Curious minds, joyous faces, and enthralled enthusiasts gathered at Whistling Woods International (WWI) to celebrate one of the most anticipated events in the domain of film, communications, and creative arts. Regarded as one of the most illustrious events of the industry, Celebrate Cinema, an open-to-all platform, offered insightful sessions and workshops about the artistic, technical and commercial aspects of the media and entertainment industry.
The 7th edition of Celebrate Cinema hosted more than 100 workshops on both the days on film, music, fashion, design, literature, art and virtual reality, among others. In addition, the audience got an exposure to various celebrity panel discussions, movie screenings and exhibits over September 27, 28 and 29th, 2018.
Speaking about the grand occasion, Subhash Ghai, Founder & Chairman, WWI said, "I'm thrilled to inaugurate Celebrate Cinema 2018. WWI endeavours to offer every movie and creative arts enthusiast and aspirants a platform to widen their horizons of wisdom and gain valuable insights in respective domains. I am extremely thankful to all the guests who graced this year's Celebrate Cinema and would like to extend my gratitude to the industry for extending their support over the years to help us make it a grand affair, since its inception. The three-day event has enriched one and all who participated in the action-packed extravaganza and I would like to thank the team of students, faculty and staff for putting together such a great event."
To this Meghna Ghai Puri, President, WWI added, “Cinema is something connected to humankind, human relationships and in India, especially to our soul. Given the nature of our country, we are closely attached to our culture and the Indian cinema. It is amazing to be a part of the Indian cinema and it's truly a privilege to commemorate the same.”
The grand fest kick-started as the talented actor, Abhishek Bachchan inaugurated the ‘Frames 75’ exhibit - a rare collection of portraits of the legendary Amitabh Bachchan. He appreciated the platform of Celebrate Cinema and said, "The best part of this festival is that it's open to everyone, letting everyone to experience, learn and love the magical world of cinema. It is so important to preserve the history, document and catalog the film legacy that we have. Congratulations to the team of Whistling Woods International for keeping the fire burning and giving a platform to showcase the history of Indian Cinema, which I feel will help in making better filmmakers in future." Speaking about the campus, he further added, "I love Whistling Woods and the facilities they have over here. If we had these kind of facilities when we were training, I would have loved to be a part of it. It's wonderful to have a structure under which everybody has something to do with filmmaking. I truly wish them all the very best and would love to come back.”
The event progressed as Anjum Rajabali, HOD, Screenwriting, WWI moderated a masterclass with the acclaimed actor and the director of 'A Death In The Gunj', Konkona Sen Sharma; editor, Manas Mittal, and production designer, Siddharth Sirohi. Providing the engaging audience with a key take away from the session, Anjum Rajabali said, "To make a good movie you need three things - best of the story, best of the shot and best editing."
Keeping in tune with the technological advancements, this year’s Celebrate Cinema organised a panel discussion about Cinematic Virtual Reality with Rahat Kulshreshtha, Founder & CEO, Quidich Innovation Labs; Vedanta Saxena, Co-Founder, Enso Immersive; Shaharbin Aboobacker, Inner Circle Entertainment; Bhavya Seth, Co-Founder, Lucid Dream Studio; Chaitanya Chinchlikar, Head, WWI Jio VR Lab and moderated by Anand Gurnani, Founder, Vamrr. During the discussion, the experts shared the pre-requisites required for an individual who aspires to enter and pursue a career in the VR domain.
A panel discussion on Creative Collaborations was organised with esteemed dignitaries, Sohaya Misra, Founder & Designer, Chola the Label and Adhuna Bhabani - Hairstylist and Co-Founder at BBlunt. On an inspiring note, Sohaya highlighted about having a clear vision about one's career choice and equally emphasized on work ethics and trust when collaborating with a partner. Adhuna further explained, “Be able to listen. If you can listen you can communicate well and if you communicate, you can collaborate.”
The first day concluded with a panel discussion on Cinematic Musical Video, Wonderland, with the contemporary dance maestro - Terence Lewis. At the discussion, Terence along with Arkodeb Mukherjee, Cinematographer, and Aarambhh Singh, Assistant Director, shared the ideation process for 'Wonderland', a musical short film. Talking about the USP of the short film, the famed dancer stated, "The beauty about Wonderland is that the audience decided who is right in terms of the character."
The day two of the event unfolded with a buzzing topic - 'How To Be A Great YouTuber'. This panel discussion included the highly recognized digital media influencers: Satya Raghavan, India Head, YouTube; Aditi Shrivastava, Co-Founder, PocketAces; Anisha Dixit, Rickshawali; Ranveer Allahbadia BeerBiceps; Paula McGlynn, BhaDiPa and Madhura Bachal, MadhurasRecipe. On pursuing a career in YouTube, Ranveer shared, "Enter the domain only if you have pure love and passion for what you’re doing."
The second-panel discussion - 'Star in the Character' primarily celebrated all the actors who don’t take on to lead roles but leave a mark in the memory of the audience. Highly renowned actors - Kumud Mishra, Seema Pahwa, Rahul Bose, Sahil Vaid, and Rajshri Deshpande shared inputs on their journey and process of characterization. In a conversation with Anjum Rajabali, Rahul Bose explained his inclination towards choosing unconventional roles. In addition, Kumud imparted knowledge on the process of characterization and how observation was the main key to projecting the traits of a character successfully. The talented alumnus of WWI, Sahil and Rajshri spoke about their journey in the movies. As an advice to young aspirants on handling success, Seema said, 'To be successful you need to be true to yourself. And always remember to owe credit to everybody who has been a part of your success because everybody’s efforts are what made you.'
The sessions took an interesting turn with the panel discussion - 'Brave Voices, Courageous Choices'. With this discussion industry stalwarts – director and actor Rajat Kapoor; director Shashanka Ghosh and Advait Chandan showcased different perspectives on the unconventional choices they made with their movies and acting. The highly educated and experienced panelist also analyzed the issues prevailing in the society. From the role of women in the movies to portraying political and religious viewpoints, the optimistic and creative talents gave the audience insightful takeaway philosophies to ponder upon.
Staying true to its tradition of imparting education to one and all, Whistling Woods International conferred Dilip Kumar, and Lata Mangeshkar scholarships to the deserving students. Commenting on the initiative, Meghna Ghai Puri, said, "One of the biggest goals in building WWI is to offer a platform to the aspirants to make a mark in the industry." In addition, Motion Picture Association in association with WWI presented scholarship to the student from Salaam Baalak Trust. Along with Subhash Ghai Vidya Daan scholarship and a special scholarship - Sunanda Murli Manohar was awarded to meritorious students.
As the concluding session for the day, the illustrious event organized a panel discussion titled, 'Travelling Sound of Music - 1950-2020' with the legends of the music fraternity – Pyarelal Ji; Music Composers Ajay-Atul; and Amitabh Bhattacharya, Lyricist. As a tribute to the legendary musicians, the students of WWI School of Music performed songs from the Hindustani, Tamil and Korean genres. The interaction mainly enlightened the audience about the journey of music in cinema from the year 1950 till present. While reminiscing the glorious musical journey, Pyarelal Ji added, "No music is ever bad. No change is bad. We should all progress towards advancements and continue to enjoy the music in every era."
As this year’s edition of Celebrate Cinema marked its end, all those present at the Whistling Woods International campus parted with a heart full of joy and memories to cherish forever.