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Portal Peel

I’m reading about John Peel’s death on a newswire service connected via a wireless cell phone to the intenet.
What makes this uncanny is that I’m in the same room and the same table where I used to prop up a small short-wave radio some 30 years ago and listen to his show on BBC World Service.
The radio and John’s show was the portal to my world. I’m not sure I loved all the music but there was some strange stuff that I’m sure I would have never heard elsewhere.
Even in far away Delhi he had fans and his wry style was legendary.
What was that Indian thing about life being cyclical?

The Masters

I’m fortunate to have met some of the masters who have made cinema what it is. I will be writing aboout some of these encounters from time to time in this blog. Some of the people whose work I admire and who will feature in this are: Subrata Mitra the legendary camerman, Satyajit Ray the director, Walter Murch the editor and sound designer. Also in this will be the unsung heroes. The people who never get noticed in the movies but who have made an indelible mark on cinema in their small way.

Getting Organized

The other day I walked into my room which has become every-man’s nightmare or hey, a technogeeks dream.
Avid editing system, Old CRT displays, Bose Roommates, Anchor AN 100 Pro Speakers, 35mm Negatives, 35mm release prints, Books, Files, Scripts, Newspaper cuttings, reviews, B.C. Sanyal’s watercolor Paintings, Godard’s Bande a Part poster, empty FeDex boxes, Avid Hard drives, Old PowerMac CPU’s…

The room is about 12ft by 9ft with a window which has a great view.

I decided it was time to address the drawers and files. I don’t quite remember how but some email link got me to check out David Allen’s Getting Things Done. A couple of phone calls and Crossword had it delivered at my office. I read it in one straight sitting and got a bit obsessive over the next few days. Google searches, how to get it work on OSX, iApps, the works. Even made a small Keynote presentation for the rest of the team at work.

I’m not going into details as there’s tons of stuff on the forum and other websites.

But in sum- It works!

Here’s my inbox: ZERO MAIL!!

GTD

Of course some people keep ALL their mail in the inbox. With Mail.app’s threading and color coding of messages it is another way of looking and sorting stuff.

GTD (as I discovered it’s known as!) reminds me of the years I used to use Time Manager’s planner. It has a similar implementation of Calendar, Tasks or Actions and a Project Section, Notes, Addresses and a Reference Section.

I still have both mine (a personal size and the A5 size) tucked away safely. For one reason; during film-production all digital and tech stuff fails. The one thing that works wonders is paper and pencil!

But check out the book.

Grave Obsession

Hidden between a row of shanties and the suburban railway line is the Jewish Cemetery. I went here as part of the location “recce” for my new film Stairway to Heaven with Jehangir Sorabjee. Jehangir has been taking some exceptional Black & White photographs of cemeteries all over the world.
They should be available for sale on his website soon.
Oh did I mention, he’s one of Bombay’s outstanding doctors as well.
A doctor with a passion for cemeteries. Now there’s a film in that!
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The tomb raiders paused as we took photographs. Sandwiched between Chinchpokli station and the land grabbing high rises don’t expect this cemetery to last long.
It’s like the vanishing Jewish community of Bombay.

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The B&W photograph was taken with my trusted Nikon FM2 while the color one was on the Nikon Coolpix 4300.

October Sky

It’s the big day of the Ganesh immersion festival. It usually rains but today looked quite different. The sky was clear. The haze and smog a distant dream.
And then at about 10pm there was the most dramatic lightning you could imagine followed by rain.
Well, coincidence? Cloud seeding?
October Sky.JPG

What’s in a name?

Is this name thing a recurring theme? In English, August Agastya Sen who wishes he were English and his name August is harassed about his name. In Split Wide Open August’s country cousin KP is quizzed about his name Kut Price, in Ravan & Eddie the young boy is renamed and spends a good part of his time wondering about his name. In Stairway to Heaven the protagonist VJ prefers his shortened initialized name to what he’s been given. And the girl who becomes part of his life has no name. She’s just The Girl.

Whatever, as they say. Not quite I’d reply. They are part of this city; Bom Bahia, Boa Vida, Bombaim, Mombaim, Bombay, Mumbai call it what you want.

For me it will always be Bombay.

Chris Doyle

My pictures of Chris Doyle when we met in Delhi.
Here’s what Salon has to say of him:

Christopher Doyle may be the greatest cinematographer now working. The movie (Hero) is utterly gorgeous to look at but Doyle’s work is never merely “pictorial.” It always has the dramatic impetus of the scene in mind. He is a master of lighting, shading, hues and precise yet subtle camera movement and is one of the least fussy masters imaginable.

When I sent this to Chris, he responded, “I blush.”

Doyle_Carried Away

Chris Doyle- Carried Away. Photograph ? Dev Benegal 2004