Film Education

The Art of Educating
June 14, 2016, 2:09 pm
Filed under: Film and Acting Schools


Photo credit: IB Film students Rhea and Pallavi

The Art of Educating

I believe that the approach of someone who is imparting knowledge is equally important with that of the kind of knowledge being imparted.

I see my role as an educationalist/educator ‘to inspire the student to discover the truth’. I believe in giving the student freedom to create their own views and not bias them with my personal opinions.

I believe knowledge should be interactive and a two way process. Otherwise its just someone’s tinted glasses you are putting on, you need to see the world with your own eyes. However if your eyes are not in a good condition, they are infected or are in poor health you need to correct that first, for a vision that is real and insightful.

I have come to understand that knowledge learnt through experience lives on for a lifetime and students enjoy that process of learning where they are active and in the midst of action rather than being a passive spectator.

Working at making my subject further simple, precise and meaningful is a continuing journey and an art which is slowly unfolding.

Being an educator and interacting with a class is like a live performance and you wait for the ecstasy to be felt when you are one with your audience in the bond of knowledge. Aiming for those moments of inspiration to take flight and experience the art of education.


My journey with my SVKM IB school Film batch 2013 – 15
October 3, 2015, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Film and Acting Schools

The Post Modernist touching of feet – full of love

I will not forget the Post modernist style of touching my feet in school by my student Sidharth and it culminated in this by the entire batch after our final film shoot ended. I was taken by surprise and moved to the extent that the moment will be burnt in my memory for the rest of my life.

Why do I call it post modernist, because its playful, its gratitude but it can be many more things 🙂 !

group pic

A Letter of Thanks and Adieu – Sidharth Popli

Dear Ma`am,

I first must apologize that I have not written this mail sooner and I know that excuses and reasons are not important to you thanks to a two-year experience at film school which completely changed me not only as a person but also in the way that I thought.

I was always one to watch movies and so I could never find the class boring because of the fact that that you would put in so much effort into the class and come up with some of the most amazing activities and all of them would have reasons to how the activities would complement a person as a film maker. From blind folding us and guiding us around potentially hazardous locations like construction sites in school to making us take videos and photographs to understands emotion. You tried to show to us the perfect way to do everything, from making a story triangle to shooting the right way using a book from your inexhaustible library of film literature and encyclopedias.

Your constant super human effort into trying to make a good film from a basic idea and also the effort that you put in in a story writing exercise, even when some students only did half the job and decided to personally complement you and then fight with other peers and you stayed relatively calm was amazing.

Another day that I remember was when you asked us to experiment with the shot scales and shot angles using little smurf dolls and our phone cameras. This was interesting as it practically explained to us what you were trying to say the class before.

I remember our classes fondly, by classes I don`t really mean SVKM International IBDP 6 or 10 but I really mean “The Study” sitting with Zeel and Krina and Manav and working on the day we had between shoots from exactly 9am and expecting a scolding because of our unpreparedness for the first day`s shoot and actually seeing ma`am jump past it and go straight to work actually made us a little more productive that day we realized when we left the study at 12 in the evening. That was fun. We lived on chips and cokes throughout the day and in the evening we got treated by ma`am`s mother with Ragda Pattice, we welcomed it at the end of the day because we were starving.

Ma`am you bore through most of my antics throughout our process of making Look Inside from sleeping on the couch after a marathon session of “self introspection” to dropping some coke on one of the envelopes that contained the PoZ brochures after trying to open it with my Kadaa and having a Pepsi shower instead. I still say with pride, “I got the first PoZ poster and brochure with an autograph!” But I want to thank you and apologize to you again.

I know I can be slightly difficult to manage and can get hyper and passionate about things I love and I want to thank you for everything that you have done for me out on the set, at school on Dadabhai Road and at the study near Oberoi Mall.

Even though I may not speak to you now in person for sometime and our conversations will last on the phone calls and Whatsapp messages I would like you to know that I cannot write an entire description of the class that was Film Studies 2013 -2015 and the impresario and motherly figure that is Ms. Oorvazi Irani in just a blog post but here was my attempt to it.

Thank you for shaping me up to become a director and to some extent a man.



The Director

Look Inside

IB Seniors group pic

Zeel Mehta – Film student 

I have always looked up to famous businessmen and tech geniuses for their ability to be creative and breaking the rules to truly make a difference. When I chose film as a subject I never thought I would find people following similar ideologies in the field. Through the 2 years I’ve realised how present cinema is shaped by those rules breakers and rebels. This concept was what intrigued me largely in the two years.

Through the 2 years by the immense support from Oorvazi ma’am not only have I learnt enough to score a 7 but enough for me to remember a lifetime. The classes were interesting and brain wrenching to make us creative.

I’m truly going to remember the times we, the entire film class spent together from the lectures in school to the various workshops and especially while making our film. Especially the day when after a long day of shoot, the next day the crew met at Oorvazi ma’am’s study and to motivate us she bought a cake with the name of our film. Well, the cake itself was motivating enough for me, but the addition of our film’s name made it even better.

There are innumerable moments of learning I truly would never forget and miss you ma’am for the amazing (but long :p ) feedback you gave us and helped us with everything in these two years.

I hope you like this ☺️ It’s genuine, don’t worry :p

Zeel Mehta

Look Inside – Cinematographer and film student

Group pic_graduation day

Will miss you all and thank you for making me so proud !

Sidharth and Zeel thank you for the special film and special note

And Thank you Sanjay Nath for being the magic touch of our film which was truly inspiring.

Final IB film “Look Inside”

SVKM J.V. Parekh International School ‘Film’ Batch 2011-2013 taught by Oorvazi Irani- An Interview with the students
IBDP FINAL FILM PROJECT 2011-2013 Director: Rahul Sharma Script writer: Nidhi Panicker Cinematographer: Shahrukh Anklesaia  Editor: Mikhail Shah

Director: Rahul Sharma
Script writer: Nidhi Panicker
Cinematographer: Shahrukh Anklesaia
Editor: Mikhail Shah


IBDP Film Course – Three Final Projects, one of which is to make a final short film. The International Baccalaureate® (IB) offers four high quality international education programmes to more than one million students in 145 countries.

Our school SVKM J.V.Parekh International School is probably the only IB school that offers Film as a subject in Mumbai and one of the rare schools from India.

“HUMA” : We are proud to announce that our film was considered by an IB moderator as one of the best technically made films from IB schools all over the world this year.

                                                         And I Graduated yet again !


Oorvazi Irani

Stills from the film “Huma”

A special thanks to Tanmayee Thakur (SVKM A level student) who played the title role of Huma in the film as she brought the character to life and embodied the spirit of Huma in real life too. And I also thank Kanika Khanna for bringing Huma’s friendship to life by sharing her off line chemistry online as friends.





Our highest score in the subject of film in the past two batches I have joined has been over 95% and a Grade 7 and this year all 4 students did not get less than a Grade Six (Grade 7 being the highest). Having said that the film class has been a journey beyond grades and marks but a learning that we will all not forget for years to come.

From the first disaster film in Year One “A Street Outside our School” to their final film “Huma” in Year Two what a journey it has been of sweat and tears, joy and success.

My film students teach me each day about myself, life, and my subject of film. Each question, each answer, each exercise, each struggle and each success was all shared and I graduated once again with flying colours.

Rahul taught me that ‘believe and you will be rewarded’. He made a great film “Huma” as an auteur director with his team and made me proud. And helped me continue the legacy after Altamash Jalel from my last batch.

Altamash and Rahul my Auteur directors

Altamash and Rahul my Auteur directors

Shahrukh taught me ‘how to be cool whatever the situation and impressed me with his visual poetry in “Huma” which was a very important part of the success of the film.

Mikhail taught me ‘ that I could  succeed in nurturing a taste for cinema beyond entertainment’ and how to be ‘bindas’. He impressed me with his eye for detail and minute observations as an editor which helped mold the final film “Huma” and make it what it is.

Nidhi taught me ‘hard work and sincerity can make a difference’ even if you wake up last minute. She laid the foundation as the writer of the film “Huma” and impressed me with her powerful idea of the symbolic burkha which was rooted in rebellion and a positive quest for freedom for the woman and all mankind.


Shahrukh,Rahul, Nidhi, Mikhail

1.       What is the most memorable day in film class and why?

Shahrukh_Profile pic

Shahrukh: These two years, as we all trot along the banks of creativity and knowledge; there were several occasions or I might as well call them opportunities, when we were to dive into the this alien waters. As exciting as it may sound, it was eerie indeed. I distinctly remember the first day at the sets for the production of our film, Huma. I could feel the adrenaline gush through my veins, that feeling had the power to change things. It was quite the memorable experience to be standing on this tender threshold holding onto the camera, bringing dreams and ideas to life.

Rahul_profile_picRahul: The most memorable day in film “class” was basically outdoors. It was the first day of the shooting phase for out film. You cannot call it a class, but basically our final project. I was directing “Huma- the bird of paradise” (my first ever short film) and enthusiasm and energy soared inside me as I used all my previous knowledge to shoot the sequences. Directing those sequences, deciding the shots, choreographing the actors and thinking of the outcome with a tinge of nervous anxiety flowing within me on the first shooting day is a good memory.

Nidhi_profile_picNidhi: To me the most memorable class was the day when we had to take pictures and come back to class, I found that very interesting and different.

Mikhail_Profilepic_2Mikhail: The most memorable day for me would be when we were discussing our ideas for the IB final project. Many ideas were given which lead to more ideas and finally narrowing down to one story for the film. Also the day when we discussed about the evolution of special effects in cinema and the research work that I started with your help.

2.     What is the feeling on the first day of film class and the last day of film. Did anything change?

Shahrukh_Profile picShahrukh: The change is so drastic that I possibly cannot put it down on paper. The first day, was more or less dull and I had no idea about where this carriage was leading me to. By the end of this journey I felt worthy of something, it felt like I had learnt something which I will be carrying forth for the rest of my lifetime. And this wasn’t the case for all the subjects I had chosen for the diploma program; it was only ‘films’ that dug so deep and metamorphosed me.

Rahul_profile_picRahul: Well, walking into film class the first day was really different as I was slightly conscious and unprepared. Although I was exposed to a lot of auteur directors such as Akira Kurosawa and Stanley Kubrick before, I did not understand their works deeply: I wouldn’t even have known the meaning of an “auteur” then. I remembered how we started off by discussing compositions and I clearly was nervous and tensed.

Jumping the scenes two years: In film language (CUT TO): The time when my last class took place: everything had changed. I was editing my final draft of the “Independent Study” on the topic of the New Wave Cinema which I had decided to work on. I wouldn’t have even known the meaning and importance of the term “New Wave” back then. Well, everything had changed. I had learned about different kinds of cinema movements such as Italian Neorealism, German Expressionism and had been exposed to a lot of genres, all thanks to you.

Nidhi_profile_picNidhi: My first day I was very excited and anxious at the same time scared as to what the class would be like and whether I would be able to coup up with the curriculum as I was late. On the last day I was still scared and anxious but I could sense more confidence in me. And I was extremely sad that this beautiful journey we had embarked on had come to an end.

Mikhail_Profilepic_2Mikhail: I joined the subject later in the second semester thus i missed out a lot but never the less I tried to cope with it.

On the first day honestly I was kind of bored since our teacher discussed some French new wave cinema thing. I am a typical mumbaikar who enjoys bollywood masala movies and mostly watched Bollywood movies in free time, but once i got to know more and more about cinema I realize that there is a world beyond BollyWood and Hollywood, famously known as World Cinema or Art Cinema. In the start i often got bored but as we studied many conventions and aspects of filmmaking and cinema, it got interesting and I started enjoying and appreciating World Cinema too.

By the end of this 2 year filmy journey, I realised that I have learnt so much about cinema and I am gonna miss it very much and I do, the lengthy awesome and tiring tuesday film classes, the nagging of our teacher asking us to complete our assignments, the discussions, etc. I would say, in the start, I was raw, appreciated only bollywood and hollywood movies with famous star cast but now I have somewhat polished my views and thoughts towards Cinema and I hope to learn more, as my teacher advised me recently that Filmmaking and cinema are very vast and teaches you many things, always keep on learning process on and never stop, keep on perceiving.

So this is me on the first day and me on the last day and current day.

3. What did I teach you as a film teacher which is the most valuable to you?

Shahrukh_Profile picShahrukh: I could go on and on about the knowledge and experience Oorvazi ma’am has imparted and shared with us through this short span of time. But I think, the most valuable lesson I have penned down is how to appreciate films, and not only films but life as a whole.

Rahul_profile_picRahul: Apart from exposing me to a variety of films, genres and movements (the art of film) and the craft (editing, cinematic techniques), you taught me great values such as humbleness, chivalry. Not only did you take the initiative to correct me when I went hyper-tensed over a petty issue, but you also took great interest in my overall development.

Nidhi_profile_picNidhi: TEAM WORK!! One of the most valuable lessons I learnt personally was that it’s all about team work whether you like the people with you or not at a personal level you should not let that interfere with your work. And honesty.

Mikhail_Profilepic_2Mikhail: You thought me to keep on learning and perceiving and not to give up when one comes across difficult tasks. You thought me how to appreciate Cinema as a whole. And I thank you to make me the person i am today.

4. Can you share one incident during these two years which shares our relationship as a teacher and student ? And which were the most challenging and rewarding times together?

Shahrukh_Profile picShahrukh: I possibly breached each and every deadline communicated to me, perhaps for all my assignments and I couldn’t get myself steady to finish them. The final IB examinations were approaching quick and the rate at which I progressed was horrendous. So, Oorvazi ma’am calls me over to her office, sits with me for the next couple of hours and sees to it that I do my work. To top it up with a cherry, she serves food so that I keep going. This kind of affection and attention is beyond comprehension. These were the most challenging as well as rewarding times for me.

Rahul_profile_picRahul: I remember when I was giving my mock textual analysis for IB and could not get it perfectly right, you just told me I’m not being myself and I can definitely do better. You pushed me one step further which made me believe in myself more. This is what you have done during these two years.

The most challenging part was after the shooting ended. The editing and music of the film began, and this needed various ideas and thought processes. Giving the film a firm structure, designing the sound and composing music tracks was challenging as well as rewarding.

Nidhi_profile_picNidhi:  According to  the most rewarding and challenging time would be when I had come to your office to do my independent study and I was having so much trouble starting off, that day was definitely challenging I remember staying at your office till around 11pm. That day turned out to be very rewarding and I am sure it helped me get the 6 in film:P

Mikhail_Profilepic_2Mikhail: I would and have to say the time during the FIlm independent study on Evolution of special effects. I ragged my brains day and night and you were worried and constantly on my head to meet the deadlines. Hahaha, I dont know what would i have done without you, i would have may be failed Film HL OR would not have faired well in my subject. Those long talks in classes regarding the content of my study, the long phone calls, working after school on my Independent Study at your “THE STUDY”. I mean it was crazy and frustrating and annoying and fun and tense and everything, all feelings together. And rewarding times would be all those moments when we finished our assignments and accomplished something.

5. What does film mean to you today and has your notion changed over time and why ?

Shahrukh_Profile picShahrukh: ‘Film’ has so many varied meanings for me today. It could be a compilation of books, it could be the story of my life, it could mean existence and feelings and life and emotions and art and so much more. Earlier, from films what I used to connote is entertainment, glamour and fame. My notions changed drastically with time.

Rahul_profile_picRahul: Honestly, I used to watch film only for entertainment until I started taking a deep interest in the processes involved behind the scenes. The interest started growing around a year before I did IB and was in its initial phases. Today, film to me is the essence of life: there are different portrayals and meanings which people try to explain life: the involved relationships, the hardships, its true meaning,

Nidhi_profile_picNidhi: Even though I have not perused film as one of my majors I plan to peruse it as a minor at university, I notice the difference in me even when I am just watching a movie as a stress buster, unconsciously I find myself saying ohh this is a mid-shot or a long shoot or this is a jump cut etc. And these are technicalities that I found very difficult to understand during my course.

Mikhail_Profilepic_2Mikhail: A film for me is nothing but a story presented by a visionary person (director) who tries to mix his perception regarding some topic and tries to make the audience relate to his story telling which is the film. For me film would be showcasing hidden emotions and showcasing perception to a large audience and trying to make a change not a change change but touching the audience’s heart which makes them appreciate the directors perception and work.


6. What did you expect of the film subject and is there something that did not meet your expectations?

Shahrukh_Profile picShahrukh: My expectations were simply to learn ‘how’ to make a film, but what I acquired was so much more than that. I learnt how to make my audience feel the way I do through this beautiful medium of expressionism.

Rahul_profile_picRahul: The IB film course is extremely well designed: it deals with both the art and craft of film making as you have to make a film and a trailer (learning the craft), write a portfolio supporting it (learning the art behind the craft). Moreover, the components: “textual analysis” and “independent study” help to give you a greater overall perspective as you get deeply nourished with understanding cinema of different places of different era.

Nidhi_profile_picNidhi: To be very honest I didn’t come in with any expectations, personally I feel that is the best way to begin a new journey.

Mikhail_Profilepic_2Mikhail: I expected film as a subject to be more based on practicals and less theory, but it was some what more assignments, theory and less practical. But nevertheless I got to learn a lot about cinema so cant really complain. Wish IB had 3 years hahaha.

7. Any special message to your  IB film juniors ?

Shahrukh_Profile picShahrukh: Passion is what drove me and so let the technicalities take a back seat. Work on the pre-production thoroughly so that the rest of the process moves smooth. And Oorvazi ma’am is possibly the best mentor as well as a friend you are going to have; make the most of it.

Rahul_profile_picRahul: I would simply put my message to my juniors: Enjoy your classes, make the most of your time, watch new films, explore ideas, be open minded and sharing, understand new techniques (they are very simple, just seem hard) and most importantly: explore yourself! And if you need any help, do not hesitate to contact me.

Nidhi_profile_picNidhi:  Stay focused and DO YOUR INDDEPENDENT STUDY ASAP!!! And honestly listen to the advice mam gives you because it is extremely valuable and still helps me!

Mikhail_Profilepic_2Mikhail: Dear Juniors,

What ever you do, put in your heart in it because at the end of the day its gonna help you. Trust your teacher, do what she asks you to do, that way you’ll be saving alot of your time and also will be learning alot from them. Trust your school and trust your teachers. They do whats best for you, well, things might not go according to you and you may find them annoying but know this fact that they want you to succeed and not fall on your face. Theirs ways might be somewhat annoying, i understand, but at the end they are trying to make u a winner.

Dedicate yourself to film, its a beautiful subject and you learn a lot, and yes ENJOY EVERY SECOND OF YOUR FILM CLASS cause you are definitely gonna miss it once ur done with IB.

Make the most of it.

8. Do you feel the experience has taught you something beyond film too and if so what is that ?

Shahrukh_Profile picShahrukh: As I mentioned earlier, the experience has had a solid impact on my life and on me as an individual. It gives me the power to see the world, actually see things which were always there but never got noticed and observe surroundings better than I usually would. It has taught me how to reflect better on myself and things around me.

Rahul_profile_picRahul: It has definitely taught me a lot of qualities and has taught me to interact with people and help in guiding people. When I directed, I was technically not doing anything: it was my friend Shahrukh who was doing the cinematography and the actors who were acting but I was just guiding them, telling them the vision I had: the feelings and emotions I need and how it should appear on screen. So, I definitely have learned to subconsciously motivate and guide people during their work, which can not only help me as a director but also in other aspects.

Nidhi_profile_picNidhi: Like I said the advices you have given me even the small ones (the ones you thought I wasn’t paying attention too and at the time I didn’t feel it important:P) still helps me today.

Mikhail_Profilepic_2Mikhail: LEARN LEARN LEARN, REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT. It has thought me to love what i like and work towards it with passion. Today you might loose because of one aspect, what do you do, learn from it, tomorrow you win with that one aspect.

To Read about my interesting Journey for my previous Film Batch Click on these links below where I talk about the IB Film Projects in greater detail.

My Journey teaching film at the SVKM IB School (Batch 2010 – 2012)

IB Film Experience: Altamash Jaleel (Batch 2010 – 2012)

To know more about the IB board

To know more about SVKM J.V.Parekh International School

My Journey teaching film at the SVKM IB School (Batch 2010 – 2012)

My Journey teaching film at the SVKM IB School (Batch 2010 – 2012)
Oorvazi Irani

This is probably the only IB school in Mumbai that offers film as a subject

Introduction – What is IB
Before I talk about the subject of film and my journey I would like to share with you what is IB. The International Baccalaureate® (IB) was founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968 as a non-profit educational foundation. The IB works with 3,458 schools in 143 countries to offer the three IB programmes to approximately 1,043,000 students. And you would ask, how does this compare with the current system ? Of course, the current systems empower the child with sound knowledge, understanding and skills in all required fields, but their rote system of assessments pay larger emphasis on left brain usage. On the other hand, International curricula aim at developing and sharpening higher order thinking skills from an early age by involving all the functional areas of the brain. IB encourages the student to be a global citizen and understand and respect various cultures from all over the world. Being creative and original is greatly encouraged and to sum it up in the words of the president of SVKM( Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandal) Amrish Patel – “Where “education” goes beyond the mere cramming of pre-discovered facts and theorems and enters a realm where young minds, are designed to become inquirers, thinkers, achievers, communicators and above all Global Citizens with a conscious rooted deep in the Indian value system.
This kind of learning is exactly what I identified with and given an opportunity to teach the subject I immersed myself into it. For me as an artist and practicing filmmaker this was an exciting journey to be able to guide and mentor another young artist and keen student of cinema.

IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) Film:

So I started my journey with a young group of 4 students in the age group of 16 – 19 years who had chosen film as one of their subjects. I had a challenging task before me, but looking back it feels very satisfying to see them all succeed and enjoy the subject, Above all I am proud of their final student film “ “Takbir” which is sensitive and mature and is the pride of our school. The film was also projected by the school on various formal and informal platforms as a showcase which reflects all the values of IB and it felt really nice that the two years came to such a lovely conclusion. But making of a short film is just one of the projects that the students undertake and an important part of the project is the Written Commentary which includes the observations, experiences and reflections of the process of making the film itself which I think is very nice (but often neglected by students and has to be repeatedly drummed into their heads). Its as simple as maintaining a diary of records right from the day you started brainstorming about the idea to the day your film was complete but ofcourse in a format that is specified in which it gets submitted has to be adhered too,.

Film Syllabus Outline:
Given below are the three projects that the students undertake, however the making of the film along with the Written Commentary is 50% of the marks and is internally marked (moderated after that by IB) and the other projects are externally marked and moderated. The subject of film is offered as SL (Standard Level) and HL (Higher Level) (The differentials between SL and HL are both quantitative and qualitative. All my students took Film HL.

So as a teacher I had to guide them through all the projects, yet not spoon feed them. Discover the artists in them and also make them thorough with the history of cinema and understand the art and craft of filmmaking. Each class could not be theory but each class could not be just fun either and slowly we both – student and teacher found a meeting ground. But what was most important as a journey as a teacher was to be able to gain the trust of each student and the process was a learning curve for me too. Also each project helps them understand and execute the other projects, there is a learning that beautiful blends into each other.

Below is a brief discussion on each project:

Textual Analysis
The detailed study of film sequences

This project encourages the student to find the entire essence of the ocean in one drop, exploring the macrocosm in the microcosm. To be more specific a 5 minute extract is explored to discover the entire gamut of film theory and history and the language of cinema ofcourse in relation to the film and its specifications. I will not go into the details of the project but it was a nice way to engage the students directly with cinema and make them realize the importance of each scene in a film and that each part contains the essence of the whole. The presentation of this project was a audio recording where the student discusses the scene with a few prescribed areas but the student is not allowed to read the notes and thus it’ encourages an understanding and reflection rather than a mere cut paste attitude which many projects give way too like in school. Infact how many projects in school have been done by parents, neighbours, sibblings and not the student themselves, I feel this approach helps to engage with the topic and make the student personally participate.

Film theory and history
The study of films and film-making traditions from more than one country.

More than any other project it is here that students are encouraged to explore and understand various cultures from different parts of the world. Sensitizing them to different ways of experience and living. Here the format of presentation is an audio visual script with film clips from different cultures but under a topic that allows this exploration in film history/theory and cinematic language. The challenge in IB is always to be able to discover the area of interest of the student and then develop his exploration in a related field of cinematics. As doing a project should not be a mere exercise but something that excites the student to want to know more about. So if one of my students loved the western genre he probed deeper into it, keeping the language of cinema as a strong base to the study, another student was a sports enthusiast and no wonder the sports genre excited him, while yet another student loved literature and Shakespeare and thus that came to be part of her project topic, last but not the least was a student who loved the horror genre so I encouraged him to understand it deeper and was a beautiful medium to look at horror from the cultural viewpoint of different countries.

Creative Process (Film production)
The development of creative, analytical and production skills within film-making

This project is the most challenging and at the same time satisfying. It is the project that is the one main component that showcases to the outside world the 2 years gone past and if its good, its like a trophy in itself for the students and the teacher.
The film project can be made individually or in a group. They were a group of 4 students and thus since one wanted to be a director the others chose the relevant key areas of interest – script, sound, editing and the process began.

But the creative process could begin only when they knew their own voices. Very early in the course I started my small efforts in trying to discover the personal and creative world of the students as I had to discover with them their unique individual creative voice. It was during one simple autobiographical exercise session in class in which I discovered a very important aspect of the director student. I just knew without pushing it that this was a breakthrough that will come to use. When we latter had the brainstorming sessions I reminded him of this special incident and he acknowledged it but it was not really completely accepted. It was my duty to bring it to light and then see If the idea grows in him. The idea took birth and then died a silent death and then came back to life again now to be made into a reality. What is special about the student film “Takbir” is that’s it’s a film by an auteur. To confess, I was a bit nervous if all will go well and I did not believe it would turn out as good as it did, as I felt there could be more time dedicated by the students to the film preparation, but then it being another subject in school I could not be very hard on them. And I was always emotionally blackmailed for more time to complete an exercise due to heavy homework and deadlines from other subjects. But they proved to be more competent than I imagined and did a great job of working together inspite of the small quarrels off and on, in which I sometimes had to intervene. Interestingly film as a subject in IB, knows the nature of the artform being a collaborative process and therefore stresses that a healthy working relationship is very important and how as a team they achieve their film project and go through the entire process from making an idea into a reality.

I was clear that the choice of actors would be very important to make their film look and feel professional and saw to it that they got actors who with their presence and basic knowledge of theatre or cinema bring a touch of class and not make it look like an amateur student film. I helped with some key characters and I give them credit to be able to source the others themselves who were very effective too.

As usual the deadlines were close and they were still editing their film due to unavoidable circumstances and it was like a nail biting climax to a journey that was fun, challenging, and rewarding.

EE (Extended Essay)
One of the integral aspects and requirement of an IB syllabus is EE (Extended Essay) which is like a mini thesis according to me, as the stress is on originality and in-depth research. A student can select to take the subject of film for his EE and this was done by one of my students who was very sincere and dedicated and took up the study of an Auteur director. This project he says helped him immensely as a director too and for the first time he really understood the nuances of an auteur and what it meant as the essay is focused on specific films which are analyzed apart of the topic selected. It was though initially to come upon an original focus to his topic but we soon reached there and then all fell into place.

The assessment of all the projects are based on specific criteria which values research, originality, discipline, and a global outlook and understanding.

The Graduation Day:

That was the moment to take pride in – all our hardwork that we had done for the past 2 years was now coming to a conclusion. The struggle and ecstasy that we faced with each film class would now be no more but I promised to be in touch with them lifelong through my blog and thus this article is special and dedicated to each moment that we spent together.

Its said that the greatest way to learn is to teach and I too learnt a great deal ! And finally I graduated.

Infact its interesting that in my personal life I was not in a position to attend the graduation ceremony at the university and this indeed in literal terms therefore completes my education but in a very different context.

And the post is not complete without feedback from my loving students

Altamash Jaleel:

Altamash, could not find words to express the film course and is waiting for inspiration, but in the meanwhile it suffices to share an experience from our Graduation Day. Altamash had been given the privilege to share his experience of IB and I was invited part of the faculty to witness the graduation ceremony. To my pleasant surprise Altamash spoke about the subject of film and me as a teacher with such warmth and respect that I was touched. In his speech he paused, located me with his gaze in the audience and publicly thanked me for making him a director. This pause and special attention was a mark of respect and love that I will always cherish as a special moment. And as I say that respect cannot be demanded, you need to earn it. And that made me feel rich !

Anmol Sachar
Anmol has always been the first to submit all his assignments and projects and so with his feedback !
When IB began, one of the worst feelings was experienced on Wednesday mornings. Why? Because I had to sit through a long, boring class of film which, made no sense to me. In my teacher, Miss Oorvazi’s eyes I probably was one of the worst student she could have got – always yawning, staring at the ceiling or sleeping with open eyes.

But a few weeks into the course and I began to get gravitated toward the subject. Gradually, the yawns turned into smiles, the staring into attentive nods and the sleep into intriguing questions. Soon I started to make sense of horrifying terms like ‘expressionism,’ ‘dollying,’ ‘auteur’ and so on, thanks to our teacher who was more of a friend who adapted a very amiable style of teaching.
As time went by, hours, days, months and a whole two years, I realized that I had transformed from just another boy who liked to shoot videos to a boy who has made a film which is already receiving a great response from the viewers. This journey has been a truly memorable and fruitful one and has certainly left an indelible mark on my mind.

I worked with a great group. Altamash tu toh apna Aamir khan nikla…kya perfectionist hai…couldn’t have had a better director than you. Kajri khuda zaalimo ka sath de na de mera toh saath deta hai ki tujh jaisi mahaan script writer ko humaare film ke liye assign kiya…u were too gud! Shrey buddy really imprssive work with the sound yaar…like the music really helps the viewer teleport into the world of ‘Takbir.’

Oorvazi Ma’am we certainly couldn’t have found a teacher matching your stature and class. The way you instilled within me the will to learn this subject, I doubt anyone could ever do. Thank you ma’am for your unparalleled guidance and support throughout this demanding course.
All in all it was a fabulous experience. Three words… WE KILLED IT!!! ;]

ANMOL THANKYOU DEAR FOR TRUSTING ME AND BEING THE GREAT STUDENT YOU TURNED OUT TO BE ! And thanks for submitting the feedback in time to upload as usual you are well in time for the deadline.

Kajri Babbar:
Her feedback was a beautiful sms and inspite of promising a further writeup, ( she is also finding the inspiration to do the same) I am sharing the sms.

“ You were more like a friend than a teacher and your classes were so warm, filled with love that you never made us really realize that you are a teacher and we need to be discreet. Mwah !
Actually I would chose you to be my bridesmaid ”
To gain the trust of a student to become a friend is a great achievement to value and you belong to their inner circle, what more can you want.

Shrey Sheth:
Last but not the least (and still waiting for inspiration like the others to write his experiences). Infact he was a student who was bright but was lagging behind on the projects and submissions but he surprised us all towards the end of the course when he decided to take things in control and gave it that final push. On the IB orientation for the new batch where parents were invited for a special event in school Shrey spoke about the subject of film and I would like to share that here. He did not say much but that one line was very special as I feel this was something that would be valuable to him the rest of his life and went beyond film as a subject and that I was instrumental in being able to make him realize that, it feels precious.

“ Oorvazi Mam always told me to think deeper and when I did I realized how important it was and what power it can unleash”

NFAI and FTII Film Appreciation course, Pune: Review
A four-week full-time course held annually from the past three decades.


The Film and Television Institute of India, FTII is an institution for film education in India since 1960, which is the year of its establishment on the erstwhile Prabhat Studio premises at Pune. The National Film Archive of India NFAI was established in February, 1964 as a media unit of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India whose mission is to safeguard the heritage of Indian Cinema for posterity and act as a centre for dissemination of a healthy film culture in the country. Both there organizations join hands to conduct the film appreciation course. FTII offers its expertise in film education and NFAI offers its vast archive of films from India and around the world and its very well stocked film library headed by Mrs Joshi who is a wonderful person who nurtures your love for learning and books.  The course and these two institutions are one of the most respected and hold an important place in film education even today. But I feel the golden age of film education with teachers like Ritwick Ghatak must be something else to experience and sit in a class with fellow talented students who latter on became great artists in their own right.

Course Timings: The 4 weeks do have a busy timetable. Your day starts at 9:30 am and ends at app 12 midnight. Towards the end of the course the grueling schedule might bother you.

Academic Approach: The course seems to follow more of an academic approach rather than a more practical approach. The style of teaching is also not very encouragingly interactive. But it is informative and does expose you to a lot of Indian and International films.

Faculty: Usually there is a diverse mix of lecturers including film personality guest interaction. Suresh Chabria and Gayatri Chatterjee are knowledgeable and their lectures are usually informative. Among the other lectures a special mention should be made of K Hariharan, Ranjani Majumdar. But it depends on the current year’s selection. A very brief introduction is given about the filmmaking process itself and does not cover an in-depth knowledge of same.

Course content: World cinema and Indian cinema including regional cinema and documentary films are covered in the course and quite a few films are shown in the duration of the course. At an average of two film screenings a day. The history of cinema and being exposed to film classics is a highlight of the course

Hostel and Food: The accommodation is not 3 star ofcourse, its what you would expect a hostel in India to be, and the rooms are on a triple or twin sharing basis, the toilets are usually outside the room with a common toilet for each floor. But it does depend on where exactly you are being offered a room as certain aspects might be better off in a particular campus. But this is a good opportunity to experience hostel life and hostel food if you have not, which is not so bad but do feast on the variety of eateries in Poona. To mention a few the Hamburger roadside stall just outside FTII is very famous with the locals and a must try besides the cold coffee which is down the lane, much better than the fancy Barista and Café Coffee day, but those options are also available very close to the campus. Then there is the Maggie stall and pavbhaji and not to forget the home made food from the Punjabi dhaba.

Admission: The course is conducted once a year and there is no guarantee that if you apply you will get admission. Many applicants are rejected a number of times but that should not necessarily be the reason to judge that you are not qualified for the course.

Exclusive Interview with acting guru Kishore Namit Kapoor

Kishore Namit Kapoor Acting Institute

1 Month Course – Educating Actors

3 Month Course – Craft of Acting

4 ½ Month Course – Art of Acting

Alumni includes:  Hritik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Imran Khan and many more.

Hritik’s  quote:

Kishore Namit Kapoor’s own words: “ I don’t teach acting, I train actors,” is a very simple statement but it defines a lot. And, that’s what he kept on telling me- that he can’t teach me acting, he can only train me. And, training is the tough part because while training you have to push yourself, you have to understand, receive from the teacher, and then train yourself to be better and better. His insights into little details of acting were mind-boggling. To give an example, when I used to think of something and give an expression he used to stop me and say, “Cut, cut, are you thinking of this? ” and obviously surprised I used to reply “Yes” and then he used to say, “ Don’t do that! Think of this because that is the right emotion.” So at times he used to shock me by actually looking into my mind and telling me what I was thinking about! And I used to love that, because I love analysing thoughts and expressions. This really proved to me beyond doubt that his insight into acting is amazing.

Q. How would you define acting?

A. If you ask me I would say – ‘Your soul gives birth to a new soul through art’ that is how I would define acting.

Q. What would you consider to be the unique feature of your acting institute?

A. My approach is unique in the sense its not limited to the profession of acting. The logo of our institute says Know Thyself and Realize your Potentials. As an actor and as a person you learn how to have detached involvement, you witness. You witness your life, your own creativity. If you are hurt you can watch your tears and laughter. As an actor and in life you become aware of your unconscious super competence. You become aware that in life you are not a victim of circumstances thus you create them in reel and real life.

Q. You believe that Discipline is very important in acting training and are also called a lovable Hitler could you kindly elaborate on that point.

A. I use a surgeon’s knife not a butcher’s knife and am called ‘loveable’ Hitler. The institute is known in the Indian film industry for its discipline and we pride ourselves for that. I believe that for everything you require discipline be it in meditation or for a soldier. Actors need soldier’s discipline. We also take special care to maintain an almost equal number of boys and girls in class so that parents don’t feel hesitant to send their daughters to class. Also many parents have asked me to specially start ‘one month’ batches so that they can send their children here and channelize their energy keeping them away from the drug culture and other such destructive youth cultures.

Q. According to you what is the most important criteria that an actor should possess.

A. Besides talent, passion followed by action. But above all they should be risk takers, ready to experiment or rather to explore with themselves. Acting being an emotive art, in day to day life we qualify emotions. We like some and don’t like some. But as an actor you have to be ready to experience emotions even you did not know existed or you have desensitized. You should be ready to sensitize your emotions.

Interview with Taaha Badusha, New York Film School

a) Some basic info like fees, duration, date of commencement, hostel etc.  

I have done the acting course and the fees for that is 12000 dollars. Date of commencement varies. I did the course in Abu Dhabi so I started in feb. It also starts in September. They provide you with a great hostel and a great environment to live in. They don’t take care of food and travel though.

b) Faculty interaction and style of teaching  

Faculty is very very helpful. They are always there to listen to you and help you out in a mature way. Their style is I guess American. They give you the freedom to learn your own way.

c) Topics covered 

Ummm improvisation, theatre, how to deliver dialogues and monologues, film acting. Etc.

d) Unique feature of the training  

Its all hands on training. Best thing you are always in front of the camera and you stay in a surrounding of aspiring actors and filmmakers.

e) Why did you choose New York Film school from the other options  

I chose it cause it was hands on training. And I guess it marketed itself well to make it seem the best choice.

f)  Any special experience or exercise you would like to share with us that would be enriching 

We got to act in short movies of other film makers so I got to know different styles of directing.

g) Cultural difference and your thoughts  

Well in Abu Dhabi it was Arab culture. We had our freedom and I guess the teachers were more open with us. And less restriction on girl issues.

h) How does that training help in India. The universal aspect which can be used and aspects which require Indian input  

That training gives you the confidence infront of the camera. Which gives you the upper hand here in India. Since you are with foreigners there you can mingle easier with people here.