IIM Calcutta


Oscar predictions & Collective Choice

By Arun Ramachandran for ‘C’nema Paradiso

A friend recently recommended a book written by James Surowiecki – The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. The author talks about how as a collective we are good at arriving at better decisions than as single members of a group. On a related note, we, at ‘C’nema Paradiso, carried out a little exercise to gauge the mood before the Oscars at IIM-C and, more importantly, how well it could predict the Oscars. With 104 students voting, James Surowiecki would be proud on seeing the voting results.

If left to us we would have got right 4 out of the 6 categories which went for poll last week. However, we were not so keen on showing The Kings Speech the same love that the Oscar jury showed yesterday.
Results vs Predictions


Yet Another Oscar Predictions Article/ My 2 cents

By Priyanka

(My final article for CP blog, bowing out IIM Cal style :P)
Oscars statute
Disclaimer: All the nominees this year have done wonderful work. This article does not intend to slight any of their work, but only aims to get into the Academy’s head(s?) to predict the probable winners.

It’s that time of the year again. The Oscars are just around the corner. And every expert worth his/her salt has already predicted wins for Oscar hopefuls. So, why this entirely pointless exercise of writing yet another article on the same issue, you may ask. Because, as a PGP2 I couldn’t resist upstaging PGP1s , coz that’s what we PGP2s do! (refer to Oscar poll that facchas have started). Without much further ado, let me begin my prediction.

First, the Academy Awards® for acting a.k.a the acting gongs. The way the awards season has progressed till now – Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo seem to be the outright favourites. It would take a very brave person to bet against Firth and Portman. The Best Actress category this year is filled with incredible performances, each of which could have easily won in a normal year. Despite that, my bet is on Natalie Portman – basically because she has won every single award this season. Christian Bale could be in for some competition from Geoffrey Rush, whose performance in TKS was as brilliant as Colin Firth’s portrayal of King George VI. But this could only happen if the Academy is on a total feel-good mode (more on that later). Also, the Academy loves to reward someone who has undergone an extreme physical transformation for a film (e.g. Charlize Theron for Monster), so Bale might be the winner. (more…)

Interview with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

Inteview By Priyanka on the occasion of Mr.Mehra’s visit to IIM-C campus for delivering a lecture as part of Intaglio
  1. Which are your 5 favourite films and why?

Why is the number always 5? All around the world I am asked the same number. You can’t stop at 5. There are so many films. Cinema caters to different states of mind. The appeal changes with age.  As you change as a person, your cinema changes. I’ve always found this a challenging question. The child in me loves ‘Jungle Book’. I like ‘Do Aankhen Barah Haath’ for taking up such a serious subject and converting it into Nautanki style of storytelling. I love Meghe Dhaka Tara. It’s my all-time favourite film. It does something to me that I cannot explain. ‘Guide’ , ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ in India, so much of Italian cinema. Fellini- all his movies as a director. Polish film-maker called Krzysztof Kieślowski. He’s done incredible films. This series called Decalogue – a series of ten short films based on the ten commandments – absolutely delectable. The American art-house films. The era where the Rat Pack of America changed cinema – Scorcese, Coppola, Oliver Stone, all these guys has been very inspiring in my life. Before them, there were musicals and big dramas and they brought realism into movies and turned it on its head. And they brought in imagination – people like Spielberg and George Lucas. They took us to space. If you look eastwards, there are masters like Kurosawa and his cinema. Closer home there were ‘Do Bigha Zameen’ , ‘Garam Hawa’, ‘ Meghe Dhaka Tara’, ‘Sarange Holi’, ‘Guide’ , ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ these were some of the movies that made an impact on me. Not that there aren’t other films. ‘Bandit Queen’ was one of my favourites

2. What is your take on contemporary Indian film-makers?

I am slightly disappointed in them. That’s a negative way to put it. I am one of the contemporary film-makers in India and I am slightly disappointed in myself too. We are not able to choose. The character of any nation or any community depends on the choices they make and it seems like we are not able to choose. We are living by other people’s choices. We are always scared of putting our foot forward and make the cinema that we want to make. We are not able to sever ties from the whole folk theatre, nautanki, song-and-dance musicals. Yet we have one foot in the other boat and we want to get into this whole new wave. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. You have to make a choice. This is my take on contemporary film-makers including myself from a third person point of view. I think that is what the world also feels . They are looking at us and they are hoping for a change. But its so far-and-wide and spaced out that you are not noticing any change. We are still stagnated. (more…)

On Majoriticism, Reviews, Peepli Live, Normal Curve and More

By Ramana Krishnan

Singh Better Than KingOn a recent trip to Delhi, I stumbled on a car with a slogan saying: ‘Singh is better than king,’ and as it would happen, a friend wrote an article on a related topic here (NOT a shameless plug for the said friend). It got me thinking on certain things. A movie like Singh is King or even 3 Idiots (yes! The one hailed as the next best thing since Rang De Basanti – another falling into this category that I am talking of) has a certain kind of an impact on the audience.

Now, because we are so jobless – me in writing this article and you in reading it – you might just as well do well to imagine a normal curve. Now imagine one (and only one specific) quality of a film or a film maker which defines the quality of the movie made and assume this quality to be distributed along the normal curve. Now this quality in itself would be a function of a multitude of things including, intelligence, clarity of vision, control over technique, actual knowledge of technique/craft etc. Also, assume that ‘intelligence’ is good enough a term to supersede all of these individual terms and qualities. This basically means that each filmmaker makes a movie that falls somewhere along the normal curve with the position on the curve being a function of the intelligence of the movie-maker.

Now, imagine another normal curve. This time, take the function of that normal curve to be the ability to get (and like) a movie. Even this curve, given a million assumptions and one, can be thought to be a function of intelligence – of the moviegoer this time.

Superimpose the two curves in such a way that the averages of the two curves aren’t the same, but merely parallel and separated by a certain horizontal distance signifying the higher average intelligence of the movie-maker than the movie-goer (fine! I think the average movie-maker is smarter than the average movie-goer. No scientific/logical reason to believe so. Go sue me! :P).

Christopher Nolan Oeuvre

– By Pradipta Bohra

A scene from 'Following'

A brief look at Christopher Nolan’s oeuvre through the lens of post-modernism

Christopher Nolan has arrived on the Hollywood scene with a bang which can really be named as ‘The big bang’ or the one that started it all. He has cemented his place as the champion of postmodernist cinema with his use of disjoint storylines, rejection of grand narratives and mocking of order and stability.

Post modernism identifies a departure from earlier era where science was held as the creator of values, and order and idealism were the apostles of faith. In today’s chaotic world Nolan’s movies find a ready audience who can identify with the insecurity and instability of the actors. There is no perfect hero in Nolan’s movies and in spite of the hero’s best efforts and conviction in his abilities; he faces the innumerable cracks in his character. Themes of duality, obsession, sacrifice, guilt and secrecy permeate the fabric of the storylines repeatedly. Such themes are a very real reflection of our society and bring home the point that in today’s society adapting and adjusting are the only way out. There is no right or wrong, just situations and actions driven out of those situations.

The sheer inability to follow a set path is repeatedly used by Nolan to weave intricate tunnels and passages in his scripts. He captures the audience’s short attention span through mini-stories that do not necessarily combine to form a whole and leave the audience free to have their own interpretations. It wonderfully establishes the paradox in today’s society- more of power to the individual, yet man is more confused about himself than ever before. No belief works anymore and this theme is repeatedly highlighted in the movie ‘The Dark Knight’. The villain in the movie, the Joker plays off people against each other by attacking their beliefs. Another of Nolan’s unforgettable characters in the Memento has already lost his ability to form any beliefs. He has to believe in things ‘on the run’.

Lights, camera and action – yes Mr. Nolan, we are ready to believe or disbelieve if you so desire.