Film Education

SVKM Culturama Filmmaking Mentorship

Film mentoship lead image



Knock Knock !

Time was very less. 10-1 for 4 days that’s like 12hrs only but I swear to god watching 40hrs of YouTube videos on filmmaking, writing, editing and making 5 films on my own gave me less than this workshop.

Why knock knock?

You see a door and you kind of have an idea about what’s behind that door and you think that’s the truth. Maybe or maybe not. When you knock and when the door opens up you see the whole universe behind that small door instead of some boring room. After this one person comes and pushes you outside and tells you to explore this. How would you feel?

I was standing outside that door making films on my imaginations of what’s behind that door. This workshop knocked the door for me and Oorvazi ma’am pushed me to explore the world of cinema, paintings, literature etc etc.

“An amateur filmmaker to an artist” I am on this journey now.

Thank you so much for these things @Oorvazi Ma’am



(Vidar this is for you)

Bathed in innocence
you are born !

Carrying the seed of a Dream

Tender are your steps
Careful is your breadth

Gently flows your sincerity
paving your way to a path unknown.

You are your Dream
Pure and Serene ;



Film Appreciation Course in Mumbai

Oorvazi Irani’s Course Reviewed by RASIK TIRODKAR

on the “Passion for Cinema” website

  1. Rasik



    It being on weekends is a boon for those who work or are busy for some reason throughout the week.

    I have attended this course and I can say I was benefited immensely. Before this course my interest, knowledge and understanding of cinema was pretty limited. Back then, PFC was practically the only thing that shaped my interest in cinema. This course gave me a sense of confidence on cinema as a subject. It widened my horizons of cinema.

    Another interesting thing, which isn’t mentioned in the links above, is that she had included in the course the Chekov Acting technique. Nobody in the whole of India tells you about this technique.
    Here’s more about the Chekov Acting technique-

    The best part about the course is Oorvazi Irani herself. You will find in her a teacher which you always wished you had in school. Friendly, patient and confident. Her classes(i.e. if i can call them that) are not ‘classes’ that we usually went to in schools, colleges etc. They are highly interactive sessions at the end of which you don’t feel tired but enriched. The batch that i attended got so attached with her that we even went for a trek together with Ms.Irani.

    Thus, it is needless to say that the course is well worth its time and money.

    Posted 2 hours ago


  1. Rasik



    A film appreciation course will be conducted by Oorvazi Irani, a FTII approved film appreciation teacher, in Mumbai, for 3 weekends from 25th September onwards. As I have attended the course I can personally vouch for it.

    Here’s the link to know what will be covered under the course and the contact details.

    Here’s Oorvazi Irani’s blog and her profile.

    This is a wonderful PFC post by Indu Raman on the course which generated a very interesting discussion as well.

    Any queries can be discussed here or on the first 2 links or on the contact details provided in those links.

    Posted 3 hours ago
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filmmaker, media project consultant,literary agent

August 24th 2010

Creativity was at first considered only the prerogative of God as only God could create because it was perceived that ‘to create’ meant to create from nothing some thing entirely new, the notion of something miraculous, something in the divine realm. With time this perception changed radically man was also accepted to have the divine power to create, to bring into being something absolutely new from nothing. The proof of this in true if we just look around us, today modern living is indeed miraculous.

How can one be creative. How to create not how to be innovative. No doubt one can be creatively innovative and hence innovation is also creative, but can we be God-like and create something absolutely new from nothing – yes we can.

Therefore essentially creativity is that process that is a quantum leap from the known into the unknown – the reclaiming of the unmanifest or the ability of being able to bring about a result where the unmanifest transforms itself into the manifest.

All great breakthroughs in all fields of human endeavor have this miraculous process at work. The real point of creativity is a sudden leap into the unknown from where something revolutionary and absolutely new is born. This is possible because the source of all creation is pure consciousness and each one of us in our essential state are pure consciousness. Pure consciousness is also pure potentiality; it is the field of all possibility and infinite creativity.

So each and every one of us has what it takes to create, we have the innate ability in just being conscious, alive, to be creative, it is our essential human nature.

Contemplate this, and be creative this very instant, being alive and conscious is all the tools of creativity you will ever need.

My First Film Course

I knew my goal… I just had no idea how to get there…

I landed back in India on the fifth of January 2006 quitting my college and leaving my family back in USA at the age of 19. I just had one mission, that is to be a film maker. I met several esteem professionals who either guided me or just mocked my immaturity.

I was repeatedly told by my peers to take up a small course to know my strengths. My uncle told me about the FTII film appreciation course which happens every summer. Something or other would keep going wrong. Most of the times I couldn’t get off time from work to go ahead and do the course. I kept reading about short term courses in Mumbai as well, but none of them looked appealing to me. It often upset me that in the hunt for bread and butter, in the mess of trying to settle down, my passion was going far away from me. In 2009 I decided that no matter what, I am going to enroll in a film education course. Hence my hunt began to find a course that was right for me.

Mid march, a friend sent me an email about Oorvazi’s film education course. I glanced through the write up and was quite impressed with the educationist’s profile. Highlighting factors such as the weekend batch , the fees and the venue got me quite excited to give Oorvazi a call. After getting an understanding of the course inputs, I made up my mind to go ahead and take a chance.

From the first minute of the first day of class, I just knew that I had made the right choice.

Knowledge kept pouring in! Though I couldn’t stay back to watch all the films as I was quite tied up at the work front, but Oorvazi was kind enough to burn me a CD of Pather Panchali – the movie I was craving to watch. The group discussions, small activities, chance to voice out your own thoughts, conversations during the class, the comfort zone, the cinematic ambience was simply overwhelming.

I still don’t believe that I have taken a “class”, the Film appreciation course was a platform for me to know my strengths, work on my weakness, and get intense knowledge.

I cannot thank my friend enough for sending me the email. I didn’t realize that I was missing out on something this empowering for all this while.

I thank Oorvazi for all her guidance, for being so flexible, for being the perfect guide and for letting the students be their own teachers.

Catch Oorvazi’s next batch starting: 22nd of May!
– Hiral Bhatt

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.

Interview with Bikas Mishra; Film Critic and Journalist

Bikas Mishra ( is the founder and editor of A Masters in Mass Communications from MCRC, Jamia, New Delhi, Bikas has worked as a producer and principal correspondent with leading Indian broadcasters Network18 and Zee. He also writes on cinema for publications such as Mint The Wall Street Journal and A member of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), he is on the visiting faculty of Social Communications Media Department of Sophia Polytechnic.

1. What is the art and craft of film reviewing?

A film review means different things to different people. However, what everybody would agree is that it’s a kind of writing which has a cinematic text as its point of departure and where the writer and his subjectivity play a crucial role.  Reviews are mostly written, so the craft of writing is important and since it involves writing on cinema, so some sort of understanding of cinematic tradition also becomes important.

2. What according to you are the must have’s of a good review?

A review must first give me a fair idea of the film. I like reading reviews which are rich in observation, which tell me how the film looks and sounds. If it also attempts to place it within the larger cinematic tradition, better. A review that passes judgments without argument is hollow. I’m not particularly fond of reviews which just drop names of other films without citing the context of comparison.  Ideally, a good review should help me form an opinion about the film rather than force a judgment on me.

3. How do you approach writing a review for a film?

Some films evoke a strong response, while many don’t. Since Cinema is a manipulative medium quite often such responses are emotional. That’s why I do try to distance myself a little from the film before writing because a review isn’t an emotional response to the film. For me a review is a reasoned reaction to the film which must be backed by observation. I avoid reading any other review, or often even synopsis or plot of the film. I try to enter the theatre with an open mind. Since, I’m not obliged to write reviews in a hurry, I mull over and if needed revisit the film before writing.

My writing involves fair amount of rewriting. Most often first drafts include many more “I” and “me” that I subsequently get rid of. First person account is an easy substitute for argument. Writing something like “ I hated the film” or “the film left me in tears” isn’t difficult to write for anybody.

4. Which would you consider one of your best review and why?

I share a dialectic relationship with my reviews; I love and hate them.

5. Any film critics/reviewers you look up to and why?

Like many others I follow Roger Ebert, though not necessarily always agree with him. On, I’m quite fond of Jugu Abraham’s writing.

6. What is your advise to an aspiring film critic?

Cinema is more than a century old now. Watch as many films as you can and read as much as you can. Remember a critic is not a judge but a passionate film viewer who has a better understanding of cinema. Everybody has an opinion on a film but one who can argue for his/her opinion, limiting the discussion strictly within the four walls of the frame yet bringing in the entire discourse around cinema into the argument is entitled to call himself/herself a critic.

7. What is the role of a film critic?

See, first, a reviewer is a reviewer and a critic is a critic. A critic doesn’t limit herself /himself to writing weekly reviews. His/her concern is cinema as an artistic medium. S/he ponders over the relationship between society, cinema, politics, philosophy and other art forms. This is why many important film theories have often come from other domains of life. There would have been no montage theory without Marx, no Third World cinema theory without rejecting the European renaissance sensibility. A critic’s approach is rigorous and much larger. Review is an immediate reaction to a film that serves a utilitarian purpose. It helps readers pick the “right” film for the weekend. Readers and reviewers do share some sort of an understanding. I know if Ebert has recommended a film, it will be watchable if nothing else; though they are mostly rewarding. I know if a famous Indian online critic (reviewer actually) praises a film highly, it has to be a disaster. For reviews an important consideration is the writer, critics have no such short cuts to fall back, they have to rely on arguments alone.

8. Being a member of the FIPRESCI and being part of the international film scene do you see any cultural difference in approach by a film critic?

Interestingly, critics across the world have a shared view on reviewing films because international critics grow up on similar films and texts. Strangely, our many mainstream critics have their own “original” ideas. Writing about stars, performance, music, songs, predicting whether it’ll work in “interiors” or “exteriors”, commenting about the costumes of the stars and dance moves etc are what we may call uniquely Indian!