Saturday, March 31, 2007

Suraj...


Mere Dil main Utar Gaya Suraj
Tairgi main Nikhar Gaya Suraj

Dars Dekar Hamen Ujaale Ka
Khud Andhere ke Ghar Gya Suraj

Hum Se Wada Tha Ek Sawere Ka
Haye, Kaisa Mukar Gaya Suraj ?

Doobte Wakt Zard tha Itna
Log Samjhe ke Mar Gaya Suraj
- Javed Akhtar

Tairgi - Darkness
Dars - Lesson / Sermon
Zard - Yellow

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Doosra Kinara - New Poster

Good folks at the Hues Lab came up with a new design for the poster. They have not recieved the new photographs from me, so look for the concept only.

I think this is as close as you can get to the central idea of the film and still be intersted. I like it. Enjoy!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Dulari to nahi milegi na?

That was Manohar venting his frustration about the state of affairs. Dulaari was the first women that he loved. It was Friday night and he had brought some diner for me.

Me: Dekho Manohar..tumhara namak khaya hai ..Namak hai na is main? ( I was preparing for my punch line)

Manohar: Haan bhaiyya..namak dalaa hai hum ne.

Me: To bhaiyya Manohar , Tumhara namak khaya hai. Hum tum se wada karta hoon ke tum ko Pita ji aur Dulari se milwa denge.

Manohar: Kaise? Dulari ke to bacche hain Sahid bhai.

Me: Auraten Bacchen hone ke baad aur bhi khubsurat lagti hain…samjha karo…

Manohar: Kaisi baat karte hain aap? Uski saadi ho gayee hai aur us ka husband hai..

Me: Tum puri baat to bataya karo, accha husband bhi hai., khair -thodi Aloo Gobi aur daloo !

Manohar: Sahid bhai …Aloo Gobi to aur mil jayegi magar Dulari nahi miliegi…

Me: Who bhi mil jayegi – Ab jo milegi who bhi Dulari hi hogi. Jaante ho Jab se duniya bani hai. Tab se sirf ek Dulari hai aur ek Manohar hai…bas!

Manohar: Aap hamari khilli uda rahe hain ?

Me: Nahi hum sach keh rahe hain. Accha ye batao ke agar tumari shaadi Dulari se hoti to tum jab us ka gunghat uthate to kiya kehte?

Manohar: Hum kehte ke gaiyya kahaan bandhen?

Me: Chalo who hi sahi ( I was expecting more romantic line than this!) ok. Ab ye batao agar tumhari Shadi Radha se hoti to? ( I just came up with a clich├ęd name)

Manohar: Radha kaun? His eyes lit up at the "possiblity"!

ME: Radha koi nahi aise hi farzi naam hai. To kiya kehte tum Radha se?

Manohar: Wohi kehte

Me: Good. Accha shaadi Raziya se hoti to kiya kehte?

Manohar: Baar baar kiyon puchte hain..wohi kehte jo Dulari se kehte.

Me: Exactly. To bhaiiya ye samjh lo ke duniya main ek hi aurat hai aur ek hi aadmi hai.us ke naam alag alag hain….magar ek hi Dulari hai aur ek Manohar… Ab agli jo aayegi who bhi Dulari hi hogi…

It took Manohar a while to understand my point. In the end he was surprised and reluctantly agreed with me that we all say the same thing to every person that walks in our lives. We DO NOT love a particular Raziya or a Radha, we love A woman. Period. It could be anyone black, white or in between.

Come to think of it. If we would say the same lines to a Radha, Raziya, Rosie and Dulari then why we make so much fuss about a relationship? A farmer in India would say the same lines to his wife as a farmer in Poland. A CEO in Manhttan would repeat the same lines to his woman as a Mullah in Afgahnitsan or Iraq. Then why do we think we are better than others, our emotions are better then others and others do not have a right to life and happiness – just like us?

Ps: BTW I forgot to mention the other side of the story – every Dulari, Radha, Rosie, and Raziya would say the same lines to every Abdul Sattar, Joseph, Gurcharan, and Manohar that they would have to spend their life with.

This is how it is in the Love Lane…

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A picture is worth Deewan-e-Ghalib!

The woman was on a bus in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her demeanor (and eye brows!) provide clues and prove a theory that when it comes to pictures; women always cooperate more than the men. No matter what the situation is (like bombs going off, mortar fire etc.), the minute you say “action” she can change her mood (and your mood as well...) in a split second!! I had the privilege to learn this first hand, while shooting for my film. The women have this special gift of making things look normal even in the most difficult circumstances.

I remember a few years ago there were couple of snipers running loose in Maryland / DC area, shooting people outside malls and gas stations. I remember how we all felt while filling up our gas tanks those days. More recently, a convict in Atlanta’s High Court cut loose after killing the judge and a few deputies. There was a serious manhunt for him, and we were uncomfortable knowing he is out there, armed and dangerous.

These women and children of Afghanistan face death each day. There is something more terrible about death then death itself. It is called uncertainty. It is the uncertainty of not knowing when it’s going to get you. It is the uncertainty of not knowing if you ever will get a chance to see your loved ones for the last time. However, you know one thing for sure, and that is this could be your last journey to the University or to work.

Living under these deathly uncertainties with grace and peace is no “manly” business. It requires a woman to do that. For me this woman personifies hope while living under catastrophic conditions.

Mullah Luis found some humor in this photograph. He confirmed for me that she is most likely be a “Front Page News”. I trust his judgment...

ps: The reason the title of this post pays homage to Ghalib is because his DNA can be traced back to this part of the world. If he had seen those eyes during his youth (or old age for that matter.) he would have recited a couplet of his friend Meer Taki Meer:

Meer in Neem Baz Aankhon main
Saari Masti Sharab ki si hai !

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Masochist...

Eeza Pasand - Masochist

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Doosra Kinara - Outsourced!


The other day I was talking to the Chief of a design studio, Hueslab (www.hueslab.com) in Mumbai. When I finished my usual monologue explaining vision for the poster he said, 'Shahid Saab your poster is ready."

That was fast – all in 15 minutes! Where was he when I was trying to deliever a film? He asked me for more photographs. I am impressed, and think that finally I found the right man for the right job. He would do a good job, so expect a kick-ass poster.

Mullah says “man, make sure poster is NOT better than the film, We do not want to known for our poster - do we?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mullah Luis - unplugged...(exclusively!)


I have been asked time and again about two things in my life namely Mullah Luis and the word Jebroni (Apun to kisi ginti main hi nahi hain!!). Obviously both require a separate blog to capture their essence. I will try to get one item off my plate today and it will be Mullah Luis. Mullah will be offended if I do not dedicate a complete post to him and I have to live in the City.

Mullah grew up in a developed country where folks these days are having a hard time distinguishing between Obama and Osama. Some of them even think that Obama ( Vice President - 2008) must be tried for crimes against humanity, and that he represents a grave and gathering threat to national security. Mullah studied Engineering at Cornell but later transferred to Georgia Tech, my Alma mater. He graduated from Georgia Tech with an engineering degree.

He had a Syrian room -mate while at Tech, and is well read, well travelled man. He is a living nightmare for right wingers, as he does not believe in man made borders and boundaries. He does not think there is something called “THEM” in this world anymore and its all “US” now whether we like it or not. He would be absolutely at home in Bangalore, Addis Ababa, Dubai and Lahasa. If he happens to be in Mumbai and if you ask him where is home, chances are he will look in your eyes, smile and respond " right here man!"

He was married once, but refuses to talk about why there was a divorce? However, last week he went on a 4 day trip to Brussels, Belgium with his ex-wife. I could never understand why he did that? When I inquired:

Mullah: She was feeling low and she had no one to go with so I volunteered.
Me: volunteered?
Mullah: Yeah, what is the big deal man?
Me: Aren’t you supposed to stay away from her? Maybe even hate her a little?
Mullah: Why? Who said that?
Me: Well, society has certain norms…
Mullah: Which society? What norms man? I am part of the society…What I am doing is normal.
Me: And you expect to find another woman in your life?
Mullah: Absolutely!
Me: Man, how in the world can you do that?
Mullah: I just did it. This was my seventh trip to Europe. We had a great time. She is still fun to be around with. I do not understand the “thou shall hate thy ex-wife” concept man. Here you have one person who had the guts to marry a jebroni like me! She broke bread with me, cooked for me, waited for me, and how can I turn around and hate her because she is no longer with me? There are not many people in this world who can claim to have known me for real, she is certainly one of them.

Me: Mullah you are not making sense. If it was all that good then why divorce?
Mullah: Well, divorce is a different aspect of a married life, and I refuse to dislike or hate someone simply because a relationship went south. Mental violence is the most lethal form of violence. If one is looking for a peaceful world, one should begin with his or her mind first…

This is the classic Mullah for you - rebellious, unconventional and a little weird. He paraphrases FDR’s words and says “the only thing you have to hate is hate itself!

He says if someone guarantees him 1000 years of life then and then only he would consider hatred for a few years. Life is too short to love man, where is time for hatred? I would rather enjoy people’s friendship and care however brief, collect some good memories for old age and move on….

BTW: Mullah is not my best kept secret anymore... still, I respect his privacy......

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Doosra Kinara - Poster

Badar Shahid, a graduate of Savannah Art Institue submitted this design for the poster. It requires some cleaning up and color adjustments.

What is the verdict?

Rock On ....





I always used to wonder why do director-producers announce their upcoming projects during Premier or while promoting their films. That is until now. Now, I know why. Sorry, can’t share it. It is a trade secret. So, keeping the traditions alive, allow me to join the ranks of Ghais, Chopras and Johars.

I am working on three films and they are in various stages of productions.

First one is titled “ Allah Calling” and it is set against 911 tragedy. It explores the human mind conditioned by late night shows, gossip magazines, hate propaganda and several thousands years of stereotyping. It is ready. I am delaying its release due to a technical reason.

The second one is titled “ Have a good Day!” Rafiq Bactha and Farina Parashar play main leads. I shot a few hours of footage with Rafiq and Farina. It is the story of a law-abiding immigrant from Bangladesh, who pays for crimes he never committed. It is satirical and addresses the current events in the world.

The third film that I wrote three years ago is titled “ Tarkash” It is a social comedy based in the US. I had Rohul Bose in my mind when I wrote it. Dekhte hain..

If you notice all four of my film have a common thread that is current events and preach peace and humanity. I agree they are boring subjects and that I have a problem here. How naive it is to think that a few films can win “hearts and minds” where $500.00 Billion dollars failed?

Mullah says no promoter in his right mind will touch your films man. Majority of audiences wants to be entertained and not enlightened on some issues they do not have to deal with. Get real man - make what they want and not what you want.

A writer/director friend from Mumbai visited Atlanta a few months back, and after watching my films remarked " What really matters Shahid is you are making the kinds of film you believe in -Rock On man!"

Rock on....

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Errata...

In our last blog entry line number 15 "Can you believe there are times in life when you are thankful for not having wives and girl friends!!? was an error. It should have read "Can you believe there are times in life when you are thankful for not having A WIFE AND OR A GIRL FRIEND?"

We regret any comfort or convenience this might have caused to our readers. We appreciate your input and concern at this horrible thought. Inside we are happy that our jebroni writer screwed up again!!
Mullah Luis, Editor

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Doosra Kinara - Direction





This is it ALL comes down to – the last credit before the “show” begins. Apparently it is a great reason to be high. Mullah says “for a jebroni like you it could be the ONLY reason to feel high these days”. But, It’s only me who can say what it feels to look at this frame.

Its been a LONG journey, really long, from that first call I made to three friends ( Anuraag, GiriMohan, and Manoj) asking them if they would be interested in my project, to cutting the first trailer of Doosra Kinara these days. I went thru all the emotions in the book from anger to frustration to helplessness to jubiliation to tears and fears.

I have wowed that my next film will be an out and out “fictional” comedy and will have very little of my personality. There may be a quickie or two in the meantime, especially if the subject excites and offers me room for growth as a storyteller.

It is tough to keep a full time job and then devote almost every night and weekend on this madness (Can you believe there are times in life when you are thankful for not having wives and girl friends!!). It was a tough journey. There were many instances when my frustration went thru the roof. I felt many times why am I taking all this crap? Why am I doing this? Why? In spite of all those moments, I never once thought of canning the film and re-starting my “paused” life.

Doosra Kinara is devoted to those folks who left maa ke hath ka khana, bahan ki mahobbat, Baap ki na dikhane wali chahat, yaron ki yaari, bhai ki dosti, in search of their dreams. They missed out on growing up of nieces and nephews, they missed out all those neighborhood celebrations and festivals. They missed all those building ki ladkiyan and girl friends getting married and going off in new directions with their husbands. They missed watching new lines develope on their father’s foreheads as they aged and how their mothers felt each night knowing their son is 10,000 miles away and will not make it, if something happens to them.

Time flew and before they knew it, the landscape changed. You will be touched if you listen to some stories of what folks have missed when they were chasing that one dream here. The City that they had left temporarily, now refuses to recognize them. The home that they grew up in and have fond memories of, does not even care if they live or die.

“ Der na karna ghar jaane main – warna ghar kho jayenge!”

They sacrificed a lot for virtually nothing. What now? Where next? Doosra Kinara is an effort to find answers to these questions.

I needed these answers myself, my friends!

Ps: I am going to get whacked by some friends for writing negative so I will say this. It’s all not that bad. You lose some you gain some. I have made some awesome friends – calling them friends would be an understatement. I have enjoyed their friendship and care and they cook excellent food too! Zindagi main aur kiya chaiyye saab?

Sach hai ye...

Sach hai ye bekaar hamen gham hota hai
jo chaha tha duniya main kam hota hai ! - Javed Akhtar

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ye Maana Ke!


Gulzaar - Garden
Khaar - Thorns

Thursday, March 01, 2007

This is the bunch...


Folks-
What you see in this photo is a bunch of nicest people that Atlanta has to offer. These are Doctors, Engineers, Professors, Teachers, IT professionals, Poets, Aerospace Engineers, MBAs, Dancers, Business owners, including a Director of a fortune 500 company. They represent some of the finest schools in the world like Chor Bazaar Municipal Urdu School, IIT, IIM, Georgia Tech, and Emory to Harvard Business School. The only jebroni you see is standing on the lower right side wearing a light blue shirt with black t-shirt, wondering “raat main khana kiya kahoongaa?”

And they ALL worked like hell on my film. They even did menial jobs for the film, something that they would never do in their normal life under any circumstances. They spent countless days and late nights away from their spouses to work on my film. They did all that and more because they loved me and wanted to make sure I realize at least ONE dream. (Baki to apun kuch kar hi nahi sakta hoon na!) Where else could you find so much human goodness in one place? I am really honored and proud to have enjoyed their friendship and company.

I am NOT a realist, still I do not expect "Doosra Kinara" to compete with Shah Rukh Khan's next film, and run for 5 years at Maratha Mandir theatre, hence some of these folks are my real return on investments.

I guess I will keep the remaining portion of my gratitudnal-speech (God, I just created a new phrase!) for the Premier- At least this will bring in the crowd!!

and they are (top to bottom):
Neema Amin, Nita Shrivastava, Kristi Huthinson, Kumud Savla, Deepti, Anita, Darshan Kaur, Sandhya Bhagat, Seema Sharma, Aishwarya, Akanksha Joshi, Angad Joshi.

Ram Gupta, Vikas Saini, Gandharv Bhagat, Sandeep Savla, Apurva Shrivastava, Rafiq Batcha, Aditya Shrivastava, Anuraag Misraj, Shahid Sayed, Anurag Gaur, Kartikay Bhagat, Pranjal and Rohan Gupta.

This not the complete team as many had some prior enaggmnets and could not make it.

Ps: The reason you see Shahid Sayed twice is because one of them is the damn producer and producer se kaun panga leta hai!!

(photoshop effects, Gandharv Bhagat)