Thursday, September 14, 2006

My Marathi play - Vidhi-Likhit

Come gaNeshotsav, all yuva members get together to put up a play for a marathi one act play competition held by Maharashtra mandal bangalore. I have been in bangalore for 5 years now and have not missed a single chance to participate. I was committed even this year.

Like every year, it takes a while to get people to come together as everyone would crib about the amount of work they already have. The reason or rather, the trigger for all of us every year is different. This year it was a fantastic Sci-Fi concept from Sujay n pramod. Time Travel.

In the first theme discussion meeting that I attended pramod had written a short story from the concept that was on their mind. Pramod read the script and each one in the meeting reacted in a completely different manner. Most of us just lost it somewhere in the middle. Some of us thought it does not make sense at all, some of us had clarifications. The basic plot was explained atleast 10 times between 15 of us. Lot of questions were asked, and interestingly people had different answers to all of them. At one point, it was a complete chaos, then the guyz just decided to stop, but their wives were shouting supporting their hubby's point. It was hilarious. The discussion went on for about 4 hours that night, and we came up with a little bit detailed sequence of scenes/events. At the end of the meeting, everyone was so much thrilled and involved that we all knew that this meeting was the trigger.

By the time actual practises started, we had only 2 weeks left for our slot in the competition. We knew making a Sci-fi requires a lot of technicalities and perfect execution of those. The main actors had lot of work to make sure sci-fi concepts reach the audience in its right intention. On top of everything, the script was still evolving. Every day, someone would come up with a good point and pramod will sit n incorporate the changes. Almost everyday, we (actors) would have to start mugging new lines. I just cant imagine the pressure of all this on the director, sujay.

But Everyday, we would make some good progress either on the script, music pieces, sets or actors being able to get the feel for the play. The story required to disappear characters from the stage and a time machine that would have some flashy lights n music when on the stage. This was new, everyone contributed with creative ideas and to everyone's surprise, things were working.

The initial concept was just about, 2 people coming back from 2 different and mutually exclusive futures. There was no conclusive end to this story and initially we decided to just leave it open. But towards the last few days of the practise, we decided to give a completely different twist to the story. With every such change, we were gaining more confidence. All of us have completely different day-to-day jobs and so have other (and I think better) things to do, so noone was able to do any homework on this. Practises would start anytime between 9 - 12 pm and would go on for 2-3 hours minimum. The name for the play was not decided until we had to record the announcement piece just 4 days before the show.

The night before the show the dress rehearsal was good and the sets people worked on the craftings the entire night. On Sept 2nd, 2006, our performance rocked!! sleek!... everything that was planned was executed to the perfection. All actions/reactions, music/lights was on time. The audience was completely stunned. The theme and the entire package was completely new to the audience. We did not expect everyone to understand the play anyway, how many people understood hollywood movie, Matrix the first time they watched it. :) We all enjoyed every bit of it.

The competition had 4 other plays and 2 of them were really comparable. On 6th Sep, the results were announced. We took half of the prizes.

2nd Best Drama - Yuva
Best Direction - Sujay
Best Actor - Nikhil
Best Sets- Meenakshi, Anagha, Namita
Best Lights - Kaustubh, Sagar
Best Music - Preeti, Kedar

Outstanding performance in the competition - me.

I had also acted in a short 3 minute role in the drama that received the 'best drama'... so, it was a great day for me.

Famous actor, Dr. Mohan Agashe, was invited as the chief guest for this festival and his event was scheduled the next day after our play. We invited him to come n see our performance and he graciously agreed. The next day we met him to get some feedback, He was really impressed. He looked at me n said "your acting was good". Thats some complement. :)

I have done many many plays till date, but only 2 in which I was involved right from the point when the script was being written, one was my first ever play, LIMIT, which is in the history of the most famous competition in pune, purushottam karandak and the second is this one. All my plays are really special to me and am really glad that there is one more completely different experience to add to the list.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Mayur Shooting ...

I have been using a Digital Camera for quite some time now but never really explored the photography; until my recent visit to Valley of Flowers. My new Canon A 610 gives a great feature set of manual modes through which I could explore the magic of aperature and shutter-speed combinations. The best part of this camera is the Macro mode feature and I simply loved clicking those flowers with it. I never thought I will enjoy photography so much.

My fellow trekkers carrying their D50's/D70's have given me some good marks for my photography and have graduated me to the next level by encouraging me to buy a Digital SLR now!!

Check out some of the pics from my uttaranchal trip... here.
Thanks to my colleague, Jai Iyer, for the blog title!! ;)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Being Cyrus - Discomforts

This blog is not a review of Saif Ali Khan starter movie, Being Cyrus. But, it is about one very interesting thing that I noticed while watching it, which left me puzzled.

In this movie, there is one scene where the police officer is trying to impress a female character (Simon Singh) at his police station. Its basically a loong (in terms of camera's position wrt characters) shot where the officer is sitting to our left and moving forward-backword on his chair. The interesting part in this scene was the wall behind these two characters. On that wall, exactly behind where officer is sitting there is a blackboard which reads "Today's new word" and the below that is the new word itself.

The scene is picturized in such a way that, when it starts you can see the blackboard and only part of that word, "DISCOM". The officer is actually irritating the female and he is also moving a little in his chair. Since, I noticed that imcomplete word, as he was moving, I was hoping that he would move a little more and I could read what the word is. But, he doesn't. This goes on for atleast 30-40 seconds and then finally he moves back and the complete word is seen, that is "DISCOMFORTS". Note the meaning.

After about 10 seconds, the shot changes and it is now a close-up on the police officer. He says something and there was an laughter in the audience. The joke was in continuation with what he said in the earlier shot, which I just didn't pay any attention to.

What puzzled me is that, people not being able to see the entire wordinitially was not at all a coincidence. It seemed that lot of efforts went into shooting that particular scene as it involved a lot of coordination. But, the result this director has got is distraction of his audience. Now, I dont know how much sense does this make and then the puzzle of why would he do this ?? The director's job, as one would imagine, is to make sure the right thought/emotion comes out from the scene, may be he deliberately did that?? he wanted them not to have any clue of whats going on until the very end ?? But, I am not convinced with that, I believe the device he used was not effective, but distracting.

If you have seen that movie, did you notice this at all ??

Monday, March 27, 2006

Worst of Bangalore traffic I have seen ...

Bangalore traffic! huh!! No need for any preface!

We, bangaloreans, have lot of stories to tell, most of them talk about long frustrating waits. This one's a little different and disturbing.

Kemp Fort on airport road is one of the major traffic bottleneck for people commuting from airport to the city. On a weekend morning, I dropped a friend of mine at the bangalore domestic airport and was getting back home. As usual, there was bumper to bumper traffic at this particular section.

The moment I reached there I heard this very irritating honking. It was one maruti esteem 2-3 cars ahead of me and the driver was shouting. At first, I didnt realize what exactly he was talking. But, he looked completely panicked. I ridiculed him for not being patient about this traffic as it was really annoying to everyone around.

In few more second, I could hear what he was really shouting, "Please let me go, I need to get to Manipal hospital urgently". I saw a woman panting very heavily sitting next to that man. She was vomitting and definitely needed to get to the hospital.

That car had another line of cars in front and 2 buses standing next to each other. These buses had blocked the entire view and noone could imagine what really has happened. It could just be a red light, but there was no clue that even the driver could find out, obviously he panicked!

I realized how serious this situation is. I looked around and found all of them looking at him. There was no way that anything could have been done. Manipal Hospital was still few more blocks ahead and the traffic was not completely stand-still, it was crawling very slowly. That man was continuously shouting and looking at the lady if she is alright. The car was surrounded by other cars there was no way that others could have let him go ahead. completely helpless !

Another few minutes time, the buses moved forward and it seemed like the traffic cleared. The cars in from of this car cleared the way. I saw that car enter the Manipal Hospital entrance.
I reached home, sat down in my chair and could not stop myself thinking about this incidence.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Filmi Chakkar

"Required an Indian actor, based in california with age between 23-28 for a lead role in a commercial film. He should have some prior exposure to acting. The movie will be shot in New York and India. The shoot in India is in Feb/Mar and the expenses for his travel will be incurred by the production company along with the payment for being a part of this production. The auditions will happen next week in our office in San Jose."

I received this mail on my work email ID when I was visiting California on business. A collegue of mine who knew about my interest in theatre forwarded me this mail. This was really exciting. I have been doing theatre for past 5 years now and consistently, 2-3 plays a year. I took all the opportunities which seemed possible and made them work for me, but I was never eyeing for something big like this. Being in San Jose at the right time for this audition was a mere coincidence, but I was up for this and try my luck.

I responded to that email describing my career in theatre so far and got an immediate response. "We would be happy to you have audition for this role, Mayuresh. Please come to our office with your resume and 2 photos next monday at 12:15 pm".

ashTe! I was on cloud nine. When I responded to their mail, I thought there is nothing to loose here and definitely worth trying. But, their positive response was really encouraging and I was thinking of what if I really get this role ?? This would change my life altogether, or may be NOT!! It took me sometime to get over this phase, but it was really exciting. That sunday night, I spent long time in front of the mirror.

Monday 12:00 pm, I entered their office. It was a small office and the assistent of the casting director greeted me and gave me couple of forms. Couple of other guys were also present there and that made me realize the kind of competition that I am up for. All of them were really smart and jaunty. The first form was general information about me, which I think will go in their records. The second form was very interesting. It was to fetch information about the candidate which could be useful for an actor. The front page had a lot of descriptive questions and the other side was mind-blowing for me. That entire page was a just one table. All possible skills in the world were listed in there, right from swiming, badminton to extreme sports, dancing, etc etc and you have to rate yourself as 'Novice/Satisfactory/Expert' for each of them. I used to think I do a lot of activities but when I actually filled up that page, I hated myself. I could attempt hardly 10% of that page.

Casting director came out in some time and told us about the film. then, she took us to the audition room. There were 7 more guyz with me and noone was really outstanding, so I was thinking I do stand a chance here. I am sure everyone was thinkin the same. I was very confident about my acting but One thing that was different between me and most of them was their american accent. I was no where near to those folks. The casting director had given us a script and I was practising my lines.

The scene was quite well written. It was between one indian guy (whose lines I have to read) and his american friend. The amreican guy wants to date a girl that I know and I am telling him about why such things should not happen here in india and so on.

I was going to go in 4th. 3 guyz prior to me didnt take much time. When I went in, I was asked to say something about me on camera. So, thats when I faced the camera for the first time. I wasn't really nervous and that went pretty well. The casting director was trying to make me comfortable by asking questions while it was being shot. After that, she asked me to read those lines with her assistent as the other friend. This was just the mock rehearsal. At the end, she said your toning and voice modulation is quite good, dont move too much when we are live and be confident. "Fine, thanks".

"Action!!" heard that for the first the time. and It started... the other guy was in the conversation but only I was getting captured in that camera... It took about 3 minutes for that scene and I was doing it very well... At the end, I got a good WOW from that casting director and her assistent told me that this is the first time they finished the entire scene today. Now, that was really cool.

Even the audition went well, to me, I had very little hopes about really getting into all this. I never got anctious as to why I didnt get any call, and I never got one. So, It was clear NO.

I was quite happy to have taken up that opportunity and got a feel for this entire film business which earlier was just based on stories I have heard before.

It will be very interesting to see that movie released soon.