Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 527: Valkyries!

28 April, 2011

I usually don't write about a book or film unless I have read/watched it completely. But I absolutely must write about Paulo Coehlo's Valkyries even though I am only about half way through it! Well, I must mention that I got half through it in just one sitting simply because I am that fascinated by it!

Let me first establish that I had previously read Coehlo's Alchemist as well as the The Winner Stands Alone and found both books to be strictly average. Alchemist left me confused (I felt that the boy getting a storm to happen etc. was a bit of a stretch for a story that was trying to be more real than fantastical). As for "The Winner Stands Alone", whatever point that was being driven, was completely lost on me.

So when I picked about Valkyries, it was only because there didn't seem to be any other decent choice, and also to a small extend because the synopsis said something about female warriors which I found interesting.

But within 20 pages into the book, I was completely blown away!!! I am not sure why really...there are so many elements about it that's so intriguing! It is like reading a fantastical story, but one that claims to be autobiographical. Almost like reading works like the Autobiography of a Yogi.

I dont know where the story is gonna go from this point or whether I would still be this excited about the book at the end of it but for the time being, I think is absolutely, completely, incredibly brilliant!

473 more to go.

Day 526: Successful Training!

27 April, 2011

For the past one month (actually since the morning of the Mausams Premiere day to be exact), I had been working on organizing a customized digital marketing training for one of the business units at work. Since it was the first one of its kind, there was a lot of work to be done to tailor it and ensure that it is an effective training and one that inspires action from the participants.

After quite a rollercoaster ride, the training was delivered yesterday.

And today we got the consolidated results from the feedback forms which the participants filled up post the training. And we have got awesome ratings! Not just that, I even received several follow up queries about the training, which made me feel super good!

It always feels great when something encouraging happens at work. You feel inspired enough to carry on for several more days! So thank God for that!

474 more to go.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 525: Telling Your Friends...

26 April, 2011

A very sweet thing happened today.

I bumped into a Chinese colleague of the hubby. She looked at me and the first thing she said was "When I see you, all I can think of is 'Mausams'!"

I was like, yeah that's fair enough. She was one of the non-Indians who made up about 20% of the total viewers in Singapore. I have met her about 2-3 times before for a short while and I could easily figure why Mausams is probably the only memorable thing about me in her mind.

Then she began to talk about how much she loved the movie, the script, the acting, the music etc. etc. She said that initially she was a bit taken back that it did not have live sound but dubs (non-Indians are usually not very accustomed to this I guess) and was pretty certain the next 2 hours would be tough. But later she apparently didnt think about it at all and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Obviously I was very happy with all the comments!

Then she said "i wish it was running for a bit longer, I wanted to bring all my friends. You know, I didn't tell any of my friends at first about this film but after I watched it, I was like damn... I should have told all of them!"

And that touched me so much! Because not just her but many people didnt want to invite their friends for Mausams before they themselves gave it the test ride. And this included a bulk of the Mausams team members too, which was something that had bothered me at the time. Of course, it is completely irrational to be bothered by it because my rational side did understand why people dont want to be blamed by their friends for wasting 2 hours of their time and $10 of their money. But the fact is that somewhere in my head, it did bother me in a small way.

But today, having a an almost-stranger, a Chinese at that, gushing about the film and telling me that she regrets having not told her friends, makes me feel (once again) that everything was worth it!

475 more to go.

Day 524: Brainwave!

25 April, 2011

There is a project I have been wanting to do for a really long time but had no idea how to go about it.

Today, as I was sipping on some juice and staring at my laptop at work, somehow the puzzle started to fall in place. A clear plan, a one that is executable, took shape in my mind. I quickly called the hubby to discuss this with him and he seemed to agree that it was a quite a brainwave indeed!

I think there are three exciting milestones to every pet project but one of the most exciting is right when the idea first germinates and forms a reasonable enough shape - this means that this is not a vague idea or thought like "I wanna be rich" or "I wanna make a movie" but more specific like "I am gonna be rich by working on abc" or "I am gonna make a movie on such and such plotline".

I feel like I am at that stage now! A clear plan, tons of work ahead, but something worthwhile possibly at the end of it. I am not ready to share the plan yet (maybe around September, based on my current timeline) but I will refer back to this post when the right time comes.

For now, let me just live with the excitement! :)

476 more to go.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 523: A Day of Silence

24 Aoril, 2011

I think I have begun to get restless finally. Even after yoga and multiple socializing events etc., I was feeling rather incomplete yesterday evening. So I decided that I would do something totally different, something that I have never tried before.

After a bit of brainstorming with the self, I decided to maintain silence. Complete silence for 24 hours. Which means no talking, no chatting, no tweeting, no communication over Facebook etc. I am free to listen to other people chattering, but I shall not participate in the conversation. That was the whole idea. The experiment was to be from midnight on Saturday night all the way untill midnight on Sunday night.

And so the experiment began! I had expected myself to I suffer from an overwhelming craving to open my mouth or at least comment on Twitter or Facebook! I knew that I could easily maintain silence for a few hours but had expected a whole day to prove difficult.

Interestingly enough, it wasn't! I found it pretty easy to keep to my thoughts without having to express them. It could also have been a by product of my rather weak social life (there was hardly anyone expressing a desire to have a conversation with me), but I do like to think that I am social at least in the online space, which was also curbed but which didn't seem to affect me.

By evening, I felt that this was too easy a game, so I decided to get out of the house to do some shopping and figure out how difficult would that be without talking.

Interestingly, that didn't prove to be too difficult either. Only two instances were a bit weird:
a) When I figured that telling the cabbie where to go would be a bit tough without talking - this situation was resolved by taking the train instead.
b) When the girls at the shops greet you with a big "Good Evening Ma'm!" and all you can do is smile politely and feel really rude to be not replying back.

Other than the above, it was quite a breeze. Singapore is not known for great customer service but today it seemed like all the girls at the shops were unusually friendly asking me what I wanted, whether I wanna try the clothes out etc. When I just nodded or shook my head, they instantly figured out that I couldn't speak. There was a temporary, quick change in expression as they comprehended that I might be speaking-impaired, but then they continued to behave as if I were as normal as any other customer, which I thought was pretty nice.

Keeping quiet also seemed to have calmed down my brain a lot because post the shopping all I wanted to do was sit in a scenic spot and gaze into space. So I did exactly that. I walked to the bridge next to the Merlion Walk and gazed towards Marina Bay Sands and Nicole Highway for the longest time. The hubby (who was quite supportive of this idea of me being silent) joined later and we had a dinner over silence.

I waited it out until midnight to complete the experiment and was quite happy when it was done successfully! I must also add here that I was so excited about having passed the experiment in flying colours, that I couldn't wait to gloat about it to the hubby. As soon as the clock struck 12 at night, I rushed off to find him and discovered that he was already fast asleep (blah)! Very obviously he didn't missing my talking.

But in any case, it was a good experiment. Nothing out of the world, but definitely worth going through once in a while.

477 more to go.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 522: Supercool Aunty!

23 April, 2011

I had the good fortune of meeting a super cool aunty today!

It was a friend's birthday and she had invited us home for dinner and BBQ. Her mom is Thai and had made a very elaborate spread of the most amazing Thai food I've ever had in my life! Her green curry chicken is to die for! She had apparently been cooking all the way from 5am for the party and when we were there past 8pm she was still running around getting the BBQ right.

After she had satisfactorily fed everyone, she sat with her daughter's friends and began to chat. And that's when I realized that not only was she an amazing cook, but her sense of humour is out of this world! She kept a huge group of youngsters, all about 30 or more years younger to her, entertained for a good two hours.

I was completely taken by her zest for life and super cool attitude. She completely overshadowed the yoga and productiveness that I would have otherwise written about today! It was a real pleasure!

478 more to go.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 521: Checks All the Way!

22 April, 2011

It was a great start to the long Good Friday weekend!

Firstly I did something that I have never done before - go for an 8am class of yoga on a public holiday. I was so super proud of myself! In fact I was already glowing by the time I reached the class - I was like "I am SO cool.. I woke up so early and got here on a public holiday!" - That bubble was immediately bursted when I saw that the class had at least 50 others. Still, I guess I continued to glow. This was my first yoga class in more than 2 months thanks to NZ trip, Mausams work and multitude of visitors... so as expected, it was nothing short of torture. But I lasted and I felt really good because my day had already become productive and it was only 10am!

After that great start, I had a good breakfast, watched one of the holiday movies on TV, worked for a bit (office work), took a siesta, watched Dum Maaro Dum (a newly Hindi film) which I enjoyed quite a bit, had a good dinner and a round of drinks with friends over a lot of random but fun chatter.

In short, it was an effective public holiday where I checked off pretty much everything I would have wanted to.

Exercise - check.
Socializing - check.
Work - check. (Even though given that it's a holiday, it would have nicer if the work was more creative than for office but still it counts)
Entertainment - check.
Relaxation - check.


479 more to go.

Day 520: Trough to Ridge

21 April, 2011

Yesterday was a horrible day at work.

Today was an awesome day at work.

Not because I got a raise or my work was appreciated, but because I managed to work continuously for 7 hours without budging from my seat and sorted out the goddamn mess I was writing about yesterday.

I felt uber productive and super good. If I were a bit more dramatic (or flexible) I would have patted my back or thumped my chest.

I love the fact that things don't stay in a trough for long (unfortunately they don't stay on the ridge for too long either but I shall crib about that the next time the situation starts to plunge)!

For today, this works.

480 more to go.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 519: Lip-Smacking Mallu Food to the Rescue!

20 April, 2011

There are some days which are just horrible. When nothing goes according to plan, when you feel like you wanna quit your job and want to run away from it all, when you feel like life is a rollercoaster but with more downs than ups.

Today was one of those days for me. These days, work in office is way too much and way too messy. And I can't say that I am enjoying it. To make matters worse, today was exceptionally bad. And the fact that there is nothing much else to look forward to post Mausams, is probably beginning to take a toll as well.

Anyway the point is, it was a crappy day. Until about 8pm. Then I figured that the day needs redemption and I had about 4 hours to make that happen.

So then I chose the most obvious route - Having an awesome meal!

So the hubby and I set off for the Mallu restaurant Mango Tree at East Coast Park and had the most amazing dinner of Tava Jhingdi (prawns) and the Mallu dishes of Appom, Idiyappom (my favourite Mallu dish), Kerala mutton curry and vegetable ishtu, all over a glass of red wine. And then we topped the dinner with some Rasmalai! I have been to Mango Tree a few times before but somehow the food never tasted THIS good! I mean it was really realy Yummilicious!! Aaaaah... I felt super satisfied by the end of it all.

I know am beginning to sound like a glutton but sometimes, having that super good meal is all that is needed to sweeten up a day!

481 more to go.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 518: The Filmie Fanatic Visitor

I had written here about how a fellow filmie fanatic (and a complete stranger to me before Mausams) from India wanted to meet up with me during his visit to Singapore. He had read about Mausams and how it came about, in a newspaper in India and wanted to discuss the experience of making a film with me.

So yes, he reached Singapore yesterday for his week long tourist trip and met up with me today. Over some coffee, we discussed film making at length. I got to know that he has a bunch of friends who are all equally passionate about film making but who are at a loss on how to start on making one on their own. I shared all my experiences with him and gave him tips on how to go about it to the best of my knowledge.

At the end of it, he said that he feels confident enough to start on the work as soon as he gets back to India. His aim is to complete his first official short film by this August! A short while after the meeting, he called me up to tell me that he already spoke to his group of filmie friends in India and they have already begun to draft up a plan on how to overcome some of the issues such as the multiple locations (they are all working in different parts of India), resource constraints etc.

Well, I am definitely pretty happy for him and his friends! I hope they get to make their movie soon too! It is always wonderful to see someone's journey towards making their dream come true and even more wonderful if you get to play a teeny weeny bit in it!

Good luck to them!

482 more to go.

Day 517: The Fridge Magnet!

18 April, 2011

The most amazing thing happened today!

I was at work, trying to figure out how to meet some stretching deadlines, how to solve a million new issues that seem to have cropped up in the last few days, how to keep my sanity and such similar activities that one is expected to be involved in at work.

So as I was staring hard at my computer screen, my admin assistant came by and dropped a bunch of postal mail on my desk. Taking that as a good sign for a break, I stopped working and started sifting through the mail. Most of them were credit card bills or bank statements or some official mail.

Then I came to the last envelope in the pile. It looked a bit out of ordinary - with a hand written address and stamps etc. which one doesn't normally find on any of these banking notices. I turned over the envelope and was highly surprised when I read the sender details there. The mail was from a junior of mine from college.

We had worked together on a project about 5-6 years back but other than that you can hardly call us close. We probably bump into each other once a year, exchange some pleasantries and that's about it. So obviously a mail from her was very surprising.

A look at the envelope also told me that there was something more than just a piece of paper in it. There was a square, hard object in there and it has left an impression on the envelope. For a few moments I tried to guess what it might be, then curiosity got better of me.

I tore open the envelope and out popped a very simple fridge magnet. It said "Best Director" together with the visual of a film camera next to it.

I was stunned. That was such a sweet gesture!

I was so overwhelmed that I almost missed the accompanying letter. It had a very short and sweet message. She basically said that she was reminded of me when she visited the Universal Studio in Singapore recently and came across this magnet. So she bought it and sent it to me.

She sounded pretty casual about the whole deal as if this was the most regular thing to do but I must say that it made my day (or in fact, several days to come)! I mean, it's one thing to be reminded of me when she saw the magnet and a completely different thing to actually buy it, figure out my address and then send it out via mail to me!

So well, what can I say!

Thank you my dear, this magnet shall adorn my fridge forever.

483 more to go.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 516: Two Lovely Ladies!

I had written here about how one girl (a complete stranger to me at the time) had watched Mausams, contacted me, and had expressed her frustration about how the film was completely ignored by the local media in Singapore.

Today I got to meet her as well as her mother. Both of them had watched Mausams, liked the film and has expressed an interest in meeting me.

So yes, we met up. And I must say that I was most touched by their support to Mausams and their desire to do something for the project. While I was there, they were constantly brainstorming on how to get more people to watch the film, how to help me recover my money, so on and so forth. It doesn't matter how much of the plan would go through but their concern and initiative was truly touching.

A highlight of the conversation was also when they happened to talk about this short film they had watched several years earlier, done by a student from my university and how they had loved it at that point in time. After some probing, I realized that they were talking about the very film in which I had debuted as an actress! Called 'Crying in the dark', the film was made by a junior of mine from the university, who also happens to be the much coveted music composer of Mausams! The fact that this film came into the conversation like that was to me, the mother of all pleasant coincidences!

Anyway to cut a long story short, I had the nicest time chatting with the two of them. It is always inspiring to meet people who are so encouraging towards the arts.

So yes, it was a very pleasant evening!

484 more to go.

Day 515: Absolutely Nothing!

16 April, 2011

First weekend after the Mausams excitement and I spent it exactly the way it should rightly have been - by doing absolutely nothing. Sure there were highlights like an early morning Murugan Idly breakfast, movie marathon on TV, chai-time conversation with hubby at the cafe Dome near our place, late night supper at Clarke Quay etc., but these are all nice events that don't necessarily make me feel like I have done anything.

Not that I am complaining!

A quick search on the blog tells me that the last time I did this was on Day 89. Ah, I love the repeat take!

485 more to go.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 514: What's Next?

15 April, 2011

Today's Vishu - Malayalam New Year.

Interestingly enough, 5 different people asked me the same question today - "What's next?".

That was interesting because there is no better time to reflect upon this question than on the New Year's Day. In any case, I had not made any resolutions on January 1 this year. So I figured that maybe the universe wants me to make use of this Vishu day to sit down and think about what's next.

So yes, I sat down and I thought.

And I came up with a list. It had three categories - Must Haves, Nice to Haves and Stretch Ideas (which are basically things I would do only if the Must Haves and the Nice to Haves are on track).

After I made that satisfactory list, I pondered for a moment and then crossed all of them out.

You see, I am extremely good at making resolutions and sticking to them. If I look back at my 2008, 2009, 2010 resolutions... all of them have been completed 100%. So my anal planning and organizing skills usually help me out with such stuff.

But for some reason I didn't make any resolutions for 2011, and I am thinking maybe that's for the best. Maybe this one year, I will take things as they come. No planning, no time management, no organizing, no knowledge of what's to come exactly in the next few weeks, months or the year. Maybe that would be an interesting change.

So what's next? I have no clue.

Just bring it on, I say.

486 more to go.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 513: Movie Marathon!

14 April, 2011

I was way too sick to make it to work today. The horrible flu continued and my sore throat had gone from bad to worse. So instead of dragging myself to work and being unproductive (or rather, being destructive by spreading all those germs around), I took a sick leave and confined myself to my house the whole day.

It then dawned upon me that today's the Tamil New Year and also the eve of the Malayalam New Year, Vishu. So as I lay sprawled on the couch, going in and out of very disturbed slumber, I let the Tamil and Malayalam TV channels play in the background. They had several new films playing one after the other as part of the New Year celebrations.

Now, all the movies were pretty bad - some, shockingly so.. but I had them play in the background anyway. It is always nice to keep hearing Malayalam and Tamil - even when the content is super flawed.

So yes, I had a nice long whole day Movie marathon which helped to perk up an otherwise snotty-phlegmy day.

487 more to go.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 512: Fellow Filmie Fanatics!

Mausams has definitely made me famous. OK fine, famous is too aggressive a term... but what I mean is that more people seem to know me than before. Or more people seem to want to know me than before.

Now, the people in question here are primarily those who have an interest in film making. None of them are the famous big shots but more like regular people like myself who have got little to do with the film industry but still love cinema.

For the past one week, I had been getting quite a few messages and emails from strangers who have either watched Mausams or have read articles on Mausams on Indian newspapers like the Hindu and Mathrubhumi, then somehow dug up my contact and dropped in a word. Basically they want to know more about how I got the film done with little or no resources, how I simultaneously managed work and film making, what the response to the film was like in Singaore etc. or they simply want to congratulate me on getting the movie done or give their feedback on the film trailer, website, theme song etc. Needless to say, I find the whole deal very sweet and encouraging!

Today fared a bit high on such messages - I actually got 5 new friend requests on Facebook, again from people who are all interested in film making one way or the other. One of them even mentioned that he would be in Singapore next week and would love to have a chat with me to learn more about how I made Mausams!

Not just that... today I even actually got a call all the way from India from someone who is an assistant director to a leading film maker in Malayalam and who read an article about Mausams. Honestly, in the beginning, I was a little taken aback by the call. But it was pleasant enough - the caller basically said that he wished he had known about this project from the beginning and would have loved to be part of it, he hasn't seen the film yet but from what he has seen in the trailer, poster and website... he likes the quality and feel of the product, he said that he would like to work with me some time, if ever, in the future and that I should continue to make more films and never stop.

It was a very unexpected experience, but of course. It left me rather surprised and amused. So much so that I called one of the cast members staying nearby who came over immediately (which was very nice of her, I must add) and we chatted about this incident as well as the whole Mausams experience for a while. She too can't believe what this has turned out to be!

Anyway, I guess am still riding the Mausams wave. Am not sure where all this is going but even if it all ends up in nothing more, it is still always nice to hear from fellow filmie fanatics!

488 more to go.

Day 511: 8:40pm!

12 April, 2011

So what do you do after the end of an era?

Well, I wish I had a super cool answer to that!

But the fact is that the end of my Mausams era was followed by a super hectic day at work and a malicious bout of flu. Blah to both.

But hey, there is always a silver lining. Today's silver lining was that I found myself on my bed at 8:40pm with absolutely nothing to do but sleep! I had even finished reading my book ("The girl who kicked the Hornet's Nest"... which was pretty gripping throughout), so that wasn't an option either.

So yeah I went to bed as early as 8:40pm! It is of course a totally differnet matter that I woke up wide awake at 1:40am but then having all those hours still ahead to go back to sleep was of course, more than welcome.

Nett, as trivial as it sounds, I was early to bed today. Yay!

489 more to go.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 510: End of an Era!

11 April, 2011

Today was the last day of Mausams screenings in Singapore and it was one exciting screening! We were completely choking with last minute bookings and we ran a full house show. I was literally running up and down, arranging for tickets, collecting cash, managing people who simply turned up at the door without any bookings and making sure that everyone who wanted a ticket got one by hook or crook. Finally when things settled down and the movie progressed, I stood at the back of the theatre and watched my film as well as the audience watching my film.

It felt surreal. Standing there, gazing at all those people and the movie on the big screen, it dawned upon me that this was it. This was the end of an era. This was the last official screening of Mausams in Singapore - something that I had been working on for such a long time.

When I think back about the time when I started on the script... it feels like so long ago! From the script to auditions to casting to costumes to props to locations to storyboarding to shot breakdowns to scheduling to shoots to cinematography to multiple takes to editing to dubbing to music to even the final DVD burning, it has been such a terrific experience! There were some very tough times that I would definitely not want to go through again, no doubt, but mostly they are all pleasant memories.

And I can predict that I would suffer from withdrawal symptoms pretty soon. I will miss the constant buzz that was around me all these months - be it with the cast around for shoots and dubs or the crew around during the post production phase more recently. I will definitely miss all of the excitement but having said that, let me stress that I have no intention of starting on another project very soon. This was way too hard with a full time job and other responsibilities and I want to settled into a routine, low-excitement life revolving around work, home and yoga for a bit! Let's see how that goes!

Work on Mausams is still far from over - we still need to figure out screenings outside Singapore but for now, this feels great. Am satisfied, relieved and absolutely on top of the world.

I think I will end this post by repeating my Facebook status message:

"And thus the era ends. Thank you Team! Thank you God! Thank you World! This shall never be forgotten."

490 more to go.

Day 509: Dad's Birthday!

10 April, 2011

It's my dad's 60th birthday today. He had just retired from work on March 31st and immediately caught the flight to Singapore to attend Mausams premiere on April 1st. So basically it is quite a turning point in his life, and I wanted to ensure that the birthday is special. I reserved a table at Ku De Ta - the restaurant on top of Marina Bay Sands - the newest and supposedly most happening place in Singapore.

Even though initially a downpour threatened to ruin the evening, it cleared up by 7:30pm or so. We had a lovely dinner, cut a cake, spent a reasonable amount of time walking around the skypark and the infinity pool area, took loads of pictures, made random jokes, and basically had a gala time. He seemed to have really enjoyed himself. And so did everyone else (mom, uncle, in-laws, hubby who were also present).

So yes, it was a very lovely day! A special one for me and hopefully a special one for my dad!

491 more to go.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 508: People for Mausams!

9 April, 2011

Today I was back for the Mausams screening. It was almost full house and included several of our friends from university, some close family friends and even my boss from work! It was quite fun watching the show with them and they seemed to have enjoyed it too. I got some good feedback (probably highly biased but still!) and everyone was super nice to me after the show.

On top of this, quite a few small events left a mark...

One member of the audience came up to me, hugged me and said, "Gosh, I was tearing so much! It was so touching!"... while another immediately after said "You know I was tearing so much... because it was so hilarious!". Extreme differences in reaction but both made me immensely happy!

Silly as it sounds, I even gave my first autograph as a director today (this was for someone I met for the first time)... it was quite amusing!

One of my friends took a picture of the Mausams ticket and put it up on Facebook... her comment on it was "If you haven't, you should". I was super touched!

A complete stranger who had contacted me post watching the film, showed her immense frustration at the fact that Mausams did not get any coverage in the local Singapore media. The fact that she sounded more concerned about the whole deal than I myself am, was very, very sweet!

Another person whom I know via a friend and who watched the show too, has taken it up on his own shoulders to find me a distributor. It doesn't matter whether he gets successful or not, but the thought really counts!

In short, lots of support, lots of love, lots of happiness.

492 more to go.

Day 507: Happily Back to Work!

8 April, 2011

The Mausams work is actually far from over. We still have some sound editing to do (we found a few mistakes on the big screen which needs to be amended), the website need some updating, we need to look at what next with screenings etc. If you had asked me a few days ago on how it would be like to continue working on it, I would have said that that's a goddamn morbid thought and I really am not looking forward to it.

But now that feedback has been great and I don't feel too awful about all the hard times that passed, I actually could get back to Mausams work with a lot more energy than expected. I was up until 4am updating the website (which was very badly neglected the last few weeks), with the latest videos and press coverage.

I was dead tired by 4am, but I felt pretty good. And I do think am looking forward to the remaining work as well. It's a bit hard to let go, I guess!

493 more to go.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 506: Inarticulate!

7 April, 2011

It's rather late at night and I have a very early and long day tomorrow but I decided to write the blog tonight itself. Because this can't and shouldn't wait.

Today I was truly humbled by the love and support from my friends and family. An article regarding Mausams and thereby inevitably featuring me came on a leading newspaper in India called The Hindu. Since morning I have been bombarded with calls and messages from friends and family congratulating and wishing me all the best.

What was very touching was that several of my friends from school shared that article on the Facebook page, together with anecdotes from my school days. I was surprised that they even remember these things! It was all so overwhelming and honestly, my vocabulary is not elaborate enough for me to adequately explain how I feel right now.

In the evening, I went for yet another screening for Mausams, this time with my lovely team from SK-II who have been supportive in anything I have ever done. Once again I had a great time with that gang of fun ladies!

Let me just say that today was a very wonderful day, a day which I am pretty sure am doing zero justice to, with my lack of good articulation skills!

494 more to go.

Day 505: Hubby's Colleagues!

6 April, 2011

Today was my second time watching Mausams with the public. This time the audience consisted primarily of the hubby's colleagues.

And I must say I was very touched by their support! It was almost like they had a major office outing, several of them went out in a big group for dinner and drinks and then came for the film. It was a very nice experience watching the film with them, they were quite appreciative of the movie and of course, the hubby turned out to be a real hero!

There were also a few unexpected people at the screening (not part of the office mob) who came up to me and gave very positive feedback about the movie. Needless to say the cloud nine continues! :)

495 more to go.

Day 504: Cloud Nine!

5 April, 2011

Is it OK if I just continue to be on cloud nine because of the unbelievably good feedback on Mausams that keeps in from all quarters?

Even if it's not OK, that's what am doing right now! Am so happy and I must say that I feel this overwhelming pride for the work that my wonderful team has achieved! Everyone talks about the acting, the music, the edit, the cinematography etc. etc. and I feel like am glowing inside!

Seriously, so happy!

496 more to go.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 503: Official Trailer Review!

4 April, 2011

Even though the audience reaction to Mausams has been super positive, we haven't been successful in getting any review done in the press. Simply because none of the media guys bothered to come for the film in spite of repeated requests. I guess they feel it's too small a film to bother with, which is fair of course.

So today, when I found an unexpected review of the Mausams trailer, I was on cloud nine! A leading Malayalam newspaper, Kerala Kaumudi had an article on small budget films and they talked about Mausams in it. Since the movie is not yet available to the public at large, they had gone through our website and had watched our trailer. It has resulted in a very positive review of the trailer!

The reviewer says the Mausams trailer is "enjoyable" and "different"! "Love the professional touch and everyone has done a good job. Surely a trailer that makes you want to watch the movie - which can be considered the success of the team".

Since this is the first official review of anything to do with Mausams, am super duper happy!

P.S.: Here is the link to the original article.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 502: Feedback!

3 April, 2011

Due to the grace of God, Mausams has been getting unbelievably positive feedback since its premiere night! Honestly, I had been expecting extreme reactions to the film - people who love it and people who hate it. But so far, the general crowd seems to be tending to the former. And that is such an indescribable feeling! I can't stop counting my blessings!

Even though the feedback has been coming in one after the other the last two days, I got a call from a person today which really took me to cloud nine. I know him strictly on a "Hi-Bye" basis and he didn't even have my number. But he happened to watch the film, then bothered to dig up my number from somewhere and called me up to give me his feedback. He was literally gushing over the phone, going into the minutest details and somehow the conversation with him made me feel so very good!

Another friend, who is one of the most cynical and skeptical persons around, also was articulate with his compliments. He made me kinda feel like I have got it right this time!

In a nutshell, am a very, very happy person. All that trouble over the past 1.5 years is beginning to look worthwhile!

498 more to go.

Day 501: Getting to 501 & World Cup!

2 April, 2011

I took a considerable break since I wrote my last blog... not because I was way too busy but because I was seriously contemplating giving up on the blog-writing. After the brilliant coincidence of the 500th day falling on the same day as Mausams Premiere, I thought I could just end it all in style. Maybe the blog was meant to be about "Making of Mausams" rather than turning 30 (which by the way, I had not thought about in a really long time). Plus of course, am feeling incredibly lazy after so many months of back breaking work.

But looks like I will continue. Firstly, because I have too big an ego. If someone looks at me disappointingly and asks, "What?! You gave up?!"...I would wanna kick that person first and then kick myself. Secondly, I had a few people encouraging me to carry on and I really appreciate that. I got a few messages on Facebook from my friends and the hubby too told me that I would be a moron to stop.

So, I have decided to carry on. and thus we get to day 501.

Day 501 is special because today India won the World Cup in Cricket for the first time in the last 28 years! I had been completely out of touch with the whole world cup, thanks to Mausams, and even for this game, I watched only the last 6 overs. But it was still great to witness the victory of the nation!

499 more to go.

P.S. I am just sharing below one of the encouraging messages I got on Facebook. In case I feel like ditching this blog idea some time in future, I think this would be a nice reminder.

My status update said: "Still wondering whether to go for Day 501 on the blog. Surely the next 500 can't be this colourful?"

And this was the reply: "No, it cant. It's probably going to be more colourful! And you will simply not know unless you paint those emotions in words."

Very valid point, that.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 500: Mausams Premiere!!!!

1 April, 2011

The most memorable day of my life, hands down. Never have I felt this much under pressure before, never have I felt this relieved before, never have I felt this contented before, never have I felt this loved before.

I think the best way to write about this day is to simply write down all the events from morning till night. That way I can save every bit of it in the world wide web for ever to come.

The team makes a final attempt at getting a DVD to work. The computers says that it will take about 1.5 hours to get the work done, so I go off to take a nap.

I wake up and realize that the DVD is ready. We check it on the DVD player and it seems to be working reasonably well. The audio and the video seems to be OK without any issues like lag, balancing etc.

Since the post production team simply couldn't bear to go through the whole movie one more time and since we anyway thought it would be a better idea for a more neutral person to watch it, we get the hubby to go through the video while the rest of us take rest.

Hubby announces that the DVD is working.

My parents and uncle arrive from India to participate in Mausams premiere.

My mom shows me a gift from someone in India. This friend (who is already a very special individual as written here before) has sent a plaque with my picture and "good luck" wishes engraved on it. I am overwhelmed. Who goes through that kind of trouble?

I leave for office to prepare for an important presentation that was to take place at 12 noon.

I start getting "good luck" messages from a lot of friends, family members and even Mausams cast and crew. I feel very much supported.

I am notified that the work presentation is cancelled because the guys who I was supposed to present to can't make itl. This is actually good news because this now meant that I can join the test screening at Arts House starting at 11:30AM. But I still had a meeting to attend, so I went down to Spinelli's since it was one of those meetings "over coffee".

As I was waiting for the other person to join the meeting, a perfect stranger (but from my company) walks up and introduces herself to me. She wishes me good luck for the premiere and tells me that she will be coming with a bunch of friends on April 3rd to watch. It was very much unexpected and brings a smile.

After my meeting, I reach Arts House for the test screening. My tech team joins me.

The test screening goes off very well for a while and the team starts to relax. We crack jokes and actually enjoy ourselves. Then the DVD gets stuck.

After a couple of attempts at making the DVD work, we take the backup DVD and do another run.

The biggest screw up pops up. An entire track seems to have gotten added on to original audio track by mistake, which now makes all the DVDs pretty much unusable. Everyone feels crushed. There was nothing to be done other than to go back home and do the DVD burning process. Again. The tech team leaves for that, while I continue with the test screening to ensure there are no further screw ups present.

The hubby joins me at the Arts House and I break down like I have never broken down before. It was like the world fell apart. I felt helpless, confused and absolutely horrified at the state of affairs. The breakdown lasts for exactly 2 minutes after which I sober up and tell God that he better have a good enough reason for all this mess. By now I have also cribbed on Facebook which has resulted in a flurry of messages pouring in and they do their bit in comforting me. My tech team informs me that they have reached home, have figured out the error and are now burning the DVD again which will take about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

I see the message from a cast member about a stpry on Mausams being published in full glory in a leading Malayalam newspaper. It was certainly great news amongst everything else that seemed to be going wrong.

The test screening of the main DVD and the backup DVD (or what were initially meant to be the main DVD and the backup DVD) progresses since there was nothing much else to do anyway as I wait for the tech team to return. The hubby leaves to figure out some logistics. I sip on the orange juice that the hubby had forced me to drink and pace up and down the screening theatre thinking of what I must say in my vote of thanks post the screening.

As I pace up and down, I reach a particular spot within the screening theatre. At the same time the DVD that's being screened comes to the same point where the audio screw up had taken place. I stop in my tracks because I realize that the particular track which should not have been there, is exceptionally loud at the point where I was standing. After a moment, I rush to the other end of the theatre and I realize that the track is coming only from the speaker close to my initial position. I rush to the control room and play around with the dials and I realize that by completely muting one channel, that track can be muted while maintaining every other sound in the movie.

The hubby is back and I say, "Go sit in one of those audience chairs and pay attention." I play the spot again. But this time he doesn't hear the extra track. We had cracked it. We can play the tested DVD with just this manual adjustment during the screening. It is less riskier than playing a completely non-tested DVD that is currently being burned at home. I call up my tech team and tell them the news.

I am back home to eat and then get ready for the Premiere.

We are back at the Arts House for the Premiere. My parents, in-laws and uncle have also come. Many of my cast members and other crew members have also arrived. Everyone tells me (in a very nice and polite way) that I look like crap, thanks to my horrendous black eye patches. The lovely ladies offer me eye liner, foundation, etc. but I am too distracted for anything. I delegate ticketing, ushering, collection of cash etc. to a friend. I pace up and down refusing to take pictures and videos which was pretty unfair to my poor editor who was following me with the camera. My mind was only praying for a no-glitch run of the DVD. The audience start trickling in.

The Deputy High Commissioner arrives. Some media persons arrive. I give a very garbled interview which made no sense surely because the interviewer finally asked me, "Huh, what?" and then I said "Why don't you just watch the film? You will understand what I mean." Most of the audience arrive too. Everyone wishes me luck. I only half hear them and give some mono-syllable answers when asked something.

I chase everyone inside. It is time to start.

Everyone is seated. The hubby and I sit in the back row, in the corner seats since we have to do the manual handling of the sound when that wrong spot comes again in the middle of the movie.

My publicity manager gives a very good introductory note.

The first public screening of Mausams begins.

The hubby and I steal away to the control room. I manage the audio channels as the spot comes up. It passes on without an issue. We go back to our seats. My music composer, who was sitting in the seat right in front of me extends his hand to shake mine. We did it, we managed the screening without any issue.

The first public screening of Mausams ends. The audience is very appreciative. As the end credits rolled up and audience applauded, I take in the applause with a feeling like never before.

I give a vote of thanks to the wonderful cast and crew who made this happen. The crowd cheers again. I see beaming faces all around. The cast, crew, my family, the hubby, the audience. I feel like it's my moment of glory. I am relieved, contented, happy and every other synonym of happy.

The vote of thanks end. People come up and say they loved the film. I see a few teary eyes here and there. One person with whom I have worked several times before tells me "I have never complimented you before, but this time I must." People who have always simply stuck to shaking hands can't stop hugging me. I get hugged like I have never gotten hugged before. I feel loved, encouraged, and of course, on top of the world. I have a brief dialogue with God in my head, "OK fine... that mess up was worth this reaction."

After a few photo sessions and all, the Mausams cast and crew make their way to Boat Quay for a post premiere dinner. We have a great time.

We walk to Clarke Quay. The initial idea was go clubbing but everyone is dead tired. I have a horrible headache and I feel like a part of me is literally draining out of me. But we end up at a Cafe and have a drink over some general Mausams-related chit chat.

We are back at home. I go through the guest book everyone had filled in at the premiere. They have been very kind and I can't stop smiling. I chat with the editor who is spending his last night with us. Tomorrow he will be off.

I hit the bed but am unable to sleep. Am extremely fatigued but excited. I replay the scenes of the day over and over in my head. And after some time, I drift off to the deepest sleep ever.

Mausams, thus, draws to a close.

And thus, we complete 500th day of this blog (a sheer coincidence).

500 more to go.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 499: Oh Well!

31 March, 2011

I had a wish. Rather, I used to imagine something up in my head that used to make me quite pleased with myself. It was about how on this day, March 31st 2011, a day before Mausams premiere, I would be sitting relaxed and happy and satisfied with the work that I have done and would be writing out a long blog entry about my movie-making experience which would have been successfully completed.

So here is the latest update - that will remain a wish or a figment of my imagination.

Because, 31st March is pretty much over and we are still struggling to burn the DVD for the film. We are sitting and figuring out all the back up plans possible and multiple people are working on multiple computers trying to get everything done and success still looks far away.

But that doesn't make the day downright pathetic, suprisingly enough. Today the in-laws came over from India with the primary intent of attending Mausams premiere. And they fed us well with home-made yummilicious food as we struggled on continuously with the technical issues.

I must also take this opportunity to mention that today my darling father retired from his work after decades of being a banker. Since his hard work had got a lot to do with where I am today, I guess this would be my way of saying a quick thanks!

So yeah, in my head this day should have been a lot different. But looks like sometimes things simply don't go according to what's inside one's head. Oh well. In such situations, let's just hope for the best.

501 more to go.

Days 496, 497 & 498: Struggle!

28, 29 & 30 March, 2011

It has been a struggle. Seriously. I would be kidding myself if I said things were beautiful and rosy and happy and all those wonderful, butterfly-ish things I talk about sometimes. Truth is that sound design is progressing at a painful pace, everyday we think we will achieve something but the day would pass and in spite of a ton of work, we would still be miles away from the goal. It is getting to me and I feel am being stretched beyond my limit. Even work in office is so intensive that I don't get a breather at all. Many people tell me that I have the ability to juggle many things but I am pretty convinced that this is the limit.

But yes, there are good moments. Time spent with the technical team who has now become part of my household is fun.. in spite of the immense stress everyone is under. Even though am not feeling exhilarated right now, am sure this part of the whole experience is what I would remember for a long time to come.

502 more to go.