Discussion with Award winning director Manohar

National award winning director Manohar, discusses his short film ‘Post man’ during the Shamiana short film screening with TCRC hosted by Ashvita Bistro. The film maker brings to light the issues he faced during the making of his debut film, how the film finally proved to be commercially viable and much more.

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TCRC presents an exclusive screening of ‘ Amma and Appa’

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TCRC is bringing the popular documentary ‘Amma and Appa’ to Chennai on the 23rd of August 2015, Sunday at Ashvita Bistro, Alwarpet. This will be the first time that the film will be screened in Tamil Nadu. The film is in Tamil and German with subtitles in English. The film makers will be present for an interaction with the audience after the screening.

About the film:

Amma & Appa (Tamil for Mother & Father) tells the story of film makers Franziska’s  and Jay’s parents. It is about their first meeting and of them getting acquainted. Both couples are about the same age and both have been married for more than thirty years. But they come from very different cultural backgrounds. Franziska’s live in the south of Germany, Jay’s parents in the south of India. They now come together because their children have fallen in love with each other and have decided to get married. For Franziska’s  parents it will be the first time they visit India and for Jay’s parents it will be the first time they receive foreigners as guests. While Franziska’s parents married out of love, the marriage of Jay’s parents was traditionally arranged. It was thus a great shock for them to learn that their son wanted to marry by his own choice. And what is more: A girl from Germany. His decision challenges their traditions and beliefs.

Against this backdrop the film unfolds its story. It tells the story of two cultures coming together and raises the universal questions what makes it all work- love, affection and living together. The film makers, as a young couple, want to know the recipe for a successful relationship from their parents and aim to find out with their  observation of the interaction of their parents toward and with each other.

Here is the trailer of the film:

A Visionary behind the Camera – VK Murthy

A few weeks ago we had come across a very informative documentary on the legendary cinematographer Mr.VK Murthy. We would like to share this documentary to honour this great artist who passed away today. Indian Cinema would forever be grateful for his his path breaking contributions.

See the documentary here

This post would not be complete if we do not share the haunting song from Kagaz ke phool. Teaming up with Guru Dutt, this film is probably one of his all time best works.His use of light and shadow is totally spellbinding.

 

 

 

Celebrating Balu Mahendra

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On February 13th 2014 we lost a man who has changed the language of Indian Cinema. Born Balanathan Benjamin Mahendran, Balu Mahendra started out as a cinematographer after graduating from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He created a visual revolution with his unique style of cinematography. As a director, Balu Mahendra created a new wave in South Indian cinema by making films close to reality and handling them with sensitiveness that no other filmmakers could at that time. Handling the camera for every film that he directed added an element of poetry in every frame.

Here is an article by Kamal Hassan celebrating this great auteur’s life. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/kamal-haasans-tribute-to-balu-mahendra/article5688417.ece

We, at TCRC will like to pay our tribute by highlighting the many ‘firsts’ that Balu Mahendra was associated with:

Kokila – Balu Mahendra debuts as a director. See a trailer of this path breaking film.

Mullum Malarum – Balu Mahendra handle’s the camera for yet another great film maker, Mahendran. Here is a very popular song from this film.

Pallavi Anu Pallavi – This Kannada film was Maniratnam’s debut. Balu Mahendra’s cinematography played a vital role in this film.

Sadma – Balu Mahendra’s first Hindi film which was the remake of his own super hit Tamil film Moondram Pirai. See the heart wrenching climax of this film which is still talked about even today.

Thalaimuraigal – Released on December 20 2013, this was the last film directed by the stalwart. It was, at the same time, the first  film that he completely shot in digital and also the first time he faced the camera by playing one of the lead characters. By playing the grandfather in the film it could have also probably been the first time that the world would have seen him without his trademark cap. Here is a trailer from of the film.

Happy birthday Mr.P.C.Sreeram

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The Cinema Resource Centre would like to wish one of India’s finest cinematographers, Mr. P.C.Sreeram a very Happy Birthday. Here are some of songs that he has picturised over the years.

Film v/s Digital: Answers to the big question

We at TCRC recently chanced upon an interview with Senthil Kumar, the co-founder of Real Image Technologies & Qube Cinema, companies which are said to be among the best as far as cinema exhibition technology is concerned. In this interaction with blog Pulse72+, Senthil had an interesting response to a query where he is asked to give five reasons as to why someone should choose digital filmmaking over conventional filmmaking. Here’s what he had to say:

Senthil Kumar, co-founder of Real Image Technologies. Photo Courtesy: IndianTelevision.com

Anything digital will keep improving in quality over time while the price reduces so it’s usually a certainty that digital will triumph. In the case of shooting, the future was obvious because of the precedent set by still photography – for many years now, it’s been hard to see a film camera in use, let alone buy and process film negative! So a key plus for digital is the reduced cost of equipment – which is now economic enough that a production can buy the equipment just for a film rather than rent it. The second reason is the very low cost and reusable nature of hard drives in digital when compared to film stock – this allows for shooting difficult subjects like children and animals or even amateur actors where it’s often necessary to just keep the camera running in order to get the shot you want. Another reason is the lack of film grain and hence the randomness that makes compositing and other special effects harder on film-originated material. The fourth reason is the excellent low-light performance of digital cameras where just the light of a candle is sufficient when the scene calls for it. And finally, digital now has a very wide dynamic range, the range of light within a shot, from the darkest to the brightest part. This is especially because of the new High Dynamic Range (HDR) techniques available in some digital cinema cameras. There are more reasons to use digital cameras but these would be some of the top ones.”

However, not everyone seems to share his enthusiasm for digital cinema. Director Christopher Nolan, best known for powerful films such as “Memento,” “The Dark Knight,” and “Inception,” has spoken about the advantages offered by film numerous time. We found his argument in an interview to the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Quarterly particularly compelling. Here’s what he had to say:

Director Christopher Nolan. Photo Courtesy: DGA Quarterly

For the last 10 years, I’ve felt increasing pressure to stop shooting film and start shooting video, but I’ve never understood why. It’s cheaper to work on film, it’s far better looking, it’s the technology that’s been known and understood for a hundred years, and it’s extremely reliable. I think, truthfully, it boils down to the economic interest of manufacturers and [a production] industry that makes more money through change rather than through maintaining the status quo. We save a lot of money shooting on film and projecting film and not doing digital intermediates. In fact, I’ve never done a digital intermediate. Photochemically, you can time film with a good timer in three or four passes, which takes about 12 to 14 hours as opposed to seven or eight weeks in a DI suite. That’s the way everyone was doing it 10 years ago, and I’ve just carried on making films in the way that works best and waiting until there’s a good reason to change. But I haven’t seen that reason yet.”

That said, Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, etc are said to be amongst the few in Hollywood today who still prefer to shoot only on film. Digital filmmaking is clearly the dominant mode there. And the struggle here really seems to be a question of aesthetics and choice, with filmmakers like Nolan fighting for film to remain an option whose existence is threatened by the convenience that digital cinema claims to offer.

And as if to prove the importance of the ‘film v/s digital’ question, actor Keanu Reeves has produced a documentary called “Side By Side” on the same issue (see trailer below). We at TCRC loved what Martin Scorsese had to say and if we were asked for our take on the issue, that is exactly what we’d say.

RARE: Production Stills from Mani Ratnam’s “Thalapathi”

Last week, we at TCRC had posted Arul Mani’s review of Baradwaj Rangan’s “Conversations with Mani Ratnam” and had promised to bring you some behind-the-scenes photos of the Rajnikanth-Mammootty starrer “Thalapathi.” So, here we go.

"Thalapathi" - Mani Ratnam with Santosh Sivan

Cinematographer Santosh Sivan with director Mani Ratnam on the sets of “Thalapathi.”

"Thalapathi" - Contact Sheet of Mamootty's Look Test

Contact sheet featuring Mamootty’s look test for Mani Ratnam’s “Thalapathi.”

Rajnikanth in an action sequence from Mani Ratnam's "Thalapathi."

Rajnikanth in an action sequence from Mani Ratnam’s “Thalapathi.”