Monday, January 29, 2007

Doosra Kinara - Lyrics

There is only one song in this Doosra Kinara and I wrote it. The reason it is written by me is not that the Director (again me!!) was a fan of my shairi, but my friends were convinced that I can write it.

I must give credit for pushing me into writting this Ghazal to Apurva Shrivatsva (Music Director) and Sandhya Bhagat (Production Manger). They had heard some of my ghazals from college days, and said that there is no one who knows the story better than me and I should write it. I wanted Nida Fazli, Gulzaar or Javed Akhtar to compose it. I thought that the mood, the nostalgia that scene demanded can only be captured by greats like them. I am a big fan of Gulzaar and thought that if I can have his song in my debut film, it would be unbelievable start to my directorial venture. The situation had that “ Dil Dhundta hai” feel to it.

I remember driving home that October night after promising Apurva ji and Sandhay ji that I will try writing whatever it comes out to be. The distance from Duluth to Norcross, my apartment is hardly 15 miles but I kept on driving on near empty roads. Driving alone in the middle of the night somehow helps my creativity. I drove and drove and more. I knew what had to be said in the ghazal but somehow it was not happening. Frustrated I went home and went to bed.

Next morning was Saturday and as usual I woke up earlier then the usual time. The creek outside was covered with mist and fog. I just lay there on my bed watching the nature and then, right then I felt I could write. I reached to my writing pad and wrote the entire ghazal in one go. It took me 15 minutes to write it. I could not believe it. It just descended without an effort as if wanting to get out. I think may be there were some thoughts in my heart, that were trapped all these years, and were waiting for an opportunity to pour out.

Har Roz Ek Naye Roop main Dekha hai tujhe
Zindagi, bol tere kitne maani likhoon?

This word “Zindagi” is just a 7-letter word but it encompasses so much that we many times cannot even understand let alone explain. Zindagi can be anything one wants it to be. For some it can be a Green Dollar for others the freedom from daily bombings and secterian killings. Rain can be Zindagi to a draught stricken farmer; a decent warm meal can be zindagi yet to someone. For some it can be a child, a parent, and a spouse and yet for others it can be a smile – an honest genuine caring smile. I like this word Zindagi and feel that it can be used as a powerful metaphor for many things in life. That was the first word I wrote in my ghazal and it went like

“ Zindagi umr bhar yuhi tujh se wafa ki hai
Bas yehi, haan ek ye hi hum ne Khtaa ki hai.

Na karenge ab koi ummed tujh se hum
Khush rahe tu, khush rahe ye dua ki hai.

I recited it to Apurva ji the next evening and he composed the music in an hour or so. I had tears in my eyes when he finished composing it. I hugged him and said “ Aap ne to mujhe Geetkaar bana diya” to which he replied “ Aur aap ne mujhe Sanget kaar!!!!”

Hue tum dost jis ke …

Whom we managed to rope in to sing this Ghazal is another story dreams are made up of. Wait - do not go away!!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

If FISHES were horses ...!

Mullah Luis and I were invited by some friends to visit the local aquarium recently. It is suppose to be one of the World’s largest aquariums, which attracted record three million visitors a year since opening for business in 2005. The last time I visited an aquarium I was in Bombay and it was not a very memorable experience, so I was not very keen on joining these folks. But since I am a team player, I decided to chug along and meet some friends. I am not a fan of things that live under water. The only seafood that I enjoy is fish and that too of certain kind and prepared in a certain manner. Mullah says the only time he likes fish when they are barbecued and served with cole slaw, hush puppies and sweet tea with lots of ice!!!

So here we were and sure it was busy. I felt like I have gotten inside a “big fish tank”. It was cool with each fish tank having a certain theme and a certain corporate sponsor. It was a pretty educating experience. I noticed Mullah stopping by each tank and chatting animatedly with guides. I asked Mullah why couldn’t he stop flirting every girl he finds on earth.
“ What you call flirting is not flirting. I call it exercing my humor” Mullah defended.
“Exercing humor”
“Yeah – look man it is not easy to be humorous ok. You have to work at every day. Why don’t you call it flirting when I do the same to the office janitor, just because he is a man – besides this time I was trying to get an answer to something that found I perplexing”
“ And what is that?” I asked
“ We have been taught for ages that big fish eats the smaller ones. Have you noticed the big fishes here are not eating the smaller ones”?

Yeah – I looked around and saw fish of each size from Shark to Grouper to Bass hovering around each other like they are best buddies and this is some kind of a happy hour networking party after work.

“ That is a good one Mullah, what did they say?”
“ They responded like a politician, words but no meaning. I think either the big fishes are dumb, blind or are running for some political office. I am beginning to suspect their intentions. Something is missing here."
“Nothing is missing Mullah they are just tolerant – that’s all” I reasoned”

Mullah went into momentary philosophical silence and then said “ Imagine man, if we can bring all these politicians and corporate CEOs over here and demonstrate that a 4000 lbs shark can hang around a 1 lbs fish and NOT feel insecure.

Rewind a little bit and imagine a World with no conquest from superpowers of the day on smaller weaker nations, from Alexander to Ghengis Khan to Hitler, Russian czars to present day. Imagine no corporate wars for supremacy, no domination of one class over another, race, neighborhood, continent, and city over another.”

“I think we need to bring these religious right wingers over here Mulllah, they are one that almost always feel most insecure in the World, no mater what century we are living in” I added.

“ I don’t know what they feed them here, but look at that shark, don’t you think she knows how tasty that grouper can be? She is got that grouper within her jaw range man, but she is not even threatening her let alone eating her.

“ That is a good observation man” Mullah was making sense.

“ Going a step further we can bring all these quarreling wives and husbands down here to show that folks with different temperament, ambitions and dreams can exist in complete peace and harmony under the same roof thus reducing number of divorces.

“ Do not forget the gang wars of Mumbai man” I knew, now he will keep on explaining till he exhausts all the examples and establishes his theory.

“Yeah man – I forgot about them. Imagine no bloodshed, no rivalry no Bhai giri - only Gandhi giri. Most of the problems in the World can be attributed to a desire by some one to dominate the other, be it political, social, religious or geographical and if we want a peaceful World, we need to secure each and ever human being, all 6.3 billion of them ...

Mullah kept talking and I stepped back, looked at the fish of every shape, size, color, and strength floating, dancing enjoying their existence and wondered, “If fishes were horses”!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Doosra Kinara - Kristi Hutchinson

Someone said acting is all about giving meaning to the words and for me Kristi perosnified this theory. A good actor can bring life to medicore words and can take any film to a new level. She nailed this role to a tee - could not have asked for a better actress.

In addition she is not the type of blonde stories are made of - she is quick witted, smart and very humble. She is a World Citizen who knows no man made political boundries - she is just awesome!

Yes, you can expect here in my next film that I am writting these days!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Iqra - To Read ...

Mullah what was that deal about wanting to see the card? I asked.
What about it? – Mullah Luis responded with a grin.
Why you wanted to know if she has a library card? She is going to be your real estate broker, what a library card has got to do with it?
EVERYTHING. Mullah was confident, and right then I knew a sermon is on its way.

Yes. I had decided long time ago not to do business with anyone who is not a reader. See people who read have some personality traits. They are compassionate, confident and open-minded and care for the whole World. They are adventurous and are not afraid to let others (authors of books) take over their brain for a few days and weeks. These are the secure people that I want to encourage and deal with all my life.

Is it not discrimination?
May be, but It is my way of doing things and I am sticking by it. Why don’t you look around and make a list of people that are readers v/s non-readers. You would know what I am talking about.

Look at the global political scene since Adam, and see what kind of a people brought misery to this already suffering world – you will be surprised my friend. For example Genghis Khan who brought so much destruction to Iraq was not a reader where as Columbus was a reader so was Gandhi. Even this is true in films; Don Carleone in Godfather was not a reader nor was Mughambo in Mr. India. Can you imagine Gabbar Singh reading Femina or War and Peace? Compare them to Dr. Zhivago, Raziya Sultana, and even Umrao “Rekha” Jaan was a reader. Did you notice in film Shakti, Ashwini Kumar, the honest DCP played by Dilip Kumar was a reader where as Vijay played by Amitabh was not.

What about our parents?
Those are the only exceptions built in this model. I do not care what people read as long as they read, be it newspapers, holy books, gossip magazines, cartoons, horoscopes, fortune cookies, sports magazines, even girlie magazines are fine by me. They must read something if they want to earn my trust and business.

Why you never asked me if I read?
I did not have to, half the time what you say comes straight out of an ideological novel and other half is cluttered with signal timings, accident data, sight distances, tangents and curves. Whatever little is left you pack it with films…

That's very deep Mullah how did you pick up this up?

Mullah gave me that mischievous smile and said " coz I READ!"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

You are not alone ...

If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.

~Thomas Jefferson mother would ever willingly sacrifice her sons for territorial gain, for economic advantage, for ideology.

~Ronald Reagan

War remains the decisive human failure.

~John Kenneth Galbraith

( and

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hero, Heroine and the Jebroni...

When Mullah Luis saw this picture he wanted to know the "status" of what he referred to as the Blonde "Front Page News", and whether the Hero is on the right or left of her?

Well, I told him Kristi is in the middle for sure, and she is the Heroine (and her status is non- negotiable!). As far as the Hero is concerned – this time the Hero is in the eye of the beholder….

Vikas, Peace !

Friday, January 12, 2007

Doosra Kinara - Crew

When the US army announces it sending 1000 soldiers to Iraq, what it really means is that it is sending 329 combat troops and 671 support personnel. For every soldier fighting and taking bullets, there are two more to support him. These so-called support troops are very important for any combat operations. They are Engineers, Doctors, Psychologists, Corpsman, Mechanics, and Bomb Loaders to name a few and holds ranks ranging from Private First Class to a Colonel.

That’s how it is in making films – I reckon. For every Blonde and beautiful actress romancing her boyfriend on the screen; there are many (depending on the Paymaster) that "support" her, and make it possible for those scenes to happen jus right or as per whims and fancies of the most nervous guy on the set usually referred to as “the Director”!

Even though the folks above are part of the word “crew” they are much more than that. If weren’t for them my challenges would have had a field day. I am obliged to these and many more (…and you know who you are!) that made it possible for me to realize a long cherished dream.

A short cut to find how happy you are is to find how many friends you have. I am happy that this film multiplied my happiness by bringing closer these bunch of good-hearted people. Some of these would be my friends for life and some would move on chasing their own Doosra Kinara. However, I am happy to have known them.

Above: Sandhya Bhagat, Akansha Joshi, GiriMohan Coneti and Rafique Batcha.

BTW the folks shown here are all 4 stars Generals in their own rights. They are Tarantinos, Deepa Mehtas and Mahesh Dattanis of the future - Watch out for these faces.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mullah Luis – Back to school…

Mullah Luis registered for some 2000 level classes at a local university this semester. I asked him, Mullah how do you feel learning accounting with students much younger than yourself. He said that he felt – vindicated.

He always prophesied a theory which he calls career @ 16, that questions the ability of a 16 year high school student to choose a career of a LFIETIME. He says at 16 you make all kinds of “hormonic” mistakes and to believe all your life that what you choose at 16 was right - is absurd. We must decide on life when we have somewhat complete information and no blinders. He adds God forbids if you decide on your life partner at 16; then you are pretty much doomed, unless you are a local Sheikh with a secret harem in Southern France!

My days have gotten more interesting with new stories and observations that he comes back with each day. I am also beginning to appreciate accounting 2000 as well. It is good to see him with a bag pack filled with books these days. He says that there are two kinds of people who use bag packs:

- Students
- Losers

As far as Mullah is concerned, I think he just got himself promoted!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Doosra Kinara - Editing

Jeff Shipman and I have two things in common. Both of us have passion for story telling and both are certified rebels. From FY 2007, I have vowed to check my tenencies to swim against the current - Jeff still is making up his mind.

Jeff is an awesome friend and an expert editor. I was amazed at his expertise of film editing and insights of human nature. How many editors can edit a film in a foreign language that too with comic scenes?

A film is made three times ( writting, filming and then editing) and I am glad that Jeff agreed to cut my film as he has kept the same vision that I had while writting it.

Jeff lives in "Trilok". If he is not on earth editing, then either he is in sky flying to Wisconsin to spend time with his girlfriend or he is 200 feet under water in Lake Lanier. Rumor has it that he is searching for his Doosra Kinara down yonder......!!!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Doosra Kinara - Cast

Life is not about two people. It involves a number of others who play "character" in your life. These good hearted people called simply "characters", add so much to your life making it live-able beyond imagination. Sometime they take away a lot without even realizing it - there is a reason it is called life!!

Barring a few most of my cast were new, and were acting for the first time. It added more challenge to the mix but in the end it all worked out fine. It invariably does.....isn't it?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Doosra Kinara - Cast

Ahmad Plays Rustom.....
Sorry, can not go further than that....

Monday, January 01, 2007

Hosla ...

Ye Hosla Kaise Jhuke ?
Ye arzoo kaise Ruke ?
Manzil Mushkil to kiya
Dhundla Sahil to kiya
Tanha ye Dil to kiya ?

Rah pe katen bikhre agar
Us pe to phir bhi chalna hi hai
Shaam chupale suraj magar
Raat ko ek din dhalna hi hai
Rut ye tal jayegi ...
Himmat rang layegi ...
Subah phir aayegi ...

Ye Hosla kaise jhuke
Ye arzoo kasie ruke?

(Mir Ali Husain in Nagesh's Dor)

Hayat ....( Zindagi)

Khird ke paas khabar ke siwa kuch aur nahi
Tera Ilaaj nazar ke siwa kuch aur nahi

Har Ek Mukaam se aage mukaam hai tera
Hayat Zoke safar ke siwa kcuh aur nahi

Urus-e-Lala munasib nahi hai mujh se hijab
Ke main naseem-e-sahar ke siwa kuch aur nahi --- Iqbal