Film Forum with the team of the movie 'Tumhari Sulu' on February 1-2, 2018. Screening of the movie will take place on February 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm. Interaction with the team will take place on February 2, 2018 from 11:00 am onwards.
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SMC Masterclass with Fraser Scott and Sheena Chohan on October 25, 2017 from 10:30 am onwards.
Masterclass with Shashank Khaitan was on October 13, 2017 from 10:30 am onwards.
Fashion Masterclass with Geetanjali Bahel was conducted on October 9, 2017. Geetanjali Bahel is the founder of Tan Base.
“Travel exotic and live simple,” said popular travel blogger Kaushal Karkhanis to the SMC students at Whistling Woods International
~The guest speaker spoke about his journey and shared some inspiring anecdotes with the School of Media & Communication students ~
The students of School of Media & Communication (SMC), Whistling Woods International (WWI) participated in an engaging and informative session by Kaushal Karkhanis, the famous travel blogger also known as the Exotic Gringo. The masterclass commenced with Kaushal sharing his success story, which began with him taking a bold step of quitting his well-paying job as a designer at Microsoft.
Kaushal has been an inspiring role model for many young bloggers in India. He spoke about making the move out of the corporate sector to pursue his passion of traveling around the world. His first solo trip was to Goa, where he spent 4 months. However, his trip wasn’t akin to how most tourists travel around the state. He met and lived with the locals. While visiting a place or country, he lives like a local, this is how he prefers to travel. He also never visits the famous tourist attractions in any country where he travels. He shared, “Travel is about people first and place later. Meeting locals always helps you discover the city more.”
In addition to sharing tips about being a world-class traveler, the blogger also spoke at length about creating an interesting blog. He stressed on the importance of quality content on the blog as opposed to the number of followers. Kaushal shed some light on two of his most important principles: persistence and dedication, which have contributed in bringing him success in the field. While enlightening the students on the principles of blogging, he spoke to them about the errors he made and the challenges he faced, when developing his blog.
He concluded the session with an important advice to the students, he said, “Focus on fulfilling your responsibilities and prioritizing, in whichever field you work in the future.” Speaking about his experience at WWI, he shared, "I am happy to be here and connect with a group of young and enthusiastic students. I wish them luck for their future endeavours."
The masterclass session ended with a thundering applause from over 300 students in attendance for the session at WWI.
Homegrown trio manifests their winning spirit at Whistling Woods International
‘Stay true, stay relevant and stay unique, no matter what media platform you are in’ - Homegrown trio Mandovi Menon, Varsha Patra, and Varun Patra share their success mantra with the students of Whistling Woods International (WWI)
How can one convert a creative idea to a sustainable business model and carry that forward with passion and confidence? Can the voice of the youth of India be transformed into a profitable business plan? The terrific trio - Varsha Patra, Varun Patra and Mandovi Menon of the young and dynamic - Homegrown, answered these questions and much more while interacting with the students during the School of Media & Communication (SMC) masterclass at WWI.
While responding to the inquisitiveness of the students, the Homegrown team elaborated on the business model they have adopted. The focus on creating unique, authentic content was well accentuated as the need of the hour. Business strategy, as one of the most important factors of success, was also distinctly emphasized upon.
The captivated students were thrilled when the Homegrown trio reassured that their out of the box idea may very well pan out as the next big business venture. Mandovi, Varsha and Varun broke the age-old difference between the marketing and editorial team by highlighting that the creative editorial idea can be converted into a good profit making and vice versa. As Varsha Patra, CEO, Homegrown placed it, “We have come up with a creative agency and an event agency only to support the ideas we want to present editorially.”
Varsha further opined, “I didn’t expect such enthusiastic crowd and so many intellectual questions from the students. My experience has been really fantastic.”
Mandovi Menon, Co-founder, Editor at Homegrown said, “We have been a part of quite a few discussions before, but never expected students to come up with such thoughtful questions! For the industry which is dynamic and constantly changing, the practical education that Whistling Woods International is providing will prepare them for the real world.”
Varun Patra, Head of Marketing, Homegrown was also of the same opinion “It was a great experience to interact with the students and share our insights into what we have been doing over the last few years. This is my second session with the students of Whistling Woods International and I think it is one the best institutions for pursuing creative education for various reasons. Be it the regular or the guest faculties, the campus and the opportunities that the students get to experience is a great learning process.”
The masterclass was indeed an informative session for the students of WWI. They learnt how to pursue their idea with passion and determination.
“Script is just words on paper!” - Writer and Director of Mukti Bhawan, Shubhashish Bhutiani and Producer, Sanjay Bhutiani share their ‘unconventional’ way of filmmaking at Whistling Woods International's campus
Mukti Bhawan is not a film about achieving salvation, it’s about the celebration of death! The narrative was emphasized upon at the masterclass held at Whistling Woods International (WWI). The unique and rather dark subject – death, has been brought to light in a relatively unusual way. How people who are certain about their readiness to embark upon the journey to the other side, choose to attain moksha by going into seclusion for 15 days, is what the movie depicts.
The acclaimed father-son duo, the young and energetic Shubhashish Bhutiani and the ace Ad-man Sanjay Bhutiani, shared the thought process behind the making of this film. The discussion varied on different aspects of filmmaking like the unconventional subject of the film, unorthodox way of presentation, uniquely different cinematography and numerous innovative ideas.
How were the Bhutianis different in the making of the film? They did succeed in breaking quite a few archetypes associated with filmmaking. Shubhashish elaborated on the necessity of the script being ‘fluidic’, as it underwent modification, thereby, adhering to the need of the hour. Emphasis on real time research that Shubhashish undertook, that is, referring to Facebook accounts of people for the characters of the film viz-a-viz the challenges of execution in the outdoors by the young crew was also discussed.
Speaking about the occasion, Shubhashish Bhutiani, Writer and Director, Mukti Bhawan said, “I’m really excited and happy after interacting with the students of my age group who have seen my film. I used to be a film school student and the opportunity that WWI is providing through the masterclass is very crucial for film education. WWI is catering to the need of the hour as it's very important for the students to know the process, difficulties, challenges and achievements of filmmaking.” Further reinstating the reason for making a film on a rare topic, Shubhashish said, “This movie is about people who get so busy in their daily life, that they lose touch with their loved ones and the people around them.”
For the students of Whistling Woods International, this session on the film, which has won both national and international accolades, was a truly a one of a kind experience.
SMC Masterclass with Rana Barua on August 23, 2017 from 11:00am to 12:30pm. Rana Barua is the CEO of Creativeland Asia Group.
“WWI alumni are thorough professionals & extremely disciplined”, said director Alankrita Shrivastava on her experience while working with them on ‘Lipstick under my burkha’.
Whistling Woods International (WWI) hosted director Alankrita Shrivastava, and the cast and crew of the acclaimed film, Lipstick Under My Burkha for an engaging film forum session. The session was moderated by well-known screenwriter & HOD – Screenwriting, WWI, Anjum Rajabali. The visiting team shared their experiences while making the film. The director along with the members of the cast, Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur, shed light on the filmmaking process and how the audience perceive films that convey a strong social message.
Also, gracing the stage at the masterclass were the WWI alumni along with other crew members, Rohit Chaturvedi, Costume Designer; Akshay Singh, Cinematographer. The WWI alum members comprised of Aahana Kumra, Actor; Rahul Badwelkar, Sound Designer; Abhinav Agnihotri, Sound Editor; Dhruv Parekh, Assistant - Sound Editor, Akshay Patil, Sound Recordist and Tushar Seth, First Assistant Director, who also interacted with the students, while reminiscing their early days at WWI. It was a proud moment for WWI as an institute to see it’s alumni grace the stage as industry guests, leaving the present batch of aspiring filmmakers inspired.
While interacting with the budding filmmakers at WWI, Alankrita Shrivastava said, “During the course of writing and directing a film, filmmakers often become the audience and the critics. As filmmakers we are free to engage in material that speaks to us, which further helps us make a good film.”
She also shared instances from the film and how she fought against all odds, while patiently waiting for the film to hit the silver screen. She admitted, “I can never write for the audience. If something connects to me, I will go ahead and write it for myself. I cannot think from the audiences’ point of view.” She also discussed about how she chose the title of her film, which didn’t involve any culture or sub-culture, and confessed that the title of the film was metaphoric for her.
The session culminated on a high note as Meghna Ghai Puri (President, WWI) thanked the guests and felicitated them with a token of appreciation.
Masterclass with Amin Sheikh on August 9, 2017 from 11:00 am onwards. Amin Sheikh is a Social Entrepreneur & Author of Bombay to Barcelona.
~ The popular filmmaker candidly shared his experiences, learnings and knowledge during a film forum masterclass at the institute ~
Acclaimed Indian filmmaker Karan Johar was welcomed with a loud cheer as he entered the auditorium of Whistling Woods International (WWI) for a film forum masterclass. The masterclass was moderated by Rahul Puri, Head of Academics – WWI, who posed questions to Karan Johar, with regards to his filmmaking and specifically about his recent film - ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.’ The director spoke at length about his approach and the processes involved in the making of his films & specifically about ‘Ae Dil…’.
He gave multiple suggestions and advice to an auditorium full of aspiring filmmakers to be better at their skills and also help them grow as unique individual professionals in the Film & Media industry. He specifically recommended a special exercise for the students of acting, in order to enhance their acting skills.
He advised budding filmmakers, saying, “It is extremely important to be with the times. Relevance is something you can aspire, chase and acquire, if you keep your mind open to suggestions.” While interacting with the students he encouraged them to trust their instincts and make films that they believe in. He further added, “Nothing fails like success. When in failure you contemplate and strive to become better. However, success comes with a lot of baggage. When you meet success, make sure to acknowledge it and move on. Those who become arrogant with success tend to go down with it. The ability to move beyond success will come with recognising what you don’t know and not what you know.”
He shared anecdotes from his filmmaking journey, from being an assistant director in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge to writing-directing, producing & distributing blockbuster movies. He also shared his immense love for Indian film music and candidly admitted, “I am obsessed with and only listen to Indian film music.” He also mentioned that this love was the seed that enabled him to work with music directors to create the many much-loved melodies in all his movies, which bear a stamp of his love for music.
As expected, the students had several questions for him. Karan Johar patiently answered all the questions and shared a lot of his experiences, which will greatly assist the students as filmmakers & even beyond as people. While he has been visiting Whistling Woods for masterclasses quite often, every time he visits, he wishes that there was an institute like this when he was starting out as a filmmaker and rues that he had to learn on the job. He spoke about all the Whistling Woods alumni that he has enjoyed working with, including the writer-director of the highly successful ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya’ and ‘Badrinath ki Dulhaniya’, Shashank Khaitan and the editor of ‘Ae Dil…’, Manik Dawar and a whole lot of other Whistling Woods alumni who are working at Dharma Productions.
Wishing the students best for all their future endeavours, he asked them to make the maximum of their time at WWI and step out to create their mark in the media and entertainment industry.
Masterclass with Mayukh Goswami in FOUNDATION HALL 1 from 4.00 am to 5.30 pm.
Masterclass with Indu Mirani on April 26, 2017 from 11:00am to 12:30pm. Indu Mirani is a Bollywood journalist.
Cinematography Masterclass with Mitesh Mirchandani on 12 April, 2017 from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Mitesh Mirchandani has worked as a cinematographer for the movie Neerja.
“Give failures a big hug! To appreciate sunshine, you have to face rains,” said Alia Bhatt during the masterclass at Whistling Woods International
~ Director of ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’, Shashank Khaitan along with his actors, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sahil Vaid shared the tricks of filmmaking and acting with the students ~
Roaring applause filled the auditorium at Whistling Woods International (WWI), when alumni actor-director Shashank Khaitan, actor Sahil Vaid along with Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt graced the stage for the masterclass at the institute. The team of ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ immediately took to answering engaging questions put across by Rahul Puri, Head of Academics at WWI, who moderated the session.
The masterclass witnessed all the three actors and the director sharing great insights about filmmaking and acting. While Varun Dhawan revealed his process to tackle a challenging character like Raghu from ‘Badlapur,’ Alia Bhatt revealed how she makes the decision to select a script. Shashank Khaitan and Sahil Vaid also stressed on the importance to keep learning something new on a daily basis.
Addressing the students, Shashank Khaitan said, “Never consider yourself to be a struggler. I have never considered myself to be a struggler because I am constantly learning. You can only be a struggler if you are not engaged in learning something new every day.”
Sharing acting tips with the students, Varun Dhawan said, “Never curb yourself. Let people think you are mad and crazy. This is one advice that I have received from most of the actors in the industry.”
Both the lead actors, Alia Bhatt & Varun Dhawan expressed their complete faith in Shashank Khaitan as a director. When they saw his passion for ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’, they knew it would be something magical.
During the interaction, Alia Bhatt also shared how she dealt with times when her films didn't perform as expected. “Give failures a big hug because to appreciate sunshine, you have to face rains. After all, we only see rainbows after the rains. The joy is in falling, picking yourself up again and charging ahead”, advised Alia to the students on ways of dealing with failure.
On the occasion of coming back to his alma mater, alumnus Shashank Khaitan said, “This visit has made me very nostalgic and I want to thank all my faculty members, as I believe it is because of them that I am here today.”
He further added, “Whistling Woods International, greatly helped me in exploring my talents and giving me the right resources and the perfect platform that further enhanced my talents.” The students congratulated the team on the success of the movie and thanked them for such an informative session.
Masterclass on Narrative Strategies with Anik Ghosh on 6-7 April, 2017 from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
“If a Man can do it, then even Women can,” said Radhika Mukherji while interacting with the SMC students of Whistling Woods International
~The guest speaker spoke about her entrepreneurial journey and shared some experiences from her life with the students~ The students of School of Media & Communication (SMC), Whistling Woods International (WWI) participated in yet another engaging and insightful session by Radhika Mukherji, Founder of Happydemics. Happydemics is a company that was launched with an aim to discover and deploy artistes who deserve recognition. The masterclass commenced with the success story of Radhika, which began after she became a mother of two.
During the session, Radhika spoke about the ethos of Happydemics in detail and how she and her husband Shaan, decided to give back to the music industry by creating this unique platform. She further shed some light on the importance of time and self-management in an artist’s life and advised the students about the importance of soft skills along with the academic degrees. On the conclusion of an eventful session, Radhika told the audiences about how Shaan has played an imperative role in her entrepreneurial journey and always motivated her to follow her dreams.
Addressing the students she said, “Nowadays it's not really a challenge to become an entrepreneur, there are many VC’s in the market to support your idea. If you are confident about the start-up and you think your idea is great, you should definitely go for it.”
Speaking about her experience at WWI she said, "I am happy to be here and connect with a group of young and enthusiastic students. I think you should have the ability to put forth your idea but also balance it by respecting your seniors. I see a lot of potential in the students of WWI, and I wish them luck for their future endeavours."
“Content is the brick and content distribution is the wall; they go hand-in-hand in the world of digital media”, said Sameer Pitalwalla while conducting the SMC master class at Whistling Woods International
~Sameer Pitalwalla interacted with the students at WWI and introduced them to the digital world ~
Whistling Woods International (WWI) conducted yet another insightful master class for their School of Media & Communication (SMC) students with Sameer Pitalwalla, CEO & Co-Founder of India’s leading digital media company, Culture Machine. Founded in 2013 by Sameer Pitalwalla and Venkat Prasad, Culture Machine is a Digital Media company whose mission is to use technology to create great digital brands that people love. By combining cutting edge technology with great content, Culture Machine currently runs some of Asia’s largest digital media brands and also licenses its core technologies to advertisers, media companies and agency partner’s world-over.
Moderated by Chaitanya Chinchlikar, Vice-President, WWI the masterclass commenced with Sameer’s journey and the establishment of Culture Machine. He shared some experiences from his eventful journey and introduced students to the digital world and content creation. Towards the end of the master class, he emphasised and explained the need of content in the modern era, and how it gives each brand a unique identity and helps them to identify the target audience. He gave examples of niche brands like Blush and Being Indian, which coincided well with the topic of the masterclass. While interacting with the students, he advised them on usage of content across various platforms, and how a video can get viral solely on the basis of its distinguished content.
Talking about the event at Whistling Woods International, Sameer said, “I had a wonderful time interacting with young media aspirants. It is always a pleasure to meet the youth, as it is a great opportunity to understand their mind-set. I hope I was able to provide insights on the industry to the students present for the session. Lastly, I would like to wish them the very best, if they wish to initiate their own venture in the future in the digital world.”
Baggit founder Nina Lekhi interacted with the students of Whistling Woods International
~The guest speaker spoke about her journey and shared some instances from her life with the students~
The students of School of Media & Communication (SMC), Whistling Woods International (WWI) participated in an engaging and informative session by Nina Lekhi, Founder, Baggit. The masterclass commenced with Nina sharing her success story which began at the age of 16 years.
Nina has been an inspiring role model for many young women entrepreneurs in India, and around the globe. She shared her entrepreneurial success journey that started by making 'thellas' and now owns Baggit, a 100-crore company. Speaking about her recently launched book, 'Bag It All', Nina also explained about the flounders she went through while writing the book, and how her family and friends always motivated her to write. A strong believer of 'beauty without cruelty', she shed some light on the most important feature of her brand, which makes it the only 'Vegan' brand in the market. Concluding the commemoration, she, also advised the students to have a zest and zeal in the work they do in the future.
Speaking about her experience at WWI she said, "I am happy to be here and connect with a group of young and enthusiastic group of students. I believe passion & determination drives you to work harder and smarter everyday. If I can do it, I believe even they can. I see a lot of potential in the students of WWI, and I wish them luck for their future endeavours."
'A Billion Colour Story' received standing ovation by 400 students of Whistling Woods International
~Director Padmakumar and producer Satish Kaushik, addressed the filmmaking students at the special screening of the film “A Billion Colour Story”, held at the WWI campus ~
Whistling Woods International (WWI), hosted a special screening of the highly acknowledged short film ‘A Billion Colour Story’ for their filmmaking students, followed by a masterclass. The acclaimed short film has swept many international awards at the BFI London Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival, owing to its qualitative content and portrayal of realistic characters. The masterclass commenced with a standing ovation by the audience when the director of the movie Padmakumar, producer, Satish Kaushik, and the lead actor of the film, Gaurav Sharma arrived on stage.
The acclaimed film director Padmakumar, threw light on some of the key technicalities of filmmaking while sharing his one-of-a-kind experience of shooting the film in black and white. Renowned director and producer of the film, Satish Kaushik, also shared some instances of working on the film and producing it. The actor-director duo was seen sharing a very close and affectionate bond, which turned the masterclass into a memorable and interactive session for the filmmaking students.
Talking about his experience on making the film, director Padmakumar said, “I think a story can be told in a simple yet appealing manner, and still have the potential to touch a million hearts at the same time. I intentionally made the movie in black and white, so that the audience could imagine colours instead of being just a passive viewer.
Talking about WWI, he said, “I think WWI is an amazing platform for the aspiring filmmakers. I really hope that the students had a good time watching a different kind of a movie. I would like to give a small piece of advice to the students and tell them that you don't have to go abroad to hunt for fancy locations to shoot, if you have an amazing script your film will definitely be loved and appreciated by the audience.”
Commenting on the same, Satish Kaushik said, “As soon as I heard the story, it touched my heart and I instantly asked Padmakumar if I could produce the movie. The way he was planning to shoot the movie with only 3 lenses really appealed me, but I also believe that good filmmaking skills and a strong script can do wonders. I am very happy and proud to be at WWI, and share all the experiences I have gained while working in the film industry and at FTII. The students here definitely have great potential to become successful filmmakers.”
Masterclass with Vikrant Pawar - Head- Live Entertainment, Disney Entertainment (India) Ltd. on February 22, 2017 from 11:00am to 12:30pm
Masterclass with renowned Entertainment Design Consultant, Sayantani Raybardhan Deb on February 15, 2017 from 11:00am to 12:30pm.
Masterclass with actor and YouTuber Gaurav Gera on February 8, 2017 from 11:00am to 12:30pm.
"THE MOVIE PINK WAS TO BE TITLED 'NO' INITIALLY," CONFESSED DIRECTOR ANIRUDDHA ROY CHOWDHURY, TO THE STUDENTS OF WHISTLING WOODS INTERNATIONAL
‘Pink’ Director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, who was at the helm of one of the most successful Hindi films of 2016, addressed a group of enthusiastic students at Whistling Woods International as part of a filmmaking masterclass on February 7, 2017. Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury provided interesting insights into the making of a film which acquired both, critical and commercial acclaim. The session, which began with the screening of ‘Pink’, also saw the presence of Ritesh Shah, the writer of the film. Sharing his story-telling experiences with the students, Ritesh also spoke about the technicalities involved in scriptwriting, and how to effectively weave story ideas to cater to the demands of a particular script. The session ended on an interactive note with an interesting Q&A by an active audience, who were left inspired by the end of the masterclass.
Speaking about the film, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury said, "Pink was not only about philosophy, but also about consent law. We did borrow a lot of characters from our daily life. Initially, we tried to make it in a documentary format to bring out the real emotions. In retrospect, we are very happy and proud that we managed to communicate the correct message through the film." Speaking about his experiences of addressing the future filmmakers of the country, Aniruddha said "I am so glad that students of WWI watched the film again today and had such unique perspectives and questions to pose post the screening. I wish them all the best, as they all prepare to become bright future filmmakers of our country.”
Whistling Woods International hosts first open conversation for filmmaking students with director & writers of Dangal
Whistling Woods International (WWI) organised yet another masterclass to provide valuable industry insights for its filmmaking students. The masterclass was graced by the presence of the director and writers of Dangal, the biggest blockbuster of 2016. The movie has gained exceptional commercial and critical acclaim while inspiring and touching the hearts of audiences.
Director Nitesh Tiwari and writers, Shreyas Jain and Nikhil Mehrotra addressed the WWI students and shared the behind-the-scene experiences that went into making a good and unusual film. The trio also threw some light on the various technicalities of filmmaking, especially on the aspects of narration and characterisation. The Dangal team infused energy and gave a light-hearted touch to the interaction. They also shared experiences from their past in their advertising as well as film careers.
Commenting on the occasion Nitesh Tiwari said, "It was indeed an honour to address a batch of intelligent and enthusiastic students. I recalled and relived all the moments we had while shooting the film. The students at WWI are quite mature, which I sensed during the interaction with them. I have one thing to share with the aspiring movie makers of WWI - writing for films is not as complicated as it seems. I remember finalising Dangal in just two drafts, and rest is history."
Shreyas Jain, writer of Dangal said, "When someone said that a citizen from Dubai stood up to salute our national anthem during Dangal, my heart was swelling with pride. It is the best compliment I have received so far. I think my efforts have turned out to be fruitful as I wrote this unconventional yet challenging movie."
Nikhil Mehrotra, Dangal writer further added, "It is necessary to realise the objectivity of a particular scene and character while writing a script. A character deserves to be in a film only if the purpose of the film is served. Being at WWI is indeed a pleasure, and I hope we have inspired the students, the future filmmakers of this country."
"Capture as much as possible. Never edit your film, while the shoot is still on”, advised Rajesh Mapuskar while addressing the filmmaking students at Whistling Woods International
~ Ashutosh Gowariker& Rajesh Mapuskar, addressed the students at a special screening of the film Ventilator, held at the WWI campus ~
Whistling Woods International (WWI) hosted a special screening of the blockbuster, path-breaking Marathi film ‘Ventilator’ followed by a masterclass for the filmmaking students. Ventilator is acknowledged for being one of the most successful Marathi films of 2016, owing to its qualitative content and realistic characters.
Acclaimed film director Ashutosh Gowariker, who turned an actor for this film, threw light on some of the key technicalities of filmmaking while also sharing his one-of-a-kind experience as an actor. Director of the film, Rajesh Mapuskar also shared his experiences of working in the film industry, thereby spending quality time with the students. The actor-director duo seemed to share a very close and affectionate bond, which turned the masterclass into a memorable interactive session for the filmmaking students at WWI.
Ashutosh Gowariker confessed, “When I was reading the script, after two pages, I stopped looking at it from an actor’s perspective and started reading out of genuine interest. It was also interesting to see how a movie of 2 hours can be shot in such a short span of time. But I think, sharp filmmaking skills and knowing your script can do wonders.”
Commenting on the occasion, the director of the film Rajesh Mapuskar said, “Filming a movie with 116 characters itself is an incredible experience. What’s even more exceptional is the journey that goes behind the process. Ventilator is very personal and close to my heart. Somewhere in the script, in the characters, my own personality and life is being reflected.”
While imparting knowledge, he stated, “This film is the product of my 48 years long life seeking good stories and the child of a very hardworking set of people. I sincerely hope the aspiring filmmakers at Whistling Woods International enjoyed it.”
Masterclass with Jorge Arriagada on January 20, 2017 from 12:00 noon onwards.
Jorge Arriagada is a famous European Film Music Composer, who has worked in Europe, South America and Hollywood, where he scored the last unfinished film by Orson Welles, commissioned by Paramount. He has worked with directors Raúl Ruiz, Miguel Littin, Oliver Assayas and Barbet Schroeder, precursor of the French New Wave.
Masterclass with Jens Fischer on January 20, 2017 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Jens Fischer is a renowned cinematographer and the son of mythical cinematographer Gunnar Fischer, who created the look for many of Bergman's black and white masterpieces like "Wild Strawberries". Jens Fischer has become a master in his own right, creating the look for films like Oscar nominated "Under the Sun". He was also the operator when his father shot Jacques Tati's last feature. Jens Fischer has won both the Silver and the Bronze Frog, two of the most prestigious prizes in cinematography.
Masterclass with Roshan Abbas – Managing Director, Geometry Global Encompass Network on October 19, 2016 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Film Forum with the team of Kapoor & Sons on October 18, 2016. Screening at 2:30 pm followed by guest interaction from 4:30 pm onwards.
Interactive session with Avinash Arun – Director, Killa & DOP, Masaan on October 17, 2016 from 10:30 am onwards.
Masterclass with Surya Narayan Rao on October 12, 2016 from 3:00 pm onwards in Foundation Hall-1. Surya Narayan Rao is the Head of Business for Hungama Digital Services.
Keeping up to its commitment to excel in forging the new generation of actors, Whistling Woods International (WWI) students witnessed an insightful masterclass session yesterday with the National award winning actor, Rajit Kapur. Preceded by one of the iconic films, ‘The Making of Mahatma’, students engaged with the actor touching upon the nuances and technicalities of the film.
Rajit Kapur, famously known as Byomkesh Bakhi to many, shared the challenges faced in his life in the pursuit of becoming an actor and his perspective towards life after being one. He urged the students interested in acting to become more passionate and sincere about it as a profession, which will eventually help them to express themselves better on stage and in front of the camera.
Rajit, also an established theatre actor spoke to the aspiring actors about the dynamics of various mediums in reaching the audience. The students were enlightened not only about the world of filmmaking and actors, but also about life. Rajit shared a few memorable experiences of working with his co-actors from the film & theatre fraternity. Packed with a lot of zeal and valuable learnings, Rajit Kapoor ended the session leaving the students with several thoughts to ponder on back home.wards. Rajit Kapur is an actor and director for Indian films and theatre.
The auditorium of Whistling Woods International (WWI) echoed with applause as the students welcomed Amole Gupte, the creator of Taare Zameen Par, Hawaa Hawaai and Stanley Ka Dabba, films that have touched the hearts of the audience. The students had the great fortune of having him amongst them to discuss his process of filmmaking.
Gupte shared his experience by talking about the immense success with his first film and then moving on he stated that he has also experienced a lot of failure. He said that he has seen his efforts crumble. But, he never gave up. He inspired the students by telling them how he created Stanley Ka Dabba against all odds, armed with just a 7D camera and a budget of less than 2000 rupees per day.
There has always been a certain message that he has been trying to convey through each of his films. In Stanley Ka Dabba, he tried to throw light on child labour, their struggles and hardships. He expressed, it is the society that has created prejudices, which creates barriers for the gifted people. There is no disability for art.
All his films have been children-centric. While answering students’ queries about his experience in dealing with children, he said that he never took the script to the shooting location nor did he dictate to the children on how to perform, instead, he let things take their natural course. He quoted, “The situations of life at some point make us act. Therefore, within every individual, lies an actor.”
‘Don't limit yourself’ is what Gupte said as he convinced students that a person should create his own film from writing to directing and should not stop at a particular part of the process. He also said that no one should have ownership over something, both in personal as well as professional life.
“Everything has its own beauty. Keep your eyes and ears open to discover the magic”, he advised the students. He asked the students to be open-minded and explore. He left the students with an encouraging message that all you need is a paper and a pen to create something beautiful.
Guest Interaction with Mukesh Chhabra and F The Couch Team on August 26, 2016 from 4:00 pm onwards
Masterclass with Mukesh Sharma on August 24, 2016 from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. Mukesh Sharma is the Director General of Films Division, Mumbai and Additional Director General for Doordarshan (WZ & CRD).
Shooting Badlapur with cinematographer Anil Mehta on August 18, 2016 from 10:00 am onwards.
Retelling stories with Omung Kumar & the Team of Sarbjit at Whistling Woods International
After the success of his second directorial venture, Sarbjit, Omung Kumar was at Whistling Woods International (WWI), along with his team, to enlighten the students about the art of filmmaking. The team briefed the aspiring filmmakers on various aspects of the film. When asked about the process of making a biopic, Omung said, “It’s like weaving a thread through the incidents of a person’s life and tying them together, taking the liberty of adding elements only to fill the gaps and never forgetting to stay true to their story.”
Omung also spoke about the efforts the actors put in by adding, “Randeep Hooda lost 18 kilos in 28 days. And for reliving the character he actually wrote letters and stayed in a dark lonely place for hours to get the feel and mood of the character.” Students were inspired with the dedication of the actors.
Utkarshini Vashishtha, the writer of the film said that she built major part of the script upon the conversations that she had with Sarabjit’s youngest daughter, Poonam. She mentioned, “The 18 year old daughter of Sarabjt, Poonam, came through and shared each and every experience of hers on remembering her father only through a couple of pictures and the stories told by everyone else. Little things that Poonam had shared, helped in creating emotional scenes for of the movie.”
The discussion led to the technical aspects of making the film. The students learned about the processes involved in the set designing, sound, and cinematography. The common learning from all the three was being in sync with the director’s vision of the film. In the words of the director of photography of the film, Kiran Deohans, “His vision matched so perfectly with mine that there was no way that I wouldn’t do this movie.” He also gave out his secret on lighting used on the set, “I’d rather call it ‘realistic’ lighting than natural, it all depends on the way you use it.”
The production designer, Vanita Omung Kumar, told the students about the difficulties faced while choosing locations and creating the set. She said, “The ageing process was apparently the most challenging task for us, from the characters to the decay of the set.” The sound designers, Parikshit Lalwani & Kunal Mehta explained how difficult it was to dub few months after the shoot, when the actors were completely out of their character and to get them back into it.
The students were grateful to the entire team of Sarbjit for such an enlightening session and thanked them with a token of appreciation.
Masterclass with Afrida Rahman Ali on August 10, 2016 from 3:00 pm onwards. Afrida Rahman Ali is a broadcast journalist and a news anchor
Celebration of National Handloom Day through exhibition cum introduction of Handlooms and Textiles of India on August 8, 2016 from 4:00 pm onwards. Guest interaction with ace fashion designer - Bhamini Subramanium.
Stalwarts from the events industry came together at Whistling Woods International (WWI) to launch a unique book titled, STAGED!, co-authored by Deepak Choudhary and Sapna Gupta Navneeth. The evening witnessed the presence of event gurus like Sabbas Joseph, President - EEMA and Director - Wizcraft International Entertainment; Manish Gandhi, COO & Executive Director - Asian Business Exhibitions & Conferences Ltd.; Martin Da Costa, CEO - Seventy Event Media Group; Mohomed Morani, Director - Cineyug Group of Companies, Vinit Karnik, Business Head - ESP Properties and Ajay Mago, Publisher, Om Books International. The book not just offers exciting stories live from backstage but also important insights on the size of the industry and the scope of its engagement from these event gurus who have shaped the business of live events in India, from its inception to the current form, over the two decades.
The book launch was followed by a masterclass on event management at WWI, which saw an action packed venue with students of School of Media & Communication, moderated by Rahul Puri – Head of Academics, WWI. For the first time ever leading event gurus came together to share knowledge about event management and its fast-paced industry in the digital world. The panel discussion focused on trends of the events industry, event management as a growing career option and its endless possibilities with respect to scale and the need for events in every aspect of life.
Rahul Puri, Head of Academics, Whistling Woods International, said: “The masterclass on event management held today at WWI has given the students an insights and overview of the events industry and benefits of a professional career in this field. We at WWI, encourage learning of students in different off-beat careers as a part of their curriculum, which gives them a better exposure when they step in the industry as professionals. Event management is now well-recognised as a career option and there has been an incredible growth in the number of students opting for this career path. We are glad, that through WWI we give our students enough exposure, which ensures them a successful career.”
The panel discussion was kicked-off with the launch of the book, STAGED! With a foreword written by the original showman of live events, Subhash Ghai, and an introduction by Sabbas Joseph, EEMA President and Director, Wizcraft International Entertainment, the book features top 17 industry leaders who have been instrumental in creating an ‘events’ industry in India, where there was none.
Subhash Ghai, Founder & Chairman, Whistling Woods International, said: “I am glad we could provide a platform to the students to learn and gain practical knowledge from today’s masterclass on events, where all the industry stalwarts have come together to share their knowledge with the WWI students. Also, what makes STAGED! special is that it captures incidents, stories and defining moments in the journey of live events, therefore capturing the ‘reality’ of the industry. But since then the industry has come a long way! With this panel discussion WWI students now have a wider perspective and clearer insights about the events industry.”
Guest lecture with Prof. Darius Cooper for Direction students on August 2, 2016 from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm.
on August 3, 2016 from 4:00 pm onwards.
Team Sairat conducted a Masterclass for Whistling Woods International students
A special screening of Sairat followed by a Master Class by director Nagraj Manjule and Producer Nittin Keni was held for the students at the institute’s campus
The students of Whistling Woods International (WWI) were thrilled on Tuesday evening to meet the Director, Nagraj Manjule and Producer, Nittin Keni, the makers of the sensational Marathi film ‘Sairat’, a movie that broke all the records, tested the boundaries and left audience speechless. A screening of the film was witnessed by the students following which was a gripping interaction with Nittin and Nagraj.
Spellbound at the end of movie, students wondered, “What is it that Nagraj Manjule’s movies leave such an impact on the audience, be it the National award winning Pistulya or Fandry or Sairat?”. To answer this, Nagraj narrated an incident from his school days when he was called a fandry (swine in Marathi) by a fellow student. It was the first time he was publically humiliated through an abusive remark linked to his caste. Fandry became the title of his first feature film. Similarly, many parts of Sairat are also inspired by his own life. The captain of the ship also stated, “Sairat is my sublime response to the issues I faced in my life”. “I watched Subhash Ghai films as a fan and today I am here at Whistling Woods”, and quoted ‘films are not merely meant for entertainment, it is a medium to communicate his thoughts with the society’.
Chairman and Founder, WWI, Subhash Ghai, said that he was glad to have the Producer and Director at Whistling Woods International and also said, “I saw the film with my friends and I said to my friends that this will be a blockbuster and it was.” The discussion touched upon the nuances and technicalities involved in the filming process and also issues like casteism, gender equality, classism and honour killing as depicted in the film. The producer on being asked about why he chose to produce the film said '’Films like ‘Sairat’ which are made with such conviction must be promoted. More platforms should be created for dauntless storytellers’. He also added that, ‘It’s not the story that I loved, but it was the characters that I fell in love with and that made me to produce the film Sairat.’
The session was packed with a lot of zeal and valuable learnings. In the end of the session Subhash Ghai felicitated the guests with a token of love and appreciation and also congratulated the team on their humungous success.
Our students from the Actors’ Studio and the School Of Fashion and Design got to attend a WWI workshop on Dance Movement Therapy, conducted by Payel Mitra and Kshitija Suryavanshi from Still Flow.
Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) is a journey of syncing the body and the mind to feel, heal, experience and discover. It is a physical, emotional, psychological and a spiritual process using the body as a tool to express. At this workshop, our students were introduced to the nuances of body movements that enable one to effectively and creatively explore and express one’s inner self.
Guest interaction with the renowned screenwriter Shridhar Raghavan on June 1, 2016 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Masterclass with fashion curator Gautam Vazirani on June 4, 2016 from 11:00 am to 02:00 pm. Gautam Vazirani is the fashion curator at IMG Reliance, that organises Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai.
Guest interaction with screenwriter Tushar Paranjape on May 31, 2016 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Tushar Paranjape is a screenwriter famous for the Marathi film Killa.
Guest Interaction with Omkar Sane on May 24, 2016 from 10 am to 02 pm. Omkar Sane is a renowned author and writer.
Masterclass with Sarit Ray on April 22, 2016 from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Sarit Ray is the Assistant Editor for HT 48hr.
Masterclass with Ajay Pawar on April 20, 2016 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm. Ajay Pawar is the Senior General Manager of Godrej Properties.
Tracy Dsouza creates Progressive and unprecedented quality films. Combining her formidable advertising experience with talented Directors, an emphasis on storytelling, detailing, aesthetic sense and a gift for decision-making, Tracy brings that edge to a film, which makes audiences and clients happy!
Tracy has worked with the leading names in Digital, Advertising and Film to include TVF, Prahlad Kakar, Uzer Khan, Vishal Punjabi, Hollywood DP/director Emmanuel Lubezki (Chivo) and many more. She has worked on films for leading brands like P & G, KingFisher, Commonfloor, TOI, CashKaro, Apple, Samsung, AC Black, Maggi, Horlicks, King Henry, Rasna, Emami, Officers Choice and countless others. ‘Can’t’ and ‘Impossible’ are words that do not exist in Tracy’s dictionary. Her motivation and undying passion for films is evident as is her immense skill in interpersonal relations and business awareness.
In Dec 2013, she was offered to executive produce videos for TVF. In the process of speaking to brands, the realization dawned that Tracy had a penchant for branded content solutions and was directly handling solutions and sales with ease and thus took on a role of Head: Brand Solutions TVF in 2014. During this period she overlooked a lot of branded content sales/solutions for TVF inclusive of Permanent Roommates Season 1, TVF Pitchers, Barely Speaking with Arnub (Arvind Kejriwal), Tech Conversations with dad, etc and some that are scheduled for release this year. At the end of 2015, she graduated to heading Girliyapa ( a women centric) channel that creates progressive content with TVF’s assistance. Some of the releases include The Period Song, Why should hot girls have all the fun, etc., She envisions and hopes to make Girliyapa a progressive community for women.
Masterclass with Volker Langhoff BVK from April 12 – April 15, 2016. Volker Langhoff BVK is a Filmmaker, Cinematographer, Director of Photography, Photographer Media Consultant, and Media Trainer.
Masterclass with Pablo Golborne from April 4 to April 9, 2016 from 9:30 am onwards.
Pablo Golborne is a renowned writer and filmmaker.
Masterclass with Neeta Lulla on March 17, 2016 from 09:30am to 01:30pm.
WWI Masterclass with Prof. Richard Peña was an extremely amazing and informative session. At the session, Prof. Peña shared with the students the history of Hollywood and how films evolved over the era and spread as a medium of disseminating information across boundaries through its audio-visual story-telling format.
The documentary, ‘The Salt of the Earth’ was also screened as part of the WWI Masterclass session, which is an independently produced film by Paul Jarrico, directed by Herbert J. Biberman and written by Michael Wilson. At the masterclass, Prof. Peña shared with our students the fact that the makers of this film were among the “Hollywood Ten”, who were blacklisted by the Hollywood establishment citing their involvement with communist politics. Two of the only five professional actors in the film, Will Geer and Rosaura Revueltas were also among the “Hollywood Ten”.
While discussing ‘The Salt Of The Earth’ with our student, Prof. Peña shared insight and snippets from the making of the film. One of the most striking facts about this film was that this is one of the first films to portray the emergence of labour equality, gender equality and feminist social and political point of view.
‘The Salt Of The Earth’ is also the only American film that was openly suppressed by the studios and Hollywood unions, and as a result only 12 out of 28,000 American movie theaters agreed to run it, that too for just a day or two. Peña shared how the movie got a second life when it was rediscovered in the 60s and inspired a cult following of leftists, feminists, Latinos, historians and film buffs. The film was being screened in film schools, union halls and women's centers. Peña shared his experience of watching this film as a student at the Harvard University and how Jarrico marveled at the reaction that the film garnered. Peña said, “Post the screening there was a 10 minutes long standing ovation and applaud by the audience. Seeing that an overwhelmed Jarrico had quipped, “Where were you guys when we needed you.””
At the session, Prof. Peña also shared his experience of dealing with the U.S. Immigration center, which refused a visa to the much acclaimed filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami, for being an Iranian citizen. Pena as the director of the New York Film Festival personally invited Kiarostami to attend the session and was disheartened to experience how politics is emerging as a ruling factor even in the creative sphere of things. While talking about the same, Prof. Peña shared his thoughts on how politics as a dominating factor is creating personal bias in the mind of the masses by overlooking the creative genius of a person, which transcends his caste, race or religion.
Masterclass with Richard Pena on March 16, 2016 at auditorium from 02:00pm to 05:30pm.
Richard Pena is an acclaimed Film Studies Professor from Columbia University & the Director for the New York Film Festival.
Session on the basics of motion graphics by senior faculty of WWI School of Animation, Mr. Kshtiz Sharma on March 03, 2016 from 9.30am to 4.30pm
Session on the basics of motion graphics by senior faculty,of WWI School of Animation, Mr. Kshtiz Sharma on March 03, 2016 from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
“Fight for your first film,” said Pan Nalin, the director of Angry Indian Goddesses during a masterclass at Whistling Woods International.
The students of Whistling Woods International (WWI) were thrilled to have the team of ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ for a masterclass held this week. The movie was screened for almost 350 students post which the team comprising of the director Pan Nalin, producer Gaurav Dhingra, editor Shreyas Beltangdy, co-writer Subhadra Mahajan and actor Rajshri Deshpande shared their experiences with the students.
Subhadra spoke about the research she did for the film. One part of the research being the facts from the internet and the other part being one-on-one discussion with several women. It was stories of such women from different strata, with dreams and aspirations that moved them to make this film. To add on, Pan Nalin said, “I didn’t know this would turn out to be the first female buddy film. I just wanted to tell stories that moved me.”
The students were surprised to know that the actors stepped into the characters’ skin and acted spontaneously without a pre-written script. The actors were trained to forget about the camera, which resulted in more natural expressions when the camera was rolled. Nalin believes that actors tend to impose their personal views at times instead of letting the characters to breathe. Hence, asking the actors to live in the characters’ skin would help in impactful portrayal of their respective roles.
It was an extremely proud moment for all the faculty and staff of WWI to hear from Rajshri, who is an alumna of WWI. She shared inspiring experiences and spoke about her journey, beginning right after she graduated from WWI. She motivated the students by quoting, “Prove your talent. Don’t lose hope.” Shreyas enlightened the students on the nuances of editing which included inter cut scenes, pacing and more.
When Gaurav was questioned about shooting under the circumstance of having no locked script, he agreed to the fact that it was a risk but the confidence to keep going came from Nalin. Being the first film distributed on global platform, he also shared his insights on the marketing plans and strategies undertaken for the movie’s distribution.
The entire session left the students amazed and inspired. They thanked the team for sharing their valuable insights.
Masterclass with a Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities conducted by Paul Spence on February 23, 2016 from 2:30PM to 4:00PM.
“There is nothing more precious than education, now that you are here, give it your best shot!” said Manav Dhanda, Group CEO of Sri Adhikari Brothers in the masterclass at Whistling Woods International
Whistling Woods International (WWI) witnessed industry expert, Manav Dhanda, Group CEO, Sri Adhikari Brothers Group enlightening the students on how media in India has evolved in terms of format and content. Mr. Manav along with Mr. Rahul Puri, Head of Academics, WWI discussed the importance of media platform and how it is expanding globally.
He shared his insights on India being one of the few countries to have Satellite TV even before the advent of Radio. His exceptional knowledge and experience about the industry made the masterclass highly interactive, fun to listen to and educational as well.
Adding to the session was the Q&A with the students, where Mr. Manav shared his personal experiences & valuable insights. The students were extremely delighted and thankful to him for sharing his thoughts and his journey in this industry.
“With media booming across the world, India is being recognized as a significant player in the global media industry. Knowing your consumers is one of the most vital aspect to be able to deliver relevant content”, he said.
Encouraging the students to let loose the creativity in them, he added, “Analytics is the key to survive and make a mark as a media house in this competitive industry. Try to identify & analyse your core strength to be able to deliver professionally & in the best way possible.”
The masterclass came to an end with the showcase of an AV highlighting various brands’ commercials. It was followed by an interesting exchange of thoughts between Mr. Manav and the students, discussing various ad campaigns and marketing strategies of several brands.
By the close of the session, the students had a lot to take back with them in terms of the knowledge of media industry. It was the inspiring message that motivated all the students – Know the numbers and spend time on researching the facts to be able to become a good decision-maker in media business.
Rahul Puri, Head of Academics, WWI thanked Manav Dhanda for gracing the event and spending his valuable time with the students. The event ended with him felicitating Manav Dhanda with a token of appreciation amidst thunderous applause.
“What I expect from my assistant is - an INDIVIDUAL” said Kanu Behl, director of ‘Titli’ while interacting with the students of Whistling Woods International
Mumbai, 16th February 2016: It was a proud moment for Whistling Woods International (WWI) to welcome its alumni Shashank Arora, lead actor of the film ‘Titli’ to share his experience about his journey from graduating in 2008 to being applauded for his performance as an actor today. Shashank was accompanied by the director Kanu Behl, cinematographer Siddharth Diwan, editor Namrata Rao & actor Shivani Raghuvanshi. The film ‘Titli’ was screened before the interaction which received a very positive response by almost 300 WWI students.
Speaking about the conceptualisation of this film that managed to touch the core memories of the audience, Kanu expressed that personal experiences play a vital role in a filmmaker’s life. When asked by a student whether it was a risk to make such a dark, edgy and riveting film in an era of high grossing Bollywood movies, Kanu firmly said, “I really didn’t think much about who would watch this film. I just wanted to make a film.” This zest and unwavering desire was also the reason that inspired Siddharth to be a part of this film. Speaking from the editor’s point of view, Namrata wasn’t convinced with the director’s point of view. She always places herself in the audience’s shoes while editing a film, she mentioned during her interaction with the students.
Shivani who debuted as an actor with this film gives credit to the director and the team by saying that it is the environment that was created which helped her get into the character. She added, “Titli has been a learning process not only as an actor but also as an individual. I realised everyone has two sides. No one is absolutely white or black, neither was I.”
Shashank who spent years giving many auditions hoping to get his big break ensured students that one shouldn’t give up but be positive and keep trying. Kanu & Namrata who graduated from a film school as well, had their share of struggle to make it big in the industry. They stated that opportunities don’t always knock at your door, sometimes it takes a while, but it will happens!
The interaction came to an end with a lively Q&A session with the students. They seemed content and extremely grateful to the entire team of ‘Titli’ for sharing their personal experiences & valuable insights.
Masterclass with Brian Tellis to be conducted on February 10, 2016 from 10:30 am to 12:00pm in Auditorium
Brian Tellis is an excellent speaker, a veteran of radio, events and theatre.
"IT IS IMPORTANT THAT EACH CREW MEMBER WORKS IN-SYNC TOWARDS THE COMMON GOAL, AS EVERYONE IS A FILMMAKER AT THE END OF THE DAY”, SAID RAJA MENON, DIRECTOR OF AIRLIFT IN THE MASTERCLASS AT WHISTLING WOODS INTERNATIONAL
As their critically acclaimed film crosses the 100 Cr mark, team of Airlift shares their war stories with 400 WWI Students
Mumbai, February 11, 2016: This week, Whistling Woods International (WWI) conducted the film forum for recently released, highly-acclaimed film, Airlift. The plot is based on the largest human evacuation by air in the world history by India during the 1990’s Iraq-Kuwait war. Post the screening, WWI hosted the team of Airlift including Raja Menon, Director; Priya Seth, Cinematographer; Hemanti Sarkar, Editor; Mustafa Stationwala, Production Designer; Udai Singh Pawar, Associate Director and Sajid Sanwari, Chief Assistant Cinematographer & 2nd Unit Director of Photography, who is also a WWI alumnus. The team shared their experiences of working on this project with over 400 students of WWI.
Explaining how Airlift turned into a beautiful piece of cinema, Raja Menonshared his views on how ‘following a process’, importance of pre-production charting and planning, and having regular and intensive discussions with the crew members, help in being aligned to the common vision and the only objective of taking a story from script to screen with all honesty.
“It is imperative for each crew member to understand the roles of all the departments involved to be able to work in-sync and ensure a smooth flow of operation, while working in a limited timeframe and budget. After all everyone is a filmmaker at the end of the day”, he said. This session gave the students a clarity on the roles of each department involved in portraying a film with an honest intention and working towards a common objective of telling the story in its truest form.
The team also shared interesting snippets on various aspects involved in the filmmaking process, their journey – from recce to the final story being unfolded on the big screen. A very interesting aspect mentioned by Raja Menon, was a word of inspiration for the students, which will help them in understanding the level of dedication, involvement and hard work required to make a film. He said, “From script to screen, the makers need to live with the idea, to be able to visualize the story holistically.”
The students got best of all present on the stage as the team struck a chord with them. The student interaction session with the Airlift teamwashighly energetic. Their exceptional knowledge about filmmaking made the masterclass highly interactive, fun to listen to and educational as well.
By the close of the session, the students had a lot to take back with them in terms of the technical knowledge of filmmaking but it was the inspiring message that motivated all the students – the idea of filmmaking is to find the truth within the story you wish to narrate to your audience.
Film forum on the movie 'Talvar' conducted on February 2nd 2016. Screening of the movie followed by interaction with the director - Meghna Gulzar and co-producer - Priti Shahani held in auditorium.
Vishal Bhardwaj & Meghna Gulzar gifted a copy of TALVAR’S final script to Whistling Woods International's library
Mumbai, February 02, 2016: The movie ‘Talvar’ had left its audience to question their percepts about crime and judgements passed! Though every audience of this cleanly crafted film would have loved to interact with the director and the producer on the nuances of making of this film, the students of Whistling Woods International (WWI) turned out to be the privileged ones of the lot. This week, the movie which is based on real life incident was screened for around 350 WWI students, post which the director, Meghna Gulzar & Priti Shahani, the co-producer of the film were invited for the film forum.
Meghna expressed that initially while she followed the real life incident case, she never intended to make a film on it. The trigger was the casual chat with Vishal Bhardwaj, the writer of the film who came up with this idea. She later realized that it is a compelling story and it really needed to be told. She shared her experiences with the students, right from the inception of the film. ‘How can a single case and investigation have so many conclusions?’ she wondered, which led her to do a research for almost 2 years before starting the film.
“I feel re-born as a filmmaker with this film because it made me relearn what I thought I already knew about filmmaking”, said Meghna Gulzar on making the first-of-its-kind, a film that portrayed a real life incident without making any improvisations to the content.
Priti shared her insights from the business perspective, the possibilities of legal actions that a producer might have to face and the precautions they have to take. “A producer should ensure that a cinema should be produced within a buyable budget, as in the case of Talvar, and it will find its right audience”, she said.
She further stated, “We were making an honest film and I trusted the team.” While they spoke about the team, the students were inspired to know about the efforts the actors put in to study and portray their roles, relating themselves to the real life characters, their body language and mannerisms.
Appreciating the film forum platform, Priti Shahani said, “It has been the finest interaction ever. It’s heartening when the subject finds its resilience with the students. The questions were different and unique from any questions ever asked. And I believe it has to do with the institution they are coming from and their understanding of the process of filmmaking, including the responsibilities of taking a film to the audience.”
The students were quite inspired and satisfied with the clarity on the making of such an unflinching film. They were motivated to be brave enough to showcase many such real life stories in the near future. They thanked Meghna & Priti for spending their valuable time
It was pleasure to have Fashion Designer Gaviin Miguel at our campus.
In the masterclass Gaviin not only enlightened the students about difference in pret , bespoke & couture wear but also guided them on technical aspect of each, in terms of the designing and demands of the industry . He spoke about his journey in the fashion industry and all the hardships that he had to face to be a successful designer. According to him it is very important for each designer to have a mark of their own, which will not only make them stand out amongst others but also secure their position in the industry.
Gaviin said, "To be a good designer it’s important to be a good human being cause what you are reflects from the clothes that you make. Each design that you make should carry your heart and soul."
In his interaction with the students he spoke about his resent venture, Disney’s recreation of the magical Broadway, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that was showcased in Mumbai & Delhi. Gaviin was the Costume Designer for the theatre version of the musical. He shared his experience working for a Broadway theme and what it takes for a designer to be versatile but still holding on to that one thing that makes you different from others, your forte.
Overall, it was a very educative, enriching experience for the students to interact with Gaviin Miguel.
The masterclass conducted by Ms. Babita Malkhani was on Indian Fusion Wear and Styling. In the masterclass she explained the story behind her recent collection called ‘Talim’ and the execution of the collection. Talim refers to a written code for weaving oriental rugs and carpets devised by early Kashmiri’s for the pattern of knotting handmade carpets. Babita Malkani’s travels to Kashmir inspired her to work with Windows of Paradise, which form an integral part of the Talim carpets prevalent in Kashmir. She explained the making of the collection to the students, which has an indo-western appeal, also lays emphasizes on constructed silhouettes, signature drapes along with a blend of chic crops, pencil skirts and stylized pants giving it styles to suit the modern sensibilities of today’s women.
She also spoke to the students, keeping in mind their upcoming collection for the graduation show, that the students should come up with design which are more practical, wearable, trendy and creative.
Later in the masterclass students had to illustrate 2 design each on the basis of practicality, wearability & trendy, out of which she selected 2 students’ design which she really felt was different and creative. Finally, they were shown the technique of a draped dress.
WWI Alumni back in the campus as Mentors – The Team of Gujjubhai The Great:
It was a moment of great pride for us as Meghna Ghai Puri welcomed its alumni, Ishaan Randeria, the director of the highest grossing film in the Gujarati film industry, ‘Gujjubhai the Great’. Ishaan was accompanied by the film’s lead actor, Siddharth Randeria also well known as the comedy king of Gujarat, cinematographer Himanshu Dubey, editor Tushar Parekh, WWI faculty & VFX supervisor Zenish Mehta, associate director Ankit Arya & the sound designers Suraj Bardia, Yatrik Dave, Vaibhav Ambole, who are also WWI alumni.
Almost 350 WWI students were agog & excited to hear from the alumni who were once seated in the same auditorium as WWI students and have now marked their names successfully in the industry. Ishaan who graduated in the year 2010 spoke about his journey post graduation, from assisting the directors to directing Ad films to moving on to his first independent film. He expressed his gratitude towards WWI for all the knowledge. He stated that the experience he gained during diploma film shoots helped him to a great extend as he stepped out into the industry.
Veteran actor, Siddharth Randeria, who performs almost 300 stage plays in a year & has won multiple awards as a writer, actor & director for Gujarati comedy plays shared the experiences of his 35 years of career in theatre. He explained the differences between a stage play & a film and also spoke about his fears & risks involved during the making of a film. He also shared that he was his initially sceptical when my son, Ishaan said he has decided to choose film as his career. He said, “He had the option to study in India or abroad. But when he brought me to WWI, after seeing the campus and facilities and the faculty here, I was convinced that studying here will prepare my son for making a career in the film industry.”
When asked about he being directed by his son, he said that he had full confidence in him & further added, “I believed my son was launching me & that made things easier.”
The session uplifted the spirit of the students. Each one was motivated to dream big & see themselves coming back to their alma mater to address the future batches.
WWI Masterclass with Nishikant Kamat & Shriya Saran:
“Every film has a heartbeat and a rhythm. You just have to get it” says Nishikant Kamat as he addressed our students at the WWI Masterclass.
This week, our students were extremely delighted to have Nishikant Kamat and Shriya Saran for the WWI Masterclass. The twisty thriller movie ‘Drishyam’ was screened at the WWI Auditorium prior to the Interactive session with the director and the actor. Post the screening, both Nishikant Kamat & Shriya Saran interacted with the students by sharing their experiences.
The students were all ears as Nishikant spoke about his journey from starting fresh as a fifth assistant director in his early twenties, later moving on to being an editor, then a director for Television content and then becoming a writer few years later and an accomplished director today. “I have always followed my instincts and loved my cinema,” quoted Nishikant. He also enlightened the students on various aspects that affect the outcome of the film which included the target audience, casting the right face, the location, the appearances and more.
Shriya who asserts that she has been fortunate to be a part of various language films expressed her gratitude towards her work and directors who have contributed to her learning to be a better actor. She advised the students to analyse their strengths and to strive to overcome their weaknesses and said, “Don’t be relaxed. Be confident about yourself and believe in your uniqueness. You will get good work. Never stop believing in yourself.”
While addressing the aspiring actors, Nishikant also added, “Just feel. Don’t try hard to express. The camera is a powerful tool that will capture it all.”
The masterclass session was extremely rewarding for the students. They were pleased to have all their queries answered.
Today, viewers have an increasing appetite for media in all forms including television. There is a soaring demand for great formats and original content. Envisaging the same, this week, Whistling Woods International (WWI) invited Arpit Agarwal to share insights that could be beneficial to groom the students to deliver and shine in the media industry. Almost 500 students of WWI were addressed by Arpit Agarwal, former Business Head at Sahara One and Head of Operations at Fremantle Media India, and Balaji Telefilms.
Agarwal who comes with 19 years of experience in creating, producing and managing both mass and television content in India as well as in Singapore advised the students to be aware of all kinds of media. He stated one needs to have an opinion and in order to have an opinion, one needs to be informed. He also enlightened the students on various aspects of distribution, syndication, programming, content creation, managing resources and more. He emphasised on the importance of discipline and said, “You may have a great idea but if you don’t know how to execute it as planned and within the allotted budgets, it makes no sense.”
‘Consuming a lot of media is definitely going to be fruitful’ was his word of advice to the students before ending the session.
A recent survey stated that audience today is more appeased by the story rather than just the spectacle of a film. We have also witnessed excellent films emerging out of Maharashtra, one such regional movie being ‘Baji’. On Tuesday, this week, almost 550 students of Whistling Woods International (WWI) got the opportunity to interact with the superheroes of Marathi action superhero film,‘Baji’. The film was screened in the evening which received an overwhelming response by the students, post which the cast and crew had their own bit of experiences and moments to share with the students. The masterclass was moderated by Arjun Mogre, an alumni of WWI, who is also known for his short film ‘Pradosh’.
“Everyone has a superhero within themselves, you just need to put on the mask for people to take you seriously”, advised superhero Shreyas Talpade. He also spoke about the hardships, perseverance and determination during his days as a struggling actor and encouraged the students to work hard and never give up by stating, “Jo cheez upar jati hai, who neeche ati hai; Aur jo cheez neechi ati hai, woh jaroor upar jati hai.” Actor-turned-producer, Shreyas also expressed his views on the importance of social media and publicity in today’s world.
“The comic books I read as a child inspired me to do an action adventure superhero film”, said Nikhil Mahajan, the director of the film. He also enlightened the students on various creative ideas that one can choose when enforced to work in constricted budgets for a film.
Suhrud Godbole, the producer of ‘Baji’ and also an alumni of WWI expressed his gratitude for the teachings and knowledge he acquired as a student. Based on his editing experiences and speaking about the editor’s contribution to the success of a film, he said that an editor needs to get deep into the content more than any other technician and know every single frame and hence quoted, “If you can be a good editor, you can be an excellent director.”
Bollywood’s extremely renowned production mix & sound designer, Baylon Fonseca quoted, “As a technician, one shouldn’t differentiate between big and small films. It’s the efforts and hard work that one should put in to get the ‘Oh wow!’ moments.” The Director of photography, VasudeoRane shared insights on how he worked to change the color palettes as per the mood, as the film progressed. The students seemed contented and were extremely grateful to the entire team of ‘Baji’ for sharing such valuable insights.
Guest Session with Mr. Neil Sadwelkar on Digital Strategies and Workflow, DCP Workflow and BluRay with sophomores, juniors and seniors editing, senior cinematography, juniors direction, producing and sound students.
Michael Radford is the Director of the film 'IL-Postino-The Postman'. This film is a romantic drama. In the masterclass session he shares his journey into making of the film.The session definitely helped the students gain a perspective into making of this genre of movies straight from the director himself.The students were extremely satisfied with the knowledge imparted by Michael Radford and are looking forward to many more sessions like this at Whistling Woods.
"We make movies to interact, to tell stories and most importantly to connect with the audience", said renowned filmmaker, Sebastian Cordero at Whistling Woods International.
One key aspect that separates Whistling Woods International (WWI) from rest of the institutes is its various initiatives taken to enhance the knowledge and make the students industry oriented. Apart from the faculty of renowned industry experts, WWI also provides the students an opportunity to interact with internationally established professionals. About 550 students of WWI were addressed by the critically acclaimed filmmaker, Sebastian Cordero.
Cordero who is an Ecuadorian film director, writer & an editor generously took a few hours from his busy schedule to visit WWI and share his experiences with the students.
'Cronica', an Ecuadorian thriller film, written and directed by Cordero was screened for the students, post which Anjum Rajabali, an eminent Indian screenwriter and also the HOD - Screenwriting, WWI introduced Cordero on stage. The renowned Ecuadorian film director was extremely enthusiastic & eager to share his experiences about his journey right from conceptualizing to completing the film.
"No matter what your actions are, you are still a human", quoted Cordero when asked how he managed to sensitize a thriller film that revolved around dark demonic side of human nature. In addition, he spoke about some of his work that moved around human nature, morals & ethics. He mentioned it is the characters he meets in real life that inspire him to write stories and make films.
While enlightening the students on story writing and speaking about the uniqueness that reflects from his works, Cordero said that everyone has a story with a local flavor, the art is to write it in a way that is universal and can connect with every human. Cordero also imparted knowledge to the students on ways to work around other aspects of the character if they have restrictions on portraying violence or other intense feelings.
He spoke at length explaining the challenges he faced during the making of his film. The students were extremely pleased to have their doubts cleared and grateful for the knowledge imparted. Cordero expressed his willingness to visit WWI again during his next visit to India.
It is a privilege to get to learn from the industry experts! Their experiences itself are storehouse of knowledge. Our students get to experience such privilege on a regular basis through masterclasses, workshops and interactive sessions.
Mr. Ali Hussein, a Digital Media entrepreneur, conducted a Masterclass with the students of the School of Media and Communication, and helped them understand the evolution of Digital Medium over the years. Intense discussion on networks, devices and format of content on the digital space gave our students an idea to gauge the rapid expansion that has happened over a very short span of time.
The session also focused on ways to build scalable business model on the digital space. Talking about this, Mr. Hussein suggested one to consider consumers demands that would come up in 3 – 5 years from now. He shared that to make a business model succeed in the online space one needs to closely monitor their consumers' preference and buying behaviour. However, the quality of the product remains the key to win consumers.
While discussing about the two verticals in the digital space: e-commerce & entertainment, Mr. Hussein pointed that look and feel of the site/platform, easy search functionality, and option to transact adds to the user experience and often are the factors that make or break a brand’s image in the digital space.
With the evolution in the content format and brands’ objective to give consumers an enhanced user experience, ‘Apps’ have redefined the content consumption and browsing pattern in the digital space. Apps allow brands to give customised user experience and in return gain artificial experience that helps to keep a track and gauge the users’ preference.
While talking about professional opportunities in the digital medium, Mr. Hussein said that the digital medium operates in 4 verticals: Creative, Market, Sales & Business Development. To venture into any of the verticals, one needs to first identify their area of interest and to continuously learn and evolve to sustain in this dynamic media space.
It is great for an institute to be able to witness a student’s journey from being a student to a professional and then returning to their Alma Mater as Masters, to share their experience with the existing students, completing a full circle.
We had the team of the short film, 'Time Machine', made by our alumni Arati Kadav, Zain Matcheswalla and Zenish Mehta. It was great to hear our students, now alumni, share their experience of networking and collaborating with their batchmates and peers to create meaningful and innovative content. Time Machine is conceptualized and directed by Arati Kadav. Her inclination towards sci-fi movies made her come up with the idea of making this short, simple and interesting film.
Zain Matcheswalla, the writer of the movie, discussed how important it is to be in sync with the director’s vision to be able to deliver optimally, and how necessary it is to be aware of every minute requirement and addressing every aspect of filmmaking from the time of conceptualization.
The team also shared about their venture – Short Film Window, which is a platform that hosts short films from across the world. The venture was started by Arati Kadav with an objective to present short films as feature films.
Talking about making a visual impact, Arati opined that it is important to create a rich texture onscreen. She suggested the enthusiastic and eager WWI students to understand the colour concept and have the vision to create interesting layers to achieve great visual appeal.
As a friendly advice, she told WWI students that as a student of filmmaking, it is important to try to find one’s voice and never ever thinking of giving up on the dream and aspiration of making films.
A group of 4 students: Abhimanyu Kanodia, Aly Rana, Harshil Bhanushali & Yang Zimik, made four Documentary Films, as part of the “Looking China 2015” Project, even before they have completed their graduation! Through their films, they captured the beautiful essence of life and brought forth the intricate detail that makes everyday special in its own way.
With such budding experts at the threshold of student life moving ahead as professionals, we could not let go off an opportunity to know the experience of these emerging filmmakers. A special Masterclass in every sense – A Masterclass by the Students for the Students!
It was endearing to hear them share their views on planning projects & how should one prepare to shoot a film in a foreign land. Their clarity on what needs to be achieved through a film – a sense of purpose, and their understanding of the nuances, like identifying relevant imagery to represent an idea did say a lot about how promising filmmakers they would evolve to be!
While sharing his experience, Aly Rana, touched upon the point of how important it is to understand the subject and people who need to be interviewed to make a Documentary Film. Yang Zimik shared his experience on handling heavy and complex equipment, and thus pointed that one should be aware of the equipment beforehand to be able to use it effectively. Abhimanyu Kanodia, shared snippets on the importance of proper planning and research to be able to smoothly operate in an unknown land and get the maximum output in a limited time span.
Going beyond the technicalities of shooting a film, the stories of experiencing life a little differently did encourage our existing students to passionately master the craft. This session also gave our students an understanding that there is no dearth of exposure that we give to our students and we take it on to us to identify our students’ potential and ensure that they get a platform to showcase their talent.
SMC Masterclass with Mr. Mahesh Shah - General Manager, Public Relations (HDFC Ltd) for BBA & MBA students.
Whistling Woods International (WWI) has always set the platform for the next-gen filmmakers to interact with industry professionals through the medium of Film Forum. This week, post the screening of highly acclaimed film of 2015, 'Dum Laga Ke Haisha', new age director Sharat Katariya, and cinematographer Manu Anand shared their experience with over 400 students of WWI. In an engaging interaction, they shared the nuances and educated the students about making a subtle yet beautiful movie.
Explaining the true origins of Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Sharat Kataritya said, “I wanted to make a film that nobody should see. Not restricting within the set barriers of what an entertaining film is known for, I wanted to make an honest film.”
“The film’s idea originated from a simple calendar that I saw at my friend’s place. And after every possible rejection, the film finally released as a subtle yet beautiful story of a couple”, he further added.
Manu Anand shared his experiences from the sets of Dum Laga Ke Haisha, from narrowing on Haridwar as the final location, the colour palette of the film to the difficulties faced while shooting the film. He also encouraged students to breakthrough the shell of classical shot divisions and explore innovative ways to visually express the script.
He also shared interesting snippets on lighting, while explaining the importance of Production Designer and the Costume Designer being in sync with each other’s work that lends to the overall look and feel of the film.
The students received the best of both the Director and Cinematographer as they struck a chord with them. The interaction between them and the students was contagious and their exceptional knowledge about filmmaking made the masterclass highly interactive, fun to listen to and educational as well.
By the close of the session, the students had a lot to take back with them in terms of the technical knowledge of filmmaking, but it was the beautiful message of the film that motivated all the students – Love yourself for the way you are and accept others for who they are.
Meghna Ghai Puri, President, Whistling Woods International said, “WWI takes pride in hosting the Film Forum for our students, which has grown exponentially over the years. We ensure the screening of best of films from various genres, and industry expert interactions for our students. This not only helps our students to take away a lot of knowledge but also stay updated with changing industry norms and trends.”
The first SMC Masterclass of the session, conducted by Ms. Suzana Ghai, Producer, Panorama Entertainment, helped WWI students from the School of Media & Communication gather insightful snippets on the content structure for television and details of the processes involved in running a television show.
Stressing on the need to be in love with your craft , Ms. Ghai surely had some wonderful advice for the WWI students.
As part of Whistling Woods International (WWI) Film Forum, the stellar team of the crime thriller, 'Badlapur', interacted with over 300 new students of the International Film & Media Institute. Director Sriram Raghavan was accompanied by Pooja Surti (Co-writer and Editor), WWI Alumni Aarambh Singh (Assistant Director), Priyanka Kashikar (3rd Assistant Director), Prashant Ramachandran (assistant Editor) and Roma Kandpal (Production Co-ordinator).
President, Meghna Ghai Puri tweeted, “It was indeed a proud moment to see our own Alumni becoming an integral part of quality films like Badlapur.”
Sriram Raghavan's openness and honesty in discussing his failure was profoundly motivational for the students. His honest, vulnerable energy, combined with clarity and fun made the event a powerful tool in understanding the filmmaking process for the students. He said, “Clarity of vision is more important than the camera you shoot it on, how many people are on your crew or how much money you have. If you have that good idea and the drive and vision to see it through, you can shoot a decent film despite of hindrance.”
With all the current Indian directors having a certain way of making films, for Sriram Raghavan uncertainty is the place to be.
Aarambh Singh, the Assistant Director of the film and also a WWI alumnus said, “As a creative person, this was the best film to happen to me, because our director would involve us and value our opinion. A piece of art can't be planned, it just happens. My mind as a filmmaker evolved and it certainly was an enriching experience.”
While sharing his experience with the current batch of students, Aarambh further added, “I feel extremely proud to come back to Whistling Woods International, which laid the foundation for my industry experience, and share it with my juniors.”
The Alumni emphasised on the value of networking being part of an institution like WWI. They felt with over 1500 WWI students working in the Industry they have a strong network of like-minded professionals and encouraged the current students to build on this and take advantage of a professional platform like Whistling Woods International.
Pradeep Sarkar, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Anilkumar Konakandla, Brinda Mitra, Gopi Puthran, Anirban Dutta, Madhu Sarkar Kuriakose, talk about the research done for the subject of the movie, costumes, location & much more.
SMC Masterclass with Dr. Gerard Tellis; Author, Innovator, Professor of Management, USC, USA was quite a roaring success. Mr. Tellis shared his expertise about the industry with our students, providing examples from his own experience of many years. The session was educative, insightful, and engaging, and our students loved it.
We thank Dr. Gerard Tellis for taking the time to be with us and address our students.
Guest Interaction with Pubali Chaudhuri – Screenwriter for Kai Po Che, Rock On conducted on June 4, 2015, for Screenwriting students Whistling Woods International Campus.
Guest Interaction with Abhijeet Deshpande – Screenwriter, Shaitan, with Screenwriting students.
With a vision to encourage talent, we decided to offer aspiring Screenwriters a chance to interact and learn from the people who have redefined the Indian Screenwriting Industry. Here’s a glimpse of the enlightening and educational Screenwriting Workshop that received a great turnout!
Fashion Dialogue Series brings to you Mr. Parikshit Wadhwani – Founder, PW PR, who addressed students on Personal Branding and PR on 28 April, 2015.
‘Fashion Dialogue Series’ comes yet again with a Masterclass by Mr. Wendell Rodricks - Fashion Designer and Ms. Anjana Sharma - COO & Fashion Director, stylista.com, on April 17, 2015 for the students of Whistling Woods Neeta Lulla School of Fashion.
‘Fashion Dialogue Series’ comes yet again with a Masterclass by Ms. Rhea Nasta - Head Designer, Rhea's Studio - Popley's, on ‘Jewellery Design’ for students of Whistling Woods School of Fashion & Design.
Guest Session was held with Ms. Greeshma Thampi – Consultant, AE Global Outsourcing Solutions LLP for MBA Seniors.
SMC Masterclass was conducted with Mr. Tanmay Bhat - Founder, AIB to talk about Stand-up Comedy in India for MBA & BBA students.
Guest Session with Ms. Priya Kapoor – Director, Roli Books for MBA Sophomores & Juniors.
Masterclass ‘Fashion Dialogue Series’ by Ms. Sarita Karandikar, Lead stylist - Amazon.in on Styling and E-commerce.
Masterclass with Mr. Sanjay Leela Bhansali on screening of Ram Leela.
Screening and Guest Interaction was held with the team of Mary Kom.
Cinematography Sophomore & Junior have a class with Trevor Griffiths.
The session was scheduled with Media and communications students and alumni to pitch their stories to Times Group representatives.
The Screening & Guest Interaction on Anchoring /Teleprompter was held with students and Alumni
Screening & Guest Interaction with Music Director, Rajat Dholakia & Yogesh Dholakia was scheduled with Junior- Direction, Editing & Sound students.
Screening & Guest Interaction was held with Vinod Menon, City Editor of Midday for BBA & MBA students
Screening & Guest Interaction with Meenal Agarwal, Production Designer was scheduled with junior direction students.
Screening & Guest Interaction with Clerke & Joy on an introduction to devised theatre and contemporary performance on behalf of Falmouth University for filmaking students.
The Dolby Screening & Guest Interaction with Glenn Kiser (Director, Dolby Institute) and Steven Cahil (Sound Designer, Supervising Sound Editor) was conducted for filmaking students.
Students of Whistling Woods International organized NGO Seminar to raise awareness on "Children In Need"
Further to various initiatives by government to raise awareness about Child Welfare, Whistling Woods International School of Media and Communication hosted a "NGO Seminar" which highlighted various topics under the principal theme, "Children In Need". This student-led initiative to organize a congregation of torchbearers intends to provoke thoughts and gauge feasible outcomes pertaining to the present scenario of children using the new media. The seminar was held at WWI’s campus between 11 am and 5.30 pm today.
This unique initiative to synergize with NGOs which work towards empowering lesser privileged children was inaugurated by Subhash Ghai, Chairman, WWI, along with renowned filmmaker and activist, Amole Gupte, by lighting the lamp and sharing the keynote address.
Amole Gupte said, "It is important to ensure that children are given a secure childhood in terms of education, nutrition, and holistic welfare. We as a society need to be more vigilant and sensitive towards the issues faced by children, as they are the country’s future. I am happy to see such forums being held at an international institute like WWI, and hope to see such efforts across various platforms."
The seminar comprised of 3 separate panel discussions, supported by the experts hailing from various backgrounds including the social sector, medicine, journalism, education and legal fraternity. The topics for panel discussion were "Child Education", "Child Welfare & Nutrition" and "Child Abuse".
The "Child Abuse" panel discussed issues like child trauma, child psychology and child trafficking. Panelists from various NGOs like SNEHA, Salaam Baalak Trust and Arpan, spoke about changing attitudes and provisions for children in need of support. The panel discussion on "Child Welfare & Nutrition" shed light on the provision of food, medicine and hygiene as well as shelter for every child. Panelists including Pratima Jamwal from Salaam Baalak Trust, and Vrushali Naik from Mobile Creches shared their insights and experiences of working on these issues.
The discussion on "Child Education" focused on topics like the importance of education in a child's life, the right to education for all children and how education is to be provided, even for the most under-privileged children. The panelists who spoke on this topic included Kreeanne Rabadi from CRY, Urmila Prabhu from Parisar Asha, Nitesh Davande from Sevadham-Pune, Benita Fernando from SNEHA, Ravi Nair from BASF, and Poorvi Shah from Akanksha.
Speaking about the initiative, Subhash Ghai said, "WWI has always participated actively to bring a change in the society by discussing solutions to issues that plague our country. The discussions at the seminar have provided a true reflection of the current scenario as well as explored options for better efforts in future. Students have been greatly inspired and look forward to associate with these organizations."
Whistling Woods International hosts the team of Ankhon Dekhi for a Master Class with students:
Rajat Kapoor along with the team shared their experience of making an off-beat critically acclaimed movie
As a part of the regular interface with the industry, one of Asia’s largest creative schools Whistling Woods International, hosted the team of critically acclaimed movie Ankhon Dekhi at its campus. The team of the movie including the award-winning director Rajat Kapoor, Rafey Mahmood (Cinematographer), Sagar Desai (Music Director), and Meenal Agarwal (Production Designer). They shared their experiences while filming the movie.
Meghna Ghai Puri, President, WWI said, "We always encourage alternate cinema and would like our students to explore various unconventional genres. We are glad to host the team of Ankhon Dekhi and share their expertise with our students."
Through the master class, the team envisaged key highlights of filmmaking to the students. The guest speakers discussed in detail about the journey of Ankhon Dekhi – from idea to the screen. They enlightened the students about technical, aesthetic and emotional aspects of narrating a story on celluloid. Not only was the script written in 15 days, but throughout the shoot, it was mostly 'spontaneous' act on the sets. Even with spontaneous acts on set and post production, the movie remained 95% similar to the script.
Speaking at the occasion, Rajat Kapoor added, "I am happy that I got the opportunity to interact with the students at WWI. It was a refreshing experience to know their perspective and answer their queries about the movie."
Students asked the team questions about the movie and the process that went behind making it. They also asked about their personal plans and opinions in connection to the industry.
"GUNS TO PAINTBRUSH" said Randeep Hooda at Whistling Woods' Master Class after RANG RASIYA screening
Speaking to the students of Whistling Woods International, Filmcity, at the Master Class, at campus, Randeep Hooda said, "I've mostly portrayed the role of an action hero with a gun. And it was really challenging for me to play the role of the legendry artist - Raja Ravi Varma. But I am happy that I did it." He also complimented his director Ketan Mehta and further added, "Ketan Mehta is one of the original Indian voices in the film industry and I am privileged to work with him."
Ketan Mehta, award-winning director, producer Deepa Sahi and actress Nandana Sen also participated in the Master Class. The cast and crew shared their experiences of filming the movie, based on the life of Raja Ravi Varma and highlighted various aspects of filmmaking. They also elucidated about how important it is to treat sensitive topics with great care.
Despite being completed in 2008, the movie's release got delayed owing to its controversial theme and bold content. When questioned about the bold scenes in his film, director Ketan Mehta replied, "There is no shame attached to the human body, it is the most beautiful creation. Shame lies in the mindset. And as a filmmaker, one has to ensure that nudity is contextual and presented aesthetically."
In true tradition of Whistling Woods' Master class with filmmakers and their team, students interacted with the team of Rang Rasiya during the question & answer session. Ravi Gupta, Dean, WWI welcomed the Rang Rasiya team, and applauded Ketan Mehta for such an unconventional and artistic movie. He said, "Ketan has always made unique Indian films like Mirch Masala, Mangal Pandey: The Rising and many more. I am glad that he shared his artistic skills with our students at Whistling Woods."
The session for Screenwriting and Acting was scheduled for Junior Direction for the movie "Sadgati" by Satyajit Ray.
Enriching session with 'A Wednesday' Director for students of Whistling Woods International
Whistling Woods International (WWI), as part of its continuous endeavour to enrich the learning experience of its students, hosted award-winning filmmaker Neeraj Pandey for a Master Class. Screenplay writer, director and producer Neeraj Pandey discussed at length the importance of attention to details, screenwriting and pre-production preparations when making a movie.
When questioned about casting for his debut movie Neeraj Pandey said, "I was adamant in what I wanted. You might face circumstances when you need to give up on your desires, but it’s imperative that you should not bow down to everything. Always stay true to yourself and rooted on your decisions."
Talking about his interaction with aspiring filmmaking students, the acclaimed director said, "It was a great experience interacting with the students of WWI. I thoroughly enjoy speaking to kids from the media background. Also I feel it is very imperative that personalities from the industry visit the campus often. An interactive session with them will help the students get a better perspective about the industry."
President of WWI, Meghna Ghai-Puri was grateful to Neeraj for finally making it to the campus & sharing his experience with the future professionals of the Indian Film & Media Industry.
Queen of entertainment and celebrity PR Parull Gossain, shares her expertise with students Gossain takes a Master Class at Whistling Woods International
Whistling Woods International, one of Asia's largest Film, Communication & Media Arts Institutes known for it's unconventional teaching methods, hosted Film publicist, Ms. Parull Gossain for a Master Class with the students of School of Media and Communication. Having started her career with the iconic MTV India in 1996, Parull has been managing entertainment and celebrity PR for about 15 years now. This session gave students an idea on the role PR plays in the Media and Entertainment industry.
While sharing interesting snippets as a PR professional, she mentioned that publicity is not about being good or bad, it's about entering the public's imagination. It's about creating a certain kind of image that defines the brand or the personality. In her opinion, it's the publicist's job to do a detailed research and study the brand and personality to bring out the best and feed the public's quest with interesting information. To add to this aspect, she mentioned that, "In today's world it's not just about being famous, one needs to develop a certain personality & positioning to appeal to the public."
She also shared some tips pertaining to 'Crisis Management' that, she has learnt from experts in the field. To effectively manage a disaster/crisis situation, it is essential for the PR professional to be able to relate and empathise with the public. While talking about film publicity, Parull mentioned that the dynamics of film publicity is diametrically opposite to the way corporate publicity works. While the former's success relies on an edgy and whacky communication, corporate brands need to portray a very subtle and serious image to appeal to its audience.
Meghna Ghai Puri, President, WWI said, "As an institute of international standard, we ensure that our curriculum combines theoretical, practical and industry interface for the students. Through the Master Classes students gain immensely from the practical exposure extended by industry stalwarts. We are extremely happy to have a professional of Parull's caliber come and experience our campus and we thank her for sharing her valuable time and insights.
The session ended with a student wanting to know "What is the most important attribute one should have to evolve as a successful PR professional?" to which Parull promptly answered, "A sense of commitment is prime and the most important attribute one should have to sustain in this fast-paced, information laced industry". The students left the Masterclass richer for the experience and with insight into what it takes to succeed in the world of PR.
Fright Fest 2014 begin happened at Whistling Woods
Oct 27th ‘The Shining’
Oct 28th ‘Alien’
Oct 29th ‘The Evil Dead’
Oct 30th ‘Scream’
Oct 31st ‘The Omen’
Paramangsu Mukherjee, freelancer and working on an adventure documentary series that will telecast on National Geographic Channel, came and held fort at a 4th Master class with our BBA & MBA students.
We celebrate "Cinematographer's Day", every year to dedicate a day to the ace cinematographer and our Founding HOD, Cinematography Department, Late Rajen Kothari.
We dedicate a day to everything that he held dear to heart and mark it as the "Cinematographer's Day".
Mr. Atul Dodiya, renowned painter, was also present and shared snippets on Cinema & Painting.
With the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival round the corner, Ms. Smiriti Kiran, the Creative Director, Programming, Production and Operations, shared some tips on building career in Filmaking.
It was a shining moment for team Yudh to be on stage Whistling Woods for the Master Class with Director Ribhudas Gupta, Cinematographer Tribhuvan Babu Sadineni, Producers Bonnie Jain and Miriam Joseph and actors Pavail Gulati and Aahana Kumra.
Screening & Guest Interaction with Ramaa Madhav.
Rohit Shetty conducts Master Class for Whistling Woods International students
Post the success of Singham Returns, Rohit Shetty came to Whistling Woods International to share his experience while filming the blockbuster with the students. He shared his expertise and knowledge at a master class conducted at WWI. Rohit Shetty said, "It is extremely encouraging for me to come to Whistling Woods International and interact with the youngsters. In fact, I come for myself; to meet new talent who are exposed to new techniques. I come to this institute to learn more than anything else"
It was a full house inside the auditorium as students flocked to interact with the iconic filmmaker. Rohit Shetty not only addressed their questions and doubts but also shared his experiences and tips with the students. Meghna Ghai Puri, President, WWI said, "Our vision is to build a cadre of creative technicians, skillful artistes and passionate businessmen with a deep understanding of both national and international demands of today and tomorrow. Through these Master Classes students not only gain the confidence before they enter but also learn a lot from the practical knowledge of established filmmakers."
Screening & Guest Interaction with Aindrila Mitra Rajawat, Editor, Times of India Group and the founder-editor of a number of Times of India supplements including iDiva and the Time n' Style magazine.
In Masterclass with Poshter Boyz, students got an idea of how a project operates from the pre-production stage to film distribution.
The first masterclass session for students of School of Media and Communication was organized to help students get an overall idea about the industry and how it has evolved over the years. Mr. Samar Khan was the guest for the session, who shared his journey from being a journalist, to film-maker, writer and now a digital media professional.
The session was an absolute hit among students as they got to learn a lot about how the industry operates, tagged with witty notes from the very versatile and talented, Mr. Samar Khan.
Master class session was conducted with Tom Schulman in remembrance of Robin Williams.
Screening & Guest Interaction with Rafey Mahmood, DOP.
The team of Filmistaan was with us to interact with our students to share some experiences and insights as gained while working on a real project. The team comprised of the Director of the film, Nitin Kakkar, Actors, Sharib Hashmi and Inaamulhaq and Director of Photography, Subhransu Das of Filmistaan, which won the National Award for the Best Feature Film in Hindi. The session was moderated by Ashmaki Acharya, Head of Department, Direction, Whistling Woods International.
The session started with Nitin Kakkar sharing a bit about his life and how he worked towards becoming a director. Experience of working on television for seven years, taking tution, being a part of stage acts in college, interest in choreography, a passion for photography inherited from his father and so on and so forth.
Getting into specifics about the making of Filmistaan, he started from how he narrated stories to the producers, adding to which he mentioned that “the power of narrating a story depends on how connected and involved you are with the story and how well you know the characters to the core.
He also shared his experience of working as an assistant director and shared an important lesson that he learnt on the sets as an assistant director. He said, that an assistant director is a person on the set who along with the ability to solve a problem or address a situation should have the observation skills and an ind-depth understanding of the scenario to be able to foresee a problem. It is imperative that the assistant director believes in the Director’s vision.
Moving on to the actors, Sharib Hashmi and Inaamulhaq, shared their experience of being a part of the media industry and playing different roles as assistant directors and writers, but their passion for acting outshone. A very interesting note Inaamulhaq shared was that an actor should always try to build a healthy rapport and have a sense of camaraderie with his co-actors, as that reflects on the screen and adds to the positive spirit of working together and brings out the best in each other.
The Director of photography, Subhransu Das, very appropriately pointed out that it is extremely important for a director to be able to communicate with the technical crew in a way that one could relate to at an emotional-human level. The technical aspect falls in place if the flavour or the essence of the story/shot is clearly conveyed to the technicians. To which Nitin added that technicalities and technology is a tool that supports film-making, but it is the art of story-telling that forms the base.
Overall, it was an amazing session which ended on the Director’s note suggesting all the students ‘Take a backpack and go travel India’, as travelling around and observing different places in its hues immensely helps one to evolve creatively.
Screening & Guest Interaction with Hemant Chaturvedi, DOP.
Screening & Guest Interaction with Neil Sadwelkar, DI & Technical Consultant.
While we eagerly await the release of Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, here's how the Director, Shashank Khaitan, shows his gratitude to his Alma Mater.
" Whistling Woods International gave me a complete film education, the opportunity to hone my craft amidst working professionals and the confidence to step out in the real world. The very first day on a film set, I felt assured and equipped."
Screening & Guest Interaction with Datta Dave, Founder, Tulsea Pictures
Guest Interaction with Saurabh Bhave, Screenwriter (of Films Taryanche Bait, Haapus, Surajya, Hello Nandan)
Screening and guest interaction with Guneet Monga, Producer of 'Lunchbox'
Screening & Guest Interaction on Music with Rajat Dholakia
Screening & Guest Interaction with team of Queen
Screening & Guest Interaction with the team Yellow
Screening and Guest Interaction with Raj Zutshi, Indian Film and Television actor.
Screening and Guest Interaction with Dante Harper, Independent Filmmaker
Screening and Guest Interaction with Kush
Anupam Kher engaged students in an interactive session while describing his over four-decade-old journey in the film industry.
The auditorium at Whistling Woods International was abuzz with enthusiasm and energy as India's leading actor Padma Shree Anupam Kher conducted an interesting session with the students and discussed his experience and journey in the film industry over the last 42 years. This was post the screening of his critically-acclaimed movie, 'Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara' co-starring Urmila Matondkar.
Being one of Asia's largest creative schools, Whistling Woods International conducts weekly forum discussions as a part of the industry interface they provide Film, Media and Fashion students. This session with Anupam Kher was a part of this activity.
"We have always believed in building a media school which is well-connected with the Industry. Through these Master Classes students not only gain the confidence before they enter but also learn a lot from the practical knowledge of veteran actors and filmmakers. Our students are fortunate to get a chance to interact with Anupam Kher, a Filmfare award-winning actor with experience of working in 483 movies till date" said Meghna Ghai Puri, President - Whistling Woods International.
Well-known for his versatility as an actor, Anupam Kher was at his comic best while interacting with the students. He blended humour with knowledge and engaged the students as he explained the nuances of acting, challenges the profession brings with it, and ways to make the most out of one's journey.
Speaking on the occasion of master class, Anupam Kher remarked, "I am a teacher myself and I love connecting with students. This master class at Whistling Woods gave me a chance to share my experiences and observations with young talent. It was refreshing and fun as I relived many crucial moments of my life today while talking to these kids."
The Film Forum screenings and Master Classes are one of the sustained initiatives that Whistling Woods has been taking since its inception. The film is showcased to the students a day prior, and on the day of the Master Class the film-maker discusses the 'script to screen' journey of the film.
Screening and Guest Interaction with Director Aanand L Rai, Raanjhana.
Guest interaction with Producer/Director Laila Khan was held on the same day post the film screening
Screening & Guest Interaction with Samhita - The Script.
Screening & Guest Interaction with Kumki
Screening & Guest Interaction with the team Lakshmi
Guest interaction with Gyan Correa
Nikitha Punja, a Fashion Consultant at IMG Reliance & Gautam Vazirani, a luxury marketing consultant & freelance writer for Blackbook - India’s Luxury Insider magazine and the Forbes luxury supplement, were invited to the institute to interact with our students & help them understand the importance of reaching out to the right audience and talk about Fashion in an appealing & interesting way.
Guest Interaction with the team of 'Cosmic Sex'
Guest Interaction with the team of 'SHORTS' Produced by Anurag Kashyap Films Pvt Ltd & Tumbhi
Guest Interaction with Director Hansal Mehta
Guest Interaction with Television & Film Director Waris Hussein
Guest interaction with the team of Talaash
The students of Whistling Woods International were in for a surprise last week. They were treated to a guest lecture by the sensational Tamil filmmaker, Thiagarajan Kumararaja.
Ms. Meghna Ghai-Puri, President, Whistling Woods International, said “At Whistling Woods, we ensure that are students are constantly kept up-to-date with the trends in the industry, both on a national level and a global scale, by encouraging interactions with leading experts and industry achievers across the industry. I’m extremely pleased to have renowned people like Thiagarajan Kumararaja visit Whistling Woods and interact with the students. The students were absolutely enthralled with their lectures.”
Aaranya Kaandam, the Grand Jury Award-winning Best Film at the South Asian International Film Festival was screened at Whistling Woods recently. The National award-winning director, Thiagarajan Kumararaja, was more than happy to share with the Whistling Woods students his experiences on creating the first neo-noir film in Tamil cinema and the adventure of his directorial debut.
Thiagarajan Kumararaja said, “I’m thrilled that I could come talk to the students here. They were very enthusiastic and full of questions. Whistling Woods is a wonderful institution and I wish there were more like it in India.”
Guest Interaction with the Managing Director of Filmcity, Lakshmikant Deshmukh
Guest interaction with the team of 'Vanishing Point'
Guest Interaction with Rajan Khosa, Director (Gattu)
Guest Interaction with Sujoy Ghosh, Director (Kahaani)
"Artists are like policemen; you should invite neither their friendship nor enmity" said Saroj Khan, a legendary dance choreographer during a most energetic interactive session at Whistling Woods International (WWI), where students interacted with Saroj Khan and Nidhi Tuli - a Documentary Filmmaker and Writer. Nidhi has also directed a 57 min documentary on Saroj Khan titled 'The Saroj Khan Story' which was screened for students the previous day.
Nidhi Tuli also shared her experiences of the struggles she underwent for three years to make this documentary on Saroj Khan and how she dealt with them. Nidhi Tuli fielded questions from the students about her documentary. Discussing the making of this documentary, Nidhi said, "Don't keep a scene that doesn't move the story forward. Some people took over 6 months to revert to my request for an interview, and their inputs changed the documentary completely. Even if it takes time, you have to be open to including the stories of people who matter and who add value to the film."
Saroj Khan shared an ocean of advice with the young students, from her dancing career spanning almost five decades. A very cheerful, light-hearted and candid human being, Saroj Khan had the audience in splits of laughter and thunderous applauses every few minutes. In reply to a question about whether she also composes her song picturizations, Saroj Khan stated, "I compose the entire song shot-by-shot; including lensing and framing. I also sit for the edit."
The entire session was charged with energy and rapture and her apt advice for the students saying, "Don't take this industry for granted, trust yourself the most."
WWI students were thrilled to have interacted with this legendary dance choreographer and floored with the priceless industry insights, experiences, and advice on work ethics given by her and Nidhi.
Guest Interaction with Vaishali Sinha , Co-Director/Producer of the film Made in India
Sudhir Mishra - Director of (Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi) visits WWI for a Guest Interaction
'Find the moment of grace & the story will follow' - Sudhir Mishra to the future filmmakers at Whistling Woods International.
Whistling Woods International students were privileged to have a master class with renowned Director & Scriptwriter, Sudhir Mishra, who is well-known for directing critically acclaimed films like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Dharaviand Chameli. The students were taken through his journey from when he started his career with Kundan Shah's 'Jaane bhi do yaaron' till date. He not only spoke about his experiencesbut also about his beliefs and motivations.
Accompanying Mr. Mishra in his conversations with the students was Mr. Ravi Gupta, Executive Director and FIlmmaker Somnath Sen, AVP-Academic Affiliations. During his tenure at the NFDC, Mr. Gupta had produced SudhirMishra's first film and two others consequently. When asked to talk about his journey into filmmaking Sudhir Mishra said that his journey has been more of a fairy tale and from his experiences he aptly said "Insteadof being at the right place at the right time, in filmmaking you have to be at the right place all the time!"
Mr. Mishra advised the prospective filmmakers that, "Make films that you want to make, films that you connect with. Do not follow any pretentions". Mr. Gupta emphasized on Sudhir Mishra's startup infilmmaking as a writer and asked him to share the importance of writing to be a good director, to which the director said "I believe that film is writing!" He further emphasized that after Writing it was editingwhich was an extremely important aspect of Filmmaking. He reminded the students how most of the big filmmakers today like Prakash Jha , David Dhawan, Raju Hirani - have all been editors before and he is not surprised to see thesuccessful transition from editing to directing. "Everything begins there; Editing teaches you the economy of films, the job of a good editor often is to make you understand the material you have shot"
When asked about his celebrated film Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi and to what extent was it a statement against fascism, he happily answered, "Hazaaron is about the wastages of beauty that is left when the youth fades!"
Somnath Sen put forth his query, that post Jaane Bhi Do yaaro, all the associates/people connected to the film moved on, Sudhir Mishra has stuck to his ideology and is still making 'his' kind of films, to which he answered, "I always want to do films, which I want to make. Filmmaking is not only about making money. I am here to have fun. I have done till now what I can do and it has been a great privilege to be a part of thisindustry."
In the Q&A session with students, he shared part of his learnings with thestudents. He explained the importance of not going too much into detail of every aspect of the film, "If you get caught up with looking at everything in too much detail, you will drown".
Sharing his experience and highlighting his views about WWI, Sudhir Mishra signed off by saying, "The students are wonderful! They have been very well trained and they come from a good background. Their understanding of film is great, and I would like to congratulate the school and Subhashji for this."
Guest Interaction with Rajkumar Gupta, Director
Guest interaction with Sanjeev Lamba, CEO Reliance Big Pictures
Guest Interaction with Alphonse Roy, Cinematographer
On Filming Aamir, Great Cats of India and more
Alphonse Roy, the internationally renowned and Emmy award-winning wildlife cinematographer was at Whistling Woods this week, for an extended workshop with the Senior Cinematography students. Alphonse, who has been making documentaries and films for about 25 years for National Geographic, Discovery and BBC channels, made an impact with his stunning work in the 2008 film Aamir directed by Raj Kumar Gupta. It was no surprise, therefore, to see students from all departments thronging the auditorium at the screening of Aamir and also at the interaction with its DoP, the following day.
Almost as a double bill, students also had the opportunity of viewing one of Alphonse's acclaimed wild-life films, Great Cats of India (funded by Animal Planet), which followed Alphonse's strategy and working style to shoot the four great cats of India --the tiger, the lion, the leopard and the snow leopard, in their natural habitats; There was a standing ovation to the ace cinematographer as he took centre-stage with Rajen Kothari (Faculty, Cinematography) who moderated the session along with HoD, Cinematography, Krishhnamurthy. Alphonse recalled his travel across India with his photographer father, and his early and abiding passion for documenting wildlife, and said that even as he trained in Cinematography in a film-school, and with opportunities for wild-life cinematography in India being limited, he was determined to go "the non-narrative way" as he put it. And his sheer persistence and dedication to the craft eventually led to his standing as one of the premier wildlife cinematographers of India.
In the enthralling session that followed the screening of Great Cats of India, students and faculty alike, re-lived the awe-inspiring experiences of Alphonse on his incredible exploration, as he shared his technical skills, local knowledge and 'jungle craft' and spoke at length about his close encounters while filming the Great Cats in their natural habitats, across the country?the tigers at Bandhavgarh National Park (M P), the lions at Gir National Park (Gujarat), the leopard in Valparai (Tamilnadu) and the elusive snow leopard in Hemis National Park in Leh. ("Shooting the snow leopard was the toughest. We had to work in minus 45 degrees cold weather, at an altitude above 12,000 feet.")
The Q & A session at this point of the interaction was quite expectedly on technical aspects of filming, posed by Cinematography students: on the cameras- film/digital, lenses, and other production aspects of wildlife cinematography. But the sustained interest level of students irrespective of their specialisations, was vividly evident, as for instance by a question posed by a Freshman studying Animation, on how Alphonse had "managed to manually shift focus while shooting a tiger with her cubs", to which a detailed answer was duly given. In answer to another question posed by a Direction student, on how he made the shift from the jungle to shooting Aamir in Mumbai, Alphonse laconically referred to the jungle out there in the city- .. referring to the seamy under-belly of Mumbai where much of the film was shot. On taking up Aamir, with all its inherent challenges, Alphonse also spoke about how, while reading the script, he realised "the city itself was an important character in the film. I knew I would never get a chance again to film it like a character and immediately said yes." Keeping in mind, the 'extreme' situations of much of the location of the story ("not much light penetrated through..in the narrow by-lanes) the cinematographer was given complete creative freedom,in particular, decisions with respect to shot break drown, choice of where to shoot, etc. "My wild-life cinematography came in handy and I used to shoot in natural light, at times with the camera on my shoulder."
Students were also introduced to Alphonse Roy's assistant, Archana Borhade a graduate in Engineering (Information Technology), whose passion for Cinematography made her take it up as a career. Her own journey from her I T days, to completing a short course in Cinematography, to meeting Alphonse Roy, first as a teacher, and now, as a mentor DoP (and working with him sinceAamir in 2008), had the students riveted. One of the most unexpected lessons of the day was Archana's articulate and candid answer to a question asked of her by a Cinematography student,Richa, on the prevailing situation in the film industry with respect to women cinematographers. "It is still a male-dominated industry, when it comes to technicians; there are very few women cinematographers or women sound recordists. You may not be taken seriously, may be treated patronisingly, and worse, even face prejudice and abuse in your interactions with light-men or production staff. How you handle this situation is crucial. Avoid 'groupism' in a unit; work with sincerity and dedication along with the unit, and you will change their perception of women technicians" was the advice given. The feisty young assistant cinematographer also had words of advice for the future cinematographers from WWI. "Your attitude in a world where there is 'cut-throat competition' will be important in determining where you will go. Small tasks do not make you look small. There is no task that is to be considered as 'menial' because you have trained in a film school."
As Rajen Kothari summed it up, "all good things have to come to an end". A most enthralling and satisfying 'close encounter' that WWI's students had with Alphonse Roy, a great cinematographer, and more importantly, a great human being ..drew to a close. But not before, Alphonse received and graciously accepted amidst cheers, an invitation from a student from Peru, to visit her country for a wildlife film.
Alphonse said that he hopes to see some more creative young minds addressing issues of nature and wild life in India. Having taught at various film schools, he was very impressed with the calibre of WWI's students and looks forward to interacting with them again.