Saturday, July 2, 2016

‘Raman Raghav 2.0’ review: Shallow yet riveting psychological thriller

Director Anurag Kashyap and his leading man Nawazuddin Siddiqui cement their partnership with yet another exceptionally-made film; but style wins over substance as it thrills our senses without offering much else

-Rutwij Nakhwa

Nawaz is Ramanna who is inspired by the real-life infamous serial killer, active in Mumbai in the mid-1960s – Raman Raghav. The film unfolds in a series of chapters, just as Raman keeps track of his victims in the pages of a diary.

It spends little time in exposition and establishing backgrounds — all we know about the characters is through snippets of their lives seen on screen. How Raman and his counter-part Raghavan, the cop (played by Vicky Kaushal), became what they are is completely left to our imagination, adding to the thrill. 

 Siddiqui, beautifully essays his character; in a turn where he seems to have come full circle as an actor. You are constantly kept guessing if Raman’s words are true or carefully crafted, well-practiced, manipulative lies.

Early in the film, in an unconventional narrative turn, Raman surrenders to the police and pleads guilty to all the murders he has committed (which are sensationally covered by the newspapers). But, the police think his words too good to be true and discard him, lest they should miss the actual killer, wasting their time on this madman. Armed with the immunity of his confession, Raman is back on the streets, with business as usual — killing people whose names ‘God’ whispers in his ears. The psychopath only reveals his true intentions later in the film, to his sister’s young boy.

From the lips of a lesser actor, the replete monologues would have rung false. But it is Nawaz’s brilliance that makes them so horrifically, spine-shiveringly real. Even his eyes are enough to scare you and one cannot help but feel sorry for his victims, when he stares them down with unnerving intensity.

Kashyap, has done well to draw out and on, this unparalleled performance, which sets the tone for, and is the heart of the film. The stylish, high production value is expected from him; but the breakneck editing, tightly framed shots and close-ups, distorted fish-eye images and dark tones, ensure that the entire film exudes Raman’s persona. Kashyap’s cinematic world is as distorted as the minds of the titular characters. His astute direction makes mundane objects, like a glass of sugarcane juice and a plate of uncooked chicken, terrifying.

Sound is employed efficiently; songs in the background score seem to play just at the right moment. Kashyap keeps most of the murders off screen, using sound cues to fuel our imagination — for better or for worse. 

In comparison Vicky Kaushal’s character, the Raghav to Nawaz’s Raman, ends up being little more than a plot device. His performance, though well-acted, lacks conviction and you find yourself thinking of the lovable small-town boy, he played in ‘Masaan’. He is supposed to be a torn, drug-addled, fornicating cop.

The female characters in the film are as good as cardboard cut outs. They are all oppressed victims of patriarchy and of Raman, while others enable Raghav’s sadomasochistic behaviour. Maybe, they only belong in the twisted worldview of these deranged males; one speaks of defiling his sister just to harass her proud husband, while the drug-infused body of the other, refuses to respond to even viagra. Overall, the film lacks depth, you don’t connect to any of the characters much, especially that of Raghav. 

The film’s brilliant climax comes in a chapter, aptly titled ‘Soulmates’. As the lines between cop and killer are blurred, they confront each other following Raman’s second surrender. We finally witness the origin of his obsession with Raghav and why it is him, that Raman so badly seeks for his 'completion’. It also features a high point for Nawaz, as he delivers a monologue, explaining that his is a 'pure' form of killing; he doesn't hide behind the grab of religion or communalism, neither behind authority or a uniform. He kills for the sake of killing, as one eats, or drinks or shits — Raman kills. It's a parable that exposes the greater fractures in our society. And as he sees his journey come to an end, in Raghav he unleashes a new monster in the world.

Kashyap’s riveting psychological thriller is very hard to look away from and impossibly so, every time Nawaz shows up on screen. But it leaves you with little to take back home.

                                                       Rutwij Nakhwa, studying for his Bachelor's in Mass Media at St Xavier's College,                                                                                     Mumbai, is working as an  intern with Uma da Cunha and her quarterly magazine                                                                                  'Film India Worldwide'

Call for Entries : 32nd Warsaw Film Festival

Warsaw - Poland
October 7 to 16, 2016
In the Spotlight today is the 32nd Warsaw Film Festival (WFF), originally founded by a group of passionate students, this competitive film festival has grown to be a leading venue for European premieres that push the boundaries of storytelling. WFF is dedicated to ensuring that European audiences are quickly acquainted with latest and most interesting trends in world cinema at the get go. WFF audiences - the first audiences in Poland - discover American independent cinema as well as Asian, Latin American, Iranian, Russian, and Romanian cinema through WFF progressive showcase.

Warsaw Film Festival welcomes filmmakers to submit Features, Documentaries and Shorts. The Regular entry fee (until July 15) is 10 Euro for Features and Feature-length Documentaries, and 5 Euro for Shorts and Short-length Documentaries. Filmmakers are invited to consider five competition categories for submission: International Competition for films from all over the world with Warsaw Grand Prix of approximately 20,000 Euro that goes to the Director. Other competitions include: Competition 1-2, for first and second feature films by directors from all over the world; and Free Spirit Competition for independent, innovative, rebellious films from all over the world, Documentary Competition and Short Film Competition. All competitive sections are juried for cash award. With great opportunities abound, it's no wonder Hollywood Reporter named WFF "the go-to event."

In 2005 WFF introduced CentEast Market Warsaw organized by Warsaw Film Foundation with the support of Creative Europe - MEDIA Programme of the European Union. Moving careers forward, the Market serves as a meeting point for sales agents, distributors, festival programmers and producers, interested in Eastern European cinema.

View Listing   Submit Now


July 15, 2016 - Regular Deadline

The Warsaw Film Festival (WFF) is organized by the Warsaw Film Foundation in Warsaw, Poland. Its aim is to present the best films from all over the world to Polish and international audience, and to encourage better communication and understanding between people living in different countries and of different cultural backgrounds.

Each year the festival hosts young film critics under the age of 30 looking to experience a first look at films they would not otherwise see. Young writers are provided lodging, workshops and event get to shadow an assigned mentor that will show them the ropes of the film circuit. Entering its thirty second year, the program is distinctly unique opportunity to meet the most interesting contemporary filmmakers from all over the world face-to-face.

Submissions for Warsaw Film Festival close on July 31 - qualify your film today!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Call for Entries: 39th Annual Denver Film Festival

Denver, Colorado - USA
November 2 to 13, 2016
39th Annual Denver Film Festival (DFF), an intense and concentrated exposition showcasing more than 200 new films from around the world, with over 175 international filmmakers, directors, actors and other film artists participating in the twelve-day event. 

The gorgeous Rocky Mountain backdrop is an awe-inspiring environment for filmmakers during this twelve-day event. Named by 
MovieMaker Magazine as one of the "25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World", DFF promotes cross-generational dialogue among the big-screen talents of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

The festival sparks an exciting current of media attention. For participating filmmakers, this unbeatable buzz means countless opportunities to network, collaborate, and share stories with media outlets and fellow artists alike.

Director Rob Christopher ('Pause of the Clock') shares his experience, "Obliging and exceedingly professional staff, enthusiastic volunteers, top-notch screening facilities, and moviegoers who love film; it all added up to the best possible festival launch for my film. And what's more, I met some cool fellow filmmakers, took in some great work, and had a ton of fun. For both filmmakers and film-goers, DFF is exactly what a festival should be."

Accepted filmmakers and screenwriters will be provided with transportation and lodging, and will have full access to multiple red carpet events, after-parties, and networking events throughout the run of the festival. Thanks to multiple lounges, receptions, parties, and Henderson's Lounge at the Sie FilmCenter, the party almost never ends at DFF.

View Listing   Submit Now

July 1, 2016 - Regular Deadline

View submission details

The award-winning film festival is one of Denver's most popular and publicized events. The annual festival is a high-profile, glamour-filled event that is the focus of an enormous amount of media attention beginning in September and continuing through November.

Denver Film Festival is proud to hand out numerous high-profile awards and cash prizes, including the John Cassavetes Award, presented to an American director or actor for outstanding achievement in independent film-making; Stan Brakhage Vision Award American Independent Filmmaker Award, presented to first or second time American directors with a $2,500 USD cash prize; the Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary, $2,500 cash prize; the Spike Lee Student Filmmaker Award, an award presented to the best student short film; and the Maria and Tommaso Maglione Italian Filmmaker Award, $10,000 cash prize.

Films, Screenplays, Music Videos, and Student Projects are welcome for submission - qualify your project today!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Grandmas Project - a webseries - under the patronage of UNESCO

The Jury

After the release of 4 pilots from France, Brazil, Croatia and Egypt (watch here), Grandmas Project launched its call for filmmakers, under the patronage of UNESCO, one month ago. Now, here are the names of the Jury members. .
DEADLINE: July 16th, 2016
The jury will select 25 projects to be put in production in the Fall.
Grandmas Project is a webseries - under the patronage of UNESCO - gathering the recipes and stories from grandmas around the world, filmed by their grandchildren. Click here to download our press kit.

Filmmakers interested in making a film (8 minutes) about their own grandmother are invited to apply here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

First Deadline : Call for Entries - Co-Production Market 2016

South Asia’s Global Film Market
20-24 November, 2016
Marriott Resort, Goa

Co-Production Market


Pitch and Present your Project
to the global filmmaking community. 

Find coproducers, financial and artistic support,
networking opportunities and international collaboration at CPM 2016,
the 10th edition of South Asia's only film market.

Applications Now Open 

Regular Deadline : 11th July 2016
Final Deadline : 25rd July 2016