~ Interactive and hand-picked workshops, informative panel discussions gave a preview into the world of media, arts and entertainment at Celebrate Cinema! ~

Fun, frolic, excitement and festivities prevailed over two days – September 22nd and 23rd, 2017 as one of the most illustrious event of the media and entertainment industry – Celebrate Cinema 2017 concluded at Whistling Woods International (WWI).

The 6th edition of Celebrate Cinema enthralled numerous attendees with insights into the film, music, art, design, fashion industry and much more. The event comprised of over 75 workshops, movie screenings, interesting panel discussions by prominent industry stalwarts. The platform offered a qualitative approach to various activities that go behind the making of the reel.

Speaking at the event, Subhash Ghai said, “Celebrate Cinema offers a platform for learning the art and craft of moviemaking and much more! One should come and experience the event, not only to engage in interactive sessions, learn and make mistakes at workshops but to be themselves and to manifest the idea that comes from within.”

Day one kick-started with the screening of the movie ‘Parched’ by Leena Yadav followed by some interactive workshops and four insightful panel discussions. The first panel discussion saw prominent YouTubers of the country, who shared their valuable experience about the new-age media and how this ‘uncensored’ platform can be used to create ‘democratic’ content. Panelists included Anirudh Pandita (Filter Copy), Ruchir Joshi (Culture Machine), Sofia Ashraf (Blush & Culture Machine), Prajakta Kohli (YouTube celebrity) and Ankur Garg (Luv Films), who all stressed on the usage of ‘democratic channel’ to reach their target audience.

The second panel discussion focused on the music industry in India – Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow. Industry experts – lyricist Irshad Kamil, musician and composer Lesle Lewis, Harmeet Singh of Meet Brothers, noted violinist and HOD, School of Music Dr. Sangeeta Shankar, renowned musician Sabapathi Rajan Pillai and upcoming singer Bharti Gupta, all emphasized on music holding a special emotion for the Indian audience. They further discussed, the advancement in technology which has changed the music scenario and stressed on how the importance of getting the foundation correct helps a student gain and maintain a foothold in the industry.

The writers’ panel discussion, however, focused on how a director-writer transfers the life of a legend on to the celluloid. Can the thematic and action plot be merged to create a biopic? All these questions and numerous more were answered by filmmaker and writer Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, director Ketan Mehta and the scriptwriter Saiwyn Quadras. Students were enlightened to discover that a 5000-hour recording of the journey of legendary athlete, Milkha Singh, paved the way for ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’. Also how the indomitable human spirit of Dashrath Maanjhi was portrayed as the narrative in ‘Maanjhi’ and the fighting essence of a tribal girl from Manipur drew the backbone for ‘Mary Kom’.

The most interesting panel discussion of the day was about Virtual Reality. Though this comparatively new way of filmmaking has a long journey to undertake, however, the new generation of filmmakers favours the realty emulation through the virtual medium. The panel comprising of new age filmmakers – Zain Memon (Memesys Culture Lab), Karan Bhutani (Recce The World, The Rumour Projects), Sairam Sagiraju (Meraki VR), Clyde DeSouza (Real Vision FZ LLC), Eddie Avil (Sounds Good Productions), Anand Gurnani (VAMRR) and Chaitanya Chinlikar (VP, CTO – WWI), shared the nitty-gritty of the 360 degree methodology of filmmaking. They also mentioned its characteristics and how this narrative differs from the traditional way of telling a story.

Upholding this year’s theme – mental health and well-being of the youth, day two started off with the screening of the movie ‘Dear Zindagi’. A panel discussion on – Is Depression the New Normal? observed Dear Zindagi’s team – director Gauri Shinde, lyricist Kausar Munir and Director of Photography Laxman Utekar and Associate Writer Krishna Hariharan shared their views on the subject. The panel added that mental difficulty, which was often misinterpreted in Hindi cinema earlier, is now getting portrayed in a much-empathetic way. There are different kinds of depression and the filmmakers need to treat the topic with sensitivity and care. Thorough research and pre-production work was identified to be crucial to connect with the audience.

The second panel discussion – TV, But Not Really TV highlighted the growing popularity of digital as the new platform for storytelling. The panel, comprising director Nupur Asthana, director and ex-journalist Samar Khan, media professional Gaurav Gandhi and Head of Academics of WWI, Rahul Puri emphasized on the tremendous potential that this comparatively new medium holds. Though at a nascent stage, digital media is providing a wonderful opportunity to narrate those stories which will not otherwise make way to the silver or TV screens. All of them, however, mentioned that the filmmakers opting for this platform should not try to be too edgy with the content.

The final panel discussion of the event was Filmmaking 2022. The illustrious panel comprising noted directors – Amole Gupte, Shashank Khaitan, R S Prasanna, Leena Yadav and screenplay writer Juhi Chaturvedi discussed in detail what to expect from filmmakers on Hindi Cinema in 2022.The session moderated by Rajeev Masand witnessed how the world cinema is undergoing the ‘globalisation of Hollywood’ and ‘nationalisation of Hindi cinema’. They were also of the opinion that the future filmmakers should stress on delivering original content rather than following the trends. Stars are still the demigods when it comes to Indian cinema and directors are still struggling to get their dues. But the future seems positive and with the new influx of talent, 2022 in all likelihood will be the ‘director’s year’.

Several interactive workshops captivated the participants over two days of Celebrate Cinema 2017. WWI organised light, though deeply engaging workshops on Humour Writing and Presentation conducted by Filter Copy and Shudh Desi Endings. In today’s dynamic digital industry, the content consumption over the internet is surging, making humour the most preferred form of entertainment. The Filter Copy team present included, Kartik Krishnan, Dhruv Sehgal, Hitesh Pardeshi, Bharat Misra presided by the founder Anirudh Pandita, all of whom had valuable inputs to share. Shudh Desi Endings was presented by team members Anand Doshi and Bonaventure D’Souza. Their success story is based on the observation that viewers want relatable content inspired by everyday life. The take-away for the audience was how to balance the content in such a way as to not be offensive to the viewers or a community.

Fashion workshops – grooming, fashion photography, styling, jewellery design, makeup was well were appreciated by the attendees. While the film, communications and music workshops like screenwriting, voice over, acting, dance, mobile filmmaking, TV broadcasting, editing justification, copywriting, guitar, flute, garage band, classical music saw aspirants attending the same. Technical workshops like VRX, lensing, three-point lighting and colour correction was attended by enthusiasts seeking insights. Additional workshops included RJ, Song picturisation, martial arts, kids workshops on creative writing and much more.

Summarising the occasion, Meghna Ghai Puri, President, WWI, said, “We host Celebrate Cinema every year with an intent to give the industry aspirants a glimpse into the dynamic world of media, arts, fashion, design and entertainment. Students from different schools and colleges visited our campus and have made it even more vibrant and alive! We hope that all present, enjoyed the first-hand exposure from the industry experts, panel discussions and the wonderful installations duly curated and presented over the last two days. I want to convey my gratitude to one and all who made this event a success!”

All those present at the Whistling Woods International campus devoured the two-day extravaganza to the fullest as Celebrate Cinema2017 truly offered a spectacular experience!