Wednesday, July 22, 2009

and the reaction

dear prerna
it's good so far but now i think you have to think of the story
get mics and proper camera asap
take care
reg story
stick to what you said
experimentation won't let you go far
dont let story emerge from shots you've taken but let shots you've taken be slotted by you into parts of story you want it to go into

notes on the first review

hi koshy
i went to bangalore and met with aisha, vasanthi and mike. i got some good feedback, very helpful. i was advised by aisha and mike to start shooting. aisha gave me some nice ideas for the shooting. she said instead of fictionalizing the marriage part for the daughter i could work with a videographer who shoots weddings. i could make some arrangement and shoot the whole setting whatever way i want to shoot it. mike questioned my intentions for making this film and together we figured out why i want to make this film the way i'm making it. vasanthi asked me to do some readings and watch some films and think about the form.. i.e. the way i want to shoot the film.
also i wanted to tell you that i've started shooting since i managed to get a college camera to delhi. i was a bit apprehensive at first because i had to shoot at home itself, which seemed like a strange idea. to shoot my mom and my family. strangely i felt a little empowered after the first session. i've already done three rounds of shoot and it wasn't that difficult to pick up the camera after the first one. my family has accepted my camera and dont seem that uncomfortable with it. i am not reacting to much, i'm just patiently and peacefully trying to capture the images, not particularly thinking about what i'm doing to a particular situation, how people are reacting to the camera, my rights and ethics as a film maker etc. etc. not thinking about all these things that much. i'm enjoying shooting at home, it's quite fun. though i do want to concentrate a bit more on my shot taking, i want to roll long shots for this film. for this i want to concentrate on the rhythm and the duration of the shots a little more.
let's see how the shoot turns out to be, this film seems more and more of an experiment which is good i guess. i mean i dont always know what i will be shooting or more like what i'll be getting to shoot. but i'm just shooting it. also there is some show coming on tv, which might be interesting in this context. i might shoot a bit of that. i'm still struggling to get a proper camera and mics. hopefully it'll be done within the next 2 days.

i wanted to tell you what i've shot uptil now, here it goes. the first session was just introducing the camera at home. everyone reacted to it in their own way. i do think i captured that. after that since raksha bandhan is coming, my mother wanted to buy some rakhis. so we went to a rakhi mela nearby. it was crowded with women of all kinds. for some time before starting the shoot i was really apprehensive and felt like i was making up everything in my head and was feeling really lost. but that mela was a firm affirmation of the fact that there are thousands of women like the ones i had thought about and i need to have some faith in myself and my project. it was a kind of a self realization moment. but it was important for me. after that an old friend of my dad's, who talks a lot had come over. He's a strange character. he was talking about how he's been the matchmaker for over 51 couples and how he's started looking for grooms for me as well now. and my dad and him were talking about how this whole system of wedding works etc etc. i didnt ask them too many questions, i was just shooting their conversations. i was thinking that maybe later i'll do an interview with him.
for the next shoot i'm going to goa with my mom and dad and with a lot of their friends, i'm sure i'll get some nice stuff to shoot. some conversations, some time with my parents hopefully. let's see what i get.
ok prerna , i thnk our convs have been fruitful now please start story boarding -what i mean by story is images - soundtrack -texts - start working on it straightaway -write it in blocks - doesn't matter whether you use it or not - the characters will emerge best too that way
i repeat -don't bother about whether there are only women in story -we are post post modern and such questions are totally off tangent


this makes a lot of sense
the daughter's relationship to the temple and her mother/family - loving them but hating parts of an ideology connected with it that denies women of a certain age freedom to think for oneself and grow up - that then is the angle we have to try for
i thnk you should read kamala das's "my story" - also her poems
they reflect one path- that of rebellion to the situation you have described
the kind of economic and social history of india that you speak of - it is found in the writings of peoplel like annie besant, pandita ramabai, margaret slater, ssiter nivedita etc - not as a whole but in bits and pieces as new women who carved out a space for people in india who are women to become more and more free- in poetry i could add names like toru dutt, sarojini naidu, and later prose writers like nayantara sehgal, anita desai etc.


two new thoughts entered this discourse yesterday while i was trying to free my writing about the daughter and her relationship with her mother.
for the daughter, the temple is not just an endorser of sati, for her it is the image of a protector as well. this is similar to her attitude towards her family, she does see flaws and other things that she cant understand but at the same time she doesnt want to detach herself from it, her character is not distant from all the conversations that go on. she is at the centre of it. she is trying to find herself in the temple as well, knowing very well what it stands for, stood for. i feel that her resentment is not against her family or an individual, it is against an ideolgy and the film needs to be emotive of this.
koshy even the attacks on girls in mangalore and that valentine's day drama in bangalore comes from this ideology that a girl is not allowed to have a life between her adolescence and her marriage. maybe i could relate it with the temple, as in the burning.
also, i want to read something that gives me a kind of economic and social history of india, which have created a space where the woman has more of an opportunity to be an individual of her own. can you suggest me some book or some film..


dont be overawed or swayed by others including me - there's nothing wrong with a film with only women in it - or with being naturally woman-centred and trying to find the balance between modernity and tradition -it's a worthwhile effort
don't listen to what others say if it feels so negative that the criticism makes you want to pull back
go ahead and do what comes to you from the gut
dont give in to discouragement or self- flagellation which means thoughts like what i wrote is lousy my work is no good etc
all such emotionalism doesn't drive the work
real emotions do - like taking a camera and trying to shoot the moments between mother and daughter that matter, between grandmother and daughter, or the moments that make up the daughter , the myth, climactic monets, sexual moments etc. all this is being in the workshop -where it's not about too much self reflection but the work drives you


my other panelists are aayisha and vasanthi, wasn't sure whether you knew or not. i've mailed them about the blog and will be meeting them on thursday or friday when i go to bangalore

.oshy tell me something.. am i becoming a feminist of some sort in making a film about a woman? one feedback that i got for my proposal was that the 'man' is missing from it. i tried thinking about it but coudnt really figure out anything about the role of a man specifically in my film at this point. also becuase i was getting stuck so i tried writing about what i want the film to be. i ended up with writign the motivation for making this film and it sounds sick and feminist. i never want to read it again even though it is what has driven me to make this film. i dont want the film to be about some kind of fighting for female rights film. i am not against traditions and beliefs.