Down the lover’s lane

I was born and brought up in Lucknow, a small town or a city, as the same was referred to in sixties and seventies. Today it is classified as an A class city with Metro service running across the city and has become the nerve centre of national politics. In early seventies when I was growing up in this town, life used to be slow placed and walking on the roads alone while going and coming from school used to be an enjoyable activity, specially if one had to pass through the most fashionable high street of Lucknow called Hazratganj. We were lucky to stay at a house that was close to Hazratganj and while going and coming to school I had to pass through the street of Hazratganj ,particularly its narrowest lane called the lover’s lane. I never saw any ‘lovers’ there but the narrow lane had few interesting shops and many youngsters, male and female, used to loiter around those shops to browse through the magazines and old books that were on display. One of these shops, besides selling old books, used to sell curios and old postal stamps . Collecting postal stamps of different countries used to be a hobby of the youngsters of my generation. In order to buy those stamps, I used to walk up and down from my home at Narhi to Queen’s college- a distance of about 3 kilometres. This walk was not only an exploration of life around (it passed through narrow by lanes as well as cinema theatres like Mayfair and Besant) but also helped me save the daily ‘bus fare’, which was then used to buy those smelly stamps. Some times I saved enough to buy a magazine called Junior Statesman or JS as it was called by the trendy lot of my generation. Reading and contributing small articles in JS made me feel as if I was more stylish and ‘hep’ ( whatever it means) than the rest of my friends. Besides carrying news and articles focused on youth affairs, JS used to carry a cartoon by the name of ‘ Love is…’ wherein a teenaged boy and girl were depicted coyly exchanging cupid glances with blurbs like…’Love is. …Using the same bus stop as hers.’ Inspired by these cupid cartoons, I started making my own version of the cartoon by imitating the figures of the boy and girl and inventing my own blurbs. For quite some time, I used to write my name as ‘ Omi ‘, wherein ‘O’ was configured as the face of the boy depicted in the cartoon. So much for the smell of those old magazines ( given on rent), postal stamps and the popcorns, coming out of the machine kept at the entrance of the shop.

Being Kasaravalli

Girish Kasaravalli is an internationally renowned Indian filmmaker, who has made highly acclaimed films like Ghatashraddha, Thai Saheba, Dweepa,Tabarana Kathe, Mane, Nayi Neralu, Kanasemba Kudureyaneri , Mane, Kurmavatara and Gulabi Talkies etc. All of his films are rooted in local culture and yet these films have travelled beyond the boundaries and have been hugely appreciated as “world cinema” . A no-frills down-to-earth approach to filmmaking has earned him the reputation of creating a unique language, of cinema which excels in “culturing realism” in Indian cinema.

Being Kasaravalli

Orbit of Life

Our journey of life is similar to the journey of a satellite orbiting around the Earth. Fitted with a camera constantly focused at Earth, the satellite goes around the orbit getting a 360* view of the Earth. Similarly as we age, we move on a trajectory getting a 360* view of the central object called ‘Life.’

While our journeys have individual trajectories, we all rotate around the same object called Earth or Life leaving different footprints and scripting different stories. Though our individual journeys in our own satellites continue one after the other, depending on the time of our arrival on Earth , the central object of focus called ‘Life’ remains unmoved just rotating at its own axis ad infinitum.

Logically, therefore, those who travelled in their satellites in the orbit around the Earth ahead of us ‘experienced’ it ‘earlier’ & ‘more’ than those of us who followed. Simply put our seniors in age  have a better view of Life, than those of  us who followed them.

Age, as they say, gives you experience or insight or wisdom, which the younger ones would get only after orbiting the Earth for their share of time.

What’s Your Story ?

Genre: Non-fiction : An Indie about Indie Cinema

Writer & Director: O P Srivastava

Editor: Aasif Pathan & O P Srivastava

Sound: Bandish Studios, Pune, Colorist: Anindya S Ray

Language: English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi, Kannada, Maithili, Punjabi with English subtitle; Duration: 51 Minute

Producer: reelismfilms, Mumbai: Contact:; 9819812473

What’s Your Story ?


Independent films or Indie films are broadly defined as the low-budget films, which are made by filmmakers independently without the support of established studios or the production houses. These films are driven by individual filmmakers’ desire or passion to tell a story or to give way to their expressions or their point of view using the medium of cinema.  In a democratic and civilized world order that we live in today, the Indie films allow independent voices to find an expression in the public domain.

Internationally, the establishment or the governments in the name of supporting Art & Culture extend support to such films and filmmakers.

In India, there is no organized ecosystem to support Independent cinema and, therefore, making independent films and sustaining such endeavors is a hugely difficult proposition.

Through this film I have tried to explore the ecosystem of Independent filmmaking in India seeking answers for the following questions:

1.What is an Indie film and how is it different from the Industry film?

2. What are the resources or avenues available for making an Indie film in India?

3.How challenging is to make and distribute an Indie film in India?

4. Is there a sustainable model for making Indie films in India?

Vultures of Lalitpur

Vultures are a natural scavenger.

If this animal becomes extinct, then we will see dead animals around with epidemics spreading all over.Of late, there has been a sudden decline in their numbers.In 1999 in India ,  a Vulture Alert was declared.Their decline is a biodiversity loss.The film explores the reasons for their decline, its consequences and the need for their conservation.There are very few places In the world, where vultures are living.

In India  in Devgarh,  District Lalitpur  Vultures are breeding successfully.

If these animals do not survive, human existence will also be in jeopardy.Let us live and let live .We need to live. They need to live.

Vultures are great friends of humanity. It is a natural scavenger. If this animal becomes extinct, then we will see dead animals around with epidemics spreading all over. There were plenty of vultures about 20 years back, but today we can count their number on fingers. Of late, there has been a sudden decline in their numbers. In 1999 in India, a Vulture Alert was declared. Their decline is a biodiversity loss. The film explores the reasons for their decline, its consequences and the need for their conservation. There are very few places In the world, where vultures are living. In India in Devgarh, District Lalitpur Vultures are breeding successfully. Vultures like to stay at uninhabited places. But mankind has hardly left any such place today. Today, there is no place for Vultures to nest or to roost. If these animals do not survive, human existence will also be in jeopardy. Live and let live .We need to live. They need to live. Only then, the life cycle on the planet earth will be maintained.  FILM: VULTURES OF LALITPUR; DURATION: 17:08 MINUTES LANGUAGE : HINDI SUBTITLES: ENGLISH SCRIPT & DIRECTION : O.P. SRIVASTAVA PRODUCER : REELISM FILMS, MUMBAI , 2015, WEBSITE : CONTACT : O P SRIVASTAVA EMAIL: PHONE: +919819812473

Courtyards,Jaalis and Pergolas

 Documentary on organic architecture

Duration 10:33 min


Colour, Stereo

Cinematographer Pooja Sharma

Editor  Aasif Pathan

Directed By OP Srivastava

Produced by Reelism films, Mumbai (+919819812473)


Courtyards, Jaalis & Pergolas

” The environment depending on how sensitively we manage its complement of resources, can either erode or strengthen our sanity and civility, and these are as essential to survival, in any meaningful and lasting sense, as clean air and water. A vitality-enhancing environment, providing a regenerative equilibrium between our surroundings and inner life must be (the architect’s) fundamental objective. Such vitality is far more basic than any number of stylistic premises and theoretical abstractions pertaining to more outward appearance. “Joseph Allen Stein.

Joseph Stein (10 April1912 -6 October 2001) was an American architect and a major figure in the establishment of a regional modern architecture in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1940’s and 1950’s during the early days of the environment design movement .In 1952, he moved to India and in 1955 he was commissioned to facilitate the establishment of Durgapur Steel Plant followed by the setting up of Durgapur Steel City and Township in 1959. He also designed several important buildings in India, including India International Centre and Habitat Centre, mostly in Lodhi Estate in Central Delhi nicknamed ‘Steinabad’ after him, where today the ‘Joseph Stein lane’ is the only road in Delhi named after an architect. He was awarded Padma Shri in 1992. His work is more relevant in the modern context as need for sustainable and humane architecture is felt more acutely across the world.

Hey Google, what’s my name ?

Google has become an integral part of our life, especially the life of the millennial. Every few minutes we refer to Google to figure out something or the other- the way to reach a destination, traffic on the road, weather forecast, location of nearest petrol station, destination for our next vacation, review of the hotel we want to stay, time for the flight to catch, clarification on new income tax rule, review of a book or a film and so on.

Goggle has become our friend, advisor and mentor for practically everything in life. There is no need to visit libraries, banks, malls, cinema halls or borrow a book from a friend. There is no need to remember anything now. Scholars in ancient times used to memorise entire books and histories. Now we are reduced to even checking a 8-digit telephone number on our cell phone.  We just do not want to remember any thing. Every information is available on a click of a button 24×7.

The Google Effect

Online access to information is changing the social power dynamics also. We are on our own. It gives us a sense of empowerment as well.

As the technology advances and our dependence on Google or online information increases, we are experiencing what is called digital amnesia-the experience of forgetting information that we trust a digital device to store and remember for us. People don’t want to waste their brain cells on remembering a phone number or a password ; they would rather use that grey matter to keep track of the latest twist on their favourite TV serial or think about the theme of the next party they need to throw for their friends.

After all, isn’t that the idea behind so many of today’s computing concepts, ranging from enterprise content management systems to the big data, that the computer can keep much more of this stuff in its brain than we can? That way we can spend our time using information instead of remembering it? The ability to ‘outsource’ our memory function to external devices simply means we start using our minds in a new way, anthropologically speaking. People can now even begin to adopt the auxiliary brains. A research by Harvard and the Universities of Columbia and Wisconsin showed that the way young people in the US remembered information was changing as a result of being able to find information on line, they would rather recall where the information was stored. The researchers called this ‘the Google effect’

The flip side

Doom mongers warn that increasing levels of big data, automation and artificial intelligence could create disruptions in life beyond what we could think of.  We can see signs of a smombie sensation  (smombie is a combo of smartphone and zombie) that is developing across the world. Its ramifications are widespread, but nothing more chilling than South Korea’s example where trials are in progress for traffic lights to be put on the ground so that busy-on smart-phone people don’t end up running over each other.

Brain- processor & server

According  to American Researcher Paul Reber our brain has the capacity to remember approximately 2.5 Petabytes- that is 2500,00 GB or 300 years of worth of TV. While long-term capacity is almost unlimited short-term memory lasts for about 20 seconds and an average person can hold in working memory only two to seven objects of information. (Miller’s Law).

Think of our brain as a shell or a processing centre, where all the information that we receive is dumped and processed as per the directives given by our brain cells.  In earlier times, most of the information dumped into the brain shell was allowed to stay there and processed or mulled over a period of time. We had the need to keep it there and recall it again and again till we reached a decision. Today, the brain does not feel the need to store or process most of the information as the same is supposed to be readily available any time required and ,therefore , the same information is allowed to get dissolved or dissipated or erased without getting processed and transferred to the ‘memory compartment’.  This is analogous to saying that our brain processor used to be working harder earlier and the memory compartment had ‘much more to store’ than what is required in the Internet times. Additionally, as larger quantity of information was required to be processed earlier the RAM (random access memory) the power of the processor required was much higher as compared to what is required in the Google times. In a way, the hard work, which the brain was required to do earlier for processing or converting the information into the memory has come down drastically. This means the RAM required for our brains is lower today than what was required in pre-Google times.

With other technologies like artificial intelligence in the speeding up, the use of brainpower is expected to further go down causing the digital amnesia to grow. Studies have shown that people are more likely to forget information that can be found online. That means as information becomes more easily available our short memory might be negatively impacted.

The Internet may well be making us think we are smarter than we really are, but this could be a serious trend to watch. Sadly, the number of people, who can think for themselves, is declining.

No wonder, if one day, we wake up in the morning and ask Google, Hey Google, what’s my name?

Pillars of Parallel Cinema

(a book to be released in January 2022)

Ek Ruka Hua Faisala(A Pending Decision)

‘Sara Akash’ (1969) by Basu Chatterjee along with Mani Kaul’s ‘Uski Roti’ (1969) and Mrinal Sen’s ‘Bhuvan Shome’ (1969) are recognized as the harbinger of Parallel Cinema in Hindi.

Basu Chatterjee was born in Ajmer, Rajasthan in a Bengali family. His middle class upbringing reflected in his movies, which explored areas, which are far removed, from the glitz and glamour of the mainstream cinema. In 1950’s Chatterjee arrived in Bombay (now Mumbai) and started his career as an illustrator and cartoonist for the weekly tabloid ‘Blitz’ published by Rusi Karanjia. He worked for 18 years before changing his career to filmmaking, when he assisted Basu Bhattacharya in the film ‘Teesri Kasam’ (1966) produced by lyricist Shailendra. Sara Akash (1969) was his debut film. Later on he went of to make films that are called middle –of –the road or the middle class cinema.

‘Ek Ruka Hua Faisala’ (A Pending decision) is a 1986 Hindi language serious courtroom drama film directed by Basu Chatterjee. It is a remake of Golden Bear awarded American motion picture ‘12 Angry Men’ (1957) directed by Sidney Lumet that was an adaptation from a 1954 teleplay of the same name written by Reginald Rose.

The film tells the story of a jury of 12 men as they deliberate the conviction or acquittal of 18-year-old defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt, forcing jurors to question their morals, values and perceptions.  The discussions begin with 11 for guilty and only 1 for not guilty. The film explores many techniques of consensus- building and the difficulties encountered in the process among this ‘group of men’, whose shades of personalities color their conclusions adding complications to process of conflict resolution, which requires final verdict to be arrived unanimously. The film is also notable for its entire drama happening within the confines one single room.

 The movie demonstrates how a logical process of patient questioning can elicit change in the perception of the people. The film forces the audience to evaluate their own perceptions by observing the distinct personalities of jurors, their assumptions, their prejudices, their interpretations and their conclusions.

The story is about how a ‘person’ can change the mind of a group of people by sticking to his convictions backed by logical thinking. The protagonist (Jury no 8, played by KK Raina) approaches the subject of capital punishment with caution and wants other members of jury to convince him that convicted person is guilty beyond any doubt. In this whole process of discussion, arguments and counter arguments we see so many facets of human behavior. A few in the room have ‘don’t care’ type of attitude. Then there are a few, who are overloaded with the belief – ‘ I am always right’. Some of these men have some fundamental beliefs and assumptions and they want to stick to it. There are also a few, who have good analytical skills and have conjured up lots of facts and data and they want to justify their conclusion based on facts and figures. What differentiates all these men from the protagonist is the way he draws his inferences using various analytical ways and proves that if something is generally believed to be correct, it does not have to be always correct. Hence he makes these twelve people introspect and distill their own set of beliefs and thought processes as they try to unravel the truth about the accused. Each one tries hard to stick to his version of the story and tries to convince the rest about his viewpoint. But gradually as their conclusions are questioned and dismantled by the protagonist, they one by one start changing their vote from ‘guilty’ to ‘not guilty’. The twists and turns in the script and the sharp dialogues keep the audience hooked on. It is almost like we, the audience, are a part of the jury, presented with a case and trying to discover what could be the ultimate realty.

 ‘Ek Ruka Hua Faisla’ was co-scripted by Basu Chatterjee along with Ranjit Kapur.  The latter also wrote the dialogues for the film. The cast of the film includes Deepak Qazir, Amitabh Srivastav, Pankaj Kapur, S M Zaheer, Subhash Udgata, Hemant Mishra, MK Raina, K K Raina, Annu Kapoor, Subbiraj, Shailendra Goyal, Aziz Kureshi and C D Sindhu with some admirable performances from K K Raina, Pankaj Kapoor, MK Raina, Anu Kapoor and Aziz Kureshi.

The cinematography was done by Ajay Prabhakar and editing by Kamal A Sehgal .It is a 117 minute long film produced by Basu Chatterjee.

Life in Metaphors: Portraits of Girish Kasaravalli

I met Girish Kasaravalli for the first time in November 2012 in Goa, at a workshop organized by the FTII. A modest man dressed in an inexpensive kurta pajama was conducting a masterclass on filmmaking, explaining the nuances of the science and art of cinema. He gave examples from the films of Satyajit Ray, Robert Bresson, Ozu, Godard, Bergman, Fellini and the like. There was a palpable honesty and earnestness in the way he was speaking to the audience. His explanation of complex subjects like the structure, grammar and metaphors was simple and relatable. It was obvious that his understanding of cinema as a medium of expression was deep and profound. All his comments and explanations added to the understanding of cinema and provided an insight into the craft of filmmaking. The masterclass was followed by the screening of his film Dweepa (The Island).

The film completely mesmerised me with its cinematic beauty. Intuitively I felt that if I ever made a film, it should be one like Dweepa – so magical was it, yet so rooted in culture and humanity. The magic of Kasaravalli’s cinema had overpowered me. Something within me told me that here was a filmmaker who could be my role model, cinematically and otherwise. This was the beginning of my association with Girish Kasaravalli, a simple, down-to-earth human being and an outstanding filmmaker.

Two years of rubbing shoulders with him and absorbing his cinematic wisdom during my visits to Bengaluru and his to Mumbai gave me the courage to make my first film, that too on the filmmaker I adored.

Life in Metaphors: A Portrait of Girish Kasaravalli was my attempt to explore the world of Kasaravalli’s cinema and unravel the delicate undercurrents of his films and their metaphors. It was an attempt to see the world through the eyes of the great filmmaker and delve deeper into his conscious and sub-conscious mind. The film received National Award for Best Biopic for 2015.

Even after making the film, I felt there was so much more to Kasaravalli’s cinema than what I had captured in my film. Hence, I decided to put together this book: Life in Metaphors: Portraits of Girish Kasaravalli. It has not one, but twenty four ‘portraits’ of Kasaravalli sketched by his colleagues, friends, family members, filmmakers and critics of cinema.

Life in Metaphors: Portraits of Girish Kasaravalli is my dedication to my inspiration, my mentor and an outstanding filmmaker.

I wish to thank all those who have generously contributed the portraits in the book.

And as always, thanks from my grateful heart to Girish Kasaravalli for all his support, inputs and assistance in putting together this book. I also wish to thank the entire team of Authorsupfront for their sincere efforts in putting together this book.

Book Available on Amazon

YKT Mumbai

The film tries to explore the world of Yakshagana performers in the Metropolis of Mumbai.

Documentary / Duration: 48 minutes / English/Hindi/Kannada / Subtitles in English / Colour / Stereo / Direction OP Srivastava

Yakshagana is an ancient theatre form that combines dance, music, dialogues, costumes, make –up and stage techniques with a unique narrative style. It is mainly practised in the coastal districts and Malanadu region of Karnataka, India. The satge performances of Yakshagana, which generally run from dusk to dawn , are mostly based on the stories derived from Indian mythological scriptures like Ramayana, Mahabharatha , Purana etc.

In the wake of the the rapid urbanisation and the socio-cultural decomposition in India, Yakshagana is today facing serious challenges for its survival .

YKT Mumbai explores the life behind these stage performances and takes the audience into the world of one such group of passionate Yakshagana performers with an urge to understand what drives them to keep this ancient performing art alive and vibrating in an urban concrete jungle like Mumbai.

The film follows the narrative structure of a popular Yakshagana performance ( prasanga) and intercuts in between to reveal the backstage activities and the life beyond. It makes an attempt to bring to the fore the ground realities of the lives of the ‘people’ behind these colourful characters and tries to seek insights into their personal journeys and the reasons for their love for Yakshagana. The film also tries to explore the dynamics of doing Yakshagana shows in a mechanised Metropolis like Mumbai , where perofrming art forms are gradually being pushed to the sidelines due to the onslaught of electronic mass media.

Written & Directed by O.P Srivastava ; Produced by Reelism Films, Mumbai ( ); Mob 91-9819812473; e mail:; Duration: 48 minutes, colour , Stero Non-fiction/documentary in English & Kannada with English subtitles; Blu ray,DVD with english subtitles.