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Ficci Frames 2024 Wrap: Bollywood stardust, VFX show, more international collabs call and ‘Heeramandi’ star talk

Ficci Frames 2024 Wrap: Bollywood stardust, VFX show, more international collabs call and ‘Heeramandi’ star talk

Day 2 and 3 highlights from film business conference March 5-7


🎥 VFX/special effects surprise last session – Indian companies illustrate Indian and international work

🎥 Latest hit from prolific studio TVF – ‘Sapne V Everyone’ (Youtube) team talk about success – probably best known in the UK for ‘Aspirants’ on Amazon Prime (UK)

🎥 Scriptwriters discuss controversial Indian hit, ‘Animal’ (Hindi 2023) – critics claim it is Islamaphobic and misogynistic

🎥 Bollywood stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Kushboo Sundar, joined by Hande Erçel, Turkish film and TV star known internationally for ‘Ask Laftan Anlamaz’, ‘Gunesin Kizlari’ and ‘Sen Cal Kapimi

🎥 Iconic Indian director Subhash Ghai makes final day address and emphasises education alongside Atul Kumar Tiwari, secretary from India’s ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship

Day 2 (acv highlights)
March 6

🎭 Marathi folk dancers delight especially women carrying lit religious lamps on their heads and mouths and dance!

🏆 It follows awards show for India – based special effects firms and animators Best Animated Frames BAF Awards 2024 (link below)

🎥 International collaborations – more please > UK’s Lee Stone from Lee & Thompson lawyers at ‘Cine Magnet: Igniting Global Collaborations’

🎥 Bollywood star Sonakshi Sinha talked about working with one of India’s great auteurs Sanjay Leela Bhansali on his forthcoming first streaming/OTT series, ‘Heeramandi’ (Netflix, April)

WHILE many may have been taken by the sight of Bollywood star Ayushmann Khurrana and Turkish star Hande Erçel at one of the closing sessions at Ficci Frames 2024 in Mumbai yesterday, the Indian special effects guys at the end were pretty impressive too.

Hande Erçel

The 3-day film business conflab/conference in Hotel Westin in Powai Lake, ended with a surprise session in the main ballroom with special videos showing how the car chase scene in driving snow and a hyena like creature attacking the main character were actually put together for the Tamil blockbuster film, ‘Leo’, released last year. Phantom FX also showed off their work on creating an alien character in ‘Ayalaan’ released this year. Both films are viewed as hits. Reports say a sequel ‘Ayalaan’ is in the planning already.

Another Indian special effects firm – MPC showed off their work on ‘Napoleon’ (and up for an Oscar on Sunday 10 GMT) – and ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’. They helped to make the first 100 per cent fully animated Indian feature, ‘The Return of the Jungle’. It has yet to be released but you can see a trailer – was presented first at Film Bazaar (international market) in November 2023. (See link below).

Ficci – the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, organise this conference – it is a business organisation and hosts other sector events – this is dedicated to the business of cinema production.

Earlier in the day, delegates and excited students from a VFX training institute called Tron went a little bit gaga when Bollywood star Ayshumann Khurrana entered the main ballroom stage.

The star of such hits as ‘Dream Girl 2’ and ‘Andhadhun’ and ‘Article 15’ was mobbed at the end and by many students – he also obligingly posed and took many selfies with his young adult fans. He also has a parallel career as a singer and did sing briefly from the stage… (see below)

Ayushmann Khurranna and Kushboo Sundar

It was Turkish actor Erçel’s first trip to India – she appeared on a panel with him and another star Kushboo Sundar. Erçel expressed a desire to find about more about Indian culture and said she was interested in working in India. Turkish drama is popular in India – along with Korean and Spanish work – with language no longer being a barrier.

Nearer the end of the day – the team from TVF – The Viral Fever Youtube channel talked about the success they have enjoyed over 10 years – interestingly, the company works across channels and platforms and has established itself as one of India’s most innovative and admired production houses. Their latest Youtube hit ‘Sapne v Everyone’ is on the IMDB 250 Global list and has millions of views. It dropped on the platform last year. Actor and creator Ambrish Verma and colleague Param Veer Chana were among those sharing their experience in making the hit. TVF President Vijay Koshy also explained the firm’s ethos – in looking for ordinary stories. The studio is extremely popular not just in India but with the wide and scattered Indian-born disapora.

Team Sapne V Everyone – Jeet Marwari (finance), Vijay Kosher (President TVR), Ambrish Chema (creator-actor), Ambush Toward (moderator) and Param Veer Channa (actor)

One of the liveliest sessions acv attended was the scriptwriters panel discussing the Bollywood hit starring Ranbir Kapoor. It is a violent revenge drama and made by Sandeep Reddy Vanga, whose ‘Kabir Singh’ (2019), a remake of the earlier Telugu hit ‘Arjun Reddy’ (2017), also attracted detractors.

Lipstick Under my Burkha’ screenwriter Gazal Dhaliwal, the only woman on the four person panel, said she had issues with the film in its portrayal of women and its portrayal of Muslims. She said the film was well made and could not be faulted on a technical level.

Hitesh Kewalya, Saurabh Gupta, Anjum Rajabali, Komal Nata, and Gazal Dhaliwal

Animal’ dialogue screenwriter Saurabh Gupta welcomed the debate and said he acknowledged the criticism but defended the film on its portrayal of the Muslims – saying he was “baffled” by the brickbats.

Hitesh Kewalya, director and screenwriter (‘Shubh Mangal Savaadhan’) was also critical, saying the choices were very deliberate and problematic on some themes. The panel was moderated by Anjum Rajabali, a screenwriter and head of screenwriting at Whistling Woods, one of the country’s top film training institutes.

Sonakshi Sinha one of is one of three leading ladies to appear in ‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar’, alongside Manisha Koirala, and Aditi Rao Hydari, all as courtesans in a pre-independence drama, set in Lahore. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is one of India’s great auteurs, well-known for blending music, drama and history together in unforgettable films and scenes.

Moderator & journalist Swati Chopra, Sonakshi Sinha and Tanya Bami, Netflix Series Head (India)

Also on day two, Juan Manuel Gulermans, from the Spanish Film Commission, said his country is keen to attract more Indian and international filmmakers to its shores. Quite famously scenes from one of the biggest blockbusters of last year ‘Pathaan’ were shot in Mallorca, Cadiz, and Jerez.

Lee Stone from UK based entertainment law firm, Lee & Thompson, said his company helped a lot of Indian productions work successfully in the UK.

“I’ve seen it when they have tried to use their own people and it’s gone very wrong,” he lamented.

Both India and the UK have signed a co-production treaty and are all set to release full details of the first productions, shortly – likely to be in Cannes, we believe. The story is centred around an Indian princess.

Stone added: “Indian and UK film producers need to meet and understand each other in person.”

Lee Stone from Lee & Thompson

While Film Bazaar, the market section of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), has been successful – it has yet to yield a major production coup. Initially, there was no real financial incentive offered to UK filmmakers. However, this has changed and both the UK and India are keen to make the co-production treaty work and both now offer major incentives to filmmakers wanting to use location or services in the other country. Prithul Kumar, managing director of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), which looks after film in India, spoke at the start of the session and set the film landscape. India has co-production treaties with several European countries and Australia and Canada.

The best and most memorable session at the end of day two was the Marathi folk dance session – you will see snatches in our reel…and our pictures below…

See our final day Reel on Instagram… it has Khuranna’s own Pani de Rang track on it…

And finally we have an announcement and thanks for getting this far down! Click on the thumbnail below… to view

See you there and get in touch if you are launching a film there 😉


Ficci Frames 2024 Best Animated Features (BAF) Awards –

See ‘Return of the Jungle‘ trailer releasing this year…

Day 1 wrap –

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture