Dale Bhagwagar, renowned Bollywood publicist and PR, holds a guest lecture, at Digital Academy – The Film School

Dale Bhagwagar began his journey as a journalist twenty-three years ago, when he was just 14 years old. He contributed articles, poems to local newspapers and magazines in his hometown, Nagpur. Six years later, he joined a local newspaper as a trainee Sub-Editor and Reporter. After completing his graduation in English Literature he moved to Mumbai and was soon hired as the Chief Sub-Editor cum Reporter for the Bollywood gossip magazine “Cine Blitz”, which dealt with yellow journalism. That was the turning point in his life where he learnt the trick and trade of manipulating “Star images”. He is instrumental in shaping the careers of many celebrities. He has handled the PR for the likes of Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty, Priyanka Chopra, Esha Deol, Shiney Ahuja, Randeep Hooda and Vivek Oberoi, among 50 others.
 
 
He informed the students that the transition phase from the learning world as students to the real world as filmmakers in the “Big Bad Bollywood” would involve lot of effort, patience and an ability to adapt to situations and people. Commenting on this, he said, “When you are in the real world, when you are going to get out in the so called big bad Bollywood, the first thing one needs to do is unlearn certain things you learnt in schools and colleges. Schools and colleges teach you the basics but people work according to their experiences along with their team and it is very important to adapt to that team, their culture and their style of working”
 
He strongly believes that media has an upper hand in creating a perception in the minds of people and that is exactly when a publicist steps in. Elaborating on this, he said, “Publicists need to spin a very strong web of protection otherwise the media goes ahead to massacre brands and images the way it likes. That is why a publicist needs to be very firm and cautious while handling the Media sensibilities.
 
Throughout the session he emphasized on the line “We are living in a world where perception is reality” and that is exactly what PR does, it creates a perception in the minds of people propelling the image of a celebrity from downright negative to acceptable. His suggestions to the students about the benefits of PR and Media were, “Understand how the media functions, because ultimately you all are going to be made by your talent and then by media. How much ever talented a person is, if not projected properly, the career may not take that pace, and it could have taken”. 
 
Talking further on PR skills, he said, “Good news is Good, but Bad news is even better…. Ugly publicity is the best as it travels faster and hits the hardest… The worst of all is no publicity, as you need to generate the buzz because without which it becomes difficult to grow faster in today’s world. You will grow with your talent but with a PR marketing mind, luck comes faster”.
 
His advice to the beginners was to change their mindsets about the way he or she thinks of PR. It’s very important to project yourself the way you want others to perceive you.
 
Mr. Bhagwagar also advised the students to have dreams and then create roads to reach for those dreams. He said that you must be sure of your goals and then set a basic pattern and time frame to achieve those goals and carve a niche in the field you are interested in. He cited that “You have to stick to your roots, think of the sky and grow”. He also said that PR is just 10%, the remaining 90% is the talent you possess, you should be better filmmakers and the rest follows.
 
In his parting lines to the students, he said that “Start thinking of yourselves as brands. Subtle branding plays a huge role in the anticipation of your films. Though talent is what really matters, good support in PR skills takes any budding filmmaker to higher levels of success.
 
 
For more information contact:
Tel. no.: +91-22-28257009/+91-22-28257008

Guest Lecture by leading Filmmaker, Mr. Mohit Suri at Digital Academy – The Film School, Mumbai

Mohit Suri is an Indian Film Director, mostly known for his films, like Kalyug (2005) and Awarapan (2007). His uncle is Producer/Director Mahesh Bhatt and his cousin is Actor Emraan Hashmi who has starred in three of his films. He started his career as an Assistant Director, and made his debut as a Director with the film Zeher.
 
It was followed by Kalyug, which is his biggest success so far, was both a critical and commercial success. His third film Woh Lamhe (2006) was critically acclaimed overall. His next film Awarapan (2007) was both critically and commercially appreciated.
Mohit’s latest film Raaz – The Mystery Continues (2009) was a Box Office Hit. His next film, Crook – Its good to be bad starring Emraan Hashmi again is set to be released shortly.
 
Mr. Suri commenced the lecture with a discussion about being successful Filmmakers; to which he said that there are no such formulas for being successful, nobody is aware about it. There are certain things that can lead you towards the path of being prominent Filmmakers but no guidelines as such has been laid down for anyone to follow. Make your own guidelines with a flexible outlook.
 
 
Elaborating on this, he said, being innovative in this industry is essential but by being innovative does not mean you need to be outlandish, it does not mean presenting the audience with something that they don’t comprehend. Innovation involves being relevant and enterprising. Usually it’s about rediscovering the old truth, which has been in oblivion for a long time, which goes beyond your regular showreel.
 
 
As a Filmmaker you have to constantly read and keep yourself updated about all the latest events taking place in the world. True education starts once you get out of the institute and start living with people, sharing the same passion for filmmaking. Research is involved with every Film and a Filmmaker is expected to be well versed with the subject his Film is based upon and then present it to the audience. Commenting more on this, he said, “Education does not end here, if you don’t read, don’t write constantly or be alive and see around, you would not be able to make good films”.
 
 
He acknowledged that direction is about your own sensibilities; it’s more about your feelings. The basic idea should be yours, the day you confirm to someone else’s sensibility you will fail and even if you succeed with that, you might not last very long. Being a Film Director changes you lot as a person from within. It’s vital to invest your emotions and feelings in your Films.
 
Another thing about Filmmaking is to collate as much experience as you can; it is crucial to have hands on experience to gain eloquence and be better Filmmakers with each Film. Speaking further on this, he added, “There are no set rules to be a Filmmaker, you learn by being there…just make films”. Sometimes even experience acts as your biggest rival. The more the experience, the tougher it gets, your upcoming or current work will always be judged by your previous work. The more successful you get, you tend to invariably repeat yourself thinking it will work but it does not. Being a Filmmaker is not just about telling story, it’s beyond that”
 
Mr. Suri further said that direction is not about technical skills alone, it’s about your feelings. Mere short taking is not the basis of a good Director. A Director should know to pen down his views. His suggestion to the students was to write for an hour about anything that comes to their mind. Talking on this, he said, “Best Directors are Writers. When you pen something down it’s inertia in the beginning but eventually you would enjoy it. You are halfway through to be a good Director”
 
 
In his parting lines to the students, he said, “Failure is inevitable but what counts is how quickly you get up and figure out what went wrong and start working on it. Don’t get intimidated by anyone, remember there is no such thing as a wrong shot”.
 
 
 
For more information contact:
Tel. no.: +91-22-28257009/+91-22-28257008

Guest lecture by prominent Cinematographer and Director, Mr. Ashok Mehta at Digital Academy – The Film School.

Ashok Mehta, one of India’s most respected cinematographers, ran away from home and school in Delhi, in the 70s to pursue his dream of becoming an Actor. However, on arriving, he realized that life here was a struggle. He saw no point in returning home empty handed. So he started off as a canteen boy, worked as a hawker, a light man, a camera attendant, before he finally became a cameraman. With “36 Chowrangee Lane” he had his first tryst with recognition as a Cinematographer. No formal training groomed this National Award winning Cinematographer, who also turned Director with the film “Moksh”, starring Arjun Rampal, Manisha Koirala. He has several hit Films to his credit like” The Bandit Queen”, “ Ram Lakhan”, “Saudagar”, “Chalte Chalte”, “No Entry”, “Waqt: Race Against Time” amongst few
 
 
Mr. Mehta began the lecture by focusing on the qualities required to be an Actor. If story is the soul of the film, the Actors make it evident by adding verve to it. Actors are suppose to live the characters they play, which means they have to be instinctive with the mannerisms, characteristic traits and the temperaments of the role played by them. Another important factor for an Actor is to have a good memory in order to deliver dialogues with ease. He suggested that students read at least one page everyday and try to register the content of the page in their mind, which in turn will improve their memory.
 
An Actor is expected to understand the role precisely and play it with utmost clarity and consistency. Techniques can be learnt but the job of an Actor is to be natural, he/she should design a patter in the mind and act accordingly in order to concentrate on the frame. Above all Filmmaking is work of creation, which requires lot of commitment and conviction to reach greater heights and be accepted in the industry.
 
He further informed the students to not just remain mere technicians but to become creators and explore various forms of art to become a creative person. That can be done only when one learns the skill to transform technique into art, which has a longer shelf life and remains for years to come inspiring generations all together. Talking further on this, he said, “Technique should not overpower the content otherwise it becomes gimmick, it should remain and follow the subject. Be clear about what you need, how are you going to design and light up the event, be precise about converting techniques into art, that is a must”.
 
Talking about inspiration he said that being inspired is essential for any creative person, it enhances the core of an artist further helping him/her deliver the best. Inspiration comes from anything one should have the ability to pick up from any source. Even your six senses teach and inspire you. We all have an aptitude to learn and grow, even Mother Nature teaches you a lot of things, just be open to the elements. Inspiration does not mean imitating anyone, it means getting encouraged to do something better.
 
 
Mr. Mehta further stated that innovation is the most essential criteria required to be in a creative field. It is mandatory to be different from your previous work, and most importantly work for yourself to prove yourself and not others. Design yourself in such a way that your previous work acts as a challenge for you to excel in your next venture.
 
He further mentioned that knowledge is the key to any door of success. Adding to this, he said, “Keep reading and be updated about everything, there are so many books you can learn and improvise yourself from…get inspired from everyone and do not be egoistic”.  Knowledge acquired is always less.
 
If a Director is aware about other aspects of Filmmaking it becomes easier for him/her to contribute and communicate better, since you cannot understand other’s mind communication helps to bridge that gap. A Director is expected to have the capacity to at least understand the jargons of other department of Filmmaking to explain better to his team members.
 
Any creative genius should create an impression through his/her work, put your soul in your work for it to last. People who have contributed to the world of art are still respected, admired and cherished. It all depends on how well you communicate your views to the audience.
 
On asked about how important Lighting is he said that, using camera is a technique but how to change the mood and look of a particular scene depends on how well you illuminate it. It is critical to understand framing and composition and lighting will differ from scene to scene.
 
In his parting lines he advised the students to work hard and be open for learning from various sources. Elaborating on this, he said, “Everyone has a journey in life even blessed people have to work for it. Use your wisdom and decide whose experience and wisdom you should take and learn from”.
 
 
For more information contact:
Tel. no.: +91-22-28257009/+91-22-28257008
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