Never stop chasing your dreams ! Mallika in the film!!

Never stop chasing your dreams !

A short #film of 2min. This film, ‘#Field In A Box’, features #MallikaNethraSreenivasan. Mallika gives her voice too for the film.

A #dutch conglomerate #TEN CATE,  that is known for advanced materials that make all the difference to humanity through a variety of products – advanced composites, armoury, geo-synthetics, protective fabrics, outdoor fabrics – is also a leader in laying sports #fields of artificial grass.  “Field in a box” is Ten CATE’s community development initiative across the #world through which it creates special, micro-sports-fields near their large sporting-arena projects, as an #inclusive effort, towards #marginals of the society, to #promote #sporting spirit and #nurturing #talent. This film showcases how such endeavours have #impacted the #communities and #societies and urges every #child to chase her #dream!


The talent scouting team of TEN CATE in India was looking for a fresh young girl to cast in the film, and as luck would have it a member of the team landed in one of our good friend, Smita’s home. Smita is the founder of ITIHAAS, that is big time into heritage education of children. It was just a coincidence that while Indira is an integral part of Itihaas in their walks and curriculum development team, I am on their advisory board. Smita, being a theater veteran, was against Mallika being drafted into films at such a young age, and strongly rejected her daughter Ragini’s forceful recommendation of Mallika to the scouting team. Finally Ragini with the help of her aunt, prevailed over Smita to let them approach Mallika and that’s how we got to know about this opportunity.

It was in October 2016, this scouting exercise happened over a few mail exchanges with Mallika’s portfolio that I had shot, with their specifications of looks. Then her voice test etc happened before they finalized her. The producers had some reservations about Mallika’s countenance, as She was 5’7″ at the age of 13 two years ago. Though they were looking for a 13 year old, her personality was much beyond what they had expected. What clinched perhaps is her background in theater (highest level of TIE at National School of Drama that a child can reach) and her national scholarship in classical dance, Bharatnatyam. They were delighted to hear her voice over too.

In November 2016, the filming happened over four days across the slums of Delhi and at the National Stadium, the premier olympic hockey stadium of the nation. What was most taxing for Mallika in the entire film making was the fortnight long training in understanding the basics and playing the game of hockey, under the tutelage of the national women’s hockey coach Saini sir, a Dronacharya awardee. Though Mallika is sporting enough and is a sought after athlete in the events at school, She has never had any sports training of the intensity that Saini sir put her through. Everything, from holding the stick to keeping the ball in play, to repetitive practice of the dribble for a 3-4 hours every day, was tough for Mallika.

Finally the film has been released this month, June 2018. All in all, the whole exercise of making the film gave enough insights to Mallika about the involvement that goes into making of any film – purposefulness, passion, patience, perseverance, hardwork, productivity, effectiveness in delivering in the first go etc… I am sure it will stand in good stead as she embarks upon her journey of life and career.

 

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An evening with Inspiring M S Sathyu

Thanks to my dear friend, Astha Dixit, the choreographer and lead dancer of the play Dara Shikoh, I was accorded two seats in Stein, for me and my better half, Indira. We reached the audi a couple of hours before the play commenced and I went straight to the green room to capture the candids at the back-stage. I had a wonderful time doing my captures, while listening to the interesting banters, especially in the green room of the ladies!

Dara Shikoh with his advisor

In the empty hall, an elderly gentleman, was quickly going around taking stock of the stage and then sitting in different seats on different rows at different corners of the audi checking the visibility of the stage from various directions before he headed to his place in the lights and sound room upstairs.

The play commenced and the action began with a dance sequence and quickly the entire elite audience got engrossed into the proceedings and I was deep into my clicking penance. The play was crisp as it traversed a couple of decades in the storyline before the curtains came down. The actors assembled on stage and were introducing the cast. They called the name of the Director, M S Sathyu. He was not to be seen and everyone was wondering where he was. The announcer realized that Sathyu was doing his duty today at lights, helping the apprentice. A few minutes later, the very same gentleman who took stock of the empty audi, walked in to the audi with a jhola in his hand and slowly yet surely, moved towards the stage and stood there for a couple of seconds to the grand acknowledgement with no emotions on his face. Then he walked into the audience space, took a seat by the side of an aisle and started gazing into the ceiling. That was M S Sathyu.

M S Sathyu at Stein, after the performance of Dara Shikoh

Meanwhile the audience went about congratulating the cast and shaking hands with the fellow audience. Also asking a question, ‘did you understand the dialogues completely?’  A couple of them asked me too.  The Urdu in the play made it difficult for the audience to follow the dialogues, leaving them a tad disappointed. It might not have had any impact on either the director or the producer, because they are passionate about their work..

“Dara Shikoh”, the modern classic is directed by M.S. Sathyu and written by Danish Iqbal, which encapsulates the play’s portrayal of the young Mughal prince and heir apparent to Shah Jahan. The play, being performed after three years, is once again being directed by the eminent director, stage designer and art director M.S. Sathyu and presented by Impressario Asia.

Danish Iqbal, the playwright, talking to the Hindu, attributes his knowledge about writing and stage skills to Sathyu. “He’s a grand old man of Indian theatre. He has a terrific sense of aesthetics. He makes sketches of every scene before the performance, to work out how the stage characters, headgear, beards, dresses, everything would look. He’s a very meticulous person. It’s a pleasure working with him. His art work is tremendously beautiful.” Iqbal adds that while he has indeed provided the dialogues, characters and content of the play, they’ve been given shape by Sathyu.

I slowly went and sat next to Sathyu ji, at his feet on the aisle, and started talking to him. This young man of 84 is brimming with enthusiasm, talking about his flight today to Mumbai to work with the cast from IPTA for the play scheduled on Feb 5th, at Prithvi, and then heading to Bangalore to take Dara Shikoh, on an eight town tour including Bangalore, Davengere, Bellary, Mysore etc, all in the month of Feb. He was very delighted to share that the play will be staged in a school of theatre set up by an ashram in Davengere. I also gathered that he designed around eight new arenas for theatre in Bangalore including Rang Shankara where Dara Shikoh will have three shows. His enthusiasm is infectious.

Indira and Astha with M S Sathyu

Indira interacted with Sathyu about his films as she has been a fan of his work from the days of the film “Garam Hawa.” Sathyu shared about directing Habib Tanvir and Safdar Hashmi in a play and  the discussion about his works went on…

Sathyu who started his journey as an art director, went on to design sets, lights for productions and then directing plays and finally films. In films, he has worked as an art director, camera-man, screenwriter, producer and director. His filmography includes over 15 documentaries and 8 feature films in Hindi, Urdu and Kannada.

It was an inspiring evening with M S Sathyu. as active and energetic as ever, brimming with ideas and enthusiasm even at 84. Indira and I will treasure this interaction for life time. Looking forward to meeting Sathyu again, very soon.

Day 5 : SPIC MACAY – 27th National Convention, 2012 @ NITK Surathkal, Karnataka

The Guru Shishya duo at its best - Madhavi and Arushi Mudgals
The Guru Shishya duo at its best – Madhavi and Arushi Mudgals

As the day 6 is the D-day for the presentation of the intensives, momentum gathered in all the 29 intensives, practicing and polishing was the norm of the day. On the crafts front, they were heading to creating at least a couple of pieces each to show off on the stage. It was also interesting to see about a dozen youth from Pakistan joining along with their professors from Beacon university for arts, and enjoying dancing in kathakali, bharatanatyam, singing carnatic classical music etc.

It was interesting and coincidental to have the day full of DUOs – Looked like the TWOgether day at the 27th convention :

a. Qawwali by Warshi brothers (Nazeer & Naseer Ahmed Khan Warsi)
b. Odissi by Guru Sishys Duo – Mudgals – Madhavi and Arushi
c. Carnatic Violin by Express Mysore brothers – Shri Mysore Nagaraj and Dr. Manjunath

kindly visit the SPIC MACAY NATCON daily reports on SPIC MACAY Natcon Stage

Thousands of captures of SPIC MACAY conventions, see on my Flickr collections
Like my Facebook – Photo and Visual Arts Page

Next posting tomorrow… Love. Sreeni

Emotional Intelligence and Youngsters – My write up for The Hindu Column

· What is the role of emotional intelligence in the character building and career of a student?

People maketh the world. Each one of us will succeed in life only when, we are of value to ourselves and also to people around us – Interacting, understanding, helping, facilitating, motivating, and inspiring. It is all about how we take care of ourselves and also how nurture relationships and mutually excel. This dimension of a human being is nothing but Emotional Intelligence – Personal and interpersonal excellence.

· Are our youngsters emotionally intelligent? Why and where are they falling short?

Our education system has come about being marks centric. So every action or advise to youngsters centers around how to maximize marks, forget about even understanding the subject.

I do a lot of workshops for parents and teachers. One of the basic questions I ask is “What percentage of what you learnt inside the classroom do you apply in your life, and what percentage of what you have learnt in a sport or a theatre do you apply in your life” Invariably people say more than 90% of what they apply in life they learnt outside the classroom, in the sport field or extra-curricular activity.

Unless we do not make the learning application oriented, introspection oriented, collaborative, emotional intelligence will take the back seat and we will have youngsters ill-prepared to face life. Industry will keep saying less than 10% of the graduates are employable!

· What kind of role teachers play in improving the EI of students? How can the EI of students be improved?

It is not about just teachers. It is about entire eco-system. It all starts from home, parents and family. We need to believe in investing time to facilitate inquisitiveness, collaborative and dialogue centric environment. Teachers are part of this very society. We need to find ways of making the learning process interactive and collaborative. The dialogues and arguments that would emerge out of such a process will lay emphasis on every learner to prepare more thoroughly, take stance, hear to others viewpoints, and appreciate and accept counter-arguments, be more open to accommodating and learning.

Exposing children from the school age onwards to things beyond the books, encouraging them to take interest and participate in activities beyond, is the key. Take the class out of the classroom. I am sure teachers can be creative and purposeful in find interesting ways of helping youngsters learn and accomplish their learning outcomes.

Dance and Music are beckoning…..Jumpinnnnnnnnng!

The ringside, yet very close association with the production and performance of contemporary dance performance, DEVOTIONs, last week has had a profound impact on me. I wanted to fly like every other dancer on the stage. I restrained myself. It was like I was on the stage. I shot the entire performance thrice, twice during the rehearsals and the final performance. I was almost with my camera along with the dancers during the rehearsals, as I wanted to capture every move. I was flowing with the movement of the dancers, watching every move through the eye-piece. It was an amazing feeling. It was a sense of dejavu.

I went back to the last decade of mine, when I was associated with a few intense creative endeavours –

a. Dance – As part of STEM dance Kampani and Madhu Natraj when I was at IIMB. I was a regular participant and even roped STEM to perform at IIMB.
b. Music – I designed sets and also directed quite a few episodes of ‘Sur Sandhya’, a classical music program on Star Plus, produced by Gurumayi Anuradha Chaurasia
c. Theatre – Associated with Guru Barry John’s Imago theatre, first as a student and then as an adviser too..

Devotions brought back those emotions of being involved in the thick of the action and performing there on the stage. There is no pleasure beyond performing on the stage.

I have been living a vicarious life of ‘on the stage’, thanks to the motivational sessions that I do addressing the youth – almost 200 days a year. So that has been quenching my thirst of performing and motivating. The active association with SPICMACAY in the last five years has also quenched my thirst to a great extent of enjoying the art forms. My camera has taken me to the stage, behind the stage and into the lives of inspiring performers. But, it seems the time has come for me to jump very actively on the ‘real’ creative stage.

I have taken a few steps in Music – started learning again with Guru Vaidyanathan and the action in Dance and Theatre seem to be round the corner. I shall and will make it happen this year.

DEVOTIONS….

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'Devotions' - Amalgamation and confluence of dance forms'Devotions' - Amalgamation and confluence of dance forms'Devotions' - Amalgamation and confluence of dance forms'Devotions' - Amalgamation and confluence of dance forms'Devotions' - Amalgamation and confluence of dance forms'Devotions' - Amalgamation and confluence of dance forms
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DEVOTIONs – A contemporary dance piece by five dancers exploring & sharing their own path, story aspirations, experiences in devotion.

March 31, 2012 Stainless Art Gallery, Mira Complex, Beneath Okhla Flyover, near to New Friends Colony Signal, New Delhi

Directed by: GIlles Chuyen

with Nikolina Nikoleski, Raj kumar Mahoor, Astha Dixit, Nihar Ranjan Goswami & Gilles Chuyen.

Space Design by Manish Kansara.

Photography by R. Sreenivasan

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