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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Day 9. Falalala lalala pfft!

This AD’s work is never done, probably because I never do it. Especially when I have to be the bearer of bad news. It’s kind of awful when people call me asking if they made it through the audition or not. Though I don’t give a straight answer and shell out the staple ‘we need another 9-10 days to make the decision’, I’m sure they can make out. ‘We’ll call you. Don’t call us.’ and other such cliche MBA routines don’t really work. Rejection scripts need to be revised with more believable lines. It’s hard letting someone down like that. I probably would prefer it if I was told outright that it didn’t work. But! Turns out the truth is that when someone says, “you were great, just not great for this role” it’s true! I’ve been on this side and believe me when i say that it’s the awful truth, but it is the truth. So keep your chin up and your dreams afloat.

Please Note: This DOES NOT mean we’re done with the casting. We do need more days to make our decisions. It’s just an observation on the auditioning and call back process. I know for a fact that I will see some of those who auditioned in 10-odd days. That’d be a good new year present, right?

In case anyone’s found me excessively cold, blunt or rude, please know that I apologize and I am paying for it everyday. With blood tests and a zillion medicines.

Till I see you next, with what’s my Ankhon Dekhi, Happy Holidays.

Mansi

The Yedi AD

Day 8 – Eyes on the Prize.

Last day of auditions tomorrow. Cast is almost ready. Hardly any of the people i thought would make it, made it. Sorry.

Super curious to see how Rajat is on set and treats the characters. But that’s step 506. First, Step 2. Day after, Munish and Ankur are going location-hunting, and i’m going on a holiday. Feel a tad guilty for leaving them in the middle of so much work but it’s CHRISTMAS! Plus, I’ll be working on my birthday so that should compensate for things.

But, before I go off till the new year, i have a bone to pick. I know everyone wants to look their best in an audition but for pete’s sake don’t lie so blatantly. I’ve noticed this happen since day one and on many different levels. The whole process of blaming others that you weren’t briefed correctly just makes you look stupid and unreliable. It’s cheap to play the blame game but it’s just plain daft to throw people who are getting you a job under the bus. Good luck with where you’re going with that attitude. Can’t imagine it’d be far.

Damn. i can’t start my holidays on that merry note. So, thinking of something funny. Oh! there we go. I might have failed to mention this earlier but Ankur has this inability to come on time. And today he came post lunch because he forgot something he’d bought for work at the store itself. He had to go all the way back and pretty much missed half the auditions, which were’t too many to begin with. Gosh! There’s no way I can let Rajat down unless I like set the props on fire or something. Phew! That’s a load off my brain. In case the ‘accident prone zone’ tag comes back to haunt me, i have a back up plan. It has to do with unleashing the powers of dadi’s amazing gajar ka halwa on Rajat. I’ve been duly informed that it’s an infallible way to please him. (Enter sinister laugh here).

That’s a sweet enough note to end this stage on.

See you in the new year. With new things to share.

Mansi

The Yedi AD

DAY 7 – Down One Set of Eyes.

Today was a really light day. I think the dense fog has something to do with the thin turnout. The Delhi winters had us down one man. Ankur was marked absent and missed the delish cake I got from home. The treat coincides with the end of my first week as an AD on AD. People auditioning got to enjoy some of it. We’re shooting in Delhi, guys. We have to be a khaati-peeti team.

As for the auditions, the last two days have been a case of quality over quantity. We saw about 12 people. Liked 7, loved 2. Those are seriously good numbers. Sending the videos to bombay for feedback. I’m pretty sure i’ll be yelled at by Ankur tomorrow for not sorting them the way he would. If he does, no cake for him!

@Munishbhardwaj is busy finding perfectly imperfect locations for the shoot, all of which were scoffed at by Dev, his nephew because they’re “durrty”. Super cute. We’re still desperately looking for a central female character. Her bluntness can often hurt some people and amuse others, but at the end of the day she’s good at heart. I know so many women who are like that in their real lives, if only they could do on camera what do they do in real life.

Tiny update and quick question: How is it that, @mrrajatkapoor tweeted that we urgently need 50 yo female actors and i got mails from Oman-based boys?

See you on day 8. With my Ankhon Dekhi.

Mansi

The Yedi AD

DAY 6. AD on AD Explained.

It was brought to my attention that the title of my blog’s a tad misleading. Friends logged in hoping to read about juicy Asst Dir on Asst Dir action. Sorry to disappoint everyone but this isn’t that kind of a blog and my life isn’t an episode of Entourage.

Ankur insists I mention Day 3’s 16 year old who was hitting on me. Heaven knows if he was trying to flirt his way into getting a callback. Unfortunately all he got was mocked after he left. Objectively speaking he was one of the weirdest characters we’ve seen till date and just remembering his audition is making me break out in to my fit of silent laughter. But he stood out without a doubt. Original, funny, and not trying too hard. So guess what, maybe he’ll end up on the film and you’ll have the pleasure of seeing exactly what I mean.

But this does makes me think, isn’t the sleazy pick up stuff supposed to work the other way? It’s only today that I had enough time to wonder about the infamous casting couch and the omnipresent shady producer. The only couch we have is scary solely because of its colour – bright pink. I know. And Munish could not be more chill if he tried. Truth be told, no one’s hit on me and I’ve hit on no one. And it’s not because I am related to someone on the team. Not even close to having any contacts on Ankhon Dekhi. So maybe, the couch is just for sitting.

Believe what you will. In true Ankhon Dekhi spirit, I’ll believe only what I see. Tomorrow, I hope that’s you. See ya for now.

Mansi

The Yedi AD

DAY 5 – KYA KHAAK DEKHI.

I am going to start rewarding myself with a cookie for every attachment-less mail asking me to look at the attachment. There’s a cruel joke in doing this for a movie called Ankhon Dekhi. Ankur made that joke. I shan’t repeat it. Maybe they sent it to us by mistake and were actually looking to audition for Mr India’s remake. That’d be quality casting.

Also, did I mention Ankur has an eye allergy and I was struck in the eye by Munish’s nephew today? The Ankhon Dekhi Delhi auditions are a real sight to see.

Ek aankh se bas aaj itni dekhi. See you tomorrow.

Mansi

The Yedi AD

DAY 4 – Christmas by Association.

So while people are tweeting about their lovely Christmas trees, I will be making calls to actors, some struggling, some snotty. But crib, i do not. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, and dare I break that cardinal rule. So the dukan opens right after lunch in Khan Market, with a smile on my face and a tinkle in my voice.

Ok that didn’t last long. Received another mail with no pictures. At least this one has a flickr stream. Along with it is a message – please see my photos of flickr for persual (sic). Because Christmas is almost here I feel extra generous and open the link. What I find are extremely beautiful pictures…of Ladakh. No human. Just landscapes. I’m tempted to reply with “beautiful pictures sir, but at the moment we’re not looking to cast rivers and milestones. Thank you for your time.” I have a sinking feeling that I’ll go from a jolly little caroler to a batty brown Grinch by the end of thursday.

Wow. a few calls later and I have the feeling that the transition wont take that long. But before I officially turn into a Grinch-y Scrooge I’ll pose you all a question: in any given profession, if you are the one looking for a job and hence an interview would you determine the time, and reschedule repeatedly? Would you really still think that you have an iota of a shot at the job if you made the interviewers reschedule not once but thrice? Am I insane to think that as the job seeker I should be the one who accommodates the job creators? I’m starting to worry that DU and Harvard taught me all wrong.

As I’m about to conclude this, a song comes on my itunes and I hear the lines “If it gets any sweeter than this, i don’t wanna know…” in Katie Herzig’s lovely voice. Life, you do like your wink-wink moments don’t you.

See you tomorrow. I promise i’ll try to find the sweetness Miss Herzig was singing about by then.

Xmas Cheers!

Mansi

The yedi AD

Day 3 – A case of the invisible tiara and missing glasses.

DAY 3

I think Ankur is still recovering from getting smacked by 2 elderly gentlemen in yesterday’s auditions. Such is the life of an AD. Especially, if you’re a bearded one who doesn’t wear an invisible tiara.

To break the over-sheltered princess mould and to get into the spirit of our characters i took the metro and a rickshaw to work today. At peak hour. From Rajiv Chowk. Yea! But honestly what’s been labeled as a nightmare by people, was not really that bad. No worse…actually, dare i say, even better than New York’s subways or Penn Station. Indeed it was crowded as hell. But no one poked me or blatantly grazed against me. If they did, it’s possible i didn’t feel it because my body’s gone numb thanks to Delhi’s winters.

Auditions are off to a flying start. Everyone is ahead of schedule for a change. And are even texting if they’re bailing on us. Delhi, just when my faith is teetering, you…well, suck me back in.

A tweet by Munish again created a flood of random hopefuls, made worse by the fact that Ranvir Shorey RT’d it to his 40k followers. I may not be new in this business and I am all for giving new people a chance. But the fact is that as time goes by, we find pretty good people. This makes it even harder for twitterers ‘trying their luck’ to be taken seriously. Rajat, though i have yet to meet him, does seem awfully kind. He gives a chance to people who others, including I, would see as spammers. But then, he has donkeys years in the business and I don’t. so what do i know. People can surprise you, and they do.

For instance, two people who were auditioning came without their reading glasses. How do you do that? You know you’ll be given a script to read and then audition. How do you leave your glasses at home? It’s incomprehensible to me. Ankur had this feeling that they couldn’t actually read English but didn’t want to admit it. I think he’s right and that makes me feel sad. It’s a Hindi movie. It’s very much in hindi. So go ahead and tell us that sorry, I cannot read English. No shame in that. Regardless, one of these very ladies was actually great. Very real and believable. The best we have auditioned for her character till now.

Jiya (Munish’s niece), Ankur and I barely kept our marbles together when a 16 year old auditioned like he was posing for a Hanna Barbera production. I have not seen such outrageous, exaggerated expressions beyond Nick, Disney etc. Jiya was laughing in a corner and the only thing that kept me from breaking into a fit of uncontrollable laughter was that THE. CAMERA. CANNOT. SHAKE. I’m certain my laughter was caught on it but, the camera. did. not. shake.

The last day of the audition was barely an audition. The poor woman got lost, was exhausted, couldn’t read and i’m sorry to say, could not act. But we did find one good actress and…now, its saturday night. Munish is kind enough to give us Sundays off! So, while i will certainly re-open my one-person call center tomorrow, I refuse to make any calls or check the mail even once tonight. Tonight, there will be a case of hey! there’s orange juice in my vodka.

So goodnight. See you on Day 4. with more Ankhon Dekhi.

Mansi

The yedi AD