the winner of the Award would be on the Jury the next year, which is the only reason I get to be on this Jury! Am happy to say that it was a really special experience.

The very first day at IFFK 2009, I find myself in a car with a member of another jury – Daniela Bisogni. After the pleasantries, I nervously blurted out that I didn’t feel quite ready “to judge a film”. Daniela looked at me and replied coolly – ” You cant judge a film – no one can or should. All one can do is to try to understand a film and its potential…”

That was my first lesson and a good one. A frank humbling thought. “Hmm… I have to rethink the process.”

Further on I met the senior members of our jury Mr.Saeed Akhtar Mirza and Dr.Mohan Agashe. Both at complete ease in their roles… after all, they have more years of film experiences than I have been around for🙂.  As a kid when I saw Saleem Langde Pe Mat Ro, I remember being surprised that there are films like this too! Such a departure from what one usually sees on screen and yet so moving.

It was a treat to listen to Saeed Sir’s opinions on life & filmmaking and my favourite one is “If you cant make films with passion, DONT make films – GO SELL EGGS or something!”

I had first met Dr.Mohan Agashe in Pune a few years ago to film an interview with him for a theatre documentary. But it was in Thiruvananthapuram that we interacted more and I learnt about his work as a psychiatrist too. Coupled with experience in these three fields, his take on filmmaking is also very thought provoking. Ideas about how today with the accessibility to the audiovisual medium, there are filmmakers but there are also film users. How that in itself changes the making of films. Moving the classic towards the realistic.

Both of them approached each film with humility and complete dedication. I admit I was watching them, as much as watching the films. In this time, when fingers are being pointed at Jury members and selection committees from all over the country- here were two individuals setting an example.  Criticism that is constructive and insightful – Childlike glee on watching a really good film – these were the highlights of the whole process.  For me, they made it a wonderfully inspiring experience. By the end of it I had learnt a lot, especially about how less I know🙂

For such special times; Thank you 2009

The film that took us towards a unanimous decision – Harishchandrachi Factory deserves an independent blog post and will come up soon. Wishing everyone an inspiring new year in 2010!

17 thoughts on “a high of 2009

  1. Hey Anjali….nice work on the happy journey filmette (short film or segment or whatever seems to be the appropriate terminology)…I saw it….awesome work by nithya and jagathy….was nice to see such a good rhythm between an old-skool and newbie actor. Nicely done in terms of how the shots were framed and composed. I’m not exactly a movie-buff but happen to work within the industry in North America and Europe, doing visual effects and tech.direction. Currently working on a slew of pepsi commercials for the world cup. If ever there is an opportunity to shadow you or the remote chance you might look for an AD, with offbeat credentials….I’m your man.🙂

    Allritey then…nice blog, good work and hope the coming years bring you tonz of luck and great films to add to your repertoire.

    Thanx and have a good one Anjali.🙂

    A Kotaal

  2. First of all wish U a happy and prosperous new year.Do come up with more in the new year.
    I have seen agashe in paap and in some prakash jha movies.He is a good actor but haven’t seen him much around

  3. Hi Anjali,

    Wish you a happy and prosperous newyear.I haven’t get a chance to see your films yet. However I heard from my friends
    that your direction was amazing.keep up your good work.

  4. Hi! I came across your interview by chance in the mallu magazine “Vanitha”. It’s truly wonderful that you have managed to bridge gap in the Malayalam movie industry on 3 fronts –
    A successful young movie director (when the industry is ruled by senior directors),
    A successful writer-director (whereas the industry has specialist writers and specialist directors) and lastly
    A successful lady director (the industry is generally considered as a male bastion) (comment not intended to be MCP-ish).

    So really, being welcomed by the Malayalam movie industry with open arms when you don’t have any godfathers and movie lineage is a spectacular achievement and so congratulations!

    Being stationed at Mumbai, I could not yet watch “Kerala Café” (which my friends and relatives have been raving to me about), but looking forward to catch it on my next trip home.
    And like you, I am also chasing my dream of becoming a writer (I write here http://crecian.blogspot.com), but unlike you I am not yet ready to leave my full time job to follow my passion….someday….lets see🙂
    And yeah, I am an ardent fan of Shashi Tharoor.

    P.S: Started reading the piece in ‘Vanitha’ feeling proud that another “menon” was creating a mark in the area of creativity and was amused when I realized that your soul-mate has a great name!

  5. Anjali Madam…
    I am Indhu here..
    I hpe u remembr me..
    In this loveliest of seasons may you find many reasons for happiness..Happy Newyear!
    How was 2009,becz of ‘Happy Jrny’ its special na!

    “Harishchandrachi Factory” was a gud movie,i really enjyd it,at Ajanta theatr u wer sittin jst behnd me..
    wish to read more cmnts frm you abt the movie..

    for me 2009 is memrble bcoz of IFFK and you madam!!
    Thanks for reading me.
    Indhu Nampoothiri

  6. hi anjali…soory to say that i just heard about your film manjadikuru from the new Vanitha Magazine…and some of my friends watchd that movie..me too need to watch that movie..but i donno from where i will get a copy…i tried googling,but no use…can you help me ….
    mail:-balumohan2@gmail.com

    • hi anjaliji,
      I saw u for the first time in manorama news channel on an interview with SASI THARROR.In that group u were just like a FULL MOON in a starful night sky.U have something that catch all the eyes.I am saying this in purely decent sense ok mam.Then I go on search for u and got a report in VANITHA MAGAZINE and came to know more abt u and family.I would like to keep in touch with u as a healthy friend.Wishes for long happy family life.

  7. hi

    Anjali

    wishing you a very happy and prosperous newyear. keep making the good movies as you have always done.
    warm regards

    Ullas Menon

  8. Hello Anjali….,
    I saw Kerala Cafe three times. Two times at the local theatre and 3rd time at IFFK. I loved it immensely and Its one of the best films of the year for me!! I met you and spoke with you the afternoon after the Kerala Cafe screening in New at Kairali-Sree theatre. I couldn’t get a chance to speak with you long. I just said:” Hello. Saw your film. Its good. See you.” Like that. Before that meeting, I was preparing my speech to tell you about my feelings about your Film. I wanted you to hear it.

    I have to tell you that “Happy Journey” is one of my 3 favorite shorts in K.C along with “Bridge” & “Puramkazhchakal” and….THE SINGLE MOST ENTERTAINING SEGMENT IN THE WHOLE FILM!!.

    Its just funny. I loved the story you created.

    I loved the Scene where Jagathy offers Nitya Chewing Gum, and then the look he gave his friend. The Fact that a Women made that scene makes it 10 times better. You understand the male gene completely and captured it humourously…!

    I loved the close-up you gave on all the passengers (including Sangeetha and her ‘kilavan’ husband..) of the bus after the journey starts and slow tune in the BGM. That tune with the Visuals captures the essense of such a bus journey through Kerala…..Just like Laljose did with ‘Puramkazhchakal’. Its only a few seconds but its just emotional and Nostalgic! It binds you.
    The Only other time I have seen such beauty of Bus Journey captured within seconds is in some old malayalam films of BHARATHAN, KAMAL, LOHITHADAS. That was a clear cut few seconds. I loved it. I have some peculiar taste. I love that kind of nostalgic feelings in movies. You can capture nostalgia within seconds. That’s just great!!

    Overall the Only flaw I can find with “Happy Journey” is that It becomes somewhat predictable at the middle. I knew that there wouldn’t be any bomb and that she’s just playing with him. It’s just allright for me. As for the overall quality, the tiny flaw doesn’t even matter..!

    And Jagathy’s performance was just hilarious and great. Overall its one of the best performances in Kerala Cafe along with Kozhikodu Shantha, Salimkumar, Mammootty etc. And the Chemistry b/w Jagathy and Nitya Menon was really good. You directed them well.

    Overall I liked your Movie very well. Its an entertaining segment and it will make you think for sometime. Great.

    You once said in an interview that ‘you wanted to make entertaining films that makes people think’. That’s the BEST THING I LIKE ABOUT YOU. You give primary importance to Entertainment. That’s how I became a fan of you (Eventhough still haven’t seen ‘Manjadikuru’) and EAGERLY AWAITING YOUR NEXT BIG MOVIE….! I will be in the theatre for the very first show…you bet!

    I have some QUESTIONS FOR YOU:

    1) When will Manjadikuru will be released?? In DVD’s or at the theatres?? I can’t wait to see it..!

    2) Who’s your favourite Director??

    3) Name your most favorite five films….!

    4) After seeing which film, you decided you want to be a filmmaker..?

    I would really be Grateful..If you answer these Questions! That being said…., I do love your taste in movies too..! That’s why I am asking these Questions! You said “Passenger” by Ranjith Shenker is one of your favourites this year..! Mine too..!

    Really Glad to atleast see you and talk to you at IFFK…!

    Waiting your Reply……!

    With Love
    B v K

    • @B_V_K: Firstly thank you for the repeat viewings and the feedback. Am touched by the effusive encouragement! Big credit for HJ goes to the actors Jagathy Sreekumar & Nithya Menen who gave it their best.
      These are my very first steps and I hope to learn as I try to make movies that I believe in and that an audience can relate to.

      To answer your questions:
      1. A lot of us who worked to make Manjadikuru have been waiting patiently for sometime now and hopefully it will pay off soon!🙂 Will keep you posted.
      2 & 3. So many films and directors I adore! Difficult to list one name. Hope to do a blogpost about some films and their makers sometime, so watch this space.
      4. I cant recollect one ‘Eureka’ moment, because I love stories in any form. And so many media of telling stories interest me. Film of course has that ultimate potential, of touching someone with a story, which is so enthralling!
      Am privileged to have the opportunity to use this medium to tell my stories.

      Thank you and have a good day!

  9. Happy New Year anjali, hope u can release ur first film Manjadikkuru in theaters across kerala this year. Actually i had seen the film in 12th IFFK and i liked it very much and i think the people of kerala also will like it. If u could pls promote the film as much as u can before its release that more and more people get interested in it. U got a good opening through Kerala Cafe, this film will establish u in the industry. Looking forward for ur next project….

  10. Just finished reading your interview in Vanitha. Really like your “straight from the heart” approach. U really did make “Happy Journey” stand out among the other “10” in your own special way.

    Kudos !!…and hope 2010 brings you all the luck that you need in everything that you wanna do.

    Happy New Year !!

  11. I know now the differnece between how observations are used differently by good filmmakers & psychiatrists. Good! You make films and I will use them. congrats and Happy New Year!
    Mohan Agashe

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