5th Veda Session with Shabana Azmi

DSC01447“Knowing poetry is a must, to excel in acting along with life skills,” said Shabana Azmi during the 5th Veda session to our students.

An endless thunder of claps echoed through our auditorium, when ‘Padma Bhushan’ awardee, Shabana Azmi walked up the stage at the 5th Veda cultural hub to address an enthusiastic audience.

The event commenced with a spiritual AV, featuring the evolution of acting over the years in Indian cinema, followed by a series of monologues performed by the filmmaking students for the guest of honor. The session was moderated by our Founder & Chairman, Subhash Ghai.

One of the finest actors in Indian cinema, Shabana Azmi shared her acting experiences with the audiences right from her FTII days, and how studying there was an eye opener for her. With an aim to celebrate the actor’s contribution to Indian cinema, various clips were shown from her movies, right from her first to the recent National award winning movie, Neerja.

She also shared a few lines written by Javed Akhtar and threw light on the importance of poems in our lives. Being an actor, she believes that it is always beneficial if an actor is also a poet, as it gives them the required command over the language.

DSC01499Speaking about her experience at Whistling Woods International she said, “I don’t feel like I am a guest here, I feel like a family member of WWI. I have been a part of this institute since its inception, and it is always a pleasure to visit the campus. I want to congratulate each student present in the auditorium, as they have got a wonderful opportunity to study here. I would like to wish all the students good luck for their future.”

The eventful session concluded with a token of appreciation given to the evergreen veteran Shabana Azmi by our President, Meghna Puri. The five time National Award winner received a standing ovation from more than 400 filmmaking students of our institute at the 5th Veda event.

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5th Veda with Lyricist, Amitabh Bhattacharya

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We witnessed utmost excitement among the students, when renowned lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya walked up the stage to address a zealous audience on lyric writing.

The session kick-started with an interesting AV on different forms of poetry and how it has evolved over the years. It also highlighted the contribution of well-known poets to the Indian cinema, and shed light on the art of poetry writing. Our Founder and Chairman, Subhash Ghai, moderated the session making sure that the esteemed guest came up with some impromptu compositions for the students to learn the technique of lyric writing in detail.

While talking about it, Amitabh Bhattacharya, highlighted the key difference between poetry writing and lyric writing, and how both have its own set of rules and regulations to be followed. When asked about how to compose a song from the scratch, he said, “The words I use in my lyrics today, are the words I used to hear in my childhood in my hometown. I always wanted to keep some connection with my roots, hence I found this way. I have not taken any professional training in lyric writing, it comes naturally to me.”

DSC01114The 5th Veda session with Amitabh Bhattacharya underlined the importance of lyrics in mainstream Indian cinema. He shared his journey to fame in the film industry, and further entertained the audiences by singing some of the blockbuster songs he has penned including ‘Emosanal Attyachaar’ from Dev D, ‘Haanikaarak Bapu’ from Dangal, ‘Channa Mereya’ from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, ‘Ankahee’ from Lootera to name a few. The highlight of the evening was when he sung the unreleased version of the title track of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, leaving the audience mesmerized with the beauty of the meaningful lyrics and his personal rendition.

Towards the end of an eventful session, he also mentioned how he still listens to the tune first, before writing the lyrics for his songs. He also shared a few anecdotes and behind the scene working experiences with renowned Bollywood stars like Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan.

Talking about our institute he said, “I completely enjoyed the session, I think Subhash ji has done an amazing job by building a school which provides a platform to the young talents. The vibe here is completely different and I was thrilled when I heard the students sing. I think they are phenomenal.”

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Screenwriting Workshop, 2017

DSC00553We conducted a five-day screenwriting workshop for our filmmaking students and other participants, from 1st March to 5th March 2017, at our campus. Hosted by industry stalwart and Head of Screenwriting,  WWI, Anjum Rajabali, the workshop aimed at developing and further enhancing the screenwriting skills of the participants.

The workshop was a golden opportunity for all the aspiring writers, and also a useful workshop for professional writers to further improvise and strengthen their understanding of the craft in detail, with the changing needs of writing for the movies.

Some of the biggest and most celebrated names in the Indian screenwriting space, shared their valuable experiences with the participants and made it more interactive. The objective of the workshop was to build a confident grasp of screenwriting principles in the participants, which would further help free their original creativity.

There were several known names from the Indian television & film industry who participated in the screenwriting workshop. The professionals participating mentioned that it was an invigorating experience, as many of them came back to learning after working for several years in the industry.

DSC00569“I’m excited to be a student again. I passed out in 1993, post three years of my acting training. And now after 1993, in 2017 I’m attending the screenwriting workshop. It is a great experience to be a student and just listen to an expert who is a well-read person and learn from him who knows a lot about scriptwriting. For me, it is a very thrilling experience”, said Anup Soni, film & television actor about the workshop at WWI.

In the last couple of years, the Indian film industry has witnessed a renaissance of sorts, in terms of content and screenplay. With the changing scenario of screenwriting, more films are breaking the conventional mould, relying confidently on bold scripts, which are widely accepted by the audiences.

On the first day, the participants were given inputs by the professionals on the basics of screenwriting followed by a specific feedback given on how to turn stories into scripts, looking into the thematic issues and the script’s potential on the second day. The remaining three days were dedicated to improvise those scripts under the guidance of experts from the industry.

The workshop also witnessed the presence of well-known names from the Hindi film industry who shared their guidance with the participants attending the workshop. The guest speakers included renowned director & screen writers like, Jaideep Sahni (Chak De! India), Shakun Batra (Kapoor & Sons), Gauri Shinde (Dear Zindagi), Shridhar Raghavan (Dum Maaro Dum), Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (Nil Battey Sannata), Juhi Chaturvedi (Piku) and Sriram Raghavan (Badlapur) to name a few.

Talking about the workshop, Anjum Rajabali said, “The vigour with which 140 participants interacted with the screenwriting principles, and questioned about the craft, sends a clear signal that we are taking our writing very seriously. At this rate, it should be only a matter of time before we see a continuous stream of wonderful scripts becoming available to the film industry, which will lead us towards great cinema! I feel extremely proud to be associated with WWI, as they always put their best foot forward in contributing to the film fraternity.”

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WWI Masterclass with Sameer Pitalwalla

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Sameer Pitalwalla, CEO & Co-Founder of India’s leading digital media company, Culture Machine, interacted with WWI students from the School of Media & Communication (SMC) at an insightful master class and introduced them to the digital world.

Founded in 2013 by Sameer Pitalwalla and Venkat Prasad, Culture Machine is a Digital Media company whose mission is to use technology to create great digital brands that people love. By combining cutting edge technology with great content, Culture Machine currently runs some of Asia’s largest digital media brands and also licenses its core technologies to advertisers, media companies and agency partner’s world-over.

“Content is the brick and content distribution is the wall; they go hand-in-hand in the world of digital media”, said Sameer Pitalwalla while conducting the SMC master class.

Moderated by Chaitanya Chinchlikar, Vice-President, WWI, the masterclass commenced with Sameer’s journey and the establishment of Culture Machine. He shared some experiences from his eventful journey and introduced students to the digital world and content creation.

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Towards the end of the master class, he emphasised and explained the need of content in the modern era, and how it gives each brand a unique identity and helps them to identify the target audience. He gave examples of niche brands like Blush and Being Indian, which coincided well with the topic of the masterclass. While interacting with the students, he advised them on usage of content across various platforms, and how a video can get viral solely on the basis of its distinguished content.

Talking about such initiatives that let students to interact with and learn from the industry experts, Sameer said, “I had a wonderful time interacting with young media aspirants. It is always a pleasure to meet the youth, as it is a great opportunity to understand their mind-set. I hope I was able to provide insights on the industry to the students present for the session. Lastly, I would like to wish them the very best, if they wish to initiate their own venture in the future in the digital world.”

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WWI Masterclass with Nina Lekhi

 

dsc_0063Our students from the School of Media & Communication (SMC) participated in an engaging and informative session by Nina Lekhi, Founder, Baggit. The masterclass commenced with Nina sharing her success story which began at the age of 16 years.      Nina Lekhi spoke about her journey and shared some instances from her life with our students.

Nina has been an inspiring role model for many young women entrepreneurs in India, and around the globe. She shared her entrepreneurial success journey that started by making ‘thellas’ and now owns Baggit, a 100-crore company. Speaking about her recently launched book, ‘Bag It All’, Nina also explained about the flounders she went through while writing the book, and how her family and friends always motivated her to write. A strong believer of ‘beauty without cruelty’, she shed some light on the most important feature of her brand, which makes it the only ‘Vegan’ brand in the market. Concluding the commemoration, she, also advised the students to have a zest and zeal in the work they do in the future.

dsc_0043Speaking about her experience at WWI she said, “I am happy to be here and connect with a group of young and enthusiastic group of students. I believe passion & determination drives you to work harder and smarter everyday. If I can do it, I believe even they can. I see a lot of potential in the students of WWI, and I wish them luck for their future endeavours.”

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5th Veda Session with Saroj Khan

dsc00393“I never learnt Kathak and Bharatanatyam, but always danced to the music and lyrics, since my childhood until today”, confessed Saroj Khan while attending the 5th Veda session at our institute.

dsc00465Our auditorium reverberated with sounds of enthusiasm and excitement, as the National award winning choreographer Saroj Khan addressed the students as part of the institute’s 5th Veda sessions. The session began with a documentary reflecting the evolution of dance over the years and the various classical dance forms in India, followed by a special AV curated by the students on Saroj Khan’s journey in Bollywood. The screenings were followed by an engaging session with Saroj Khan, which was moderated by our Founder and Chairman Subhash Ghai.

During the session, Saroj Khan touched upon various aspects of her life – the downfalls, barriers and struggles, some precious moments in the journey, and the people who supported her, all of which contributed to her success.  She also elaborated on how dance is not only an art form, but a ‘spiritual experience’. The legendary choreographer also showed signature steps from some of her blockbuster Bollywood songs, taking students in an absolute frenzy.

It was an engaging session, as she brought in a whole lot of cheer, energy and motivation amongst the 400 students present, and also made them dance to the tunes of “Tamma Tamma”, (original song choreographed by her). The highlight of the show was when she danced to the evergreen song “Choli ke peechhe kya hai”, which received a standing ovation.

dsc00465During the session Subhash Ghai said, “It is an honour to have Saroj Khan with us today to grace the occasion. This session was organised with the aim of preserving the classical form of dance in today’s contemporary world. It is because of her, the relationship of a director and a choreographer grew in the industry.”

While talking to the students, Saroj Khan gave them a very important lesson about ‘how you should always love what you do, be loyal and honest to your work, and never forget your roots’. Talking about our institute she said, “This is like my home. The students here are amazing dancers and I enjoyed spending time with them. I wish them all the very best for their future.”

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5th Veda Session With Mika Singh

dsc08452Mika may appear as a rock star with attitude on stage, but in reality, it is hard to find such a down-to-earth man”, said Subhash Ghai after his conversation with Mika Singh during a music workshop held at our campus as part of the 5th Veda cultural hub for over 400 students of filmmaking, music and other fields of media & entertainment studies.

During his interaction with the students, Mika Singh revealed that he failed in grade 5 and never continued his formal education. But he learnt the greatest lesson from life, “No job is small or big. Keep learning from every aspect of life that interests you. And in order to be loved, you have to love others. Also, always pay respect to elders, gurus and seniors and take their blessings. It’s their blessings that help you pave a successful career.”

553a0320During his visit, he visited the School of Music and interacted with 30 music students. While interacting with the students, he picked up the guitar and started playing the ‘classical tune’ from Karz. “I always wanted to be just a music composer but eventually became a singer along with being a composer. I’ve plans to start my music studios in Delhi and invite WWI students to join my team”, he further added.

The popular singer complimented our institute for the facilities provided to media aspirants. Throwing light on his successful musical journey, he shared various anecdotes behind each blockbuster songs he delivered. He shared that he never refused even the smallest opportunities that came his way during his early days and went on climbing the ladder of success with lot of patience and respect for others.

The session was a perfect musical evening, his life’s journey infused with blockbuster songs he sung while playing the guitar. He also trained few students, helping them understand techniques he learnt as part of his journey.

Mika sang his unrecorded composition and blockbuster songs and shared his secret mantras with our students at 5th VEDA cultural hub. He thanked Subhash Ghai for giving him a chance to sing ‘Mann Mein Baji Guitar’ from Apna Sapna Money Money, a Mukta Production, which boosted his career and he feels lucky to share the stage with him.

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