Sunday, July 23, 2006

Baiscope Entertainments -Workshop on Indian Animation Industry

Having attended Baiscope Entertainment's previous workshop with Anurag Kashyap we were quite gung ho about the animation workshop that they had invited us to.

The speakers were scheduled to be Geetanjali Rao winner of 3 awards at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and Siddharth Jain Head of the Animation Division at Adlabs Films Ltd

Geetanjali spoke about her experience with Animation since the last 10+ years. How animation was intially shot on 35mm cameras & each frame had to be drawn painstakingly. She also went into a lot of technical details which were very interesting, especially to the aspiring animators in the audience. Readers would recognise her work from the Hutch MMS animated ads

She has produced, directed & animated the film Printed Rainbow which won 3 awards at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival Kodak Discovery for best short film, OFAJ Very Young Critics Award and Petite Rail d'Or Award for best short film.

The animated short film is about an old woman who lives alone with her cat who is transported into new worlds when she looks at the covers of the matchboxes that she has painstakingly collected.

Siddharth Jain spoke about the Business Aspect of Animated Films. With Hanuman making a sizeable ROI, a lot of people are now interested in the Animation genre, but unfortunately not all of them can produce a good quality film. Plus for big producers, there are no previous trend lines to observe before taking a decision on whether to invest capital in an Animated Movie.

Adlabs is currently in the process of making an animated movie with Rajnikant as the main character. Hopefully this will be a success & this will give fillip to the fledgling animation film industry in India

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Blogspot blocked by ISP's in India ????

I was trying to check on my blogs since Friday morning, but somehow I wasn't getting through. Initially thought it was a temporary glitch, but by Saturday morning there was no improvement. Was travelling that day & the next and today whole day, I still couldn't connect. I had written to the powers that be at the blogspot help on saturday itself, but have still not got a response from them.

Spoke to a couple of friends who said that they weren't facing any problems, so I thought it was a wierd bug in MY system. Turns out the bug is a bee in some ministry's bonnet, who has ordered that blogspot, geocities & typepad be blocked by ISP's.
Some of the ISP's that have blocked blogger are at this location

A group of Indian Bloggers who have all been hit by this blockade are grouping together & looking for solutions here

Bypassing the ban

For sites blocked by domain names

  • Using google translate, e.g., if the blog is "", then use|en&

For Blogspot

Using proxy server for any blocked site

One way to visit a blocked site is through another site, generally called a proxy site. Some such sites and the info on how to use them are given below.

In this specfic case go to site:

On that page below the link for favourites you will find an edit box. Put the shortcut of the site you want to access in this edit box eg.

Press Enter and voila! you have access:)

Use and then type in the site you wish to access.

Use It allows you to not just surf, but also make posts.

Got all this neat info on the Bloggers group &

First time I have had to use a proxy server to access what I write. Makes me feel like I'm some kind of dirty criminal or terrorist disloyal to my country.

Much as I love my country, the politicians are slowly making it difficult for us to keep doing so.

First they take 1/3 of our salary in taxes & then they don't give us basic infrastructure (case in points floods 2 weeks back) non-adequate security (bomb blasts last week) and now they take away my stress release mechanism & window to the world (blogspot being banned this week) what are they gonna do to me next week ? Throw me in Jail ?

Neha has sone a much better job of blogging about this

I'm just tired, sleepy & cranky, so I shall sign off here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Important Contact Numbers

Western Railway Enquiry 131, (022) 2306 1763

Mumbai Helpline (022) 2200 5388

Cooper Hospital (022) 2620 7254
Bhabha Hospital - Bandra (022) 2642 2775
Hinduja Hospital (022) 2445 1515
Leelavati Hospital (022) 2643 8281
Nanavati Hospital (022)
Raheja Hospital (022) 2446 7569
Sion Hospital (022) 2407 6380 / 2444 9161

To send messages on TV News Channels :

SMS "Mumbai" to 2622 followed by your message
Or call (0120)4341 895

Headlines Today
HT Message your name to 2424

SMS message to 6388

Times Now
SMS YOU Message at 8888

For Blood donation, logon to

Bombs in Bombay

As most of you would know by now. 7 bomb blasts have hapenned on the Local trains on the Western line between 6:00 & 6:30 pm.

Quite a few dead and injured being reported.

To add to the confusion, phone lines have been jammed and its quite difficult to get through to people by calling them or sms. Some internet lines are working. I hope mine holds on for awhile.

As of now,
Central & Harbour Lines running
Long Distance Trains Halted
Western Line stalled. Might not start again till tomorrow.
Special BEST buses are supposed to have been deployed to ferry commuters from Churchgate to Andheri.

38 casualties at Hinduja Hospital.
Some at Cooper Hospital, KEM Hospital & Sion Hospital.

Will let u know the numbers to call for information as I get to know them

Monday, July 10, 2006

World Cup Finals at Fame Adlabs

Citibank invited some of its account holders to view the Finals on the big screen at Fame Andheri.

Coupons for a free beer, pepsi & popcorn were also included in the offer. Since a couple of friends had also been invited, we thought it would be a good idea to watch the match together at the theatre. Added bonus, no snack supply/post party cleaning up operations for me.

But never again will we watch a match in a theatre. The acoustics kept failing. Picture quality was quite pathetic. (something about transmitting an analog signal onto a digital screen or some techy stuff like that) At half time the snack stands had serpentine queues since 4 screens were screening the match.

At one time (early matches) the offer was supposedly unlimited beer. But after a few drunken brawls between opposing fans, management of the theatre demoted it to a single beer.

Not an experience we would voluntarily repeat.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

PEN@Prithvi: Deciphering the City

In May last year, PEN tried to re-invent itself. They moved to new premises (from ground floor to second floor), inducted new executive committee members : Literary organiser and activist Aspi Mistry, writer Sampurna Chattarji, architect Savio Lobo and journalist Ronita Torcota.

At that time, PEN secretary Ranjit Hoskote said that, "the PEN committee went through a lot of introspection and has now inducted four new members in the executive committee. This, the PEN feels will save the literary body from going through a phase of inertia that it underwent in the last nine months."

Unfortunately this did not work out as planned. PEN went through another phase of inertia. They then felt that maybe South Mumbai was too far away for most of their target audience & so 3 months back they started PEN @ Prithvi. The first meeting in May garnered a large audience, but at todays meeting there were just 23 of us. Including Ranjit, Sampurna and the 3 panelists.

The Invitation from Sampurna said :
A panel discussion with Naresh Fernandes, writer and editor, Altaf Tyrewala, novelist, and Nishtha Jain, filmmaker, talking about ways of understanding the city/urbanscape through their own methodologies of making.
Date: Saturday, 8 July 2006
Time: 6.30 pm onwards
Place: Prithvi House, 1st floor (opposite Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu, Bombay)

Most Mumbaiyyas would recognise Naresh's name as the editor of Time Out, Mumbai but not as many would know that, he is also the co-editor with Jerry Pinto of Bombay Meri Jaan, an anthology of writing about India's largest city. In 1996, he was among the authors of Murder of the Mills, a citizens' report on industrial sickness in Mumbai's textile industry, and in 1993 he was among the contributors to When Bombay Burned, a collection of reportage and commentary on the Mumbai riots.

Naresh started the discussion with a few incidents from his youth, linked them to his experience as a Wall Street Journalist in New York. He dwelled on how other than the Rajabai Tower & The Gateway of India there was no other monument that could be identified with Bombay (he did admit that VT was too large to fit on the cover page)
The setting was informal (shoes off & seating on chaadars) so his chatty informal style went perfectly well with it. He was interesting & amusing to listen to.

Altaf Tyrewala is the author of No God in Sight (Penguin, 2005). Time Out, Mumbai readers would also recognise him from his column 'Tyred & Tested'

Altaf read out a short piece on his relationship and feelings towards Bombay, which will be printed in a future issue of Time Out, Mumbai Essentially it was about how the city keeps calling him back and how he feels moored to Bombay. He also read out one of the short stories from his new book. Seems like that too will be in monologues like the previous one.

I have a soft corner for Altaf, since the time I met him at a Juhu Book Club Meeting and he remembered my name from a piece of fiction I had written for the Caferati Flash Fiction Contest and he had judged. Read about that episode here.

If reading his book was a pleasure, listening to him read from it, was an experience that actually transported us into the mind of his protagonist.

Nishta Jain's 2005 film, City of Photos explores neighborhood photo studios, unearthing the imaginary buried under gritty physical realities. Currently she is shooting a film about the city of Mumbai as seen, experienced and imagined by migrants to the city, including herself. Her other films are Call it Slut (2006) and Shadows Out of Time (2002).

From this point the quality degenerated. Nishta kept rambling, mostly off topic, highly prejudiced against muslims. (for eg : describing her City of Photos where one of the backgrounds at the studios for pictures was the crashing of the twin towers she said "I thought only the muslims wanted to take their pictures in front of that background, rejoicing and all that, but even others were taking their pictures with it") All this while when Altaf was seated right next to her. Its not wrong to have an opinion, but you also need to be sensitive to the feelings of people around you. Wonder how someone so prejudiced and closed to new ideas & concepts can be a documentary film maker. She went on & on & on in a monologue highly punctuated with "You know's" (minimum of twice in each & every sentence)

This started a verbal free-for-all by some attendees between whenever she stopped to catch her breath and her actually catching it. A lot of pseudo intellectual crap was bandied about by those who wanted their voice heard. (eg: 1 woman - "Suketu came home and read to us one of the stories from his book, of the birds fling in the taxi in Worli"- no one gave her any "bhav" so at this point she added- "from Maximum City you know") A few members did come up with a few good points, but they were overshadowed by those with verbal diarhoea. Naresh & Altaf wisely distanced themselves mentally from these attempts at verbal one-up(wo)manship.

Ranjit wisely called an end to the chaos (albeit an hour too late). Sampurna announced the relaunch of "PENumbra" the magazine. Most of us rushed away to salvage the rest of our Saturday evening.

I did enjoy the first 2 speakers, after that it was a waste of time. Nothing about the city was deciphered. There were some large cribs against other cities. some talk about villages being feudalistic & cities being capitalistic. In villages you survive but in cities like Mumbai you live & other such high sounding notions & inane conversation topics. None of which would benefit anyone in the crowd nor would be remembered by any.

Most memorable incident of the evening ? Altaf completed his reading, looked around at the audience for reactions & once Nishta started to ramble, he gave a quick questioning look at his wife (I didn't catch her name), she gave him an approving look & a nod & only then did he smile a relaxed smile. Authors are human too. . .

PEN - Indian chapter of International association of Poets, Playwrights, editors, Essayists & Novelists. They hold regular readings and workshops. You can be an Associate member or a full member. No qualifications to be an Associate Member. One has to have 2 published works for full membership.