Update from Shubhangi, 3 Years After BollyBrook

I saw an email message today reminding me that our BollyBrook project is three years old. WOW! Here is a short interview with some of the cast and crew.

Do you have any favorite memories from filming BollyBrook? Before, during, or afterwards.

There have been way too many moments during making of the BollyBrook video that have stuck to the insides of system like a fungal growth I wish to never get rid of.

Like the time Nick hired the cab during the production of the video and Ashok, our driver thought his job was to (once again) ferry some dollar throwing Americans as they toured the city. It took Ashok just a little over a day for the penny to drop. Apart from being exposed to many different dodgy activities that come with the ‘business of shooting guerrilla’ and after the first day of somewhat behaving ourselves, Ashok, had had enough of us. Yatharth, was soon standing on the roof of Ashok’s cab and Ashok was driving the cab to and fro, up and down the lane while making sure Yatharth didn’t fall off- all this for the sake of a shot. He was hired as a cab driver and was now a stunt car driver. Perfect, he thought. At this point, I recall catching a momentary glimpse of Ashok’s expression. He possessed a rather morbid expression of complete and absolute perplexity on his face that gave a sense of a very strong contempt towards us. He appeared to be questioning not just his decision to be with us but his entire life at this point. Poor guy. Although I think he did enjoy all the fun we put him through.

There was this other time when we were filming bang in the middle of a very busy street-side shopping lane at Colaba Causeway where we were shooting a very small jump cut/ time-lapse part where Yatharth is dressing Anne up in Indian clothes and jewellery picked from stalls around and Anne has to stand frozen at one place. At this point, Anne is wearing her shirt which she has to substitute with a bright red kurta that Yatharth puts on her. It’s almost evening so the the lane is bustling with shopkeepers, shoppers and other assorted passerbys. Anne is standing at the spot and my camera is focussed on her. It’s time to change clothes. I was thinking, uh-oh, would we have to get in a corner and out of public eye for her to change? for that might disturb the stop-block we have set for but Anne didn’t flinch. She took her top of and wore the kurta in an instant, at that very spot amidst all the trillion set of stares and we continued to shoot. Effortless. Then came the part where Anne had to break into a jig on the streets in order to try and win the dejected lover-boy back. At that point, I think I had a personal philosophical moment there for a second. Anne blew my mind with how little inhibition and people conciousness she possesses. How free she is of any perceptions, liberated of any body baggages that I or most people I know seem to have. I would have never been so brave, so uninhibited. I thought about our bodies and just how much extra attention we give it, protecting it, hiding it- for what? It might just afterall be nothing but a shell holding our insides in place. With that realisation, in that moment, I think I grew a little as a person.

What are two of your current favorite songs? Please include YouTube links.

A not-so-recent song that’s playing in a loop in my head is Life is Better (Norah Jones and Q-Tip)

The other track current favourite track is also a not-so-recent soundtrack from Tony Gatlif’s 2002 film Swing. This song has is overpowering yet seeps itself in the mood you are in. It is melancholic if you are feeling melancholic and uplifting if you are feeling energetic. Special kind of a song.

What advice do you have to someone who wants to film a music video in Mumbai?

Stay. Look. Feel. Then Shoot.

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Anne’s Artist Statement

I asked everyone to type up some words about our little video project. Here is the full text from Anne. Read other’s on our About page.

When I heard the words “I’m thinking of something kind of like… Brooklyn – meets – Bollywood” come out of Nick’s mouth, I immediately thought of hipsters.  Then I asked my brother for funny cliches about hipsters and he sent me this video-> “Being a Dickhead’s Cool.”

Now I am aware that I have some hipster tendencies myself, (Urban Outfitters definitely still has a lure on me :-x) but one thing that I’m very proud to proclaim I don’t have (which is only pertinent in extreme versions of hipster-itis) is this air of this proud sense of apathy. I get very upset when I’m surrounded by inconsiderate people, people that are more concerned about their appearance and staying “cool” than how they might be making another person feel.cialis Hardcore hipsters are just a really funny version of this to me… It is one of the reasons I dropped out of college to be completely honest. Too much hipster energy. I mean it’s one thing to “not give a f@*# what other people think!” but for pete’s sake, life is tough enough as it is,  why not try to share a little smile/empathy/connection for/with thy fellow man and stop worrying if your scarf is placed fashionably enough or if you have the latest iWhatever.

Being white in India, even Mumbai, invites a lot of stares in itself, so for a white person to walk around with an obnoxious attitude and an accessory as impractical as empty frame ray bands was just a hilarious image for me.

I also wanted to compare and contrast this with the character of Bollywood Boy. Both characters are obnoxious in their own ways and they find that after they get over themselves that they can develop a genuine connection and friendship with one another.

I’d like to start integrating more focus on deeper messages and inspiring content to my work. This video probably just seems like cartoony fun (I was trying to channel Pepe le Pew!) for most people but you might be able to see my attempt at showcasing a glimmer of “realness”/humanity.

As far as my team…. I have to send a million thank you’s to Nick, Shubhangi, and Yatharth. I thought it wouldn’t be for a couple more years that I would be having opportunities like working with an amazingly sweet, creative, intelligent, professional cameraWOman, having the most frickin’ awesome producer possible, and of course “the (Indian) male version” of me full of life & energy, absorbing all of my directions and suggestions- all 3 of which totally vibing with and testing all of my ideas! I had an amazing time with all of them (and Ashok!!!) and I can’t thank them enough for supporting and pushing me to put together a music video in a week and edit it in a month (maybe a little more….:-/) and having it come out pretty flippin’ awesome!!!! So much love<33333

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Mumbai Mirror Gives BollyBrook Link

My buddy Max ZT just emailed me these camera phone pictures from today’s edition of the Mumbai Mirror newspaper.

Wow! This Indian press coverage really makes me happy. When we filmed our music video, we kept insisting: This video is our tribute to Mumbai. We wanted Mumbaikars to love it. Everything else is icing on the cake.

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BollyBrook Cast and Crew Photos

Anne just reminded me that we took this group photos as I was leaving to fly back to NYC. Here is the whole team.

BollyBrook Cast and Crew Photo

L to R is Ashok (driver), Nick (Producer), Shubhangi (co-Director/Camera), Anne (Director/Visionary), and Yatharth (Actor).

L to R: Ashok, Nick, Shubhangi, Anne, Yatharth

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New York City Premiere

Come out to The Frontier Room at The Bell House this Wednesday, April 20th 2011 for a live screening of our video in conjunction with Girl Walk All Day.

The Frontier Room at The Bell House
149 7th Street, Brooklyn NY 11215

Wednesday, April 20th at 8:00 p.m.

Free + open to the public! Anne, Nick, and the Girl Walk team will be in attendance, so we hope you’ll come out, say hello, and join us for a drink.

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Shubhangi’s Artist Statement

I asked everyone to type up some words about our little video project. Here is the full text from Shubhangi. Read other’s on our About page.

One wild experiment, four loopy folks, four manic days, and a gazillion bewildered Indians on the streets later, Ladies and Gentlemen, we present to you this: Brooklyn to Bollywood.

Being used to shooting guerrilla (the documentaries teach fast), it was Nick who I first spoke with and who proposed the plan to me. I, obviously, really did not know what I was signing up for. And then by the time it did sink in, well, it was too late to retreat. Like we folks here would say, Teer kammaan se nikal gayi (the arrow had been released. The damage is done). Before Anne could say action, I was hooked, line, sinker, camera et al.

Needless to say, I have loved every portion of being a part of this eccentric project. Anne and Nick challenged me to keep pushing my boundaries and attempting to shoot in spaces that otherwise would require rolls of requisition papers that would go around in circles for days, sometimes even months among fat, boorish beaurocrats. Not to mention wads of greens shelled to even enter them (eg: dhobhi ghat), forget allowing Anne and Yatharth to go bonkers there. But we did each one of those places listed on our sheets, uncompromisingly. And honestly, my biggest achievements on this project would be:

  1. Not paying a dime to any party involved for using the streets or their space. (stall owners, authority, residents, ahem, cops). Hey, don’t call us ungrateful. We worked our charms to the extent our jaws hurt, thanked them profusely and scooted before they knew what hit them.
  2. I said a little prayer at the end of every day, for successfully not being responsible for the deportation, worse imprisonment of these valiant white folks(?), who by the way, stuck out like a sore thumb in every spot we stood at, sometimes even if we did nothing suspicious.

Sweet, sweet Victory. Well, enjoy the video folks. And try not to think of the sweat, some blood and a LOT of fun gone behind the product you see.

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New Still Photos from the Shoot

We added some still photos over in the EXTRAS section: Making Of (Photos)

See more in the EXTRAS section: Making Of (Photos)

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Music Video for “Bachana aye Hasino”

Another gem from Shubhangi here. Below you will find the original “Bachana” song from the 1977 Hindi action film Hum Kisise Kum Naheen. This song and film featured the popular Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor. FUN FACT: Rishi Kapoor’s son, Ranbir Kapoor, starred in recent remake of Bachana in the 2008 movie Bachna Ae Haseeno.

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Original Bachna by Kishore Kumar

Shubhangi sent Anne this
orginal MP3 of Bachna Ae Haseeno Lo Mein Aa Gaya by Kishore

Here are some of my favorite pictures of Kishore Kumar (Hindi: किशोर कुमार, Bengali: কিশোর কুমার) that I found on Google Images search.

Kishore Kumar Rocking Out thinking about dosas most likely

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New Website

First post! I wanted to make this site to dump Behind the Scenes videos, contact information, links, etc for our “Brooklyn Meets Bollywood” project.

Thanks to Daniel Immke for helping us with the WordPress installation.

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