Interactive session with Avinash Arun – Director, Killa & DOP, Masaan on October 17, 2016 from 10:30 am onwards.
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The melodious music of 90’s soothed the ears of the Whistling Woods International (WWI) auditorium filled with 400 odd students, who were keen to receive the knowledge on the ‘Art of Songwriting’ by the legendary lyricist Sameer. An artist, with a soulful lyrical background and a Guinness World Record holder for his compositions of over 4000 songs and work in more than 600 movies in his career. Sameer was full of insights and inputs at the 5th Veda session at WWI; as he wanted to share his experiences of building a successful career in the stream of poetry and writing lyrics.
The legendary lyrics writer shared his experience and journey from being a Commerce postgraduate to his first break with movie ‘Dil’ and then becoming the lyrical legend. During the enlightening session he also shared his secret mantra of success in Indian Cinema with the students and said “Veerangi, Deewangi and Aawargi is a must for any creative person.”
The session was moderated by Subhash Ghai, Founder and Chairman, WWI who also made Sameer do some on-spot composition as his contribution to Whistling Woods. The highlight of the event included lines written by Sameer for the students of Whistling Woods, he said: “Jaha se bandh hote hai saare raaste, wahi se naya rasta nikalta hai (2), Jinko samjhate hai hum ajnabee, aksar unhi se koi waasta nikalta hai”. He mentioned about his love for students and was honored to be a part of the 5th Veda session, where he got a chance to speak to the budding song writers/lyricists.
He also advised the students that during your struggling period, there is no word as ‘NO’, one cannot say a no to any kind of work received in the initial days of your career; one has to agree and accept all the challenges that come their way in life. During the interaction with the students, he also mentioned that the students of WWI were lucky to have a mentor like Subhash Ghai who is much known as the Original Showman of Indian Cinema.
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
Shooting Badlapur with cinematographer Anil Mehta on August 18, 2016 from 10:00 am onwards.
Guest interaction with the renowned screenwriter Shridhar Raghavan on June 1, 2016 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
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 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.
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.
"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 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.