Posts tagged ‘Dhilakani’

AND THE WINNER IS…

I have no explanation for my absence except that I have been away from publishing any posts here for one year, two months, three weeks and four days. That’s four hundred and forty nine days.

The night of April 29th, 2014, ILSHA MALDIVES FILM AWARDS 2014 was held at revamped Olympus Cinema. The little film called INGILI (Finger) which Ravee Farooq, Hussain Munavvaru and I produced and released on May 16th, 2013 was nominated in 14 categories. It was behind DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks) written by me, leading the awards with 16 nominations.

INGILI which barely managed to break even its budget commercially ran away with most of the awards including BEST PICTURE. Here’s the list of awards that INGILI bagged that night.

BEST PICTURE

BEST DIRECTOR

BEST ACTOR

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

BEST SCREENPLAY

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

BEST MUSIC

BEST SOUND EDITING

BEST SOUND MIXING

BEST ART DIRECTION

BEST NEWCOMER ACTOR (MALE)

DHILAKANI took BEST ACTRESS and BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS awards. It was an added joy for me since DHILAKANI which was thrashed critically, most of the heavy criticism targeted at the role of the leading actress. Most felt she was portrayed like a loose canon. But for me I saw a terrific character arc in the role delivered with composure by none other than superstar, Niuma Mohamed. It was her third consecutive best actress award. Awesome!

Sadly, I watched the whole show from Colombo.

Cheers!

71 BC

How come I was unaware of SPARTACUS, the boldest TV series I’m watching at present which was aired 2 years ago? It’s shameful not to know anything about it for someone who boasts on having considerable knowledge in films, and more shameful at a time when internet is readily available and for someone who everyday updates himself with Hollywood news instead of having a morning coffee. Twenty something years ago, when internet was inter-what, I kept myself updated by subscribing to US magazine, PREMIERE and Australian magazine, MOVIE. I had a huge stack of both these magazines which kept piling with each month. Many years later I was on crossroads. I was left with no choice but to throw them all when storage space was desperately required for storing, well, more important things. I was in tears that day. And getting over the depression that followed was unbearable.

Okay back to SPARTACUS. To think about it, now I know why I never really heard about it. Firstly, it happened to be a TV series and secondly, like I mentioned in one of my recent post that I’m not much of a TV series fan. All these added up to absence of my knowledge on it. The only two series I completed watching was TWIN PEAKS and FRIENDS. Hopefully soon, SPARTACUS will be listed as the third which is also my best. Sorry FRIENDS.

Umar, a popular local DJ who is also my brother-in-law was repeatedly asking my wife and I to watch SPARTACUS for quite some time. But I never really cared because it so happened to be, yes, a TV series. But he didn’t give up. He kept asking us to watch just one episode and then we can decide on watching the rest of the seasons. I know there was no harm in watching just one episode but I still never cared. When I’m not in the mood to watch anything, usually mood of my wife follows suit. Dozing off is a different matter as long as I’m beside her.

Anyway, a month back, Umar came with his external HDD and saved both seasons and the six-part prequel of SPARTACUS in to my laptop. But I still never gave a thought on watching. Then one night while I was deleting old files to make space for the HDD, I came across the folder that Umar saved the series. I right clicked on the folder and checked how much space it was using. I thought 14.7 GB was just too much for a series I wasn’t going to watch, ever. I deleted it immediately.

Later that night, for no reason I just happened to check SPARTACUS from IMDB. Went through the storyline and some of the reviews and yet remained unconvinced. Then I played the trailer of the second season and my pupils dilated frantically. Then my jaw dropped. By the time the trailer was over, I was about to drool. Suddenly I came to senses. Quickly, I double clicked the recycle bin, right clicked on the folder and restored what was going to entertain my wife and me completely.

We have completed first season of SPARTACUS and last night finished the six-part prequel which was supposedly made to give time for Andy Whitfield who plays the titular character in season one to recover when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. But sadly Andy passed away on September 11, 2011.

Of course, Andy Whitfield will remain the heart and soul of the series. My wife would nod her head countless times though I can do with just one on the same fact. But John Hannah as Quintus Lentulus Batiatus almost steals the show as the main antagonist of  season one but surprisingly plays the protagonist of the six-part prequel.

Then there’s Lucretia, wife of Quintus, played to perfection by Lucy Lawless. I must confess that she’s my most favorite character of the first season and the six-part prequel. And in the fifth part of the prequel when Titus, dying father of Quintus asks Lucretia if she’s not the serpent he had thought her to be, her reply would even give shivers to Jupiter. For me it’s the defining moment of her character. From there it was understandable who she really is. Then again who wouldn’t be like her to elevate someone she loves more than life itself. I’m going to sorely miss her in the second season.

From 71 BC to 21st century, last night the three producers of INGILI (Finger), that’s Hussain Munavvaru, Ravee Farooq and I met at L’Aquila. Now that the music score and sound design are almost done, the only remaining post production work is color grading. We have decided to give that task including mastering to Abdulla Muaz who also happened to be one of the only two characters of the film. Yes, he is a brilliant editor who has won best editor at the last Maldives Film Awards held in July this year. And his post production work is remarkable too. He has already agreed verbally.

The releasing of DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks) teaser trailer was delayed to complete the musical installment of its director Hussain Munavvaru’s beloved franchise, KUDAFOOLHU. Ravee who was assigned to produce all the promotional videos of DHILAKANI had to take over the editing of KUDAFOOLHU which has been officially announced for a next week release.

Though Ravee is busy with several works, he’s started storyboarding of EMME MANZAREH (Just One Scene). Hopefully I can sit with him to discuss the storyboard at the end of December.

Well, that’s all for now. I decapitate this post with my rudis until another update. I-am-Spartacus!

Cheers!

I AM SPARTACUS

I am Spartacus! Not really. But those were the powerful words yelled by, yes, Spartacus, the man himself after stylishly and not to mention bloodily disposing six Thracians at the end of episode seven of season one. If I were to deliver the same line, to start with, I wouldn’t have survived a second stepping into the sand and sandal period he was in. The blood and the violence are just too much my single packed belly can take.

Even if the violence was removed, still my existence there would be futile. With all the sex Spartacus gets to perform and watch, no way I’m going to sleep on the couch and sign divorce papers the very next day. Like Spartacus feels about his long lost love and reuniting with her, I couldn’t imagine my life without my family. I’m not going to do anything to hurt them. In short quick cuts with muffled laughter and really emotional music, I am seeing moments I spend with my beloved wife and my son. They are all that I hold dear in my life. So unlike Spartacus making a mistake of going to war even when his wife begged him to stay in the pilot episode, I’m going to stay as myself with my family. End credits roll with sweeping music.

Now, what was that all about? Looks like I’ve been pretty hooked into this series. Addicted would be a better word to describe my new few found love in Spartacus. With each episode, the plot twists and turns unexpectedly and the layers of all the characters keeps peeling off. But this thought of Andy Whitfield’s demise still haunts me. I’m going to miss him once season one ends. But somehow I will continue watching and finish what he started.

Moving from reel life to real life, the teaser trailer of DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks) is shaping up very coolly. I have no right to speak more on this. Director Hussain Munavvaru is also working on animating the title. To do this, he commissioned visual effects expert, Ahmed Shinan. Last night, I saw a rough preview and I must say Shinan has really brought life and meaning to what the title suggests with fire sparks surging out from the enflamed letters, DHILAKANI. Simply awesome!

In the meantime director Ravee Farooq is busy finalizing the score and sound design of INGILI (Finger) with music composer Mohamed Ikram. Hopefully in no time, they will wrap up everything.  A new trailer is on the way.

That’s all I have for now. Can’t wait for tonight to watch the eighth episode of Spartacus. I may not be him but in my imagination I am him. So hear me scream, I-AM-SPARTACUS. Cough! Cough!

Cheers!

ROUGH CUT AND SPARTACUS

Before Editor Ali Shifau Chippe left to India today, I thought director Hussain Munavvaru did sit with him and finalized the rough cut of DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks). But I thought wrong. Munavvaru couldn’t find time because he was too busy with post production of the musical installment of his franchise KUDAFOOLHU scheduled to be released before the end of next week. This means, I only get to see a preview of DHILAKANI once Munavvaru finalizes the editing. Good thing is that I wouldn’t have to wait for two long weeks like I was first told. Chippe is gone only for a week.

Ravee Farooq, who was commissioned to make all the promotional videos including trailers for DHILAKANI, has resumed working on the teaser trailer which he started few weeks back. I’m guessing by next week this trailer will be released. A little while ago, I watched a rough version of it. I wish I could give a description of what I saw but unfortunately, I’m not allowed to leak anything before the releasing. However, I can say this much. It looks cool. There, I’ve said it and I don’t think I’m allowed to say even that much. I’ve breached the contract. I’m guilty and I will be sued, soon or later.

Finally, my prayer for a speedy recovery for INGILI (Finger) composer Mohamed Ikram was answered last night. Director Ravee met with him to finalize the score and sound design of the film. Ravee was completely mesmerized after watching a preview of the film with all the sound and music. This morning he called me and said the score was out of this world, it was this and that. I said, the feeling was all mutual as I felt the same when I watched the same preview. Ravee was out of town at that time shooting the musical of KUDAFOOLHU. Ravee will sit with Ikram tonight as well.

I made few changes to two scenes of EMME MANZAREH (Just One Scene). Ahmed Nadeem, Ravee and Ahmed Zareer praised those amended scenes.

Now that EMME MANZAREH is wrapped up, I have started clearing the remnant of its screenplay from my brain cache. As this process will take few more days, I’m indulging myself with my beloved wife watching SPARTACUS, the television serial. We’re on season one and so far completed three episodes. Not that bad in two nights I guess. Though I’m not that crazy watching TV serials, I kind of fell in love with the stylized violence shown in SPARTACUS. However, I felt each episode contained graphic scenes of violence and sex in slo-mo padded deliberately into the storyline. My wife even wondered if effing was abundantly used during Roman times.

Speaking of TV serials, for the record, the only two serials I completed watching were TWIN PEAKS and FRIENDS. Other than those, I never followed any other serials. I hope to complete SPARTACUS but today I hit an emotional block when I learned that Andy Whitfield who plays the titular character and shares the same birthday as me, died on September 11, 2011. I was so rooting for him in the three episodes I have watched. Now I just don’t feel like watching it. Maybe if I get over this emotional block soon, I will probably resume.

On that sad note, I leave this post for now.

Cheers!

QUICKLY AND BRIEFLY

Here’s a quick and a brief update since my last post.

First off, Ali Shifau Chippe has completed the editing of all the wrapped up scenes of DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks). But director Hussain Munavvaru still has 8 major scenes to shoot including some footage for the song. He first scheduled to shoot them this November but postponed it to mid-December due to few schedule clashes with some of the cast.

In the meantime, Munavvaru will sit with Chippe to bring changes to the already completed rough edit. After that I only get to see a preview. But all this has to be done by tomorrow. Chippe leaves to India on Tuesday for no less than 2 weeks.

The unofficial pre-production of EMME MANZAREH (Just One Scene) resumed yesterday at L’Aquila. Ravee and I mostly discussed on the visual style that will be used. And we also discussed on how to shoot the murder scene since it requires shooting from three angles. Ravee will begin storyboarding as soon as he finalizes the score of INGILI (Finger) with Ikram. He was supposed to meet him on Friday night. But Ikram was bedridden with high fever that night. He still is. I wish him a speedy recovery.

On the feedback of EMME MANZAREH, I’m yet to hear from Nadeem and my niece. But on his Facebook status, my writing partner, Ahmed Zareer updated yesterday that he has read the screenplay. And he simply loved the twist. Though he didn’t mention anything about the narrative, all I know is that no one can love a twist if not for a good buildup and meticulous foreshadowing in the narrative. Zareer also said that he doesn’t have anything to say except few suggestions. I love suggestions. That’s why I’m hooking with him over a coffee sometimes this afternoon.

Also on EMME MANZAREH, during the completion of its first write, I spoke with Hussain Munavvaru on producing it. But I later felt that his entire focus needs to be on DHILAKANI and he still has 8 important scenes to complete, I changed my mind when Dark Rain Entertainment (DRE) hinted on producing it. While also in the negotiation stage with DRE, I mentioned about the screenplay to Ibrahim Nifar Thitthi, co-owner of Antharees Production, incase DRE declined. Thitthi was also interested on producing. But I’m glad that DRE honcho Mohamed Ali Moger sealed the deal almost immediately.

Well, that’s all for the time being.

Cheers!

VERBALLY AGREED

When Dark Rain Entertainment (DRE) honcho, Mohamed Ali Moger requested for a read of EMME MANZAREH (Just One Scene) just as soon as I updated my Facebook status on completion of the first write, I knew he had an ulterior motive. It was too obvious he wasn’t just planning on reading it and strain his eyes. So without asking any questions, I emailed him a copy immediately. But due to his health at that time, he was unable to read it. And while he was indulging himself with chicken soup and cold tablets, I started work on rewriting the screenplay and completed it a day ago. Even when I emailed a copy of the rewrite, Moger was still feeling unwell. So on his behalf, senior editor and cinematographer of DRE studio, Ali Shifau Chippe read the rewrite and gave it two thumbs up. He really liked the nonlinear narrative and especially loved the ending which took him by surprise.

Last night, I spoke with Moger over the phone and he has come to a decision, thus revealing his intention. He has verbally agreed to produce EMME MANZAREH and appointed director Ravee Farooq to helm it. This is going to be another addition to the series of production deals Ravee and I have with DRE. First one was MIKOE BAPPA BAEY BAEY (Come My Baby’s Father) or in short, MBBB. Once again Ravee’s production company, R Squared and mine, T for 2 Production will be associating with DRE. Principal photography has been tentatively scheduled for early February 2013. Chippe will be taking over cinematography.

Ravee and I have also agreed to produce with DRE the final installment of our two characters/ one location trilogy. We already have a cool title to it but will unveil it later. The plot will have two female characters at one location. Ravee and I produced the first installment, INGILI (Finger) independently with Hussain Munavvaru.

I’m yet to hear from Nadeem, Ravee and my niece on the feedback of EMME MANZAREH rewrite. I have also asked my writing partner, Ahmed Zareer to have a read. Hopefully on Sunday I’ll be getting all the feedbacks. Nadeem has already read the first half and thought it was splendid. I’m hoping he feels the same for the rest of the rewrite.

Last night I watched the edited scenes of DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks) since my last visit to the studio few weeks ago. Director Hussain Munavvaru was also present. After a bit of hiccups in few scenes when I last watched the rough edits, the creativity of director Munavvaru comes strong when the narrative demanded solidity and restraint. The entire cast turns on strong performances and yet again veteran actor Roanu Hassan Manik who was recently awarded with a honorary lifetime achievement shield for performing in theater and films, chews up all the scenes he appears. The man is a true legend. Another actor who shines in her role is Rashfa. Copee Issey remains consistent throughout the scenes I have seen so far. And Mohamed Manik also does an admirable job as a lovelorn politician.

Well, that’s all I have for this post. Until another update I say… what I have to say afterwards is in next line.

Cheers!

REWRITTEN

A day before the scheduled deadline, I have completed the rewrite of EMME MANZAREH (Just One Scene Manzareh) this evening. But that doesn’t mean it’s been wrapped up for good. Sometimes a rewrite gets rewritten several times. Screenplays are all about rewriting over and over again. The more it’s rewritten, the better and solid it gets. However, I will be clattering my keyboard, only if I get additional comments from Ahmed Nadeem, on whose short story the screenplay was based upon. I feel it’s my duty to remain faithful to his vision.

Soon after the completion, I emailed a copy to Nadeem, Dark Rain Entertainment (DRE) honcho, Mohamed Ali Moger and director Ravee Farooq. And there’s one more. I also emailed a copy to a niece of mine. She’s been a regular at commenting all of my indie screenplays. And she has this mysteriously remarkable way of looking in to minor details within my screenplays.

The changes I brought to the rewrite were many. First there was the inclusion of psychedelic visuals and extended some scenes to give a psychedelic mood. The major addition was the music like montage for the progression and eventual deterioration of the relationship between the three central characters which I first outlined yesterday. But today when I started writing that sequence, I felt something was missing. It didn’t bridge. Then I rewrote the compiled montage as full scenes and bingo, they looked more solid, supported the development of the characters and I was able to empathize more with them.

I even incorporated the three songs of Gianscore that Nadeem mailed me yesterday. Using them in the actual film will be up to the producer but the film will have psychedelic songs even if those songs were replaced in case a deal didn’t work out with the band.

That’s all about EMME MANZAREH. Shifting to other news, I met with DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks) editor, Ali Shifau Chippe last night at L’Aquila. He said he’d be completing the editing of the already shot scenes by today since he has to leave to India tomorrow to be with his father who has been hospitalized. My prayers are with his father.

I haven’t been able to watch any of the editing done since my last visit to the studio. Director Hussain Munavvaru is out of town, in Maafushi to shoot another installment to his beloved franchise, KUDAFOOLHU. He will return tomorrow morning including Ravee who I think directed the whole episode.

I’m also eagerly waiting for Ravee to return. He will then sit with composer Mohamed Ikram to finalize the score for INGILI (Finger). I had lunch with the Ikram this afternoon. He confirmed that he will only need just two days with Ravee. Guess that’s all I have for this post.

Cheers!

UNMASKING THE EDITOR AND A REAL QUICKIE

Finally the editor of DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks) has been unmasked. He is neither Tobey Maguire nor Andrew Garfield. He isn’t even Christian Bale. He is none other than, drum rolls, Ali Shifau Chippe. He is the multi-talented senior editor of Dark Rain Entertainment. His other powers include directing, screenwriting and shooting, not with a gun but with a camera. His name was officially revealed in the official Facebook page of DHILAKANI a day ago. The link is given below.

https://www.facebook.com/dhilakani

This evening, I just saw an hour and twenty six minutes of editing. The pacing looks good. Overall the performances remain top-notch. Hussain Munavvaru’s solid direction wavered a little bit in few scenes but remains consistent. Editing looks great too.

Veteran actor Hassan Maniku (Roanu) steals the show in almost every emotional scene he appears. He plays a father who has lost his faith in the system. His scenes left me in complete astonishment. Yes, I was smiling too. This is a side I haven’t seen of him so far.

I want to write more on DHILAKANI but I’m afraid I might give away too much. So I change the subject.

I have started writing a short film screenplay titled EMME MANZAREH (Just One Scene) based on a short story of the same name written by Nadheem who is infamous in local filmdom for his controversial film reviews.

I came across this story when it was first published, I think two years ago on Haveeru Online. He always shares most of his writings for my comments before publishing. From the first read I fell in love with this story. Soon after I read it, I called him up and asked for his approval to write a screenplay based on it. He readily gave me the green light. I’m forever thankful for him for giving me this opportunity to write a screenplay on one of his short stories. All of his stories never fail to entertain. I hope to write more, if he decides to give me his blessings. I hope he does.

EMME MANZAREH cuts backs to a murder three times in different perspectives. It has a very non-linear narrative but can be easily followed. I thought of stretching it to feature length but I felt that the concept would loose the essence of Nadeem’s creativity. So I’m staying faithful to his story which is sweet when always shorter. I’m hoping for a duration of 45 minutes when made in to a short film.

Hopefully in couple of days I can wrap up this screenplay which is considered as a quickie. Don’t frown! Even writers can enjoy such. Once I’m done, I’m going to have Nadeem read it first. Once it’s finalized, I’m going to meet with couple of  producers on producing. The entire production can be completed on a shoe string budget.

Until next update, I say cheers!

45 MINUTES

Tuesday night I had a sneak peek at the first edited 45 minutes of DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks). Yet again, it’s so frustrating for me to conceal the editor. Yes, he is yet to be unveiled. Who he is doesn’t matter at the moment. But what he’s doing behind concealment is nothing short of what every masked superhero does. This superhero is called THE EDITOR and he is a genius at the editing table. He can cut, insert, cut again and insert again any video clip at his reach and turn it in to a well paced movie. Once again, he has come up with a riveting 45 minutes of editing.

The entire cast has done an admirable job too. Thanks to sure handedness of director Hussain Munavvar. He does know how to handle the narrative. And his use of handheld camera for a very violent scene is raw and gritty, which at times is unbearable to watch, just like its impact on the leading actress who is witnessing the whole event unfolding right before her eyes. Though violent, the scene is staged very creatively using tight camera angles and of course the use of handheld camera.

The editor has estimated two weeks to wrap up editing. This is the first time he’s editing a movie where he wasn’t directly involved in the production. That’s what slowing down the editing when it comes to big scenes such as this violent scene I’m so interestingly boastful about.

In other news of DHILAKANI, director Munavvaru has scheduled 2 weeks to shoot the remaining 8 scenes including part of a song starting from 8th November.  But he’s keeping his fingers crossed for the weather to turn fine by then. Right now it’s unkind and unpredictable.

Before I finish off this post, it’s noteworthy to mention on the upcoming FATHISHANDHUIVARUGE FESHUN (The Beginning of Moonlit Dawn), the first local 3D film. In short it’s called F3D. At Dark Rain Entertainment Studio, the same night I watched DHILAKANI, I managed to watch a minute long footage of the film. Honestly, I couldn’t find my jaw. It dropped. I salute the work done by everyone at the studio including producer Mohamed Ali Mogre and cinematographer and director, Ali Shifau Chippe. But credit goes big time to Ahmed Shinan who is doing the meticulous 3D work and visual effects all by himself. It’s a remarkable experience the entire nation should and must witness, I mean everyone at the age group under which the film is classified. I take a bow to the team of F3D.

Cheers!

BURRAAS AND DHILAKANI EDITS

Two nights ago, at Dark Rain Entertainment Studio, Ravee and I had the chance to listen to the theme song of MIKOE BAPPA BAEY BAEY (Come My Baby’s Father) called Burraas, written and performed by Ford who has made some great songs for HEYLAA (Wake Up), HAPPY BIRTHDAY and LOODHIFA (Crept).

Burraas is a rock song that talks about how hens become defensive when their chicks are faced with danger. The song beautifully summarizes the storyline of the film which is about a devoted mother who would go to any extent of protecting her child.

After listening to the song, Ravee, producer Mohamed Ali Moger, cinematographer Ali Shifau Chippe and I agreed the song was simply perfect and didn’t need any changes. We even decided of making a music video for the song which will be used to promote the film. Ravee has already started storyboarding the video which will include new footage of the film.

Besides the shouting made by hens and roosters, burraas also means the scream of an angry woman.

Also that night, I had the chance to watch the first edited twenty minutes of DHILAKANI (Fire Sparks) with its director, Hussain Munavvaru. The editor, whose name I still decline to reveal, has done a great job in assembling the scenes in his creative way of storytelling. I was completely unaware of how twenty minutes passed by. It was really engrossing. The entire cast has given a great performance and interestingly, it has shown maturity of Munnavaru in his direction since his debut with SAZAA (Punishment).

Last night, at L’Aquila, I hooked up with Munavvaru, leading actor Ismail Rasheed and Ravee who was recently commissioned to produce all the promotional videos for DHILAKANI. We discussed on Ravee’s proposed ideas of producing the trailers for the film. I must say his ideas were simply brilliant. Ravee is planning to complete the teaser trailer of DHILAKANI for a mid-November release. The sound of it made my day and my Marocchino never tasted better making me feel all warmed up as the rain outside poured down heavily.

Cheers!