Sunday, December 27, 2009

finally a concept...

After dabbling with like some six to seven ideas for a film. i have finally come to the one idea that i think i should develop into a film. Its an idea that excited me so much that i started writing in the middle of the night. yeah call it a cliche, but thats how it happens to writers or "wannabe" writers like me. Something that should strike to you and you should be doubly convinced that you HAVE to tell this story to people out there. Either they will love it or hate it or whatever, but its a story that you really want to tell. Its a story that has not been told or has not been seen in this way, the way i want to show you.

Conviction my boy, Conviction is the word that was told to me. That whenever one wants to make a movie, there should be enough conviction on your side to write, research, present, get it financed, give your 2 years minimum to this story and that movie ultimately. Right now, i just want to write on a rough paper and keep on making a collection of such rough papers. somethings i know about the story and somethings i need to research. and what a research it can be. I really would love to see it shaping up. Our people should love this story. lets see if it turns out to be good.

As of now, very excited.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Avatar - a revolution in cinema

No spoilers ahead.

I dont know what response did Citizen Kane get when it released. But it surely did revolutionize the way movies were made around the world. To sound "so cool and intelligible" as some of my colleagues would put it, Citizen Kane introduced the world to deep focus photography, as we were told in lectures. There was a unique way invented through which the film was shot. "The foreground was shot first, with the background dark. Then the background was lit, the foreground darkened, the film rewound, and the scene re-shot with the background action." i quote from wikipedia, so i dont appear intellectual but just someone who is seeking information. For seekers, there is more here, on how Citizen Kane had amazing shooting techniques.

Like Citizen Kane and Jurassic Park, Avatar too is a big step forward in revolutionizing Cinema. Avatar is the first big-action movie to be shot entirely in digital 3D with the help of Peter Jackson's effects company, Weta Digital in New Zealand. For more details, click here.

While watching Avatar at the IMAX screen in Mumbai, it is hard not to get mesmerized by the visuals and the fact that how they were brought to life. How were those images created in the first place. Woody Allen says that once the film is ready in the autuer's mind, every step from there on is a step downwards for that film. The thought is the most purest one. Writing, Shooting, Editing slowly kills the movie what it was originally supposed to be. I wonder how would have James Cameron had that first image in his mind. Now before i start raving about Avatar, i had a problem sitting through that half an hour extra-stretched "typical hollywood" climax. Blame it on those 3D glasses. But then 20th Century Fox had to get that 1200 million dollars back, so the Climax with a Hero triumphing over the humans is important. On second thoughts, aint we love the movies like that? I sincerely loved it, if it was not for those irritating 3D glasses. At one point of time i too started hating the humans, and thank you James Cameron for that. Its been some time since i watched a movie while knowing its commercial story elements yet having that gut feeling to support the Pandora guys called Na'vis, and shouting when "Toruk makto" comes flying. Wow. I was transported to Pandora.

As a kid, I remember shouting and cheering in the stalls of Novelty theatre, Grant Road for Sanjay Raj Malhotara of Model School in that Cycling championships during the climax of "Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar". James Cameron took me there. Novelty has been shut now. And this is the first James Cameron movie to come in the Multiplex era. There is no connection here, but just blogging.

There is more to explore on the intricacies of Avatar and its relation to Hindu Mythology, the idea of Vishnu, the blue colored Na'vis etc. But as of now, just watch film for its sheer pleasure. The reading can be done later. Infact, here is a wonderful explanation of the connect of Hindu mythology to the film's concept.

The only fact that i am afraid of is, after almost 27 years when i have started getting a hang of cinema and movie-making, the concepts of cinema have started changing. As if the technology - HD to Video to 35 mm to 16 mm was not enough - now 3D, digital workstations, Live Action are becoming the norm, what's next - the "sense of smell" while you watch a film??

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

China should be legally prosecuted...

Under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code individuals in possession of an inaccurate map of India can be charged or tried legally. China on its Chinese Google version shows Arunachal Pradesh as a part of their country.

How dare they do this? What the hell is the Indian government in Centre doing. I know a Google map may not make such a difference, but then thats what the world turns to when they want any smallest bit of information. I think this is nothing short of a crime and please lets get these Chinese fuckers dragged into a legal battle.

As if they have not done enough to the world by producing those cheap stupid versions of electronic products, now they have started taking on people and their homes. Tibet ki toh already vaat lagaa chuke hain. And Google is like a morose donkey who doesn't even research into the facts and publishes whatever their task masters asks to do. Highly highly not accepted from Google and well, as of Chinese - "saalo tumhare toh khoon mei gandgi hai...". Read the following rediff article.

Better: i think its time to visit Arunachal before the government of India lets it slip from its hands. By the way, there already exists a "permission" to be signed before u enter the state. Last time i had sent a letter to Arunachal Bhavan in Delhi and they never responded. This time i will make sure i write the letter and post it on the blog and make it famous - facebook, orkut, whatever be the source.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Best of 2009 Hindi film music and my Ten Commandments to hear this year

One can almost call it the end of the year for all the music scores that had to come from hindi films OSTs, and well, unlike last year, this year had some good music infact some great music scores. It has always been the case with hindi films - the soundtrack and the songs have been better than the films in their content. The best example last year: Rab ne Bana Di Jodi - what a wonderful harmonium used in "haule haule" and an amazing title track sung by roopkumar rathod and yet the film, well one couldn't thank Rab for ending it.

This year, i have chosen ten best songs that represent a particular 'mood'. Songs or soundtrack that take you back to your own times, paint your own memories and create a definite 'mood' with the power of their words, their music and no issues if the visuals couldn't support the words or the melody - its ok. The song matters, if the visuals can add to it - then good, if not - we are listening.

1. Song: Aisi Sazaa
Film: Gulaal

The most haunting voice to emerge since a long time. Shilpa rao. She had shown a few shades of her brilliance in the movie Aamir's song: "Ek Lau". But in Gulaal, she was on another level. Agreed, the song has shades of Nino Rota's The Godfather theme. But the haunting voice, the words, the rain in the middle of the song will remain for you forever. Highly Recommended to hear this song in "saanp jaisi kaali raat mei...". Shame on the Gulaal team to not include the full song in the final print in theatre.

2. Sorry for the bias. But no. 2 is again
Film: Gulaal.
Song: "Duniya" by Piyush Mishra.

Its one thing to lament a generation and another to write and compose the kind of poem like "Duniya" Piyush Mishra writes, sings and composes with all his heart - ah! finally a complete poet that we hindi musicwallas were looking for. Sameer, Rahat Indori, Dev Kohli - get lost. We have had too much of you guys. And add to the fact that Mr. Mishra was taking on a Guru Dutt-Sahir Ludhianvi poem that is already considered a legend. Any inch of its original word used or any original note of its music, if played around, could have lead to blasphemy for him. But listen to Gulaal's "yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai..." and look around our world and television, it is easy to draw the parallels. Touching!

3. Song & Film: Kaminey (title track)

How can a Gulzarsaab-Vishalji's amazing amazing melody not feature in the first three. It really has the mood i was mentioning in the above paragraphs. Even in a crowded train it has the power to transport you to the hills, even in your busiest meetings, it has the power to lead you to introspecting your life. Much powerful than their previous collaboration "O saathi re..." from Omkara

How many in our country can write:
"kabhi zindagi se maanga pinjare mein chaand laado...
kabhi lal ten leke kaha aasman pe tango...."

And note the best part. All these exceptional songs are always sung by their creators. Like Tendulkar saves his best for Australia. The last two being the perfect examples.

4. Song: Masakali
Album: Delhi 6

Fact 1: Not many years in recent history can boast of top three songs without an AR Rahman number, and that too when a Rahman fanatic is preparing his list of songs.
Fact 2: There's no better voice than Mohit Chauhan for a romantic ballad. Sanu-da is passe.

If effervescence is a state of mind than Mohit Chauhan surely knows how to deliver the perfect notes. Masakali is a gem of a composition with its melodious accordion and delightful words like "kasbe", "khoonche", "nukkad", "basti", "colony" - ahaa! kya baat hai.

5. Song: Nayan Tarse / Emotional Atyaachaar
Album: DevD

What would have been DevD without Amit Trivedi? Nayan Tarse for me takes the cake in the album. The song also has the distinction of being heard for the maximum number of times on my iPod. The trumpet, the beat, the flow creates a definite mood and again the composer singing the song himself. Some of you who are still reading will be surprised to know that my group of friends and me were the "firsts" to hear the "emotional atyachaar" rough cut version when Mr. Kashyap had come to Jamia in Delhi during Dec-Jan 2007-08. The song had just come to him by email and he was very excited to make people hear from his Macbook. Frankly, i was wondering what is so exciting about these words "emotional" and "atyaachaar" and look what a nation-wide craze it became. Its almost that this song could get people into theaters to watch DevD. Talk about tapping the market and knowing the pulse. Mr. Kashyap - Mighty impressed...

6. Song: Aaj Din Chadeyaan
Film: Love Aaj Kal

Saif ali Khan as Sardar waiting on the streets of Kolkata - staring at the opposite balcony - misty morning- the simple salwaar-kameez clad girl appears and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sings the song in the background. The ONLY one moment i felt in love with Love Aaj Kal. Pritam - hindi film's most in-demand music composer makes to the list.

Maanga jo mera hai, jaata kya tera hai
maine kaunsi tujhse jannat maang li...
Kaisa khuda hai tu, bas naam ka hai tu
rabaa jo teri itni si bhi na chali...
Jeeti rahe sultanat teri, jeeti rahein aashiqui meri...

Well done, Irshad Kamil.
The poet to look forward to.

7. Song: Sapno se bhare naina
Film: Luck by Chance

Partly coz the way the song is shot in the film. Everyone has been to those stupid interview rounds in their various stages of life. Before that one interview, many of us go to the loo and love to look at ourselves in mirror and ask - "will you make it?" And then the plethora of candidates for that one job, and you thinking, i am better than them - "Sapno se bhare naina, toh neend hai na chaina....". Watch out for the Casting candidates Edit cuts, their mobile numbers, names, acting styles and their confidence. yes...partly life is about Luck by Chance, the title and partly like the film's dialogue - "Manzil hum tak nahi, hum manzil tak jaate hain...". Movies...yay...!!

8. Song: Iktara
Film: Wake up Sid

"Sun rahein hain soodh-boodh hoke tumhe Amit Trivedi...". Hard to come up with a song that can over-shine Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's compositions in the album. Iktara just did that in Wake up Sid. Haven't watched the film yet.

9. Song: Barso Yaaron
Film: London Dreams

For reasons unknown to many, i love this song for its energy and Shankar Mahadevan's love for breathlessness, of which i have always been a fan of. Forget that it featured Ajay Devgan as a rockstar (aaargh..). The composition has a wonderful combination of ebb & tide rhythm and the electric guitar. When Roopkumar Rathod sings without any music piece, it does feel like you are in a stadium and it echoes from one corner to another.

10. Song: Tu he haqeeqat
Film: Tum Mile

Pritam again!!. unbelievable. But yes it is true. Refreshing soundtrack. Javed Ali's voice soars and soars high in this breezy romantic track, and the chorus or the additional singers support him well in this exceptional number from a very good album. Even the title track Tum Mile - Javed Ali version is a very decent composition. How does Emran Hashmi manage the dubious distinction of all the bad films and excellent soundtracks together.

Consolation: Since i love and expect a lot from Salm-Suleiman's compositions, i would add Kurbaan's title track to this illustrious list. "Kurbaan hua.." does have a mood and a feel due to Vishal Dadlani's vocals. The other day when i was in Bandra West walking on Turner Road, Vishal Dadlani passed by me. i thought of telling him that - Kurbaan Hua is sung exceptionally well but then told myself, its ok - next year's resolution is: "To be a part of a music recording session in one of those state-of-the-art studios with good acoustics." What a high can one get while singing, recording and not knowing how many hours passed by.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The systematic murder of the cultural references and memories of 80s' Generation

Blame it on the “times they are changing” phrase, the generation born in early 80s and the one who started following desi MTV version in 90s, have of lately been so busy in earning and making a mark for themselves that there is a whole set of their childhood memories that is being systematically usurped by the…by whom...actually – I don’t even know where to put the blame.

My dear single screen cinema halls are being wiped out slowly in the name of “intellectual” audience sitting in those posh, grossly priced multiplexes and thinking that dancing on a song or clapping on a dialogue is “oh so low society…”. And the same “intellectual” set of people still paying to watch timeless classics like Wanted, Blue, and Kambhakht Ishq. The obscene prices of Parking, Pop-Corn and Cola. But oh I forgot, my generation is so busy in deciding their “salary package” with the new company or shouting on his/her junior subordinate “ke yeh sab ke liye time kiske paas hai…just pay, relax and enjoy. Its just the weekend. Chill…..

Test Matches too will soon go. I read someone commenting, “Test matches need results for surviving these competitive times”. I remember sitting in Baroda’s IPCL stadium watching Ranji Trophy matches leisurely and since there was no commentator there, I used to sit on the balcony stand and give a commentary for an audience of 14 to 16 odd people. The match was being played between Baroda Vs. Saurashtra. Agreed, even then the audience was not there for a 5 day match but now the debate is out there. People are debating whether to put an end to the Test matches. Its scary.

Indipop, the songs and the bands on which I grew up have all either vanished or merged with movies. Has anyone of lately heard an album from Silkroute, Euphoria, Indian Ocean, Colonial Cousins, Sonu Nigam, Altaf Raja, Mika or even the genius rap guy Baba Sehgal. Agreed some of them were not talented enough, but they had an audience – an Altaf Raja was always appreciated by a certain audience. Today, Indian Ocean, Euphoria keeps performing their numbers in Delhi, Bombay etc. at Live Concerts. Baba Sehgal supports himself by acting in some mediocre serials. Mohit Chauhan, Sonu Nigam, Alisha Chenoi etc have all submitted themselves to films. Where did Remo Fernandes disappear?
I don’t know what happened to Magnasound – the wonderful company who supported all these upcoming artists. Infact such is the situation today – that the desi MTV and Channel V have become everything but Music channels.

Television is not the same – people expect over the top humor, crass acting, lavish sets, spick & span costumes and make up covered faces, either the characters or the background music are permanently shouting on top of their voices, and before you know the camera would have completed its Zoom-in-zoom-out ritual every ten seconds. Newspapers too have followed television.

Even the kids today are so tv. Their mothers have got them systematically trained. I can tell you of so many instances where the kids I have met are asked to behave in “cute” fashion. They need to have a pet toy with a cute name. They need to be wearing flashy frocks and t-shirts. They need to recite the latest songs on TV, speak in English with guests and have to have a hobby when asked – all this while you are still a kid. I heard a kid saying: “Morning school, afternoon dance classes, twice a week French learning classes and what not…They are trying to make their kid look as if I have come there for an audition of a reality show: The Rockstar Kid of 2009.

Train journeys are no more fun for my generation. Infact, people on facebook no more travel by trains. But ironically, they are always busy on discussing the lowest flight fares.

They all want a t-shirt of Che without actually understanding what he stands for. If probed, who’s that on your T-shirt, some may even go on to mistake Che as some music band rockstar. Rockstar he was, but in a different sense altogether.

And finally if you are on facebook, then you have to put it across your friends that “you are happening man”. Life has to consist of all super hit moments – weekends, free gifts, getting high, holiday, watching a rubbish movie, Play Station, speaking the “F” word is so cool and showing the middle finger is very very cool – oh wow – my generation. You know what, you do not have the power to paint or write/create a poetry. By the way some do try to defy the norm and say I paint or I am a poet – but mostly it is for the heck of it. I am yet to come across a genuine one and then Arvinda Adiga expects that "if we teach every child how to paint, that will be the end of the poor in India" Keep dreaming Mr. Adiga. Even if we learn to paint, it will be 3 to 5 - monday, wednesday, friday.

Its like the dialogue in the film Fight Club when Tyler Durden speaks:

“God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.”

Basically I know where to blame now – to the root of all this is the one major divide: There is no middle class left in India – ether you are Elite India else get into the section called Delete India. And every life problem, every diminishing cultural pattern has its root in the above thought. Try connecting it. Of course, I am sure you don’t even have the time to complete this article in one sitting. Your mobile ring must have come up twice, your chat messenger would have pinged twice and oh did someone hear about Google Wave. Its so cool man.. I am on top of technology…aaaaAAArrrrgh…

Shut up….Shut Up…



© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The best thing to do on a day like this...

On 26/11, lets observe a whole day of silence by switching off the television.

Sorry its a copywriter's blog: best said in a line.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

All That He Wants...The Youtube sensation called Dr. K

Never did Sir Timothy John, the man who is responsible for developing World Wide Web, had thought of the amazing possibilities that the Internet could unleash on mankind. But if today Sir John had seen Dr. K’s mass popularity on World Wide Web, his eyes would have lit up, the way the other Sir John (Raza Murad)’s eyes would light up seeing the Return of Raakhi in Ram Lakhan. Thats when the immortal lines were written:
"Mere bete aayenge,
dharti ko cheer ke aayenge,
aasman ka seena phaad ke aayenge..and all that.

But what Raakhi would not have expected then is, that a few years later it was not her sons whether Ram Arjun or Karan Lakhan but it was Dr. K, who resurfaced like a mythological character on YouTube. yes…just K, the way John Abraham speaks in “No Smoking”. But what even a genius like Mr. Kashyap must not have thought of is what Dr. K did.

When he went to the Reality shows auditions and different music competitions, he came to know that what television was looking for is not talent, they just wanted glamorous singers. No one recognizes genuine flair for music. Since Television is a medium that wont allow an old medical professor of 65 to sing his heart out, he turned to Internet. And…what was Television’s loss became the benefits of millions on Internet.

Never was Sir John more proud of his invention. Through the powerfool tool of Internet and an amazing invention done by the trio of Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim called Youtube, Dr. K emerged from oblivion like a Phoenix.

He took revenge on the cabal of television mafia who wont allow extraordinary talents like him to pursue his genuine passion for singing.

A little Flashback from here:

During early 90s, when Sir John was toying with the idea of Internet and Ram-Lakhan had just released, Dr. K was still teaching at the Aligarh's Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College. He was a regular college professor then - delivering lectures to uninterested students, speaking scientific terms which he too wasn't sure of what they meant and a god-fearing family man with a doting wife and a daughter.

One fine day, he must have retired from his college and shifted to West Delhi's friendly neighborhood colony. Amidst the anxiety to do something, to utilize his post-retirement life, to make a difference to the world and all that kinds of parallel world thoughts, he thought of taking up his passion for music. The passion that was not allowed all these years to surface due to fake institutions like family, job, children, career etc. Thus, one fine day, regardless of what the world thinks, he thought of pursuing his talent single-mindedly and relentlessly. Look what a passion can turn a man into. In this world of Sir John’s Internet, one doesn’t need to come to Andheri and struggle it out amidst the Bombay film industry. And add to it that he is from North, so the “sons of the soil” goonda gang will beat the shit out of him. Thus, Dr. K thought of this powerfool tool – Internet or to be precise YouTube - the limitless power of the online visual to travel across the world.

Cut to Present

So what if he is a Punjabi Chauhdhry from Delhi. Can’t he like Ace of Base, MJ, Kishore Kumar, Lataji, Avril Lavigne all at a time.

Armed with a small webcam, a Karaoke system, a large collection of mp3 songs, lyrics on the computer screen and a lot of passion in his heart, Dr. K took to the Internet like no one else has ever dared to do.

“As the wide-eyed, silver-haired singer swivels in his chair, the reflection of his computer screen all over his broad-rimmed glasses, an almost ethereal experience grips viewers, who remain glued to their seats while he belts out Avril Lavignes Sk8er Boi, his personal chartbuster” quotes Maafreed Irani from the Times News Network. Such is Dr. K’s popularity.

And for all you people for whom the numbers matter, take a look at this:
1400 videos,
1700 subscribers,
2.2 million views

“I prefer singing songs by female artists, says the Bryan Adams and Mohammed Rafi fan”, who sometimes can be seen along with one of his four grandchildren on the video. His grandchildren, the daughter, the son-in-law and his wife – they all love him. And so do we…

Chand Nawab. Take this. The Power of Dr. K's singing. India always has a better answer to Pakistan's antics. So what if this time the battlefield is YouTube.

The Ace of all his performances is the video where he sings the famous Ace of Base song: "All that (s)he wants..."

Here’s the link

When the video is about to start, not a single soul can guess what the next few minutes are going to be like. Observe how he is so particular about the lyrics of every song, he bends to see it clearly on the computer screen, its almost as if he comes so near to us, peeping inside us. And oh, did I forget to mention, please don’t fall of your chairs before you hear how he ends this song.

Dr. K you are genius! If the reader has time, do read the comments on video, he has an amazing following.

The above link is his Channel. And the featuring song from the film Brahmachari is even more powerfool. Look at his eyes when he sings: “Khuda……..”

Even God would want to come down and bless this child of his.
Kanti Shah is passé. Dr. K is the “coolest” guy on Internet.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Musical trysts

Just a quick post:

Music. loneliness. night. melody. - all together can bring about a lethal combination. Now if you follow music closely, you would at times find the most unlikeliest of music pieces similar across different genres and eras. But as they say, after all music just has 7 notes, so there was this amazing similarity i found in an initial music piece of a 1958 song from the film Yahudi. The song is "Dil mei pyaar ka toofan..".

The song has this arabic feel kinda start but soon it transports into the exact same instrument and notes of Bappida's ultra-famous Sharaabi song: "De de pyaar de..". The rhythm, the beats, the Band-like feel - all there...and to top this all - Farah Khan or Vishal-Shekhar thought they are givign a tribute to Bappida's song when they made "Dard-e-Disco" and esp. the start of the song. Anyways, Bappida was always a genius ( so what if he was a self-propelled one)

For listeners i would recommend the 1958 Yahudi song, its an interesting melody.

And maybe since i was in a mood to catch the very many rhythm and melody patterns, i found one more:

Baalika Vadhu's romantic song: "Bade achche lagte hain..". If one follows the song and the pattern to which it is going, than another new song comes to mind: Sonu Nigam;s "Dil se dil tak baat pahunchi..." from his album Deewana. Almost the same notes.

anyways, no particular point to this blog entry - its something that i noticed on a lazy weekend. So posted it.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Friday, October 23, 2009

Of Blood counts, Hospitals and dear life.

"Why are your eyes red?" asked Akanksha, on meeting after almost two months of the Rajasthan schedule for Mr. Benegal's "Road, Movie". I didnt have an answer, I checked in the mirror and thought, must be due to the traffic, or pollution, dust or something. Little did i know that Akanksha could see the danger coming, and well I could not. As usual, ignoring her concern, I went on with my activities, of being the part of post production team.

A few days later, it did come, like the invasion of those deadly locusts in Days of Heaven. First, in the form of rashes on the body leading to the scare and doubt of it being 'measles' and later in the form of high fever, extreme weakness and loss of appetite. As, the eyes started getting more red with passing days, I went to a physician. She suggested a few tablets and asked me to come after a week, But I had my sixth sense telling me
"ma'am my condition is too weak to survive on your small tablets till the next bloody week".

And since it was measles I was frightened to go to any of my Uncle's or Masi's place, fearing they all have kids ranging from the age of 8 to 20, who can be easily susceptible to such viral infections.

I can understand how some people would like to run away from such trouble rather than helping out the diseased. In a city, where every other day you find a dead body lying unattended on a local train station, the act of ignoring or even hating the idea of you being forced to see a diseased person for a few days in your house, is completely logical. In addition to it, you also have the fear of getting the virus transmitted, but then measles do not come so easily to adults as it comes to children. Thus, with those individuals I can empathize, but I cant respect them.

This is where in a state of complete helplessness, all one needs is a two second of concern and a gentle smile that "all will be well". No wonder Munnabhai is one of the best characters to come on screen in recent years, so much so that you wish that every hospital had a post called "the healer" without the patient knowing it who he or she is.

Coming back to the sob-story, on 21st October, MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) called for a local transport strike. No auto taxi or cab was allowed to ply on Bombay roads. On this fateful day, everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. A "stranger to this city" Tanmay and a workaholic Akanksha were subjected to run from pillar to post in a city that they were far from familiar. They knew no good doctors, no good hospital and almost no good people.

Akanksha's colleague came to help, she suggested her family doctor, Dr. Shenoy in Santacruz West, Shastri Nagar. On examining me for five minutes, Dr. Shenoy told us to rush for a Blood Test. The apocalypse had begun. The blood sample took away whatever little energy I had. I sat there on the steps of that "world's most expensive" (or so I thought) laboratory. Akanksha rushed to an ATM and Tanmay ran to get some food, whatever he could lay his hands on. At that moment, even in that state, it occurred to me how could someone feel if he/she is left alone to die in a city of billions.

The results of the Blood Test were soon out and by the time the results came (in some 5 hours), I had completely lost consciousness, as they say "life was getting blurred and out of focus", the only thing I remember is Tanmay's mom, Ruchi Aunty and Akanksha talking to Dr. Shenoy over the phone and uttering words like "admit", "hospital", "ambulance".

Before I knew, I was inside an ambulance that was enjoying its fast pace on the empty streets of Mumbai at 7 30 pm, the so-called rush hour in the evening. Well, in a certain sense it was a rush hour. As we reached hospital, there was a wheel-chair ready, on which I was put and the only visual I saw or I remember is Tanmay paying the ambulance driver.

Now as they show in movies, big hospitals have their own way of dealing with any and every kind of patients.

"25,000/- deposit" said the man at the reception. Remember those were early days in Mumbai to have your bank account filled with that much amount.

And as it happens in the movies, like a fairy tale godmother came Bhavya Mishra with her Citi Bank card. Whoa, the next minute I was in the ICU with all kinds of needles, tubes, bottles, sharp objects, bandages and an army of nurses working. Dr. Abhishek Bhargav entered the ICU, he was informed by Akanksha and Dr. Shenoy about the Blood count and all the different kinds of numbers from haemoglobin to platelets, from WBC to RBC. Akanksha was talking like an expert with the doctors and for a moment I thought, "was she an undercover Doctor" like Dipti Naval in that film, when Utpal Dutt gets a heart stroke. Ah- the perils of being a movie buff, you can never gauge the seriousness of a situation. Many more tests were conducted, with no certain results - neither it was Dengue, nor it was the deadly Falciparum. Even the virus was confused. The only thing they knew was that the platelet count in blood had gone terribly low and there was no resistance power left in the body. If it was mental resistance, I could have shown "Who's your daddy!", but here I didn't have a choice.

I came to senses when there were five people rubbing my feet, like that monotone sound that suddenly switches to the atmosphere sounds. From then till next seven days, I was subjected to the pungent odour of the hospital, the sight of patients with even more dangerous problems, shift-changing nurses, regular visits from concerned relatives, ever-increasing medical bills, a sense of claustrophobia, a set of worried parents and my worst fear in life - those Knife-like POINTED god-damned Injections.

The most touching memory of this whole incident: Hospitals have this system of Lunch for relatives of patients. Over one such lunch, my father broke down and couldn't end thanking Dr. Akanskha "from the depth of his heart" for saving Hardik. (from the depth of one's heart)

This week, 21st-27th October is the first anniversary of that incident.

I cannot end this write-up without this: Thank you Tanmay, Ruchi Aunty, Bhavya and Dr. Akanksha. I owe it to you.
(let it sound like an Oscar speech, after all life is precious)

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10 points on why one should repent on missing a gem of a film called Chintuji

1. I know so many of my friends and colleagues who keep repenting on the fact that they miss serials and features that Doordarshan used to air in late 80s. Their mood, their visuals, their characters - all of them were so near to life, so much so that we could touch them and associate with them untill the disastrous dragon in the name of "satellite television" came and engulfed our imagination and changed how we watch serials and soaps. Well, for all those people who miss the good ol doordarshan-like features, Chintuji is a must watch.

2. It is a delightful satire, although at times too good to believe, but i would rather go with "too good to believe" than with "too asinine to believe" - especially the way mainstream films, television and images are today.

3. Chintuji is about a writer-director in command, he spins an amazing fabric keeping in mind the way our celebrity-obsessed society and media behave. A small sub-plot also tries to tell about a recent terror attack which the Indian constitution or rather the right wing has completely misconstrued. Although the film could have done without it, but "chalo koi nai...". On second thoughts having read about the Afzal case, a little more indication on how the case has gone wrong would have been wonderful. But then this was already a sub-plot.

4. There is a beautiful moment that the director weaves in with the story - that of Raj Kapoor and his "Mera Naam Joker" days. Some of you may not relate with it, but i was brought up on a steady diet of Raj kapoor films & Shankar-Jaikishan songs and when that sequence in "Chintuji" came, i was overwhelmed. Truly it was a wonderful moment for a hindi film lover.

5. A filmmaker said: "film is all about little little details", which Chintuji is full of. Right in front of the director's onslaught is the film industry itself. He mocks and spoofs its own people, right from Junior Artists Association to tantrum-throwing actors. from the "age-old writer" to mentioning "bhatt saab" again and again. The results are hilarious.

6. An interesting thought of making a tribal song and in place of a particular language, there are words mentioning names of famous directors who gave us the "visual" language. From Copolla, De Sica, Kurosawa to De Palma, Bertolucci, Woody Allen and ending it with Satyajit Ray. Brilliant! No one did it till now and it was always on cards. It reminded me of Aamir Khan's "daulat ki Jung" where he mentions hindi film names to the tribal leader, much to his chagrin, but this song in Chintuji was much better.

7. Satyakam. Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Dharmendra - For more on this, watch the film.

8. Rishi Kapoor

9. Rishi Kapoor

10. Rishi Kapoor.

I am yet to watch Ranbir in Wake up Sid, But taking nothing away from the talented kid, i hope he watches this gem of a film of his father. What a year for Rishiji to reinvent himself. After playing Producer Rommi Rolly in one of this year's best film Luck by Chance, this is a wonderful performance. I hope the film and the performance get its due recognition.

For people passionate about cinema, Chintuji is a must watch. I am nowhere related to the film or its DVD manufacturer but the idea that someone who loves cinema has made a small good-intended piece of it, is thrilling.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fuser - lost and found aka our motorcycle diaries

(Warning: a very self-indulgent post)

Right in the dead of the night, a music piece begins to haunt my mind space, and slowly but steadily pierces straight down to my heart - cliché.

I get up and for the next few hours there's no sleep. another cliché.

I twist, turn and try to shut my eyes. But the strings of that music piece don't shut. Life is cliché.

The music 'moves' you, stirs the insides of you... nudges the drudged soul and makes it travel... travel back to those 'wonder' times! "De Usuahia a la Quiaca" - Gustavo Santalola. What an amazing piece of music that is! One through which myriad images are born. Several memories and still more stories. The stories happened a few years back but the hour of the night was same...the same as the time this night - right now as I write this.

The times, when we traveled like refugees across the border, like no one would spot us - but with the gay abandon of the aimless wanderers, the hippies without their hash... It was life that had happened, it was life that we were high on...
And in the book of life, these night rides would fall under the chapter "discovering ourselves"

If we sum the distance traveled every night, we could well reach somewhere near where the heart truly resides inside.
We took to roads at deep into the nights, rode along till early mornings on those empty streets of that wonderful city.
We drove ourselves into a different city, which presented itself to only those who seek... not for 'a cause', but through exploration...exploration for the sake of exploration!

"How could I have known that this city was tailor made for love?" as goes the monologue in the film Hiroshima Mon Amour.

We traveled on our motorcycle, when people with homes in the city were in deep slumber-safely guarded by their dreams, when the politics of the roads changed - when ferocious dogs ruled those vacant lanes, when the barricade police too had dozed off sitting on their wooden benches, when the tired lampposts were waiting for the dawn to break and the bonfires lit by watchmen were living their final sparks.

And this is not romanticizing. This is romance!

Our most reliable companion - our 'Mighty One' - our motorcycle was neither very brand new, nor an old haggard, neither too flamboyant nor dull... but much at peace with itself – and yes probably our only witness of those wondrous nights.
It still is the only witness. And if she (the motorcycle) had the power to write, she could have well written the closest outsider account ever.

She had shown us the city in its pristine form - and the city at its glorious best - its huge flyovers spreading across like veins and arteries that ran into the heart of city, its under-passes, like the mouth of a hungry dragon, its intimidating empty roads and the striking life that blossoms on them. 

Once, I remember... she wasn't perhaps in the best of moods - or beings - or just in the need of some plain attention! She made us walk the wide stretch at 4 30am on a December morning – We took it carefully, holding onto her...right in the middle of a cold night in search of a petrol pump!

But she was always there when we most needed her.

To open skies, cool breeze, heated discussions, empty roads, frank opinions, thunderous rains, beautiful places, dark clouds, heavy traffic and the heart.

I am missing her even as I type this.
I can get her with me again.
I think I will bring it to this Big City, but then
- I don't want her to choke herself in the black smoke of this Big City, I don’t want it to get herself lost in the many many traffic snarls here.
I don't want to be its "beginning of the end".

Is it about her - the motorcycle - or is it about the journey that nurtured the most important relationship – the journey that traveled the crucial distance… that from the heart to the soul and back!

conclusion: the love story is on, but the motorcycle is being missed.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Road, Movie trailer

Here's the first 30 sec promo released by director Dev Benegal.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ten Teachers without whom life wouldn't have been the same.

I almost never ever celebrate any festival. Its been like that, apart from the 2008 holi, there has never been much celebration in life when it comes to festivals since last seven odd years. Probably, i never thought i would make to movies and finally when i made it, life's been a celebration in itself, so whats the need of the festivals?.

But there's this day called Teachers day. Since the time I thought "Lets venture into movies", I have never ever failed to wish people who are responsible for adding value to my this journey. I am writing as if i am some accomplished artist or something. But its ok, everyone is a celebrity on facebook and on their Blogs. So I will let it be.

On this wonderful day, let me take the pleasure of thanking the following ten people who taught me many important lessons in life - lessons that change the way you see life, lessons that contribute in your upbringing and lessons that will always be with you, wherever you go. The people and the lessons are in no particular order.

1. Thank you Prof A.F Mathew for allowing me to come to Mica (during 2004-05 weekends) so that you can give me an hour of patient hearing. Thank you for telling me that movies are meant for much more than just entertainment, and of course thank you for introducing me to alien terms like Micheal Haneke, Walter Salles and several others. Sir, life has never been the same after knowing those alien terms.

2. Thank you Manoj Nair for not allowing me to sit in the campus interview for Almarai Foods, Riyadh. If selected, the money would have lured me to the desert, and i may not have found the magical world of movies. Later on, thank you for being there and encouraging me during the transition from advertising to cinema. I cannot forget those chai sessions in Ahmadabad, even when you were loaded with your IIM subjects.

3. Thank you Rani Dais ma'am for telling the class in Basil school that "even if hardik doesnt get an engineering seat after boards, he should not fret. He can do better in many other careers"
For the reader, sorry for that self-appraisal note, but when a student is feeling miserable with his sad scores in mid term class XII exams, that sentence is a huge respite in a confusing career with competitive friends around.

4. Thank you Mr. Harsh Purohit for taking the risk of adding a fresh dairy technologist to the copywriting crew of one of the most dynamic advertising agencies. Thank you for all those little nuances about writing, presentations and clients. I still follow them to the core.

5. Thank you Prof. Shohini Ghosh for those wonderful lectures on images, their politics, films and documentaries. I wish those lectures would have been more in number. It changed the way we thought about media and films. I had almost 100% attendance in second year, coz i thought you would come any day for a surprise lecture and i better not miss it. Thank you also for rejecting me in 2005's interview at Jamia, I was a different person when i entered in 2006. :) :)

6. Thank you Gangaraju Swamy for giving me shelter in your room no. 114 during dangerous ragging sessions in first year. Thank you for those delicious conversations during dinners at the tasteless Hostel Mess. Thank you again for supporting me during early Mumbai days. (Actually to Gangaraju I cant thank enough!!!)

7. Thank you Shailesh for all those wonderful childhood memories, classroom pranks and introducing me to good hollywood movies.

8. Thank you Yazad in renewing my interest in photography and how digital photography can change your vision. I can now start to think the possibilities of sfx in an image. But am more thankful for showing me the way in how to live properly, how to keep the kitchen clean, how to make tea and how to contribute when you share the flat.

9. Thank you Mr. Dev Benegal for almost whatever all I know about practical filmmaking. From introducing the concept of script supervision to introducing me to the wonderful world of Apple technologies, from encouraging an assistant's ramble about world cinema to making coffees during edit sessions. The last one year has been priceless!!

10. Thank you Bombay/Mumbai. There isn't a better teacher for a young ambitious man in this world. The lesser i say the better it is. As the cliche would go: "The city surely has possibilities to make your dreams come true. Aise he nahi chale aate hum jaisen yahaan..."

Happy Teachers Day to all the wonderful teachers out there in the world. You guys are doing a great job.

With love and respects.
Hardik Mehta

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Road, Movie - the group on facebook is ON

Something inside me is beaming like a kid - Road, Movie is finally getting a world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival 2009. Wow! it cant get bigger than this. Although i always wanted a Cannes, coz the script was right up there. The film, the director, the screenplay - they all deserve to be at the world stage.

And i have the extreme pleasure of being the moderator and the creator of the Facebook group for Road, Movie. Keep in touch on the following link

There so much to share on this film, its making and its post production work. I will be posting my stories and experiences on it shortly.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Two conversations, One ride and the journey of cinema

I would rather struggle with film than struggling with other things.... - Woody Allen to Jean-Luc Godard in their conversation. (Meeting WA)

I couldnt have imagined a better way to start the weekend. Now before i start saying, writing or quoting things, I know that there are a lot of my friends working in television and on reading this they would love to kick my ass and label me a psuedo-moral preacher.

But hell, I am sorry but i will write or speak. Woody Allen says and i quote "TV in a certain way is changing the viewing habits of the audience, the audience are now so used to Television and the kind of images it is bringing that thats how they expect from the cinema when they are sitting and watching a film on a large screen".

Apropos to Kaminey. I was traveling from Bandra to Andheri in BEST bus and two ladies sitting behind me were going all guns fired on Kaminey. "What kind of stupid film it is?, how sad Priyanka Chopra looks?" and let me tell you they left the film from between - needless to say i intervened - Not for the sake of Kaminey but for the sake of gauging the reaction of a particular audience segment. Why were they pissed off so badly?

One of the ladies replied "how can anyone like this film? 4 stars my Foot!!! "

I couldn't help but had to laugh, she continued her rant "have the media gone mad in saying this the best film of this year?". Well i agree the media is biased towards "Kaminey". But i think its ok to be biased for a film that is trying to do something different. Anyways, What makes me think why those women reacted so badly to the film is because the answer lied somewhere in the conversation - in what one was speaking to other. Lady A said to B "I couldnt see anything properly on the screen and Priaynka Chopra was so bad without "make-up" ?? Aaaah - there I caught you ma'am.

The images that you were expecting and the images that you couldn't see or were not shown. A Priyanka Chopra has to be there on the screen with "make-up" and is expected to look like a Barbie doll. Well - I am not against "make-up", i am against the idea of "make-up" that makes the actor look great and doesn't do anything to the character. Ok, point made, continuing ahead - its probably a high dose of television images that are responsible for those ladies to react like this. A friend said "Indians are not trained to watch Kmainey-like lighting." hmmm...our job is not to train them, so they watch and are able to appreciate or criticize us, maybe our job lies in providing them more kamineys and make them think that "Oh-ya even this is possible and this too is great". Or maybe I am just expecting too much.

In the conversation between Woody Allen and Jean Luc Godard, Woody also tells an interesting aspect bout cinema. I quote "the idea is so pure in its pristine stage that you would never love your film after it is made. Once the idea has come, afterwards its all a downfall - writing, casting, making, editing, mixing - all of it takes it down" ...Amazing thought.

I have always felt this, but didnt know how to express. Although there are these highs in between you get when a few visuals do come together in the form of how the original idea was. But nothing like the original idea. I worked on a film for one whole year, from pre-production to post-production. From organizing meetings between Producer, DoP, Director on Skype and taking notes till handing over the hard disks and DVDs for dialogue clean-ups and watching over the ADR - and i realized how that statement of Mr. Allen is so true. When you close your eyes and the images that run through your head are the most beautiful ones and as and when the film gets made, you know - "Oh well, was it imagined like this?". But anyways what i would love to add to Mr. Allen (or if i am allowed) is that "The Editing sometimes does bring in all the wonderful images together to give you a feel of how wonderful the original idea was. I term it as the "magical fleeting moment" . On shoot, with the kind of haphazard schedules you would have never ever thought of all this to happen. Yet in 90 mins, even if that magic of coming together happens for 15 odd mins. your audience will be moved, that is beyond doubt.

Well, for cinema fans, i recommend this wonderful conversation between these two greats taped in 1986. The one Cut that i saw was of 30 mins only and it was badly badly edited with completely unnecessary title cards and hammy background score, it would be wonderful if even the text form is available - like Truffaut interviews Hitchcock. Here's hoping that I can get the whole conversation from some source.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Anand - a Tryst with Destiny

In the summer of 2004, two friends were about to graduate from their “one hell of a course”. But at the back of the mind, they always knew that whatever hell the course made them go through, it was an experience they will never ever forget.

They thought the course never taught them anything useful for four whole years. But ironically all the elements that surrounded the course taught them much more about life than any course could. The tea stall, the hostel, the cricket ground, the hostel mess, the stage, the auditorium, the cinema hall, the sleepy town, the friends, the senior students, the people, the conversations, all of them contributed in their growing up. Well they graduated in life through these elements.

Thus, when they were about to graduate from the course, they thought it would be a fitting tribute to capture some memories, nuances, people and places through their amateur lens. Neither of them had done any photography before this and nor they had any special equipment for it. All they had was one Kodak KB10 camera, borrowed from their parents. One of the friends came up with an idea to click Black and White images using of course a Black and White film roll. The idea behind Black and White was of course the flashback, nostalgia kind of feel. After all once they were done with their graduation, they were suppose to set out to conquer the world, at least thats what every passionate young blood thinks of.

In 2004’s Anand, digital photography was an alien term and neither had any of the two had seen a digital SLR camera. Hell ,they didn't even knew what is SLR? So, after buying a black and white film, they went around the town in search of a studio that developed Black and White prints. To their surprise, there were hardly any takers. They went from pillar to post, but no one had an answer to “who could develop black and white prints for us?” After some two whole days of grueling research in the month of May, they met a person outside the now defunct “Gopi talkies”. The man was seated on a wooden stool, after some initial questions, he gave them an address of an old man who still had equipment, chemicals etc to process Black and White images.

There! They both rushed to the old man and pleaded for help. The old man smelled business opportunity, he thought them to be some Fine Arts students who could shell out good money for such photographs, and after all he was the only man in the town who could develop B/W prints. The 2 friends were already out of cash; nevertheless they passed him the film and went about borrowing some money from classmates. One can only imagine the desperation to see the images.

The following album is the result of that effort made in 2004. A few of the images got completely washed out due to that old man’s “god-knows-what” chemical, but then the important ones were saved. Here they are.

Anand – a Tryst with Destiny

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Television finally makes some sense amidst nonsense

One of the startling facts that I got to know was that a very very hyped show on Sony's flagship channel couldnt manage a sponsor for one whole week of its running time. And now the best part, if you are unlucky enough to watch that show, you yourself will conclude that its the most bizarre, stupid and ridiculous reality show on television right now with the choicest of dumb people on it. Half of them dont happen to be celebrity also. No wonder they dint get sponsorship, after all corporates have better brains than some people in television think.

But since a few days I have been observing that amidst this tunnel of dumbness, the other associate channel of Sony - SAB has slowly but surely come up with some good 'light' humor-based serials. They have unleashed an array of shows that are both harmless and entertaining.

Take for example the show Tedhi Baat hosted by two great funny men of television - the amazingly straight-faced sardar and the legendary Shekhar Suman. They both of course along with the script writers of the show, keep the fun going, and the kind of humor sprinkled with satire is really great. Shekhar suman in his different avatars is still so good, he brings people from everyday life and adds the masala of exaggeration and voila i was rolling on a few one-liners. And like every good writer the show itself has so much self reflexive humor. For eg when Suman comes as a babu of Meteorological department, he replies back irritatingly to the question posed by Gurpal
"You have been wasting your whole show on a section that is given only a minute's importance in news bulletin, and there too beautiful girls have to keep that one minute going, so why is your whole show dedicated to weather? Are you nuts?

The another interesting fact of these new shows are that a few of them are bringing back the good old comic actors who have occupied a certain space in our television corners of our minds. Yeh Chanda Kanon hai has Tiku Talsania playing the high court judge with his trademark comic timing. The show always has a fresh episode every time it airs and the same two judges fight for it. Its a good concept.

"Thank you Jijaji" is another serial that has the great Jaspal Bhatti with his always wonderful creative title cards like Misdirection, Production Out of Control, Background Noise, Script Piracy, Sets and Upsets etc. The first episode started with a rocking Bhatti couple discussing the doorbell jisse current lagta hai.

There are some more shows on the line up on SAB but these three are the ones that I am going to follow. But then how can my write up be without some complains, there are a few downsides of these shows. Some of the limitations include poor production design, bad jerky editing and at times terrible background music effects coming from an amateur Casio keyboard. But all of this is something that you can overlook, if you have quality content being served. and as i said earlier Quality content that is harmless and entertaining. SAB surely has started some sort of trends on it.

I m hooked.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Monday, August 10, 2009

Phatta Poster nikla hero....

I am a huge fan of bollywood posters, from childhood they have been an important part of my imagination. So much so that a poster as you all know can make or break a film.

So i thought it would be best if i reveal myself as a bollywood hero in one of my own posters. Now the challenge was that i and my friend akanksha were the only ones around when we suddenly landed on this idea of making fictitious posters. Thats when our dear macbook came to help. We framed and clicked through its internal webcam and then did some simple photoshop techniques to get this result. Thus, no copyrights issue, no title problems. We will make and star in our own films.

Click on the poster to read the tagline, which will give you an idea what the movie is about.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mumbai, as seen from the High Seas - Eastern Coast

I love untouched photographs. Thats the idea behind good photography. But sometimes its best if you try going the other side. Yazad and I have had umpteen discussions on it, but Yazad here I come.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Music Within and my attempt to write a proposal for Documentary filmmaking

The Music Within is a proposal for a documentary film that i had planned two years ago. Right now, the proposal has been sent to the concerned authorities, if it clicks - well then its going to open a world of opportunities for me in a completely different sector. Actually too much bollywood is harmful for health. The proof is 2 hospital visits in one year. thats just 2 much i guess.

Back to the documentary - The attached photo is of an individual called Atul Mehta, who happens to be my uncle. Between 1978 to 1989, Atul suffered from a mysterious genetic disorder called Retinosis Pigmentoza, which lead to complete blindness in his case. Imagine a normal person is told that within next ten years slowly your eyesight is gonna go and who is to blame for this - your genes. Given this kind of situation, it is extremely hard for an individual to come to terms with one's destiny. Well, its a long story, but what happened after the blindness is what the documentary is about - and that i will describe if the proposal gets a green signal.

By the way what happened in next few years is one of the biggest miracles of god that i have seen. Its a film about human endurance, hard work and an extraordinary life

In the photo besides Atul Mehta is his then 11 year old daughter, Shruti, my cousin sister.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Fictitious Director and how we made posters during Road, Movie

Since "Road, Movie" the film happens to be about movies, we were required to make posters for fictitious films and this title was one of my favourites ever since i had coined it. Finally got to put this title and named myself as the director of this film. Well its a kind of a small ode to the stupid films I watched in 80s. The films weren't stupid then though, i really enjoyed them.

The Legend of Uncle Nemesis and when Gabbar Singh came in Lungi....

When he shouts, his voice soars like a hungry hawk, making echos in his area

When he raises his hand, the chaos would suddenly organize itself.

When he dons those black glasses, mankind will get justice.

And when he lifts his Lungi, the Earth under it is going to shake the world apart.

Enter Uncle Nemesis.

The protector of a hapless film crew.

The self-appointed guardian of public morality on how to behave when a Star actor is around

The defender of the 'outsiders' in a city like Mumbai

The Man who could easily give Quick Gun Murugan and Bappi Lahiri a complex with his combination of style, substance and sophistication.

I hereby take an opportunity to introduce him.

Shooting at real locations is always tough, especially in a crowded city like Mumbai. So, when the locales came to know that a film shooting with a Big bollywood superstar is going to happen at their Port area, they as usual went berserk. As the military conquest by the Vanity Vans started in the area, people started pouring out in huge numbers. The Film shoot security staff found themselves helpless in front of such a huge number, unable to take control over the situation they were threatened by such an outpour. The Mass was literally out on roads, a few were hanging from their roofs, some were perched on trees and some taking the best available positions for viewing, whatever the corners or support available. Nobody in the film production unit had the clue about how will they pull the shoot off. The Mumbai police constables had conveniently parked their vehicle in a corner and were waiting for the superstar to come. They had no particular interest in controlling the people or the crowd there. They were literally as they are shown in the movies - lethargic and waiting for some free lunches.

Suddenly the Production Manager spotted an avuncular figure amongst the crowd who was making way for himself in the frontline, so that he can be the first to see the Bollywood star, when he comes.

The figure was an Uncle who was dressed in a white shirt, Blue checkered lungi and was wearing dark glasses. His teeth were ultra-stained, his dark fingers were covered with long gold rings and he was armed with a black Umbrella, which he considered his style statement. He shouted something in Tamil and the roaring crowd came to a silence. When he raised his Umbrella, the kids started running helter-skelter, the unemployed & loitering youth checked their catcalls & whistles, the women grouped themselves together, the men made way for him and the chaos came to an abrupt end. The Uncle shouted again and everyone froze. His voice created an echo in that area and came back three to four times. Like the mazda of an army, like the seasoned warrior of the Mughal Empire and like the batsmen who scored a century at Lords - he raised his Umbrella - waves of hush-hush followed.

The Production manager was quick to spot his ability. Without wasting a second, he offered the Uncle some money and food, the Uncle assured him the rest will be taken care of, like in the Movies.

The Shoot was about to begin now. People were as quiet as the school children who have just noticed a long cane in the hands of their teacher. As soon as the Star walked out of his Vanity Van, suddenly the Avatar of Uncle Nemesis changed, he himslef became a kid -

"Won Photto...pleaz...Won Photto....with Sarr.."

The Production Manager allowed and the shoot went on smoothly. Impressed with his abilities even I asked him if he could oblige me for a photo with him. He smiled and posed.

Uncle, you were the real superstar for me that day. The star could be there coz you were around.

Thank You Uncle Nemesis.

You saved our day.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Sunday, July 26, 2009

An Outdoor publicity campaign in Mumbai

Outside andheri station. Thats the kind of graphics on outdoor publicity that I really appreciate. Its fantastic. you would want to book a pulsar, if u are its target audience. Reminds me of Street Hawk, the serial, as one of my friends pointed out.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Music Aaj Kal...

a quick round up on the hindi film music scene these days:

Love Aaj Kal
Re-Hashed, Remixed - Sounds good in parts. But please nowhere near its predecessor Jab We Met. Can we do away with this logic that Rahat Fateh Ali Khan - matlab - the song must be good. Ya its been true at times - but here the song "Aaj din chadeiyan" starts well, than after a point it doesn't stir you up.

"Aahun Aahun" has a nice start again with the guitar going from L to R and R to L. Its Madan Maddi's rhythm as they say. The Rap part in the song makes it utterly sad. But the Madan Maddi's part makes you feel there is so much to Punjabi folk than whats been projected to us.

"Chor Bazaari" does have a nice beat, undoubtedly. And the Band part makes you go "dhinchak". But i dont agree that Niraj Shridhar was the best choice for the song. Sunidhi is apt.Loved the use of owrd "ghatna"

"Mei kya hoon"
KK has so much fond memories of my growing up with singing and going to the higher octave. It was some time since i heard his voice. He's back in this song and his voice soars like an eagle at some parts. But i think almost all of Love Aaj Kal's songs start well but cant match up in their antaras.

my my - these guys (at Vishesh films) know how to make awesome music- Create, Beg, borrow, or steal - but they would surely come out with stuff that on a certain level clicks. Like we wait for Rahman's new album, there are people out there who wait desperately for music from the next Vishesh films venture. Jashnn's "dard-e-tanhai" works for me - it may not for some - but it surely will be on the top of chartbusters.
Even the "Nazrein Kahaan " has a nice crescendo in the end. It does sound like a desi-Enigma version - but people out here love it. Its already on the no 1 spot, as one of my friends told me.

Did i read Salim-Suleiman on the credit list?
Only "Khudaya ve" deserves some mention, Salim Merchant's voice is good. Why doesnt he use often?the rest as the visuals look - ordinary fanfare.
"Jee Le" seems like been there, done that. A rehash of Aaja Nachle's Ishq hua.

Lets save the best for last. Mohit Chauhan, Sukhwinder Singh, Suresh Wadkar - take the cake. What renditions! Easily the best singer of our times for romantic ballads - Mohit Chauhan.
Gulzasaab too saves all his ammunition for his people.
When was the last time we heard a beautiful romantic song and were reminded of those wonderful days - when life went past by in slow motion and you felt like running into the arms of your favourite person."Pehli baar Mohhabbat" will remind you of all those days, moments, memories.

The Pulp-fictionique song will do great for all the pubs. It too boasts of awesome lyrics. Visuals remind me of "kung-fu fighting" sequences of City of God.

Did Radiohead come to compose "Go Charlie Go"?. If you mix Radiohead, sprinkle a doze of Kalyanji Anandji and bits of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy you would get this theme.

You wouldnt expect a word like "Kaminey" in the soft number that Suresh Wadkar sings. I felt that there was some mistake in naming the song untill i heard Wadkar singing "meri aarzoo kamini...". Awesome. Stuff that can force you to think different.

P.S: if I listen to all songs made during last year in 2008 - the Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi harmonium still doesnt leave my mind. What a composition.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Jimmy... Jimmy... jimmy...Jib

80% of times the Jib shot used in our films or television serials are almost unwanted. Its like an escape route - When out of ideas and imagination go for the Jimmy Jib shot. The moving camera will at least do something to your frame - and in a way engage the audience, if the actors are not able to engage or worse - if your filmmaking/story-telling techniques are not able to engage.

Its a dangerous route that many filmmakers are taking. One of my friends commented that if the Jib was not invented than RGV would have been a bartender by now. But I dont quite agree to it. Consider his earlier works, they were done with minimum resources and maximum content. But then if you take all of his later films almost all of it have so much excessive use of such gimmicks like jib - and its almost as if he's lost on the "substance" part. Only the style remains. Watch Nishabd's simplest of the simple scene - when Amitabh Bachchan enters the house in his jeep. The shot starts from top, the camera is perched on the tree and swing it comes down and revolves round and round with Amitabh in centre - on watching it i felt - RGV's really lost it with his Jib. Was Nishabd a horror film or what. After 2 or 3 such attempts from RGV, when i started watching Sarkar Raj - i got so bored in the first 20 mins with his used, abused, tried and tested camera angles - that i thought i could utilize this time in a better fashion.

This is just a case in point. I better not open the idiot box and its excessive use of Jib. Will leave it here. Come on filmmakers we have such powerful tools with us, why to go out of ideas?

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ek Chatur Idea and How to travel, when in Mumbai

Its something that almost all of us who travel in Mumbai observe. especially when we are returning towards our homes on the sweaty and crowded evenings. Faces - Faces that tell stories - of people who are tired, who are weary and who are returning after "god-knows what kind of day at work". The usual scene inside a public mode of transport is - Men either thinking or sleeping. Young girls perpetually busy on their mobiles, women lost in their thoughts about preparing meals after a tiring day. Yes, life is tough here. And oh did I forget the "horny" drivers, the motionless traffic, the ubiquitous smoke, the permanently "under-construction" infrastructure and add to all of these nightmares, the incessant Rains –all of them contributing towards the agony of reaching home. My purpose for pointing out this fatigued atmosphere is something that I happened to experience today.

In midst of all of the above mentioned factors, since last few days - the BEST bus service has started a new initiative. On the two screens installed inside the bus, they regularly show popular hindi film songs especially old songs. Its not as if this is an "out-of-the-box" idea, but it surely seems to be working. Why Old songs? – coz of the wide target audience that the public transport caters too. Now, as I entered Bus no. 266 on a rainy evening, I heard two glasses – clinking against each other and out came Vijay Arora holding his guitar. Zeenat Aman started singing “chura liya hai tumne jo…bolo ticket…” – seeing me getting inside the bus, the conductor was quick to pounce.

As the journey went on, after the “yaadon ki baarat” song, some “badly-made, less said about them” commercials came and went without disturbing the Corner Seat Uncle from his slumber. Inside the bus, the atmosphere was like the first paragraph of this write up – dull and boring. A little while later, the bus – like a giant elephant roared, stuttered and halted. The aunty sitting ahead of me got irritated.

“ye roz-roz ka traffic jam ho gaya hai…”

The visuals on the screen inside the bus flickered and then began the song. Mehmood, Kishore Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Saira Banu – “Ek Chaturnaaar….”. Now I consider this song as one of the most difficult songs ever to be composed and sung in hindi films. Manna Dey & Kishore Kumar were the singers and of course RD Burman’s music. The song had just begun and my eyes were instantly fixed to the screen. People in the bus were still fighting with either their or the city’s demons. As the song progressed, Mehmood’s antics began – “jis naari ka das…” – Back came the answer from Kishorda. And the battle on screen had just begun. I started to sing along, the guy sitting next to me started to talk on his cell phone. The Bus was still at its snail’s speed. The conductor had probed everyone over ticket and was now glued to the screen.

On screen, the “ghoda-chatur, ghoda-chatur” conversation began amongst the singers and actors. It started to turn hilarious. I could hardly control, I laughed out. A few men in the bus now started enjoying the song. A girl stopped staring outside the window and looked at the screen. The guy next to me put his cell down. The Deep Slumber Uncle now moved his head and in a while was staring at the screen like a kid. People started watching the song. They saw Mehmood confused with his harmonium keys. Sunil Dutt confused over the words. Kesto Mukherjee with his Chaplinsque moustache permanently confused. Inside the bus, those weary faces, those tired souls smiled. A sense of cheerfulness spread amongst the passengers. It was a wonderful sight, watching those “lightened” faces. Almost everyone knew about the song. By the time Mehmood had jumped from the window and the song had reached its ultimate crescendo – It was an amazing sight. Kishore Kumar had psychologically strangled Mehmood. I laughed out so loud that a few passengers were taken aback but chose not to respond. Infact they too smiled. Happiness had spread through the air. The smoke was now having a bad time. It was choking. Happiness was the cause. The bus in the meantime had started traveling. As the song came to an end, I was wondering at the genius of the people behind Padosan’s song and suddenly – the conductor came:

“tumko Apna Bazaar utarne ka tha na?”

And suddenly I realized that I had missed my bus stop. Movies, I tell you. It can surely work wonders on you. As Dev Benegal would put it “the magic of cinema”. I jumped out and saw the bus passing by me – in a second’s glance I saw the stern-looking conductor on his seat, smiling. No, not at me – to himself, to the song, or to the song called “life”

Note: So when you are stuck in those traffic "jams" while returning after earning your bread & "butter" – Take the BEST buses and the songs would surely provide you a reason to say "cheese"

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Landscape that has the power to change

There s no doubt that its the most stunning landscape of our country but whats important is the lives that this landscape has changed. Try the Srinagar-Leh route on wheels. It takes two days. You stop at Kargil on Day 1. And No..dont go on the famous bikers route of Manali to Leh. Its passe now.

The Srinagar to Leh is where you know how within two days the luscious greens turn to barren browns. How life can change into several degree of loneliness. yes "Frozen" is the right word.

Frozen in time, Frozen in space, Frozen in memories.

This picture is taken between Mulbek and Lamayuru. Fotu La happens to be the highest point on this route.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jodhpur Blues

Thats Morning in Jodhpur from the Mehrangarh Fort

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Road to "Road, Movie" comes to a dead end... the God who sustains life on Earth.

Well for me - Vishnu was the character through which I could sustain one whole year for one film - "Road, Movie"

Vishnu is the one who gets irritated from me.

But I would never want to leave Vishnu.

But alas, the incidental irony - the book was bought almost when i appeared for an interview for the next film. :(

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tackling the language and how I made friends in class 6

People almost always have an affinity towards their own language. Not many can detach themselves from their own mother tongue and carry on with their cosmopolitan existence. Somewhere down the line, the “apanapan” in them “jaag he jaata hai...”!! Even, when students leave their home, one of the first things that come to their parents’ mind is that it would be better if their daughter/son finds a roommate/classmate/friend/colleague that belongs to the same region or speaks the same language.

“Ideas ka exchange aasani se ho jata hai, you see”
And / Or
“woh tumhe zyada behtar samajh sakenge..”

I remember how I used to make it a point to speak in the same language to my fellow ‘same-language’ classmates in Delhi. Sometimes it was forced but I carried on, maybe the language had a wonderful “sugar-syrup” quality attached to it. Remember, that interesting episode in the Akbar-Birbal story, about a man knowing every language, so well that nobody could decipher his mother tongue. But then, Birbal always had different ideas.

Ok, so cut to July, 1993 -

Our family was transferred from Mumbai to Baroda. I had just completed my class 5 then. Marathi was a part of my course in Mumbai and I was just getting a hang of it, when the transfer order came, my tryst with the Marathi language came to an abrupt end.

(Flash forward to July, 2008, the forgotten language came back like a long-lost boomerang in the Australian desert carrying Pandit Nehru’s famous words “tryst with destiny”. Enter the local train. Anyways that’s for later.)

Back to July, 1993.

So, when I reached Baroda, and entered my new class 6 - I saw this guy with a lanky frame, long face, and trying to be the hero of the class types (a few months forward again: I too would become of the same type - cutting out the lanky part, of course).

Enter class 6 classroom. Watching this “trying-to-be-hero” guy and his tall structure near the blackboard, I instantly started to have a dislike for him. Maybe it’s with the tall guys or maybe it’s with the idea of intimidating the class with your overbearing persona and ya maybe coz I m “not-so-tall”. To add to my “new-classroom blues” - the teacher hadn’t come and as a result it was time for monitors to mind the class. So, you see this lanky guy is a “monitor” aah...

As soon as he was near the blackboard (green board in our case) he selected a chalk-piece from the lifeless chalk box and started drawing something. No, it was not the drawing, but what he used to draw that irritated me. The drawing would consist of just one face - the side-view of a macho guy with a cigar on his lips and long hair that would extend till his shoulders. (Oh the other day I saw Nirmal Pandey at Lokhandwala market buying Naturals ice-cream. Same pinch. Even I love Naturals)

So now you know what that chalky figure on the board looked like. But Nirmal Pandey hadn’t graced our screen then. So, classmates felt that the lanky guy was trying to sketch someone like Sanjay Dutt in Khalnayak. Back in 1993, it was one of the super hit films, combining Dutt's real and reel life. Remember the 1993 Bomb Blasts case.

But wait, after the drawing came the most irritating part. Mr. Lanky would stand back and admire his sketch and would turn to the class and shout the most absurd thing that you would have heard.

"Ye waqt hamara hai.."!!!

Reference: even "Waqt Hamara hai" - a Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty film (then he was Sunil and not Suniel) was released in 1993. Thus getting clearly inspired from the movie, he used to do this stupid act. Oh, so maybe that chalky figure was of Akshay Kumar!

"ye waqt hamara hai,
ye waqt hamara hai"

Day 2 - Class 6.

The teacher enters the classroom and announces that since this is a free lecture, she will take Gujarati subject. She asked us to open our Gujarati textbooks. Now having studied in Mumbai, I never had Gujarati as a subject - but the irony is that my mother tongue happens to be Gujarati. But I was never taught to write.

I could speak, yes, very well.
Read: well, very slowly.
Write: A big No.

Although once my mother came to know that we are going to get transferred to Gujarat, she instantly told me that you will have to learn Gujarati now. She taught me for two or three days before I lost patience. Writing Marathi is much simpler due to its proximity to Hindi. But Gujarati, well I was never ready for it.

But here I was, the teacher had asked now to take out our notebooks and she started dictating. Mr. Lanky was sitting besides me. The class started writing. I was clueless. Words from her mouth came like the arrows in a Zhang Yimou film. They shot my head like a rocket. I could only match her speed of dictation for one or two sentences. Eventually, in the web of familiar words but unfamiliar territory of writing, I lost her. I thought I will look into Mr. Lanky’s book and start copying, but as soon as I tried to do this - Mr. Lanky turned the page. Now I was helpless. I choked. I couldn’t comply.

To everyone's amazement in the class, the 12-year old inside me started crying. The teacher stopped dictating and came to me. On knowing the reason she smiled. She told me to take Mr. Lanky’s notebook for copying at home. She said "practice". In a few days I would catch up - she promised.

The guy gave me his notebook. His mother tongue happened to be Hindi. Amazing irony!

Since that day onwards I started taking his notebook to home. During all the exchanges, I started seeing Mr. Lanky in a different light. I came to know his name: Shailesh Gupta.

The moment I made friends with him - school was never school. From then on, I so enjoyed coming to school. Sitting on last benches, we always had our comments reserved for every classmate, teacher, and peon of the school. We used to cycle together to the railway tracks to watch the brand new Shatabdi Express pass at 3 45pm in afternoon. We made sure that we go as far as possible from the station, so that we see the train in its maximum speed. One fine day, oh sorry, one fine night we were also caught by a police constable. Memories, I tell you.

In class 8, the Gujarati teacher was so impressed with my essay in the exam that not only she gave me the maximum numbers, but she brought my answer sheet from the junk and handed it to me saying: “please read this essay for the class”

The essay was called “shaak-bhaaji na market ma ek kalak” (An hour at the Vegetable Market) I remember describing the vegetable market (Kadak Bazaar near Baroda station) as a melting pot for people, vegetables, voices, noises, cows, cowdung, cow horns, car horns. (in Gujarati - it read - “Jo aam chaale bai, ne vach ma chaale gai... toh kya jaai aapda bhai...?)

Quite an achievement that was from the guy who once cried for not knowing how to write the language. Sorry for this last self-appraisal post script. But I loved that few seconds of celebrityhood.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

Monday, June 8, 2009

Growing up with the Game and the 1992 World Cup

Back in 1992, when i was in class 5 - cricket was still considered a menace for kids. but worse, the school authorities didnt allow to play cricket in school. I mean not allowing cricket to kids who used to get up at 4 in the mornings to watch New Zealand beat Australia in the opening match of 1992 World Cup. Infact, let it be any damn match – since the World Cup was being played in Australia, setting the alarm for 4 in morning was a norm. To top it all - there were the new colourful uniforms, the wonderful white ball, those lazy flamingoes on the Australian grounds and the lush green outfields. My parents discouraged me from getting up at four in the morning. But when you are a kid, nothing comes between you and your interests.

Imagine a father's plight who had to get up at 4 to wake his kid to watch Zimbabwe play Pakistan and then a couple of hours later wake up again to start for the day that included traveling in those sweaty local trains from one corner of the city to the other extreme.

Back to the school - Radios were not allowed in the premises. And most of my classmates would just get up, get ready and come to school by 8 am without knowing what match or what score it is. And by the time they reached home, the match was over and Star Sports was showing a random Rugby match. As a result not many of them could follow the World Cup matches. So, when someone in the morning in our class would want to know the score, they would turn to me and all of my fathers and my efforts to get up at 4 would come to help –

Classmate: “South-Africa Vs. West-Indies ka kya hua?”

Me: “Meryck Pringle took 4/19. All four batsmen including the great Ritchie Richardson, Brian Lara were caught in slips.

Aah, the joy of it! Heads would turn. Faces that looked at me asking for more info on the match.

I know 1992 world cup like no one else does. I can bet. From Jadeja’s historic catch of Allan Border to the flying Johnty Rhodes to run out Inzamam. From Mark Greatbatch’s power stroke play to Ian Botham’s famous gesture.

Javed Miadad scored 40 of 110 balls against India at SCG. John Traicos of Zimbabwe was 44, the oldest cricketer to play for any country then. Ravi Shashtri was the slowest batsmen that we saw then. (25 off 75 balls). Facts, figures, trivia, scores, statistics – all were a part of a great brainwave – called Star Sports – yes the television had come home.

The one memory or that one match of 1992 World Cup that i can never forget is Sanjay Manjrekar scoring that brisk 47 off 42 deliveries against Australia. His knock took India till the doors of victory untill a cool Steve Waugh, a clueless Tom Moody and the substitute wicket keeper David Boon snatched it away on that last ball.

Last ball, 4 runs required and Javagal Srinath is on the crease. As usual, when Tom moody bowled, he took a wild swing. The ball went high, high and was almost on the edge of boundary when a running Steve "red-handkerchief" Waugh appeared - but hey !! he dropped the catch ( Gibbs, you can laugh on him. - even he did this at some point of time)

But hey, we need 4 runs - Indian batsmen or should i say bowlers were running hard. I remember Bill Lawry, the commentator shouting to Javagal Srinath and Raju - RUN, RUN, RUN. My uncle and my father who were watching the match, almost shouted when David Boon took off those bails, leaving India high and dry. I was more tensed than them, but on seeing their reactions and their utter disappointment - I felt we should have won that day. I thought, if only Ravi Shastri, the slowest batsmen in the world could have not wasted 75 balls to score his 25.

These days, when every match ends on a last ball I can hardly remember scores, players and events. It doesnt feel special to witness or be a part of the hysteria. I cant recollect the last entire match that I saw. Gone are the days when i took that scolding from my parents to get up for a random cricket match. But I still love the game.

Its been 3 years now, since i took the Bat in my hand. But legend has it that on the grounds of Agricultural Campus, Anand, there was a left-handed batsmen who almost reached to his century - the first ever to happen on that ground. But alas, short by three runs - 97* not out!

Much like that India-Australia match. But as wise men say there are somethings that are better left unconquered.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bol kya naam hai tera.....Johnny

I have always had a knack for title sequences. How does the credits roll in the start or in the end of a film is as important for me as how is the plot unravelled in a story.

I remember how Dev Benegal showed us the opening shot of Inside Man in our script to screen workshop - the Chaiyya Chaiyya that followed Clive Owen's exposition - it was pulse racing stuff. I loved my MCRC's classroom then. What sound, what atmosphere. I could have sat in there for years together. When the credits for Inside Man ended, the next line that came from Dev sir was - "the rest of the film hardly lives upto the kind of opening :)"

Here's a link to one of the finest musical openings of Indian cinema. None other than Vijay Anand's classic - Johnny Mera Naam. Do take out time and enjoy this credit sequence and imagine yourself in a theatre in 70s - Wow! what ripples it must have created.

Kalaynji-Anandji were at their best. Note the opening of Johnny Gaddar - the same trumpet - albeit a little contemporary in style. and note the smart Alec in in Vijay Anand - I.S Johar coming up three times. And here's an interesting note for hindi film music lovers - remember Babla Beats - the guy who used to play the bongo so effectively - here in these credits of Johnny Mera Naam, he is credited as an assistant. No wonder those beats, they are so trademark Babla.

Maybe i remember them coz Navratri in 1980s was not complete without the "Babla 90 minute Non-Stop music cassette"

Presently, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is the best music trio who know the style of Kalyanj-Anandji's music inside out. Guess what - not just Johnny Gaddar - they also redefined Kalyanji-Anandji's music in Don. I so loved the experience of sitting in that hall and discovering that "Don never died" - the music, the aura - if only i could write music!

P.S: My uncle was always of opinion that "Kalayanji-Anandji knew the business of film music like no one else. After giving some average music in three to four films, when their existence would come to question - the would come up with a master-piece. That master-piece would stamp their brand of music and they could survive for more three to four films...:)