If you someone who has been following my scribblings from Himachal, you might feel a sense of deja vu on reading this. But this post is different, promise:).
The best bit about being in a docu filmmakers workshop for 5 days in a place that has only mountains, a river & pine trees as far as your eyes can see, is the total sense of timelessness. No one to thrust a deadline down your throat, not many phone calls to bug you to buy a house or take a huge bank loan..
And then, the format itself was such that you along with 16 other souls from across the country who signed up for the programme, would sit down in that cosy first floor projector room at Sambhaavnaa, to watch docu film after docu film, right after some wholesome pahaadi breakfast washed down with Palampur chai. Invariably, you would get to discuss your take on it too, with the filmmaker her/himself answering every query.
Your own work – whatever film (or in the process of being) made – would be screened in the second half, post-wholesome-pahaadi-khana. Post’screening you’d then wait for your friends to dissect it and tell you what they loved or didnt about the work. But clearly the most awaited bit would be the Mentor’s Take.
And that was the strength of this programme Docucharcha, thought up by two young women filmmakers from Delhi Tarini Manthanda & Bhamathi who believe that this art form helps in “understanding people and the world around us, and hence is timelessly relevant .. (but) few film schools teach documentary film making. Furthermore, docu production itself is a struggle. At the same time, audience interest is growing & more people are making films independently..”
The Mentors, all 4 of them renowned filmmakers in the genre, spent sincere time watching every frame of our films & giving critical inputs individually. Rahul Roy, Saba Dewan, Sameera Jain, and, the man who deserves a special mention for staying from start to finish (in my case, right from the overnight Delhi to Baijnath bus to get to the venue).
Besides all of us waiting keenly to hear what Ramani would say, his special camera class, mornings 730 was a superhit. Still basking in the light of a gorgeous sunrise behind you, a whole batch of us sitting on those comfy modaas outside the insti mess, at the edge of the plateau, “What aperture adjustment for what situation Ramani? Which settings for shutter speed works for which kind of light? In your film why did you use that foreground to set a frame.. mine is an ordinary handycam, can I get that shot on this you think?”, you could ‘shoot’ your questions to the FTII ace non-stop. And yet be rewarded with Ramani himself shooting a groupie picture that now sits as cover pic on this same fb wall.
That’s just one of those what-money-cant-buy moments one had, in the midst of misty mountains.