Tuesday, 18 June 2013


Currently the film is trending on Facebook and YouTube with an average of 20 views daily. We got special appraisals from our school where the film was screened and also from the college. Most of the teachers who saw our work were happy and all praises for us. When I screened the movie for my batch-mates, I got a huge applaud as soon as the film ended. It feels very nice when someone appreciates your efforts.

Me, well, I am more than happy since I have at last found what I want to do in my life. With Ashish, I have already started working on two new scripts.

The first one CHEEKH, is currently in the post production stage. It is a story about rape victims and what all should be done to rapists and other molesters of this kind. It is directed by me and Ashish and both of us have acted in it too, other cast members are, Sonu Kumar, Kajal Shrivastav, Krittika Trikha. Camera handling is done by Sandeep Rawat from my class, evening batch. 
The film looks promising on the editing table.

Other film is KSHITIJ, a film about our roots, our villages and what all differences are between city dwellers and village people, it shows the adventures and experiences of a big city boy when he goes to his village for the first time. It has dance, comedy, a desi flavor and a nice vibe to it. This film is in its production stage as of march 2013.

The trailers and teasers of both the films have been uploaded on youtube and facebook.

Trivia and Post Production- Points to remember

I am going to list this section in pointers. This would include the work I did as post production of VIKALP and also some interesting trivia about the film. So, here goes
  • 1.    ALL THE POST PRODUCTION WAS DONE BY ME AND ASHISH ONLY, without any help or suggestion from any other person.
  • 2.    The trailer of the movie is created entirely by me.

  • 3.    All the editing has been done on one and one software only, Adobe Premiere Pro and on my laptop.

  • 4.    Both Ashish and I learnt editing while editing this film. Before that we didn’t know anything about it.

  • 5.    THE ENTIRE FILM WAS MADE ON A BUDGET OF JUST 45 RUPEES! Anybody beat that now!

  • 6.    All the cast and crew were completely amateurs at the time of shooting filming and editing, many of us, including me, are still amateurs.

  • 7.    The shooting and scripting of this film were completed in merely 7-8 days. The editing took 2months.

  • 8.    The soundtrack used in the movie is of a very successful Hollywood blockbuster, “Requiem for a dream” and is composed by Clint Mansell.

  • 9.    Another video from this movie, basically a compressed. 1-minute version of this is also available on the youtube channel.

  • 10.                       The film was sent to TESS film festival in Symbiosis, PUNE, but sadly we got no reply from them.

  • 11.                       I wish someday, some bigwig sees our film and tells us that it is a good effort. That day, our efforts would be worth.

Movie Production

This is the stage at which all the filming is carried out. All scenes planned out in pre-production are filmed at the relevant locations. Each scene is filmed as many times as the director deems fit, to ensure the best quality scenes will be used to construct the film. This is where the strength of the pre-production work is put to the test. Great care must be taken to make sure that all the filming is done correctly and all necessary shots are taken, as it is sometimes difficult or impossible to go back and repeat certain events if the filming is incomplete when it comes to the post-production stage.

This is the part where I am going to write about how we shot the film, what all pains were taken. How the suicide scene was made possible, about various shots used and how the shoot was successfully wrapped up.

So, back to the first day, due to much work and less time, we had to wrap up the shoot fast. We thought it would be easy but then another problem caught our attention- Madhusudan and Ankit knew no acting at all.

We taught them whatever all we knew in around four hours and then begun shooting. As a result of that, the shoot which had to start at about 8 in the evening, started at 11 PM. As I have written before, we stuck with the policy of at least 4 takes per shot. We started off with filming the introduction scene of the bullies first. A fact about this film is, the scenes were all shot in the same sequence as they are placed in the movie, simply said, there are little or no jump cuts. We had to maintain continuity and that was our prime goal. The first phase of shooting took around 5 hours in which we taught our friends how to act, we finalized preparing the location, improvised and reexamined everything and shot as we desired. The second scene was shot in a different room of Ankit’s house. This scene was completed in a remarkably less time than the previous one because now we all had gotten the hang of whatever was going on. The number of unnecessary retakes was reduced too.

Overall, the shoot for the first day went fairly well and without much trouble. The only problem we had was that none of us slept that night and because of that the shoot for the next day could become lethargic. Little did we know that the next day would be filled with much more excitement and fun than we could ever imagine.

Next day turned out to be a great day; not just in terms of work and learning but also fun-wise. We reached St. Teresa’s Academy, the second location at 8 in the morning. Thankfully, it was a Saturday, a holiday for all classes except 10th and 12th which had their pre-board exams going on. The first scene was the washroom scene and within a few takes, it was completed. After that, the homework scene, Tiffin scene and all the others were done too with ease. Except the suicide scene, all the others were complete in the duration of 6 hours, inclusive of the retakes, costume changing and set designing.

The suicide scene was a bit tricky though. Firstly because ill the time we reached filming the scene, the weather had changed and nearly everyone was tired. Some people that we picked up to fill in as extras, mostly other students had already gone home. Neither me, nor ashish had lost our zeal to film the scene. We were tired, but we wanted to wrap the shoot as fast as possible; after all, no matter how great your film is, the college issues a camera for 3 days only.

The best and probably strangest thing about the method of our shooting is that we improvise on-field. Any scene can change anytime if we feel that it can be better if shot differently. If I say in the language of physics, our scripts are DYNAMIC in nature, i.e. they are not constant. They can change anytime we want them to.

Anyways, coming back to the shooting, at the time of the suicide scene, almost everyone had left, except me, Ashish, his brother whom we had called to help and a few kids who had come to play in the school ground. The tricky part of shooting this scene was that we had not pre decided the requisite shots and angles. All was to be done impromptu. Right from the scene where the protagonist is sitting and crying till the scene where he dies, it took about 1.5 hours to film and that too in continuity, not in bits and pieces.
The blood used was actually a mix of lipstick, water, vermillion, water color and oil paint (red of course!).

After the shoot was over, we were utterly exhausted, but still went over to Madhusudan’s house to shoot one last scene.
We found him sleeping and to his dismay and reluctance notwithstanding, forced him to prepare for a scene which required him to cry. We did not have glycerin with us and so, we used honey, and then, we smeared honey into his sleeping eyes. Luckily, we got a perfect shot.

The shot is the last one in our movie and according to many-a-people; it gives them Goosebumps whenever they watch the movie.

And thus, the production of VIKALP was over. We then moved towards post-production. 

Stages of Production

Pre production
Pre-production is the process of preparing all the elements involved in a film. In filmmaking and video production, pre-production formally begins once a project has been green lit. At this stage, finalizing preparations for production go into effect. Financing will generally be confirmed and many of the key elements such as principal cast members, director and cinematographer are set. By the end of pre-production, the screenplay is hopefully finalized.

I have already told about the cast selection and location finalizing. In this segment, I am going to talk about how we designed and prepared the locations and how we proceeded to the further production stage.

Our first step was to prepare the location for the first day (or rather night), for which we started off with readying the room’s look, so that it resembled a hideout, since the main bully is portrayed like a gangster. The room was full with gadgets like mobile phones, laptops and other computer peripherals and cigarette boxes were scattered everywhere and we prepared the room’s look, setup of the camera, lights and all simultaneously.

We stuck to the policy of minimum 4 retakes per shot, so that only the best would go in our movie. As I have told before, the costumes and make up were all courtesy Ankit. How we shot the movie is in topics to come.

Our second location for the movie was the school. We did not have to do much effort for preparing this location because firstly, the problem we could have faced was crowd control but we were lucky enough to get shooting permission on a Saturday, which is an off day. About 30-40 students had come to the school and that too because of extra classes. Secondly, nearly all the students knew us, and were happy to help once their classes were over.

So, this is how we arranged for, and prepared the locations to begin with the shoot.

The equipment needed for shoot was all provided by our college, Jagannath International Management School, courtesy Mr. Anish Saxena and Mrs. Ritu Sood, our teachers.

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The Implementation

After our initial discussion, we thought of implementing the same as our film topic since it was our only choice now. The first and foremost problem in this was selecting a location. Since the story of VIKALP is based on schools, our location had to be a school; and nothing else would’ve been better than St. Teresa’s academy, the school from which we had passed. We had very little time in hand and work was surplus. It was 15th of November, 2011 around 3 in the afternoon when we started working on our movie.
First thing we did, we went straight to the school. Luckily, it is a convent and our principal and most of the staff are nuns. They live in the premises itself. After much pleading and requesting the principal for about half an hour, she finally gave us permission to shoot because we had wasted her precious time and she wanted to waste no more.

We decided to begin the shoot from the next day. Now, the task in hand was finalizing the cast. I decided to play the protagonist myself since the story was mine. For the role of the main bully, we decided upon a classmate of ours, Madhusudan Sharma. He had zero acting experience and did not know anything about film making or acting, but there was one quality in him, and that was his ability to grasp. We talked with him, he agreed, reluctantly.

Another great friend and neighbor of mine is Ankit Chaudhary. So, around 8 in the evening Ashish, me and Madhur decided to shoot the initial portions in Ankit’s house. All the makeup, costumes, props, and accessories used in the film belong to Ankit and without him; the movie could never have been possible.

How the idea originated


The idea or the subject of this short movie is bullying and harassment of weak children in schools, which is a common malpractice that has always been in front of us but people seldom pay any heed towards it.

 The school I studied in was a convent school and because of that there was very little news of misbehavior with any student since the environment was pretty strict but since it was in a small city, modinagar, several incidents of bullying, harassment and other kinds of misbehavior always came into news from other schools and colleges.

 Uttar Pradesh is a state well known for its heritage but another well known fact of this state is the hooliganism and increasing crime among adults as well as juveniles which starts right from scholastic level. Students, normally form groups and stay together and when they start getting the feeling of power, they start imitating bigger goons they may have heard of somewhere. Everybody likes power but the strong and powerful always end up bullying and beating up the weaker students around them.

I have been born and brought up in this kind of environment and have seen all of this first hand. Children as young as 12 or 13, indulge in quarrels with one another over insignificant topics such as cricket matches or any minor dispute. These arguments then turn into big fights and as a result, a fight between 2 small children over a petty issue turns into a huge gang-war between two powerful “gangs”, and all this to emphasize their might. I always thought of writing a story or making a movie on this topic but never got a chance until my 
admission in JIMS.

In October 2011, as per university syllabus, our class was given an assignment to make a documentary, properly shot and edited. We were to be marked on the basis of quality; and theme of the video. It was a group assignment and was to be done by a group of at least 5 classmates. I didn’t know anything about movie making at that time and wished I could join someone else’s group as well as learn a thing or two. Unfortunately, everybody else in my class had formed their own groups and nobody volunteered to take me in; as a result I decided not to do the assignment.

Enter Ashish Sharma, my friend from primary school. Ashish and I are in the same class but he is in BJMC evening batch. He too was facing some problems regarding team work in his group. So, this one time, we were strolling in streets of Delhi when he suggested we should make a documentary together. I didn’t have any qualms about it, rather it was a good opportunity for me since he knew well about the nuances of video shooting and editing. The subject we chose for our documentary was about black magic practice in villages and small towns by local tantric babas and miyas. We planned to make it as an interview.

Around November 2011, we readied the interview script and started working on the details. We had already talked to a local baba who claimed to make people free from illness just by a touch of peacock feathers. That seemed interesting enough to shoot. On 15 November, 2011, we set up our equipment, arranged for the babaji and started interviewing him. Now this person, who seemed a little hesitant at first, as time passed, grew suspicious of us and eventually ran away without even completing the interview.

He never came back and we were left in the middle of nowhere. We had issued a VX2000 camera for 3 days and nothing of our assignment could be done now. At that time, I remembered telling Ashish about another story which I had decided to keep as a backup, a story that I had verbally narrated to him once, about bullying in schools, a story on which I had always wanted to make a film.

So now, we had one camera, two amateur film makers, one unscripted story, no locations, no crew, no cast and nothing else. That’s how we started VIKALP.

What VIKALP is all about

VIKALP, a story about the traumatic life of a school student who’s been suppressed and `oppressed by the hands of his local school bullies. The protagonist, Ayush tries hard to fit in with his classmates but is discouraged, tortured and bullied every time.
VIKALP, the movie made by Siddharth Tyagi and Ashish Sharma tells the day to day distressing experiences a lonely boy faces. The film is a tribute to the life of many such students who give in to the subjugation by their stronger counterparts and it asks a simple question to the bullies.

Are your acts justified?