Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Lo Hei is a cute Singaporean custom where you make a huge salad of sorts in a group, as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations. It is to mark the coming together of a group (be it family or work or friends) during this auspicious time of the year to wish themselves and each other a good year ahead.
The ingredients of the Lo Hei are to be added in a particular order and as you add in each ingredient to the mix, you shout out wish designated to that ingredient! So for example as you add lime in, you call out for "good luck and smooth sailing", as you add in pepper you call out for "attracting wealth and treasures" etc.
Once the ingredients are put in, you mix it all together - the mixing is a group effort with chopsticks, mind you - wishing for even more things, this time none of the predesigned wish list but anything that comes to your mind. In our group it happened to be things like project approvals, more budget, promotions etc.! Interestingly, as you mix the salad and make your wishes, you are to raise the food up as high as possible with your chopsticks. When about 15 people madly poke at a salad with their chopsticks, grab it, lift it up and shout out wishes in maniac excitement, food start to fly about. It's inevitable, really.
Soon we were not just mixing the salad but also avoiding the food darts whizzing past. After mixing, wishing, and getting a few bits of salad on the hair and even in the eye in some cases, we settled down to eat whatever was remaining of it in the bowl. And it was yummy, which of course was awesome!
I always enjoy doing Lo Hei and for some reason didn't get a chance the last couple of years. So had huge fun today!
197 more to go.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
This was the first day of my attendance at the festival proper (since I was busy with the editing most of yesterday) and it was huge fun!
After breakfast in the morning, my editor, me and a few other delegates were driven to the public library which was the primary screening venue as well as where the festival's information desk, media desk, etc. were located. It was during this drive that I first
got to see the streets in Dhaka in daylight and it was beyond fascinating! The crowds, shops, rickshaws and the equally fascinating passengers on it, all the vehicles with some kinda damage or the other, the unavoidable traffic jams, etc. were all very interesting.
At the public library, after collecting our official delegate passes, the editor and I walked around the premises and realized that our movie was pretty much the only one that had no publicity around the premises. Many of the other film makers had put up their film banners, posters, leaflets etc. but of course we had not planned any such thing for Mausams. We talked to some of the volunteers and they agreed to take us to a printer post lunch if needed.
But then there was the problem that we didn't have a copy of an appropriate poster with us. So then both of us went around in search of an internet place, found one within the library premise not without a bit of difficulty, and then found an old email which had a copy of
Then came the issue that neither of us nor the guys at the internet place had a thumb drive for us to download the poster onto and take it to the printer! After some to and fro conversation in broken English and sign language, it was established that they have a card reader and that was a good solution because we had several cards for our cameras.
So after downloading the poster successfully, grabbing a delicious samosa and a cup of awesome coffee, we decided to watch a film first, before going for lunch and to the printer afterwards.
We picked the Shorts and Independant Section and watched about 3 short films - one shocking, one boring and one interesting.
Lunch was served at the Dhaka club, which was a very short distance away and it was pretty good food. Post lunch we sat down and reworked the poster a bit to change the screening details to the one in Dhaka vs. the one in Singapore it originally had.
Then along with a volunteer, we proceeded to the printing shop. The printing shop we visited was one amongst several other printing shops that lined what seemed to be like a primary printing-shops-area. With the help of the volunteer, we explained to the printing guy what we wanted - i.e. 2 glossy A3 posters and 100 A5 leaflets. As we waited for those, the printing guy decided to be super nice to us - chairs appeared from nowhere ensuring our comfort and this was immediately followed by cups of excellent hot tea, ensuring that we were well pampered.
We enjoyed this Bangladeshi hospitality and spent some time there, marvelling at the crowds outside or as in the case of my editor, photographing every nook and corner of the printing shop.
Post collecting the posters and flyers, we had one of the most adventurous road experiences in Dhaka! We had to maneuver through an avalanche of cycle rickshaws, hordes of fellow humans, cars that never seem to follow any traffic lights etc. before we could get to our own car! It was truly adrenalin pumping!
Back at the public library, we passed the publicity materials to one of the organizers who promised to put them up the next morning, and proceeded to enjoy some Bangladeshi snacks and catching up with a few fellow delegates.
Later in the evening, we watched a screening of three documentaries - one rather unrelatable, one shocking and one absolutely delightful. Post the screening we were taken to another dinner party, this time at the national arts centre.
So dinner was in a lovely, extremely well lit exhibition hall where we were surrounded by excellent paintings all around. We got to meet a few more of the who's who of Bangladesh - mainly from film and other artistic fields. I must also mention that the food was excellent with a special mention for the fried chicken which was to die for! Yummm!
Post the party, it was time for some more editing, before hitting the bed.
Today I really felt like I was part of a huge film festival, in spite of the fact that half the time was spent on downloading, redesigning and printing posters!. Felt awesome!
212 more to go.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
My editor and I decided that today we will work on our short film edit
and complete it before we take off anywhere to watch films. So we sat
the whole day on the edit and made quite some great progress.
During lunch we ordered naan, fried rice, chicken curry, prawn curry
and also chilli chicken in chinese style. While the curries and chilli
chicken came in very little quantities, the naan came as sliced pieces
that amounted to a mountain on the plate. It looked intimidating, to
say the least. But the food tasted awesome. It was my first proper
meal in Bangladesh and I must say I wasn't disappointed at all!
Later in the evening we attended a party thrown at the Dhaka Club.
The party was super fascinating and a first of its kind experience for
me. We met some of the biggest shots in Bangladesh including their
central minister for media, the guys who run their TV networks, their
superstars of acting, leading directors including one who has worked
with Polanski, one who is being touted as the next best thing in
Bangladeshi cinema and whose film has has been banned on controversial
political grounds, etc., and several such who's who of Bangladesh.
Needless to say, it all felt surreal. At many points in time when I
was there, I couldn't believe that I was actually hobnobbing with the
biggest shots of a country and that too because of a movie I made. And
of course, it was indeed beautiful.
213 more to go.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
It was a morning of running a few pending errands before I could fly
off to Dhaka for the International Film Festival!
I was done with everything including the never-ending packing by about
2 in the afternoon after which I waited for the hubby who was on his
way back from India.
He reached home at about 2 after his week long trip and at 4:30 it was
time for me to take off. The hubby, who is going to join me in Dhaka
next Tuesday only, very gracefully agreed to accompany me back to the
airport from where he just got home, so that we can spend a little bit
more time together before my flight!
So together we went to the airport, checked me in, had the customary
Ananda Bhavan meal, the McCafe Himalayan Chai Tea Latte (something I
should seriously consider having more often) and then it was really
time for Dhaka!
After an eventless flight (on which I watched the surprisingly well
made Tamil film Ko), I reached Dhaka at about 8pm.
The volunteer from the film festival was waiting for me and he took me
straight to join an after-screening dinner party organized at the
There I met the Mausams editor who had arrived from Mumbai last night
to attend the festival. It was good to see him after so many months (I
think last was in August in Kerala when he came down for the Mausams
screening there) and we caught up with each other over dinner.
Dinner was a small, cozy affair where interestingly, there were more
drinks (alcoholic, of course) than food and I got to meet many of the
other festival delegates, guests and organizers. There were delegates
from Iran, Malaysia, Russia, Italy, US, Japan, China, Brazil,
Australia, India etc. and it was fun to know all of them.
Post dinner, we were taken to our hotel. I must mention that the
traffic in Bangladesh is exceptionally...hmmm... fascinating, to say
the very least. There are more cycle rickshaws than anything else, and
they go whichever way they please in their slow pace, which in turn
disrupt everything else. And everything other than the cycle rickshaw
believes that it is running on some expressway and tries to race and
cut lanes inspite of the fact that there are a thousand other vehicles
crowding around it. Like I said, fascinating.
So after that drive, I got to the hotel, checked in, freshened up and
then started to work on the editing of my short film Inganeyum Oru
Katha together with the editor. Given that he is based out of Mumbai
and me in Singapore, we wanted to ensure that we make use of the time
together in Dhaka to finish off this pending work.
After a few hours of editing and some good progress, it was time to
call it a day!
Night 1 in Dhaka ends!
215 more to go.