VOL 04 ISSUE 1 OCTOBER 2013
CINEMA, MUSIC AND ART WITH
r d a n n I V e r S a r Y
e d I T I O n
- The Man ,The PhIlOSOPhY
arUna SaI raM - PUrSUInG PadaMS
andreaS deFFner MaTT dUnKleY Anniversary EDITION
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JONTY RHODES BREW THE CHANGE WITH
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Its a proud moment for all of us at Brew. We complete 3 this October. The strength of our beliefs is what made us come this far and sustain ourselves in this tough market. I would like to thank all our friends, well wishers and advertisers who placed their faith and supported us. The team at Brew is constantly working to get better and better every issue and offer the best to its readers. On this occasion, a lot of new initiatives have been taken and you can expect a lot of new and exciting things from us. This being the 100th year of Indian Cinema we thought it would be the most ideal to feature the legendary K Balachander sir on cover and when we approached him he immediately agreed. We thank him for his support. I would also like to thank my dear friend Andreas Deffner for shooting the cover picture. Thereâ€™s an interview of Andreas too in this issue and a lot more. Enjoy brewing. Until next time.
Sameer Bharat Ram Editor
Brew takes no responsibility for unsolicited photographs or material. All PHOTOGRAPHS, UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED ARE USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSE ONLY.
Creative Director 01 Mihir Ranganathan
Operations 05 Niteesh Menon
Designers 02 Adithya Sowmy
06 Shreeram Sreenivasan
Asst. Editor 03 Amritha Jaganathan
Circulation 07 Seeman.E
Sales and Marketing 04 Prashantth S Sutrave
08 Raja Ganapathy .G Intern 09 Monisha Samuel
Edited and Published by Sameer Bharat Ram, and owned by SM BrandMuni Consulting Pvt. Ltd, Published from No.609, Lakshmi Bhavan, Anna salai, Mount Road, Chennai - 600 002. Tel.: +91 44 4208 9392. Printed by K. Srinivasan at Srikals Graphics pvt. Ltd, No.5, Balaji Nagar, 1st street, Ekkattuthangal, Chennai - 600 032. Editor: Sameer Bharat Ram
Prashantth S Sutrave Call: +91 72999 49412 e-mail: email@example.com
CONTRIBUTORS AND ADVISORY BOARD Sethumadhavan N. Sethumadhavan.N holds an MBA from XLRIJamshedpur and has a background in the FMCG & Retail sectors. It was while leading the editorial team at PassionForCinema.com (a popular movie portal that’s now defunct) that Sethu realized that his true passion was Cinema and everything connected to it, including the business side of it. Currently based in Mumbai,Sethu works in the education sector and also runs www. madaboutmoviez.com, a portal dedicated to Indie/Small films,Regional Cinema and World Cinema. Sethu has also been associated with filmmaking workshops and film festivals.
Venket Ram Venket Ram is a leading Indian celebrity & fashion photographer, who has shot principal photography stills for several notable films as well as portfolios. He quit his engineering studies to work with cinematographers for a while, then joined a course in Visual Communication at Loyola College. After that, he worked with photographer Sharad Haksar and in 1993, started his own studio. He recently released the first two editions of his annual calendars in 2011 and 2012 with an overwhelming response.
Kavita Baliga The young American Soprano, Kavita Baliga has sung in concerts around the U.S., Switzerland, Italy and India with repertoire ranging from Opera and Oratorio, Musical Theatre to Indian film. In 2008, Ms. Baliga joined A.R Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory as a faculty member and founded the KMMC Chamber Choir. She is presently developing performance programmes in India.
Mallika Sarabhai Educated as an economist and a business manager, Mallika Sarabhai is one of India’s best known Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancers. She has taken her work and her company Darpana to not only over 90 countries around the world, but also to the farthest parts of India.
Ashok Verghese Is one of the youngest education entrepreneurs who is making a great difference in this field in the country. He is the Director of the Hindustan group of Institutions, again one of the pioneering educational groups in the country. He supports the cause of promoting young talent in art and music.
Neeru Nanda A graduate from Delhi University. Passionate about writing, she freelanced as a feature writer for ten years before switching to publishing. Author of a collection of short stories titled “IF” (Rupa & Co), Neeru is now working on two novels and a series of books for children.
Veejay Sai An award-winning writer, editor and a culture critic. He has written and published extensively on Indian classical music, fashion, theatre, food and art, and loves traveling, researching literary and cultural history. He is an editorial consultant with over 40 brands and designers in and outside India and is on the jury for several prestigious awards in the arts across the country.
Dr. M. Lalitha and M. Nandini Internationally acclaimed, award winning Violin Maestros Dr. M. Lalitha and M. Nandini have been widely applauded as the ‘Queens Of Violin’ and have enthralled audiences across the globe. They have been selected as Cultural Ambassadors and dignitaries to the US and UK respectively. They have published books and written numerous articles relating to Music and religion..
Kyle Hill Kyle Hill is a science writer who specializes in finding the secret science in your favorite fandom. He writes for theScientific American Blog Network at his blog, Overthinking It. Hill also contributes to Slate, Wired, Nautilus, Popular Science, and io9. He manages Nature Education’s Student Voices blog, is a research fellow with the James Randi Educational Foundation, and you can follow him on Twitter under @Sci_Phile.
Rahul Dev Rahul Dev is a Fashion and Advertisement photographer based in chennai
Welcome to "CHAMIERS", a life-style store Showcasing "Anokhi's line of clothing and furnishing...A gift section with an interesting range of Jewellery & Crafts, Footwear & Photoframes, Accessories & Bags, Cards & Stationery, Table & Desk Accessories.
New # 106, Old # 79, Chamiers Road, Chennai - 600028. Shop: 24311495 CafĂŠ: 42030734 Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.chamiershop.com Anniversary EDITION
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8 | BREW Anniversary issue
OCTOBER 3rdANNIVERSARY ISSUE
Aruna sai ram
- the sage
Acchor studios sailing against tides
The man, the philosophy
sun, sand, surf and a south african!
Thanks to andreas deffner Interviews transcripted by - the brew crew
photocredits Deva arul sudharsanam rahul dev
I fooled my parents with the idea that photography would be the thing. But then I’ve been lucky.
How did it all begin? How did photography happen? My parents figured they would not let me study art, as they felt one could not able to make a living out of art. I fooled them with the idea that photography would be different; in the back of my mind thinking, well, we can do art also with photography. Little did they know that Photography was no ticket either! Although, I have been lucky. You set up a studio at a very young age - LOFT. What motivated you? When I began to study I realized the limited working options at a design school were not what you wanted. Therefore me and a friend of mine hired a Mercedes to impress a landlord. Who would rent a 3300 sq. ft loft to some poor students? Well, it worked and we had our first playground! This was much more exciting than the school, but it also pressurized us to start making some money to pay the bills.
From studying design to shifting focus to photography Why? It was actually the other way round. I started with photography, but I was not getting along too great with my professors. However, there was one at that school: Prof. Gerd Fleischmann- who goes by the name of Guruji these days-who was teaching typography and exhibition design, and he would make your life hell, but he was the best “Lehrmeister” you could imagine. I even managed to drag him to India and he is threatening to come again, which would be tiresome! His Idea of a great day is to start work at seven in the morning and not rest until midnight. You have worked across different countries; as different as Germany and India. How do you adapt? Well, that’s fairly easy, as long as you are busy. The only danger is having the time to contemplate the meaning of life. More than 20 years in India make you very adaptable. Anniversary EDITION
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Collaboration with Anupama Kundoo? Can you give us the details? I had photographed many of her architecture projects and last year she invited me to exhibit as an artistic collaborator, together with Prof Gerd Fleischmann, Haroun Farroki and Ray Meeker, at the Architectural Biennale in Venice. She managed to rebuild the Wall House she built in Auroville from 1996 onwards, on a one to one scale. It is was the largest ever exhibit done by an Indian architect at the most prestigious venue. But best thing was, it got Sekar and his team of local tamil craftsmen to Venice. Two of them had worked on the original site 15 years back, and who would mind spending two months in Venice with work?
These days I actually feel that the overprotected, Western, especially German, system can be a drag. It creates people full of fear in the most luxurious environment. They have it all, but still complain and are the grandmasters of rules. I love the indian dash of anarchy and I am allowed to do silly things that are bad for me. Why the move to India? Anything spiritual? Haha good one! No, I came to india because I was lured here by a smart Indian woman I met in berlin. Personally I come from a more scientific oriented background, so I guess as much as I enjoy contemplating the meaning of life, 42 and a good dose of Darwinism, I think along the lines of more arguing, less believing.
The Palani Hills Studio. The future? Having travelled the Andamans in remote areas for years I took a liking to sitting in the forest. Hence, when the option came up to have a place in a climate, where I can think even in summer and in a beautiful natural setting, I again came up with the idea to create a place to work from, with the intent that other would join me, once I figure out how. To be able to go off the grid and do some farming, but it’s not too simple and it will take years. The idea is obviously to
Which projects over the years have been the closest to your heart? The “White, too white” exhibition on Indian people suffering from albinism, that might come to India finally with the help of the Max Müller Bhawan. The Andaman Project done with Professor Dr. Rauf Ali, Harry Andrews and Manish Chandi, in collaboration with the Andaman and Nicobar Environmental Team (ANET). Also some of the slightly extreme flying trips with my brother Gerhard. In 2009, we flew a motor glider from Berlin to Iceland and back. The fun was, that the Icelandic local support was all arranged by Disa, from Pondicherry.
create a playground where interesting people get together to reinvent and are allowed to be politically incorrect.
About the ANDAMAN project? 12 |
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The ANET team took me along on their field trips when they were doing their research. This got me to places you would normally not get to see. We had our own boat and a fantastic team of Karen boatmen with us. They introduced us to their remote villages, mostly located in the northern parts of the island group. They integrated us quite bravely into their lives. We mostly lived in their house or went out fishing with them; for a westerner, who grew up with the humanistic ideal of the simple live and the “good tribal”, it also showed, once we got to know more about there inside stories, that a village is a village is a village. And what inspired you to do white is too white? It all started with me seeing a white person in Pondicherry. I had no clue just seeing him from my bike that he was suffering from albinism. When we photographed him later it became apparent. I got that picture printed in 100 x 125 cm in B/W and it was hanging in my office for some years. There was something in that picture I liked; that slightly skeptical way he was looking at the camera. Misinterpretations and chance are part of our work. When we later decided to make this a big project and knew more, it turned out that they just can’t take too much light, and so my reading “skeptical view” proved to be wrong. The theme itself makes you wonder how are people suffering from albinism treated in a society that is as color conscious as India. We knew that for example in Africa, they face serious problems, even being hunted to be turned into “voodoo medicine”. We interviewed them while shooting and it actually showed that they are treated quite fine, unless the background they come from is very poor. Schools make special arrangements, that allow someone to come along to help with reading, one of them studied bio science etc. There is medically nothing that you can do about it as it is a genetic disorder, that hits one in 17000 people, it’s only marrying too close that would make things worse. There is also the issue of going to quacks for “medical” treatment, as there is little awareness of what the implications are. On another level if you see the entire exhibition, it shows one fine side of photography. By being selective about what and how you shoot, and by concentrating on a tiny fraction of reality, you can make people think about their perception of skin color. The most hilarious comment was from a prominent german publisher, when he saw the pictures he said, “can we color one brown in photoshop I just do not believe these are Indians”.
How do you see photography evolving in India? What are the differences you see from the west?. It is interesting to see how much photography in India has changed over the last twenty years. If you look at advertising photography, it was initially very poor while ad films were very good, most probably due to the large industry and interest in films. Then many Indians got serious training, and these days there is some very good stuff out there and a much larger number of qualified photographers. Digital photography has also drastically changed the picture as you are more or less self-reliant these days since you do not need a lab anymore. What is shown in a picture is still a bit more restricted here. You find much more variety in the west, style and styling is an issue. I sometimes use the example of what came up in the west, what we call “trash photography”, that just simply could only evolve in a context that is “very nice”. In that context it creates a stir, it’s a contrast and that always works. In India, especially in the cities, your surroundings are already tough, so you do not want to see more of it. Any project that you have always wanted to do and still haven’t? Yes there is one. “Coming of age” I always like projects, that do have a theme that is more than playing with colors and form. So the thing of interest here is: As we look across cultures, belief systems and from tribal to “evolved” groups, there are rituals around coming of age. Let’s document them and see what they have in common. The nasty bit I am trying to come to, is that it might show that there are similarities. There is sometimes a challenging part in it, an initiation, and then a party. Could that be a visual base that makes us think. That maybe religions, historically quite often used to create a fair amount of violence, are not as different as people believe. In times where we see people getting more polarized, such an exhibition, book or film could make a very interesting piece of work.
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Coke Studio has reached a stage where it needs no introduction. To scores of music lovers across the country, the MTV-created phenomenon has gathered more viewership than all of MTVâ€™s programming could offer in the last couple of years. Some of the finest artistes have taken part in the most creative collaborations and given us some fine music in the last two seasons, spanning every possible genre of Indian music. The current season, on air and has yet another wonderful episode featuring the current queen of Carnatic music Aruna Sairam in a fantastic collaboration with the Mumbai-based young couple Ram Sampath and SonaMohapatra. The video has gone viral on Youtube and has become a sensational hit.She talks to Sameer Bharat Ram in a casual chat about her Bombay days, move to chennai, her collaborations and more.
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Tell me about your early days? How did music start? It started before I knew that it started. My mother was a singer and she often used to step out of Mumbai for her career and she was seen as a woman with great standards. Yet she always used to teach at home. A lot of musicians would be coming home. On some days, BalaSaraswathi Amma would come home for hours of music and dance. In fact many would come, and be house guests for weeks and sometimes, for months. Therefore I would say that I was influenced by music without my own knowledge at a very young age. When did you make a clear decision that you will professionally get into singing? Much, much later. For me; Music was a pleasure, to listen to and to sing; I never looked at it as a career. I went through with my school and college; you know, the usual things just as everybody else. Maybe it was at much later point of time, around my late twenties was when I really took a decision that this is going to get professional. Not that I hadn’t done concerts before but they were all pretty small, they were different before I decided that this is going to be my career. To make a commitment and to take it up as a profession was a very important decision in life. Another big decision was to come to Chennai leaving Mumbai right? Oh! That was much, much later. You will be surprised; I actually came down to Chennai only in 2002. For 15 years I just lived between Chennai and Bombay. In the sense, my children were growing up. We were living in Bombay. I did not want to disturb that, so I rented an apartment here, and I used to fly up and down every month. People thought I lived in Chennai but it was only by 2002 that I came down here completely, with my children, husband and everything.
What do you see as a difference in Chennai, in terms of everything for you? It has been a long journey for me. The Chennai that I saw when I came from Bombay as a young girl was unforgettable. The musical part was great, but otherwise Chennai was difficult to get by basically if you were raised in Bombay. Everything would just shut down by 8’o clock, people where very conservative, but now Chennai has opened up so much. It’s really an amazing city. Talking about the collaborations that you have done and I am sure you have done many. Which one would you say was the most memorable one? Each one has actually been special. Each musician makes me see something very specific and individual in what they bring to their music. Of course, working with Dominique Vellard for the Gregorian chant was very special because up until I met him, I did not realize the variegated history of western music. Though I knew western music and was familiar with it I did not know much about the different phases, the prebaroque period, and the pre-romantic period. How the music developed? Why it was called liturgical music? How the monks developed it? The whole history fascinated me and actually made me more grounded as a carnatic musician. Up until then I might have taken my music in a different way but when I realized so much has happened in each history, I knew that he was struggling to reestablish early music here, I am like a direct continuum of an unbroken chain of music, like from Guru to Sishya. How special is that. Our music has been one continuous tree. Though poorly documented, the oral tradition is so strong and each change integrated the past and welcomed the future. That is like the Indian trait of inclusiveness. I found that very fascinating.
Anniversary EDITION Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 18
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Now Coke Studio is another step into being a little more radical. Yeah! How did you make that decision? I have always been a carnatic singer but I also was a Beatles fan, I love listening to Elvis Presley. I am a big fan of Hindi music, a Vishvanathan and Ramamurthy fan. My parents always encouraged me to listen to all kinds of music; but when it came to singing, I sang only a few styles. My vocal cords couldn’t go astray while singing but I loved listening. I was a ‘Rasika’ of music in general. And when I came across Coke-Studio programs, I was really impressed with what they were doing. When Ram Sampath, being a friend of mine from my Bombay days, called me and it was for CokeStudios. Would you now be open to singing in films? Yes! I have always been open to singing in films. I would love to. In fact I want to and I hope I get to sing in films. Of course there is only one quotation on my side, which is actually towards me. Whoever offers me a song; it should be something that brings out the best in me. Because for me, at this situation unlike other playback singers, it is difficult to be very flexible or get molded easily, so if it can bring the best in me and if I feel comfortable, I will be very happy.
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The veritable Animation Maestro, Balasubramanian Rajasekaran known as Bala is the Art & Animation Director in the digital IP team at Qyuki Digital Media Pvt. Ltd, a new media company founded by Shekhar Kapur & A.R.Rahman. In his glorious career, Bala has worked on coveted several Animated Movies, Shorts & Ad Films. Animationxpress.comâ€™s Zeenia Boatwala recently caught up with Bala on his journey in the Animation Industry.
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What made you start pursuing art when you were a child? Were there any artist’s work or people around you that inspired your work? My father was working as a deputy inspector of schools in and around Tanjore, so where ever he was transferred our family used to go along with him. The places we visited were rich in culture and possessed beautiful landscapes. I was always interested in observing nature, animals, birds, dance, music, sculpting and art & all kinds of art forms attracted me. More than rigorous studies, My Childhood was all about observing and being a part of nature. I loved playing basket ball, volley ball and liked swimming. When I look back now, I was a right-brain dominant kid, was very playful and not serious about my career during childhood days. At a point where I had to decide my career, I was totally focused and directed myself towards art When did you realise that you wanted to be an artist professionally and study art in college instead of the regular ‘engineering’? Did you ever doubt your choice to pursue art while you were in college? What was your college experience like? It was in my 12th Standard that I decided to opt Art as a career. When I attended a Tanjore Painting summer camp [South Zone Cultural Centre at Tanjore]. I met a guy named Muthuraman at the summer camp who was in his final year of DFA & after a long conversation with Muthuraman I instantly decided to take up BFA in 1991. It’s through Muthuraman that I applied to the Gov’t College of Art and Crafts at Kumbakonam. I majored in Visual Communication Design [VCD] which prepares one for the advertising field as a commercial artist. I always wanted to express myself through painting, during BFA I felt I got a grip in my life and started focusing more on Art. I was fortunate to learn and be encouraged by three masters Manokaran, Rangarajan and Late Sankaran. I passed out BFA as an outstanding student winning a few awards, developed a strong portfolio, which helped me get my first job. You’ve done work in a number of different mediums, do you have a favorite and why? Do you prefer working on a system or working hands on? I feel each and every medium has got it’s own style, feel and strength, I’m good at both digital and manual, I strongly believe that softwares & tools can be learnt over night but not Art. Ideas and thoughts can be converted as visuals, faster, also prefer doing 2D pre-prods as thats where letters get converted into visuals, characters, back grounds, storyboards and thats the base of the film and rest 24 |
is improvisation. For me, each process is crucial and leads to the other. For developing a successful & appealing 3D Animated Film, each area from modeling to final output is of equally important. You began only doing 2D animation, what got you interested in 3D, is there a particular film that struck a chord in you to do 3D? Everything from music videos, to television series, to shorts, to prints. Where do you consider your specialisation? Jurassic Park, Toy Story and A Bugs Life made me want to do 3D. Animation filmmaking is all about telling story through visuals. I love 2D animation, because 2D sees conversion of our ideas into visuals, characters, backgrounds, storyboards which is the base of any animated movie whereas the latter is improvisation. 3D is just a medium; to communicate story through visuals, you have to be a strong story teller. Art empowers these stories to reach out to the hearts of the viewers. To excel in the animation industry a strong foundation in story telling, fine arts and extreme passion is the key. Most of the time we give lot of importance to the tools and technology, ignoring the basics. From Thanjavur to San Francisco, do you prefer working in Tamil Nadu or being overseas where there technology is better equipped? I feel technology-wise we are equally good, but filmmaking-skill-wise we need to learn and raise our bar. Animation filmmaking is not just about technology, it is a mixture of both Art & Technology. For me, job satisfaction is more important than the place. After my BFA I started my career in Chennai as a 2D animator, post that for almost 13 years I have been working outside Tamil Nadu. Definitely being and working in Tamil Nadu is more convenient and comfortable. As an Artist and Animation Filmmaker, I would always love to contribute to the Tamil film industry. What inspired you to begin the ‘sage’ series? A person, a story or was he just a character you developed in your head out of the blue? I have lot of ideas inside me. I incubate them and give shape as a product. Some ideas becomes products in no time while some take time. The short film THE BAD EGG was one of them, which went on to win the outstanding film award at DIGICON 6+2 Tokyo, Japan in 2006, and World Gold Medal at New York Festivals in 2007. The unique appearance of Sage provoked me to start working on this series, also my own father’s chiseled face influenced me to design the Sage. Nature is my biggest inspiration. I keep my mind open, observe and study from nature and come up with ideas. There is no limit to learning - I practice every day by
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developing innovative storytelling visuals. First i came up the character and further developed the world around it. I have been working on SAGE series more than 10 years now. A lot of your works look like they are out of old Tamil stories, similar visuals come to mind when thinking about stories grandmothers tell kids, how much has hindu mythology and such stories influenced your work? Since my native is Tanjore, I was completely surrounded with art - colorful temples towers, sculptures, old paintings, old architecture, green paddy field, bullock carts, banyan and coconut trees all these have influenced me a lot. During my BFA I was mesmerized by all of these, which reflects a lot on my work. I respect hindu mythology a lot, but when it comes to stories or visuals I always try to go away from it. I love to think and create my own unique stories and visuals.
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sailing against tides ACCHOR STUDIOS - dharmesh jadeja
Having taken path less travelled, the young & talented Accessible Horizon Films Collective discovers the joys of a challenging life while exploring innovative ideas to fund, distribute & screen their films; a journey many of us couldn’t dare to take! Dharmesh Jadeja in conversation with Acchor Films team, tries to dig out what drives this group of friends & nomadic film makers who are sailing against the tide in the world of films today. Converging of life goals amongst friends can be the highlight of the creative journey one endures in one’s life. Accessible Horizons Films is one such creative venture between friends who found their calling in story telling through films while exploring life. With already a few documentaries and a feature in its portfolio, Acchor Films is all set to reach out to its niche daring audience that want Change in everything that bothers us. From documentary subjects like Cycle Rickshawalas in Pondicherry to Music scene in the New York metros, their feature explores a much talked about resource Money through the journey of a 500 rupee note through 5 different stories; an offbeat subject exploring the human 28 |
relationships, philosophy & economy in our lives. Their feature film recently featured at the Stuttgart film festival, & has generated interest in this young offbeat group of film makers coming from Pondicherry. Dass, Raghu, Sindhu & Ramesh started their careers like most of us landing up in the United States of America in the search for their calling; It didn’t take too long before they found their calling in films, something none of them was trained for. As friends, their spirited ways of collaborative work, exploring life’s deeper sides was always part of their being even while they did work ranging from advertising and television production, web resource, software development, etc. They kept on looking for something at work that binds them together while reaching out to their passion for story telling through films. One comes across this group as kind of almost nomadic in their presence. Young, energetic, beaming with ideas & issues that touch one’s core; My numerous meetings with them, informally and then formally ending up to interview them together had led me through their thought
processes, their calling, their passion for taking the Independent film making in this country to next level. Not many film makers find time to connect, to network, for sharing and collaborations; this group is totally inclined to change the way things work in the industry; or at least bring a breath of fresh air in the way films are made, distributed & reach its audience in India today; a difficult mission on a road less travelled, making this journey more challenging. Raghu, can almost be mistaken as more of an actor then a director or a film maker; Intense & articulate, his passion for everything that surrounds the world of films is immense; totally drenched in this passion, he is the driving force behind a lot of networking initiatives Acchor stands for today; “Our first short story that we ended up making a short
Our jobs were not so creative, not challenging enough so we found time to pursue our passions in the weekends.”Sindhu, sensitive, suave & a dreamer, represents the philosophical side of Acchor & carries an abstract aura around her ever smiling face; She sees the society as organization that is integral to one’s wellbeing; Trained as an architect & a prolific painter herself, her calling for a collective conscience of the earth has led her into calling herself an earthling. “We learnt a lot from the USA filmmakers but India as a process works much better for our kind of story telling; Stories are all around you in India, waiting to be told; the filth, pain & anger in our society is hot bed of creativity for me; It almost hits you through directly & prompts you to work towards Change; the contradictions in our daily life
video while still in USA connected all four of us deeply. The way we want to tell a story is our binding force & drives our thought processes as none of us have studied formally the art of film making.” Dass, observant & with an insight of an artist, is a mechanical engineer by formal training & his fascination for innovations and camera as well as equipment makes him a priceless asset to this team of thinkers! “ I worked on photography assignments in the USA & I have seen the digital revolution while I have grown professionally along with it. I watch a lot of films, Indian and the world cinema. Exposure in New York to these nuances of the film world while leading a comfortable life with mainstream job was kind of good; but as we realised that our final calling was in film making, we started looking for opportunities that would bring us closer to that; we did some short films in the USA but the calling for breaking out and explore the world of cinema through our perspective of life was much more stronger than the pull of life there.
wants me to tell our kind of stories. India offers freedom! I wanted to quit and come back to India the moment I felt the pull; we believe in One World where we share our work with the larger collective.” “We have now finished four documentaries and one feature with several more stories waiting to be told still. India’s independent filmmaking is in its nascent stage; we still need to discover alternative ways to find great scripts, produce more independent films through innovative ways of funding.” Ramesh, fiercely professional in his approach, is a software professional by training and a self-taught technologist of the Acchor team & shares his passion for innovative ways of working with his friends. “We learn and teach others in the team. There are no tasks cut out for each one but somehow while we are on a project, we divide our tasks naturally; its almost like we are wired differently when
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it comes to work. Sindhu is abstract, Raghu is between technical & writing, while Das handles the camera work, I am more into postproduction work. We all agree to disagree thus providing each one of us our individual domain of work in the best possible way that suits us. We take what we like, we do what we are best at & the rest of us support it.” “Now we are almost impatient to tell our stories, thus we want to reach out to other independent film makers who share our passion for film making and chart out an alternative path for film distribution and sharing where any small film can reach out to its audience & screened at cinemas across different territories. We have taken a path we know is full of uncertainties but creatively satisfying; we are almost unconscious rebels in our society as we could not take the fakeness & insincerity that surround us all the time in the industry.” Accessible Horizons FilmsCollective has had its share of challenges as well as rewards. As their first feature Ayynoorum Ayynthum recently was screened at International Film Festival of Kerala, Trivandrum, 2012 and Filmburo Baden Wurrtenberg’s Indian Film Festival, Stuttgart, 2013 in Germany, the Acchor team has returned lot more confident of their way of working and sharing. After their initial documentaries & finding it difficult in the commercial arena to fund their ventures alternatively, the idea of 500 & 5 originated. “We had no money, but skills, ideas and a story. Help came in from all sides as we were offered funds through friends, location support, lenses, etc from many of our contacts that felt our passion for this subject.” Raghu explains. “Out of almost 90 people in our cast, 80% are new. We auditioned key characters through our network and found some really talented actors who grace this film. About 100+ individuals contributed to the making of the films even financially as a crowd funding. But the technical crew is only our own team as we couldn’t afford to hire the technical teams from the mainstream film world.” “It was simply not working out financially for us, nor they were equipped to handle the digital equipment we operated with. Rents were so high that we were almost forced to innovate and we made our own steady cameras, dolly track, tabletop dolly, etc. from youtube videos and at a fraction of the costs in the market today.” When asked about their audience, their target is anyone who wants Change in the way we have ended up in our country. “We will find our audience eventually, as we do not have any fixed ideas on the same. We want our films to be seen in the mainstream and let the audience decide what they think of our stories. We feel media can plant ideas for Change in the society, we want our audience to think, to react, to discuss, comment and take the ideas further. We want our films to make an impact on our audience, they are all encompassing. Our films are Life.” “No one can master film making, as every film poses its own challenges with the subject it is 30 |
exploring. It gets harder and harder each time & you grow in the story, in the process of making a film. Our target is may be the world, the universal values that bind us all as human beings. That would be our idea of success as film makers, when our films are appreciated by various cultures in the world.” Sindhu and Raghu, who happen to be siblings, share the larger vision of their art. Acchor Films is trying to also create a forum for independent filmmakers where diverse ideas can converge thereby benefiting the overall independent film making in India. There is a huge gap between successful mainstream cinema and independent filmmakers & this gap needs to close down with the support of veteran filmmakers. It will be mutually beneficial to do that we need to find space for progressive cinema & young filmmakers who look at our world as its stage and not just as an entertainment or business of films. There are several commercial studios in the world that have opened themselves up for supporting independent production but there is much space for more such ventures in India. Indian independent film makers need to connect, share resources, network with the world of independent film makers, access to crowd funding and innovative ideas and help bridge the gap between mainstream cinema and independent world of cinema. Creativity is waiting to be unleashed in our country with a lot more diverse stories from various regional and hidden regions of our society waiting to reach out to the audience in the world of cinema. The idea of India has stories waiting to be told on so many of its facets of life here that can enrich the world cinema by its presence; bollywood is doing its bit but there is so much more to India & films can bring about that Change that we all yearn for. Accessible Horizons is a name that inspires hope for a brighter tomorrow, that is led by young, dynamic & inspiring generation of filmmakers that sees themselves as Universal Indians!
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Matt is one of the UKâ€™s leading orchestrators, arrangers and conductors for film and tv as well as developing a parallel career as a film and tv composer. He has worked on over 90 movies, including Inception, Moulin Rouge, Batman: The Dark Knight, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End, Ray, The Incredible Hulk, Love Actually, The Quiet American, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The Bone Collector, Iron Man, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, World Trade Center, The Assassination of Jesse Jame, Black Swan and 127 Hours. He is now collaborating with the young music director from Chennai, Girinandh Vidyashankar on a Tamil movie project. We catch up with the duo at Girinandhâ€™s state of the art AURA studios.
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Giri: How are you enjoying your second time in Chennai? How does it feel to be back here? Matt: It’s been pleasure to be back here. I was here last year, touring India with a concert of A R Rahman’s; I’ve been working with him for about 10 years as arranger and conductor. That was really my first taste of India. I’ve been back on a few occasions since, and now I’m back to meet you. Giri: What comes to your mind when you come to Chennai, or really India in general? What do you think about the culture and musicians? Matt: There’s a certain energy and vibrancy about India that I love. Today, in the studio, it was amazing how everyone, from the drummer to the sound engineer interact and work together so much. In London or LA, we’re all in our own little ‘camps’ but here’s there’s sharing and collaboration that’s just infections, there’s this kind of buzz about the place thats just great. I love it.
Sameer: Mat, how did you start of. How did music happen? Matt: I started of as a classical trumpet player, played in orchestras and western shows. I even taught music in schools. Gradually I moved into arranging, I start doing pop arranging, string arranging for people like the Spice Girls, Tom Jones, Massive Attack and U2; I worked with a lot of big bands, that led to me meeting Craig Armstrong who’s a scottish composer who was doing pop strings swell at the time and we became friends. He got an opportunity to do this movie called Romeo and Juliet and I began working with him on that, and it was a big hit. He got more movies and I started arranging his films scores. Down the line I’ve worked with lots of different composers, I’ve orchestrated and arranged about 120 movies, working on everything from Moulin Rouge, Inception, Dark Knight, Great Gatsby and the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies. I’ve also written a few movie scores myself and written an arena show called Peter Pan that’s about to go on a world tour. I’ve got a pretty eclectic mix in my career but it’s all music. I like to do different things, so when Giri contacted me over Facebook
I found it interesting. I love doing new projects. I got into music only because it interests me and excites me, and motivating me and I loved the thought of working with a new composer; not to mention I love india.
lucky, it was just about being at the right place at the right time, luckily I had the skill set to back what he was working on and we’ve done quite a few films since then anything from Kochadaiyaan to 127 Hours and all sorts of other things. It’s kind of been my education in Indian film music.
Sameer: How did this entire ‘Indian’ connection happen for you?
Sameer: What perspective on Indian film music?
Matt: It was literally off a phone call out of the blue one day, in 2002. I had a call from A R Rahman saying he needed a conductor and arranger for a film he was doing in London. He was there at the time doing ‘Bombay Dream’ with Andrew Loyld Webber and he working a film called ‘The Legend Of Bhagat Singh’. He couldn’t get back to India to record it so he has to do it in London and the orchestral fixing recommended me to him. I went to his flat and we got on, we spoke for the whole afternoon; he played me some music, I arranged it, he liked it. I’ve worked with him ever since. It was slightly bizarre, I’d heard of A R, of course, but I was nowhere near an expert on Indian film music by any stretch of imagination but I’m trying and learning. I just got
Matt: It’s extremely diverse, there’s everything from 70’s Pop-ish songs to really interesting new composers like Giri with his world fusion background and band, Oxygen. I love the way music is treated in Indian movies, the fact that you can have a movie like Robot, which is like sci-fi, drama but suddenly you cut to a song and theres a beach and lots of chiffon flying in the air; it’s great and entertaining. The scope Indian film gives you musically is amazing, I remember the first few times I was arranging for AR, a tamil film and there was a big love songat the end. He just said ‘go for it’ and I was shocked; but it was amazing, we had horns and trumpets just going crazy. You can’t do that in hollywood, everything is demo-ed and goes through 20 people,each
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person gradually diminishing it. The great thing about Indian cinema is you can make big gestures, you can be flamboyant and colourful, it’s fantastic for a musician because you can use the full palate of the orchestra. Sameer: You’re probably familiar with the phenomenon called Rajinikanth.. Mat: Yeah! ‘Superstar’ Rajinikanth, you always have to say that. It’s amazing, it’s interesting seeing the man now; then I see his new avatar, with a 6 pack and full head of hair. His daughter talks about how he’s loving it and keeps looking at the images in disbelief. It’s amazing that even with the motion capture in Kochadaiyaan you can still see his acting skills come through. Sameer: There’ve been talks about Rajinikanth having sung or recited a few lines? Matt: Thats right, theres a big song at the beginning called ‘Yenge Kooputai’ and theres some of his speach in it. It’s great. Giri: What do you think of this project called Ayna (check name and spelling) and how much are you looking forward to it? You heard some of my tracks, what do you make out of them? What struck you and intrigued you to work with me? Matt: Well, the film seems to be a big project. You played me this gentle love theme which was absolutely beautiful and I already have ideas for the orchestra in my head and I’m excited about that. I’m looking forward to how I can enhance and take you music to the next level. You have an amazing vision and amazing production values, with your high end studio which is of the highest professional standards. I hope I can do justice over there to what you are doing over here. Giri: You’ve said you’ve worked on around 120 films as an arranger and orchestrator. We all know you are an amazing composer so what do you think about the difference between the two and which do you prefer? When are you being more of a perfectionist?
music, for the most amazing creation of humanity which is the symphony orchestra. It’s remarkable to stand up in front it and conduct it, I can’t be egotistical about whether I’m a composer or arranger that’s the truth. I just enjoy doing music, I remember when I left school I said all I want is to make a living out of music and it was tough but I’ve been very lucky. I believe that all people work better when they’re happy and thats how I work and treat people working with me accordingly. Music is not my job, it’s who I am, it’s always been. When I’m composing, I’m happy doing that; when I’m arranging, I’m happy doing that; when I’m orchestrating I’m happy doing that; I’m annoyingly happy. Giri: what are you expecting from your collaboration with me? Matt: You contacted me rather out of the blue you obviously checked out my work with A R. Giri: Actually, I’ve been wanting to work with you since before AR happened; ever since Moulin Rouge and your work with Craig Armstrong; it so happened that we got a connect when you toured india last time, we didn’t meet but we had quite a few mutual friends. When Ravinder the director and producer of the film approached me I wanted the score to have a very international feel about it. The best the way to achieve that without any compromise is with an amazing orchestra, and the technicalities worked out that it would be better for us to use and orchestra outside India. You happened to be my first thought or connection in this sense. I sent you my work without any real expectations, didn’t even think you would respond. It was just about sharing my work. You responding positively definitely gave me a lot of encouragement toward trying to get my vision to succeed in term of the sound for this movie. I felt we had a great connect musically and we understand each other well and I think your works are amazing. The fact that someone as amazing as you agreed to collaborate with me in this film, I’m extremely confident that we’ll come up with some amazing music for this film.
Matt: I get this pretty often, but obviously when I’m orchestrating for someone else I’m not putting as much of my heart and soul or being a perfectionist about it. I haven’t pursued the idea of being a composer because in London and LA they put you in boxes of you’re the arranger or composer, you can’t jump from one to the other. I love arranging and orchestrating other peoples music, I find it stimulating and artistically satisfying. I write adverts and production music, library music and I’ve written this show. I’ve gotten to the age of 50, loving what I do. I get to write Anniversary EDITION
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KB The Man, The Philosophy He is a pioneer in the world of Indian Cinema, a film maker known for his unique story telling techniques and his penchant for perfection. He has made close to 100 films of which many have become landmarks in Cinema. He launched many talents including Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth. He has won innumerable awards for his achievements including the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award. His contribution to Cinema is endless and Brew is honored to feature the legend K Balachander sir in this special issue. Read on.
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My inspiration and my childhood.. I got inspired reading autobiographies of a lot of people, that’s where the fascination for cinema and theatre began. I started off by writing little skits with friends in my village to be performed on our ‘thinnai’s. Simple, short, you can imagine what a 10 year old would write. We didn’t have TV back then and growing up in a village our closest theater was 5km away and our parents wouldn’t allow us to go that far by bus and come back late, the amount of money my family had didn’t allow for it as well. I would watch, if I’m lucky, one movie every 6 months either by taking a bus to Thiruvarur or Mayavaram. Cinema was quite an excitement for us. We’d be talking about it for months together in school; reciting dialogues and imitating actors. We would speak of the movies as if they were our own. We used to have fancy dress competitions in school, during our annual days. I had given deep thought on my costume; there was a photograph I came across of a ‘hunchback of notre dame’ and I decided I wanted to be a ‘hunchback’ character, to stand out from the usual costumes worn at such competitions. My decision to be different was enjoyed by most people around me.
My Father’s opinion about cinema.. My college life.. My father was extremely strict, he frowned upon drama and cinema, the only art form he enjoyed was carnatic music; he would drag me away from shows if I ever went to watch them. During Shivaratri we were supposed to stay awake all night, while trying to figure out how to keep ourselves up we decided we would put up skits at a friend’s house. We didn’t have electricity back then in our village, so we used to use the petromax light, which was itself a luxury back then. Someone saw me and complained to my father for doing ‘koothu’ which is what theatre or drama was called as and I got into a lot of trouble that night. I used to love playing badminton, but to leave my house I’d have to walk past my father. To make sure I don’t get caught by him I would throw the badminton racket out of the window, walk across him, then go around,take the racket and play. My father always wished that I should study and get a good job, a good name. Back then nobody had thoughts of being an entrepreneur; it was all about studying well and getting a government job with a good pension. To fulfill my father’s wishes I studied well through school, when it came down to college, though, I chose to study at the Annamalai University and I had to stay at the hostel which cost six rupees a month; My father was the village administrative officer and he earned a monthly salary of eighteen rupees and with that he had to raise six children ( I have four sisters and a brother) . In college, we would have hostel day, convocation day and founders day; all 40 |
three of which we would celebrate in style, which I used as an opportunity to write skits and plays. Most of which was inspired by cinema. Those four years of college life was a great revelation forme; I learnt the world and politics during my college time. In my university they used to have meetings where leaders would speak which we would go watch and listen to, I’ve listened to a lot of amazing men, and leaders speak during my college days. We used to have mock parliaments in college, which I would always attend. College was my springboard for my writing. We had a farewell day and a question we were asked was what we wanted to be in life and when it was my turn to answer I said I wanted to be a director, everybody laughed at me, I nearly cried then. It was purely god’s grace that I made it. Touchdown Madras! After I passed out of college I was looking through newspapers to find a job. My dad then found me a job in a district school , I was 18, I blindly agreed. I went and stood in front of the headmaster, he was amused, he told me my credentials were good but that I would have students who were older than me, I got worried. I taught 4th, 5th and 6th grade science. I was worried that the kids might make a fool of me. When I began taking class, the headmaster stood in one corner and watched me and told me that I was very good. I still hadn’t lost interest in theater, so for the school day I asked the headmaster if I could do a play with the students; he gladly agreed. He watched it, it was a first for him and everybody there appreciated it greatly. I used to participate in mock parliaments every time I got the chance. I then made an effort to do a mock parliament for the students in the school, which the headmaster loved. At the end of that year, I got a government job with the Accountant General’s office and had to leave; the headmaster sat me down that day and told me it was an amazing opportunity for me but that the school would miss me greatly. The students, they were so dear to me, they gave me a great send off, a farewell, just for me and wished me all the luck in my life. It was an amazing experience to find that many children, all so dear to me and fond of me. Writing, acting, stage or directing..? I wrote all my plays in Tamil with Major Chandrakanth being an exception, I wrote that one in English because it was for a special event where a Bengali teacher had just joined us and for the welcoming event, I had to do that in English. I played theMajor’s role in it also which later Major Sundarrajan took on. When we staged the play, it actually gained me a lot of recognition and people actually liked my way of telling things. So I was thinking about making that a full length drama also, like for one hour thirty minutes. I extended it
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and made a 2 hour drama. I had decided then that if I had to be a director then I should stop acting. Doing stage itself meant directing, actually. From there itself you learn everything, it’s almost the same. And also when the question of doing a cinema came, then it was obvious that I had to take up direction. And for ‘NeerKumizhi’, the producer told me that he has seen my plays and he really liked them and that he wants me to direct the movie. I rejected initially and told him I didn’t want to direct movies and that I was into a different medium. The people around me that time insisted me to take up the offer and not reject such a wonderful opportunity. So after two days or so, I called him and agreed to do the movie. I did a stage version of ‘NeerKumizhi’ around the same time also. My family’s reaction.. There was obviously pressure from my family since they didn’t want me to quit a government job and start directing movies. But my father wasn’t around to reject it completely also. I got married, came to Chennai and was on leave for 4 years continuously. According to the fundamental rules, a government servant could only be absent for 5 years maximum, producing medical certificates. But I was earning money and publicity through my movies. So somebody saw the posters or something, noticed and complained. So I had to go meet the Accountant General at our head office, a gentleman named Hussain Aga. I told him that I got to know about the complaint upon myself , that I’m submitting my resignation letter and that I don’t wish to cause any embarrassment for the Government. He immediately told me that he would simply ignore my resignation letter even if I submitted one, and that they should all actually be
proud that somebody from their office is into cinema and is famous. But I went ahead with my resignation as I was going to put him under pressure anyway by making him lie for my absence. I had completed two films by then and everything fell in place. My philosophy and my people. I tend to work with a specific set of people. For me, my people are very co-operative. They know how I work and how disciplined I am, so it’s easier to work with people like that. I introduced a lot of work discipline, and I used to be really happy with them, and vice-versa. I was working with a moderate set of people who were known to me. Slowly I diverted to others. I wanted to launchRajini for this role, while I was writing ApoorvaRagangal. I wanted to introduce as many new people as possible. Sri Vidya was introduced by me in one of my previous films “NootrukuNooru”. Kamal got introduced to me through Gemini Ganeshan and I gave him a small role in ‘Arangetram’. Basically my theory is that, you can’t just use an actor and leave it at that. You have to keep using them from time to time and groom them to make the person a good artist. So except for the big artists from that time like Gemini Ganeshan, I personally groomed every actor and actress according to my movie;I prepared and polished them. They should remember me, they should understand my philosophy and they should represent my brand of film making. That’s why by God’s grace this practice went on to be called as “The Balachander School”. My school will have discipline and perfection. More than perfection, discipline is important. And also I don’t leave any stone unturned, I won’t just leave an actor because people have lost hope in that person, I
At a recent meet at Art Houz with AP. Shreethar
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will teach and make him do. Everyone asked me why I was struggling with one guy who doesn’t know to act. So I took it as a challenge to make him a star. If I don’t stick to one disciplined guy, I will always have to continue searching. The search will never end. But an ambitious actor will have a talent and that hidden talent should not go un-directed. It should be discovered and put to good use. That is how I made 26 movies with Kamal Hassan in 8 years. My brand of Cinema I felt that it’s not so difficult to be one among 100 people, but its challenge to be the first among the hundred. I should be the first person;I should be the first man. This has always been my motto. That is why I had my own preferences, my own choices. I put M L Vasanthakumari’s daughter SriVidya as a heroine and in a leading magazine, they said that I was trying to make her a heroine but the truth is I made her a heroine and then she reached great heights anyway. It was all the grooming that happened then. Her eyes were very deep; that was her strong point, I decided to provoke it. What amazing roles she has played in ‘SollathanNenaikayelae’, ‘ApoorvaRaagangal’ and so many movies. So I did not just try to make her a heroine, I did make her one; a really good one. The future Right now, I am unable to figure out where the industry is going. I’m probably the only person who is not able to understand where the film industry is going. The techniques and the technical tools used have improved to a great extent, but the film industry has lost its creative element. I’ve said before that I should never get appreciated for the technology used. The technology used those days wasnowhere close to the technology now. I do not know why, but the word ‘technology’ seems like a bad word for me. I agree, 1 Rajnikanth was not enough and so we showed 2 or 3 Rajnikanths and there was magic. But 100 Rajnikanths? Using graphics? 100 will become 1000 and maybe graphics makes it happen for today. I always have believed that I should go before technology and technology should never precede me. I also don’t understand the business of Cinema now. The level of marketing spends is enormous these days – with the marketing budget of one film I can make three films. And yes I have grown old and things are the not the same when you grow old. But yes look at NageshwarRao. He is 90 years old. But how brisk he is! He was a very good man, no tension, no hatred, no jealousy. He also gave me the ANR international award. Even last time he told me that he never had a chance to do a film with me. So I don’t really know what I’m going to do next but am sure God has some plans for me. So let’s see.
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Israeli music producer and filmmaker, Yotam Agam moved to India and began surfing in a quaint fishing village called Covelong about six years ago. This is where he met local fisherman Murthi and gifted him a green surfboard. Soon, Murthy found his passion in the waves and decided to teach the local village kids the art of surfing. Now, with over 25 surfing enthusiasts, Murthy has come a long way. While his school is funded largely by his investor Arun Vasu, Murthy himself plays a vital role in steering the school’s resources towards the public’s visibility. Covelong Point recently sponsored the education of 20 needy children from the village through a contribution of 50,000 to St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School. It has also supported the college education of five village youngsters with a contribution of 30,000 rupees. South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes was present as a surf ambassador, showing his support and riding the Covelong wave. Sameer Bharat Ram gets chatting with Jonty, Arun Vasu and Yotam about their vision and experience in the Covelong. Sameer: How far have you reached in your pursuit. You set up last November, what do you see now? Arun: See, I think the initial idea was to get the school going. To get the lazy guys in the city to actually come out and serve. The timing is right because in the last few years, Indian mentality has changed. They have become more adventurous. We were chatting today saying, cycling has become big, mountaineering has become big, a lot of things are happening. I think surfing is also at the beginning. It’s really a scratch on the surface but its starting and you can see the trend really growing. The first thing was to get the school going, because we need both. We need the school to work and to help the village as well. The other part was Murthy’s thing again, he wanted the whole village to surf, because for him surfing was more than just a sport. He lost everything after the tsunami and he became really
depressed after that. Surfing gave him a direction in life. In the village the village there is a lot of problem with alcohol and drugs etc. He felt that through this he can give them something they can focus on, it could build them individually and the sport could grow. At the moment we have about 60 surfers in the Kovalam village. In this competition we have 30 competing and out of that I’d say 15 are really good surfers. So it has really caught on in this village. Its beautiful that at this event you have a lot of pros, expats coming in, at the same time, the locals, the fishermen, who are all of the same wavelength when they are in the water. That is the biggest achievement I would say. Sameer: How did you get involved and why? Yotam: Why? I think as Arun mentioned. You need 10 minutes with Murthy and you are hooked. The guy is really genuine. I just love surfing. I used to come here and surf. And one day this guy came up to me in 2006 and his name is Murthy, he’s holding a short board, he said “can you teach me how to surf?” He had a really bad board. We bought him a new one and taught him to surf. We’ve been surfing since 2006! Its been quite a few years. Slowly we developed the scene here. It was his passion driving it. It was him having the dream. Jonty: So you used to surf before? Yotam: Yeah, on my own. I was here, just surfing on the weekends. And nobody was out, everybody was just staring wondering “who is this guy? What is he doing?” Even a couple of years ago, it was us and Murthy and the village kids but the change came when Arun came and we developed a platform and gave the opportunities for everybody to have access to surfing. But before that, it was a very small scene. Sameer: Culturally do you see a huge issue here in India because we’ve got the longest coastline but people don’t really swim here. Yotam: Yeah, that’s probably the barrier here. We get a lot of people from Chennai want to come and surf, but they can’t swim. It is a skill that is needed for this sport. Its probably going to change because of that.
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Sameer: Are you doing something about it? This is the issue you face now, so what do you do about it? From your school. Yotam: On the swimming front, we aren’t doing much. It entails a lot of responsibility to teach people to swim. Especially when you don’t have a swimming pool around. And the ocean is very different. We love the ocean. We respect it. It can slap you at the right moment.
surf, I’m terrible. I really am bad, but whatever level you’re at, there’s a board for you, the commission is for you and anybody can surf. You can go from no waves to big waves. Doesn’t really make a difference. You don’t have to be the best surfer in the world to go and enjoy a session. From that point of view, I’m here 3 to 4 months of a year.
Arun: Like today. There were a lot of people at the event. They commented that they didn’t know how to swim. But by watching everybody out there they said, ”this is wild. I’m going to learn how to swim and come back.” That was a start. That was encouraging. It will come. I think it has changed. A lot of people know how to swim, they are just very lazy.
The scene is India is awesome and I love it. My friends from south africa party in Indonesia, Bali etc, but I’ve always liked India. And from a surfing point of view, these guys have been up and down the coast many times. I’m finding more and more friends of mine surfing in South Africa. In Bali or Indonesia , you’ll find 50 people in the water with like 3 to 4 boats, full of Australians and Japanese guys. And India is much better that way, English is spoken everywhere. Cost wise also it’s pretty reasonable, so it’s okay.
Sameer: I see this event as an amazing marketing opportunity. You have Jonty who is not only a great cricketer, but a person who has done a lot of amazing things. Arun: Jonty is the brand ambassador for the surfing federation of India. Jonty: I am the worst sponsored surfer in the world, I’ve got the best job. Sameer: How effectively are you going to take this forward? Is this a one off thing or are you going to drive it with consistent marketing efforts. Arun: Like I’ve said, we’ve done it in stages. The event is a boost for the school, for the local village and for the sport, so its different angles into one. Unfortunately, surfing is not recognized as a sport in India. The biggest thing is that we are going to be featured in the sports edition of the Hindu. That was a big achievement. For them to actually put this event. It’s a sport. It’s a billion dollar industry. Sameer: Why did you accept to be the ambassador of the federation? Jonty: Perry Upton and Gary Curzon worked with the Indian team when they were in the cricket world cup, Perry is a very keen surfer. Perry Upton worked with this African team when I was playing back in 95-96 as a fitness trainer. During the IPL I asked him where to surf in India. The part about surfing, especially if you are a beginner like me, is that if you leave it for two months, when you start again, its terrible. The first two weeks are very painful cause your body just forgets. When I asked him, he said that there was a guy in Vizag, here are some numbers. They just launched the surfing federation of India. Get in touch with these guys and there, they asked, would you like to be the brand ambassador? You see, Cricket in India is pretty big, and I’m a recognizable name still, in India, surprisingly enough. Surfing is less of a business and more of a life style. It’s a billion dollar business worldwide. In India, it needs to start off as something really enjoyable, that’s healthy, that anyone can participate in. Its not just for the gifted, the gods, its for everybody. On the
Initially it was just people coming and taking pictures and seeing what is happening, but now a lot more of my friends have gotten into surfing and they are spreading it also. They come here, stay here and take an effort to learn something new. That for me is very important. And the people here, the culture here, they are not exactly scared of the sea or the water, so it’s no problem for them. We don’t have to be the number 1 in the world, but our point is to have some fun and enjoy. Or it could also be as bad as I am, intense workout sessions, I finish and I rejuvenate. I’ve gymed, I’ve cycled and done all kinds of workouts, but this is the only sport that works out my whole body properly. Sameer: You’ve been in India for a while now and know the sports scenario here. When compared to cricket or hockey or football, surfing is completely new and is actually a baby in India. What do you think about that, will it change? Jonty: I think surfing as a sport will kick in slowly and people will start taking interest. India has like a billion people and cricket has only 11 slots available, so people are going to try and find and explore other things also. Some kids don’t even get access to play badminton, football with no nets, no balls and no fields. Although India has a history of good players like Kapil Dev , but I’ve seen a drastic change in the fielding in the past 6 years after IPL brought all the countries together and fused their talents, so they had more exposure and are doing much better. Sameer: What do you think of this particular school that has initiated something new like this? Jonty: It’s nice that the people are being taught to respect the ocean, by this school. I have a good connection with the ocean myself, but fear it also. It takes a lot of courage to surf because the oceans never rest. There are a lot of professional surfers in South Africa, who have been surfing for years and take it very seriously. So it is not something to be taken lightly and it’s not for everybody. It’s a cult.
I’m happy that I’ve learnt to respect the ocean. My son and I spend a lot of time on the beach, and my daughter who is just 13, has also started learning to fear and respect the ocean. That feels great for me! You guys have an amazing beach out here but people are throwing waste and all kinds of stuff into it. So the surfers here must understand and learn to respect the ocean. That’s what the school is also doing, teaching people how to surf and informing the community to utilize and take care of the gift that they have here. Sameer: Do you see your role for a long term way here with the federation and the surf school? Jonty: I’ll be more than happy to involve myself with this new surf school. So, let’s see..
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THE DARK WORLD ADVANCE From Marvel Studios comes the highly anticipated “Thor: The Dark World,” continuing the big screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that pre-dates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s “Thor” and “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos...but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all. Based on the ever-popular comic book series, Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” stars Chris Hemsworth (“Marvel’s The Avengers”) as Thor with Academy Award® winner Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) as Jane Foster, Tom Hiddleston (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” “War Horse”) as Loki, award-winning Stellan Skarsgård (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) as Selvig, Idris Elba (“Prometheus”) as Heimdall, Christopher Eccleston (“The Others”) as Malekith, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (“The Thing”) as Algrim, Kat Dennings (“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” “2 Broke Girls”) as Darcy, Ray Stevenson (“The Three Musketeers”) as Volstagg, Zachary Levi (“Tangled,” “Chuck”) as Fandral, Tadanobu Asano (“Battleship”) as Hogun, Jaimie Alexander (“Love and Other Drugs”) as Sif with Rene Russo (“The Thomas Crown Affair”) as Frigga and Academy Award® winner Anthony Hopkins (“Silence of the Lambs”) as Odin. Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” is directed by Alan Taylorfrom a story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat and a screenplay by Christopher L. Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeelyand is produced by Kevin Feige, p.g.a.The executive
producers are Louis D’Esposito,Victoria Alonso, Craig Kyle, Alan Fine, Nigel Gostelow and Stan Lee. The creative production team includes director of photography Kramer Morgenthau, ASC (“Game of Thrones,” “Life on Mars”), production designer Charles Wood (“Wrath of the Titans,” “The Italian Job”), editor Dan Lebental, A.C.E. (“Iron Man”), editor Wyatt Smith (“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”)and costume designer Wendy Partridge (“Silent Hill,” “Hellboy”). Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” r e l e a s e s November 8, 2013, and is
distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. THE BEGINNING In 1962, the now-legendary duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced “The Mighty Thor” to readers of Marvel Comics, unleashing a new era of action-adventure with their take on the hammer-wielding Norse god. Despite the Nordic-sounding names, the story was rooted in familiar, universal conflicts that have driven human drama since the beginning of time:a son impatient to prove his worth to his father; a lethally resentful brother; and a woman who helps a man see the world anew. After the global cinematic success of Marvel’s “Thor,” the filmmakers reached once more into a rich archive of Norse mythology and comic book history for Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World.” The movie paints an adventure of the most epic and spectacular proportions. Again drawing on universal and familiar themes, the film pits
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duty and family allegiance against personal aspiration and love. It sees a nation in conflict with an enemy long thought to be dead, but who now threatens the very existence of the universe. “Thor: The Dark World” producer and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige notes that writers Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had made an inspired move by looking to Norse mythology when deciding to create a god as acomic book Super Hero. He recalls, “A lot of people were familiar with the Greek and Roman mythologies, not so much with the Norse. When you read those stories, it’s like the best of the Marvel Comics, because it’s people who are very human, despite their powers—despite their calling down the storm, the thunder and the lightning. They have family issues, in the two brothers fighting, Thor and Loki. It’s a family drama and they’re just as flawed as any of us, or any of the Marvel heroes. That’s what makes the Marvel characters so relatable.” At the end of “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Thor’s adopted brother Loki is taken back to Asgard by Thor as a prisoner, after trying to take over the world. From this starting point, producer Kevin Feige, executive producer Craig Kyle, the screenwriters and a large team at Marvel sat down to look at where Thor’s story should go next. Screenwriter Christopher L. Yost explains, “We really wanted to look at how you could escalate the story personally for him and push things to the next level in terms of conflict.” Director Alan Taylor, describing Thor’s journey, says, “In the first film, we saw Thor go from being an impetuous prince to taking his first steps towards maturing and growing up, and in our film that life story continues. He’s moving closer to actually claiming the kind of power that comes with Odin. He’s becoming not just a man, but potentially a king as well. In this story, as Thor matures and deepens, he has to give some things up and suffer.” To create the conflict, the filmmakers give Thor a worthy adversary—the villainous Malekith. Introduced in June 1984 in issue #344 of Thor, Malekith is leader of the dark elves, who inhabit Svartalfheim, one of the Nine Realms. After waging war with the Nine Realms, and being defeated b y Asgard, the dark e l v e s w e re
considered to be extinct. But Malekith put his planet and the surviving dark elves into hibernation for many thousands of years, until a calculated time when he was ready to avenge the universe and turn light once more into darkness. Malekith and the dark elves will prove to be formidable enemies with a violent and personal history with Asgard. In creating “Thor: The Dark World,” Marvel filmmakers worked diligently to respect the film’s origins and the legions of comic book fans it spawned and worked carefully to endear and excite not only those fans but fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well. CASTING AND CHARACTERS Reprising his role as the Mighty Thor, God of Thunder, Chris Hemsworth, the Australian actor with a physique to rival men and gods, was delighted to return. “I love playing the character. The trick is each time to find new ways to make the character have some sort of advance or growth from the last one,” explains Hemsworth. “I think you’ve got to make sure the hero is a big catalyst to the resolution from the beginning, that he’s not just there to step in at the very end and save the day. He has to be proactive throughout. There’s a definite conflict within Thor about where his place was. Was it with Jane on Earth or was it in Asgard, and where does his allegiance lie? Also, he’s beginning to understand the darker sides of what it truly means to be king and the burden of the throne.” Once more taking on the role of esoteric astrophysicist Jane Foster, Natalie Portman enthuses, “It’s really fun to get to come back and play her again. I think it’s rare to get the opportunity to play these female scientists in this kind of movie, so it’s nice to have a foil for the super hero!” Joining Jane once more in her scientific explorations of cosmic understanding is the quirky and irreverent intern, and fan-favorite, Darcy Lewis, played by Kat Dennings. “People seem to love Darcy,” notes Dennings. “I love Darcy. And because she’s not in the comic books, she was born out of my imagination. So the fact that people like her is just really flattering.” Rounding off the scientific trio of mortals is the talented Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård, who plays Erik Selvig. Like fellow cast members he reprises his role. Within the Marvel Universe we last saw him possessed by Loki in “Marvel’s The Avengers.” This experience has left the scientist traumatized and his former colleagues discover his current location by accident, when he is caught on national TV news, half naked at the ancient sacred site of Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, England. Stellan jokes of his predicament, “It was cold. I’d recommend clothes at Stonehenge. The English climate is not suitable for streaking!” Revisiting the role of the God Odin, King of Asgard, Anthony Hopkins was happy to join the cast of “Thor: The Dark
World.” “I enjoyed the first one with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston. I have scenes with Natalie Portman—she’s beautiful and lovely—and Kat Dennings and Chris. They’re terrific people to work with; very easy, gentle and relaxed people.” He admits that he is not well versed in Marvel or Nordic mythology, but explains, “I just play him like a human being, with maybe a little more dimension. I grow a beard, look hopefully impressive and try and keep it as real as possible.”
character’sbackground develop further as life as an Asgardian is revealed, before the action intensifies.He comments, “You get a chance to see Volstagg with his family, which was a big surprise. I’ve got these naughty cherubic sort of bouncy kids, which is just a lot of fun.”
Jaimie Alexander was thrilled to reprise her role as Sif. “I have to say Sif is one of the favorite characters I’ve played,” says A l e x a n d e r. “ S h e ’s probably closest to my personality out of everything I’ve done. She’s a butt-kicker and I like that!” Once again playing Volstagg, Ray Stevenson relished the chance to see the
Christopher Eccleston is new to the cast and takes on the role of arch villain, Malekith. On developing the character of Malekith he says, “I wanted Malekith to have a sense of humor, because I think a sense of humor indicates intelligence and if you’ve got an intelligent villain that means that your heroes have to be really accomplished to beat them.”
Joining the cast to play Fandral is Zachary Levi. Discussing picking up the reins of Fandral, he says, “I like the character of Fandral. He’s different to anything I’ve ever been able to play. He speaks with an English accent, is very blunt and is a total lothario, lady’s man. I love all that; it’s just really fun. He’s very Errol Flynn.”
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who plays the dual roles of dark elf Algrim and Kurse, was delighted to join the cast and take on a complex dual role. “I think every boy and girl grows up with super heroes, comic books, Marvel in their childhood, so to be part of that history, it’s a privilege,” states Adewale. Describing his characters, he says, “I suppose Algrim and Kurse would be the quintessential baddies, but in reality they are what I perceive as the scorn and the victims of the story. They are the elves who have basically lost their planet and their race to another race, the Asgardians.” The last piece of the exciting jigsaw was Loki and Tom Hiddleston. Hiddleston was delighted to step into Loki’s shoes once more. He says, “I feel like ‘Thor: The Dark World”is a chance as an actor to find new depth, new dimension, new iterations of Loki’s psychology, of his physicality and his capacity for feeling. On one level he is an off- the-rails psychopathic agent of chaos, but on a human level, his psychology and his emotional landscape is very, very interesting because he’s so intelligent and yet so broken. This film is a chance to find where his capacity for heroism
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and his Machiavellian menace meet.” CREATING THE LOOK With Malekith, the otherworldly villain in place, filmmakers were keen to give audiences relatable references and worlds. Director Alan Taylor was chief among those wanting to give the film grounding in reality, with a weathered texture and a grittier feel. Says Taylor, “When I came in, I wanted to get more of a sense of the Norse mythology, the Viking quality, the texture, the history and the weight.” As a result, all aspects of Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World,” —from the locations, the vast, largely exterior sets, the costumes, hair and make-up, to the armor, weapons, special and visual effects—have been carefully crafted to give a worn, humanizing, historical and grounded quality, with more nods to a Viking era than to science fiction. Alan Taylor felt it was imperative that Thor’s home planet Asgard “feels like it has been there for centuries, that it has its own culture, that it really be a place you could believe in.” With these marching orders, production designer Charles Wood was tasked with bringing Asgard to life. “One big challenge was to make the film as fantastical as possible, because that’s the nature of this type of film, but also to ground the film and make the environments that we created tangible and realistic.”
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Wood continues, “In the first film we were generally within the palace, whereas in this film we actually explore the city as well. We wanted to be true to the idea both within the Marvel Universe and within Norse mythology that Asgard was a golden city, but again we wanted to bring a sense of history to this world. We wanted to suggest that Asgard as an environment had been around for many thousands of years.” To create Asgard and further worlds within the Nine Realms with believability, the director and filmmakers felt the best way to help achieve this was to use a combination of real locations and expansive, detailed sets, built largely outside. Creating Asgard was the biggest challenge of all and also involved the largest number of sets. For their initial inspiration Wood and his team looked to the comic books and at all the material they could find on Thor and the environments that writer Kirby had produced. They then took their research wider, as Wood explains, “We also
looked at images on the Internet, whether architectural or whether it was atmospheric, anything we could find that we felt could have related to the film. We studied all sorts of different historical and modern architectural influences, whether it was Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, Chinese or Islamic architectural forms. We also studied light and atmosphere. We then went to the studio and met everyone and Alan Taylor and got their take on it and from that point we essentially started conceptualizing.” The film shot between October and December 2012 at Pinewood Shepperton Film Studios in England, with key locations in London—Greenwich, Wembley, Borough Market and Hayes—and Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.The film also shot on location in Iceland.
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F U N
F A C T S
The Medina/streets of Asgard set is the biggest set ever built for a Marvel film. One can actually walk around the streets of Asgard and see the shops, the pubs and the training ground.
An aerial camera crew flew to the Dettifoss waterfall in Iceland (Europe’s most powerful waterfall) to film the cascading waters from every angle so that the waterfalls ringing Asgard could be rendered realistically by the computers to replicate the world.
A close look at the set decorating for Jane Foster’s London apartment would reveal sheet music on the piano that reads: “Thor The Thunder God.”
There were about 30 hammers made for Thor of various weights for different uses. The master hammer is made from aluminum but it is replicated in different materials and weights, including a “soft” stunt version. Of the 30, five versions are used most often, including the “lit hammer,” that emits light when lightning strikes.
The design of Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer,was changed from the version Thor wielded in “Marvel’s The Avengers.” new hammer has more of a sense of and age to it and its grip is more the hammer Thor used in “Thor.”
The history aligned to
The inscription on Thor’s Norse runes, translates to: this hammer, if he be the power of Thor.”
Thor and Odin each have one look in costuming, but Thor needs 15 sets of his costume as he does so many stunts and action scenes. Odin has about 6 repeats of his costume.
David White, the designer of the dark elves and the prosthetic effects on “Thor: The Dark World,” designed and created 40 suits for the dark elves, utilizing 100 technicians over a 3 ½month period. The off-world look was derived from diverse ethnic and tribal elements.
The stunt men and extras playing the dark elves had to go through a training period where they practiced standing tall and proud since the dark elves are envisioned to be a noble people. Prosthetics designer David White helped out too by
hammer, written in “Whosoever holds worthy, shall possess
designing the helmet so that the eye line was slightly pulled down,forcing the actors to tilt their heads slightly up and back, which gave them a very proud, strong feel. •
Both Christopher Eccleston and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who play the dark elves Malekith and Algrim, respectively, had to memorize their dialogue written in an elven language that was created specifically for the film.
• Before sending helicopters to film over historic Greenwich, England, on a quiet Sunday morning, the location crew dropped 4,000 letters in the area: 2,000 on one side of the river and 2,000 on the other side of the river, explaining to the residents what was going to be happening. •
Filming at the famous Stonehenge historical site proved to be a challenge. After finally getting permission from English Heritage, the filmmakers found out that there were lots of rules and regulations associated withfilming there. They could only be in amongst the stones outside of the normal visiting hours.So shooting had to take place early in the morning before opening, which only gave the film crew about three hours before they had to pull back for wider shots once the stones were opened to the public. Being a heritage site, no one was allowed to touch the stones or walk on any stones, so a lot of logistics had to be applied to the filming there.
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Tom Hanks brings real life sea adventure to reel Based on the memoirs of Captain Richard Phillips, the actor’s new movie is the account of the former’s encounter with Somali pirates Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks will soon be seen playing the titular role in Sony Pictures’ upcoming adventure drama Captain Phillips. The movie is not just making news for its riveting storyline but is also being pegged as Hanks’ third shot at the Oscars for his portrayal of the real life Captain Richard Phillips. Based on the true incident of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates in 2009, this is yet another drama based on a true story featuring the actor who is self-admittedly fascinated by adaptations of real life happenings to the silver screen. Talking about the appeal non-fictional stories hold for him, the actor said, “I’m fascinated constantly by nonfiction entertainment. I’m the type of guy that reads the newspaper and sees a story that really happened and says, ‘Well, this is better than most movies.’” Commenting on his reasons to take up this movie, Hanks further added, “We’ve seen quite
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“Playing a real person is a huge responsibility” -Tom Hanks
a few fictionalized versions of what can happen when bad guys try to take over a ship or a plane, but because this is a real event, it presents one of the biggest challenges a filmmaker can face, which is: what really happened and how do we make that so gripping that it warrants holding a place in commercial entertainment?” Directed by Paul Greengrass, ‘Captain Phillips’ recounts the true-life ordeal of Richard Phillips, the captain of a US-flagged cargo ship, the MV Maersk Alabama, sailing with a 20-man crew and 17,000 metric tons of cargo that was bound for Kenya in April 2009 when it was abducted by
four Somali pirates. The biopic is based on the memoirs of Captain Richard Phillips who was at the helm of the ship and was taken hostage by the pirates who fled the Maersk aboard one of the ship’s lifeboats. Tom Hanks feels that playing the part of a real person comes with a lot of special responsibility. “I think it’s important not to redefine somebody’s motivations”, said the two time Oscar-winner. “[In a movie] you have to have people do or say things they never did or said, and be in places they never were. But you can take that to an extreme where it’s not really why this person does what he does, and that’s the key. You’ve got to be a journalist and a historian and a filmmaker all at the same time” he told Parade magazine.
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Medical College Hospital & Research Institute
Velammal, with its humble beginning in the year 1986 with just 183 students and 13 staff members has become a heavenly abode for 70,000 students and 6000 staff. The illustrious Velammal banner with its vision for excellence in all aspects of education and impeccable scholastic and non scholastic records has branched out widely with 13 Matriculation schools, 7 CBSE Schools, 1 International and Residential School each. Our remarkable transformation within a short span of 27 years has earned us a unique opportunity to feature ourselves in the Guinness Book of World Records 2013 for the highest student strength in an Educational Trust. The incomparable transition, plenteous accolades and burgeoning success personify the visionary with the Midas Touch, the Founder Chairman, Shri M.V. Muthuramalingam. His magical hands have transformed many dreams into reality and many hopes into vision. His resolute dedication, staunch conviction have left no mission or avenue unexplored. Personal loss of losing his father at a young age and no financial back up never deterred him from his chosen goal in life. At the age of 64, he is a self made man maintaining a low profile private life but a highly acclaimed and successful professional career.
“Velammal Village” Madurai – Tuticorin Ring Road, Madurai – 625009 Phone : 0452 2510000
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