The Film Appreciation Course 2007 (FA) - Part 3: The Lectures

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This is the third post in a series about about the film appreciation course I did last summer. The first post was about the overall experience. The second one discussed the selection of movies and what I liked and the very little I did not. This one is about the lectures’ section of the course.

Exactly a year ago, this day, we stood in a line to complete the registration process and get introduced to the faculty and organizers of the course. Here’s to the wonderful relationships that I made there. For one reason or the other this series of posts kept making the “things that can be postponed list”. Anyhow, here it is - out of foggy memory from a year ago, and scribbled notes that don’t make complete sense anymore. Nevertheless, I’m sure you will get a gist of what we were lectured on.

General discussion on films

Like any fairly structured course, this one too built up slowly. The course started with general discussions on films, the different kinds of films, and comparison of this medium to other forms of art, like theater and the written word. Discussions in these lectures ranged from the obvious ‘different genres of films’ to how the viewing experience is different when you watch the same content on film versus on television. Basic concepts used by film-makers to get their message across like motifs and more generally, metaphors were talked about too.The flow of topics touched upon by Prof. Chabbaria was smooth, hence logical and thought-provoking - loads of fascinating theories! But, the open session with the then-director of FTII, Tripurari Sharan was one of the most unproductive lectures - in my life, friends, not just this course. The only thing that I was sure of when the 3.5 hours were done was that Mr. Sharan had attended the Cannes Festival and that he had an extremely condescending attitude towards the students.

(Click here for session details)

Technicalities! Technicalities!!

Going into the course, I was anticipating a cursory introduction to the process of film-making. Again while I was not completely satisfied, there were some lectures that made the entire course worth sitting through the ones the unstructured ones. Prof. Yogesh Mathur’s lecture on editing was easily the most lucid description of the cutting and chopping that happens at the end of every movie. The other technical departments discussed were camera techniques, screenplay writing, theory of melodrama, film economics, film criticism, mise-en-scène, visual composition, narrative techniques, film and music, documentaries, and sound - and they were interesting in that order.

Prof. Hariharan is one of those rare teachers who knew both his subject and how to teach it well. He was the only one who kept his students engaged in the ‘theory of melodrama’ and ‘film economics’ by make his lectures fun.

I hoped for the lecture on sound being a revelation, but it ended up being a presentation of how the software Prof. Satish Kumar uses worked.

The departments glaringly missing were acting and direction. While it can be argued that everything discussed falls under direction, I was looking forward to knowing the techniques actors use to please and displease us.
(Click here for session details)

Where would we be without our history?

There was this whole series of lectures on history right from the inception of the concept of moving image to the more contemporary subjects like ‘Popular Indian cinema’. A lot of these discussions also involved lengthy discourses on the history of paintings, the eras, and the transition between these areas. The point being to draw a sort-of parallel between these eras and the phases that cinema has gone through in different parts of the world.

(Click here for session details)

Movies - The abstract art

I had no clue that this would be a part of this course. Film ‘appreciation’ course…duh!? Well, I’m glad it was. I must admit that I started off thinking it was all fluff. Thanks to the flaky ’style/body language’ of Prof. Gayatri Chatterjee and her choice of one flowery/go-look-in-the-dictionary word strung after the other forming a sentence that made no sense to me. Exactly! Just like this one!! But, much like a meditation course, I felt the impact after the course was over and began noticing changes in the way I looked at movies.

So, Madam Chatterjee, though your words definitely passed right through one ear to the other, they seem to yet have affected whatever lies in between. Yet, what I sorely missed was a detailed discussion on these movies. There was no time set aside for that and how I wish there was time to discuss different interpretations. How? Well, I wouldn’t mind a cut down on the history!

(Click here for session details)

Discussions with directors
After Prof. Mathur’s lecture on Editing, these were the most exciting sessions. At most times, the outcome of such a discussion would be an appreciation of the effort that went into making the movie, regardless of whether or not you liked it. I enjoyed the discussion on “Khosla ka Ghosla” with Dibakar Banerjee the most. After all, I got to talk about what I didn’t like about the movie. He was adorably receptive to criticism.

Easily the most amusing moment of the course was when all of us saw 3 hours dedicated to discussing Mr. Sharan’s movie. An unspoken, unanimous decision was taken to skip lectures that morning. So, while there were a few takers for the second half of that session, the first session, I am told, didn’t have a single student. Such was the effect of the 3 hours we spent with him in an open session earlier in the course.

(Click here for session details)

Of course, we skipped many more lectures and nicknamed a few professors. And of course, I won’t tell you which ones those were; go create your own memories. The warmth the memory of that one month brings is anyway, because of the time spent outside the classroom. Time spent making new friends who, as it turns out are here to stay.


The Film Appreciation Course 2007 (FA): Details of the lecture sessions

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Session title, Professor, Date, Time

General discussion on films (Approximately 15 hours) - Introduction to the nature of cinema, Prof. Suresh Chabria, 21/5, 3pm
- Kinds of films, Suresh Chabria, 22/5, 11.30 am
- Basic concepts, Satish Bahadur, 25/5, 11.30 am
- Kinds of films, Suresh Chabria, 31/5, 9.30 am
- Basic concepts, Satish Bahadur, 31/5, 11.30 am
- Kinds of films, Suresh Chabria, 1/6, 9.30 am
- Open session with director, FTII, Tripurari Sharan, 4/6, 9.30 am
- Open session with director, FTII, Tripurari Sharan, 4/6, 11.30 am
- Film and other arts, Samik Bandhopadhyay, 13/6, 11.30 am
- Film, theatre and novel, Samik Bandhopadhyay, 14/6, 3 pm

Technicalities! Technicalities!! (Approximately 35 hours) - How films are made, Somnath Sen, 22/5, 3 pm
- Film editing, Yogesh Mathur, 23/5, 9.30 am
- Film editing, Yogesh Mathur, 23/5, 11.30 am
- Screenplay writing, Somnath Sen, 25/5, 9.30 am
- Screenplay writing, Nadi Palshikar, 26/5, 9.30 am
- Camera Techniques, Bipin Naria, 29/5, 9.30 am
- Camera Techniques, Bipin Naria, 29/5, 11.30 am
- Visual composition, Arun Khopkar, 29/5, 3 pm
- Mise-en-scene, Arun Khopkar, 30/5, 9.30 am
- Mise-en-scene, Arun Khopkar, 30/5, 11.30 am
- Narrative techniques in cinema, Surbhi Goel, 2/6, 9.30 am
- Narrative techniques in cinema, Surbhi Goel, 2/6, 11.30 am
- Sound in cinema, Satish Kumar, 6/6, 9.30 am
- Sound in cinema, Satish Kumar, 6/6, 11.30 am
- Theory of melodrama, K. Hariharan, 7/6, 3 pm
- Film economics, K. Hariharan, 9/6, 11.30 am
- Film and music, Bhaskar Chandravarkar, 11/6, 9.30 am
- Film and music, Bhaskar Chandravarkar, 11/6, 11.30 am
- Contemporary Indian Documentary, Madhushree Datta, 11/6, 3pm
- Film and music, Bhaskar Chandravarkar, 12/6, 9.30 am
- Film and music, Bhaskar Chandravarkar, 12/6, 11.30 am
- Film criticism, Ajit Duara, 15/6, 11.30 am

Where would we be without our history? (Approximately 20 hours) - Early cinema, Suresh Chabria, 24/5, 3pm
- Early Indian Cinema, P. K. Nair, 25/5, 3 pm
- Film and Visual Art, Suresh Chabria, 28/5, 9.30 am
- Film and Visual Art, Suresh Chabria, 28/5, 11.30 am
- Film History, Anil Zankar, 28/5, 3 pm
- Indian cinema: The studio era, Gayatri Chatterjee, 30/5, 3pm
- Film history, Anil Zankar, 4/6, 3 pm
- Film history, Suresh Chabria, 5/6, 11.30 am
- New Indian Cinema, Gayatri Chatterjee, 7/6, 11.30 am
- Indian popular cinema, K. Hariharan, 8/6, 9.30 am
- Indian popular cinema, K. Hariharan, 8/6, 11.30 am
- Gender in Indian cinema, P. K. Nair, 8/6, 3 pm
- Film and other Arts, Samik Bandhopadhyay, 12/6, 3 pm
- Film History, Suresh Chabria, 13/6, 9.30 am

Movies - The abstract art (Approximately 7 hours) - Film Analysis, Suresh Chabria, 22/5, 9.30 am
- Analysis of short films with group discussion, Gayatri Chatterjee, 24/5, 9.30am
- Analysis of short films with group discussion, Gayatri Chatterjee, 24/5, 11.30am
- Film analysis, Gayatri Chatterjee, 26/5, 11.30 am
- Film Analysis, Gayatri Chatterjee, 1/6, 11.30 am

Discussions with directors (Approximately 9 hours) - Discussion with Chitra Palekar, 5/6, 9.30 am
- Discussion with Dibakar Banerjee, 7/6, 9.30 am
- Discussion with Sashi Paravoor, 9/6, 9.30 am
- Discussion with Tripurari Sharan, 14/6, 9.30am
- Discussion with Tripurari Sharan, 14/6, 11.30am
- Discussion with Gautam Ghose, 15/6, 9.30 am

Library hour, NFAI tour, Valedictory function (Approximately 8 hours)

Chronological order of lectures
- Introduction to the nature of cinema, Suresh Chabria, 21-May, 3pm
- Kinds of films, Suresh Chabria, 22-May, 11.30 am
- How films are made, Somnath Sen, 22-May, 3 pm
- Film Analysis, Suresh Chabria, 22-May, 9.30 am
- Film editing, Yogesh Mathur, 23-May, 9.30 am
- Film editing, Yogesh Mathur, 23-May, 11.30 am
- Analysis of short films with group discussion, Gayatri Chatterjee, 24-May, 9.30am
- Analysis of short films with group discussion, Gayatri Chatterjee, 24-May, 11.30am
- Basic concepts, Satish Bahadur, 25-May, 11.30 am
- Screenplay writing, Somnath Sen, 25-May, 9.30 am
- Screenplay writing, Nadi Palshikar, 26-May, 9.30 am
- Film analysis, Gayatri Chatterjee, 26-May, 11.30 am
- Camera Techniques, Bipin Naria, 29-May, 9.30 am
- Camera Techniques, Bipin Naria, 29-May, 11.30 am
- Visual composition, Arun Khopkar, 29-May, 3 pm
- Mise-en-scene, Arun Khopkar, 30-May, 9.30 am
- Mise-en-scene, Arun Khopkar, 30-May, 11.30 am
- Kinds of films, Suresh Chabria, 31-May, 9.30 am
- Basic concepts, Satish Bahadur, 31-May, 11.30 am
- Kinds of films, Suresh Chabria, 1-Jun, 9.30 am
- Film Analysis, Gayatri Chatterjee, 1-Jun, 11.30 am
- Narrative techniques in cinema, Surbhi Goel, 2-Jun, 9.30 am
- Narrative techniques in cinema, Surbhi Goel, 3-Jun, 11.30 am
- Open session with director, Tripurari Sharan, 4-Jun, 9.30 am
- Open session with director, Tripurari Sharan, 4-Jun, 11.30 am
- Discussion with Chitra Palekar, 5-Jun, 9.30 am
- Sound in cinema, Satish Kumar, 6-Jun, 9.30 am
- Sound in cinema, Satish Kumar, 6-Jun, 11.30 am
- Theory of melodrama, K. Hariharan, 7-Jun, 3 pm
- Discussion with Dibakar Banerjee, 7-Jun, 9.30 am
- Film economics, K. Hariharan, 9-Jun, 11.30 am
- Discussion with Sashi Paravoor, 9-Jun, 9.30 am
- Film and music, Bhaskar Chik Bandhopadhyay, 14-Jun, 3 pm
- Discussion with Tripurari Sharan, 14-Jun, 9.30am
- Discussion with Tripurari Sharan, 14-Jun, 11.30am
- Film criticism, Ajit Duara, 15-Jun, 11.30 am
- Discussion with Gautam Ghose, 15-Jun, 9.30 amandravarkar, 11-Jun, 9.30 am
- Film and music, Bhaskar Chandravarkar, 11-Jun, 11.30 am
- Contemporary Indian Documentary, Madhushree Datta, 11-Jun, 3pm
- Film and music, Bhaskar Chandravarkar, 12-Jun, 9.30 am
- Film and music, Bhaskar Chandravarkar, 12-Jun, 11.30 am
- Film and other arts, Samik Bandhopadhyay, 13-Jun, 11.30 am
- Film, theater and novel, Samik Bandhopadhyay, 14-Jun, 3 pm
- Discussion with Tripurari Sharan, 14-Jun, 9.30am
- Discussion with Tripurari Sharan, 14-Jun, 11.30am
- Film criticism, Ajit Duara, 15-Jun, 11.30 am
- Discussion with Gautam Ghose, 15-Jun, 9.30 am

- meeta, a part of the audience

Comments (2)

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bharatboom.com:

A review of FTII's film appreciation course...

A review of FTII's film appreciation course...

meetu:

Hi Vrushalee,

Here you go -
http://withoutgivingthemovieaway.com/main/the-film-appreciation-course-2007-fa-part-1-the-experience/

and

http://withoutgivingthemovieaway.com/main/uncategorized/the-film-appreciation-course-2007-fa-part-2-the-movies/

Good luck!

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