Sherlock Drawing

Recently, a teaser was released for Series 3 of the TV show Sherlock.  It’s an awesome show and being very inspired by it, I drew this picture –

image

This was drawn on my Micromax Canvas HD phone, entirely digitally (in fact, I am making this post also from my phone). I drew it using the Sketchbook Express app, and edited in Snapseed.  The text was added in Pixlr Express.  The words are the clues to the three episode titles that will be part of Series 3.

Thanks Girish Kumar for telling me about the words.

Sherlock Holmes was a fiction created the moment I was awoken by your Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to help him advance his cause. A smoke screen to conceal my true identity. My name is… Khan.

Benedict Cumberbatch has played a role in the following franchises – Sherlock Holmes, Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings.  Now all he needs to do is to appear in an episode of Doctor Who and a Star Wars movie and he’ll have covered all the major fandoms!  (the above quote inspired by Kashyap Chandra.)

David (2013 Hindi Version) – Review and Drawings

Ever since I saw the trailers for the Bejoy Nambiar movie David (a couple of months back), I have been eagerly waiting to watch the movie.  I really liked the director’s debut feature Shaitan, and from the looks of it, this movie seemed to be bigger and more ambitious.  I finally got to see the movie yesterday (at Cinemax, Banjara Hills) and thought it was very good, and that inspired me to do four drawings (all of them in this post).

David - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramFirst about the movie – David consists of three stories, each with the protagonist named David.  These are presented in an intercut fashion (as was done in Cloud Atlas), that come together by the end.  The first story is set in 1975 London, with Neil Nitin Mukesh as David, a gangster and an adopted son of Iqbal Ghani (Akash Khurana).  The second David is played by Vinay Virmani in a story set in 1999 Mumbai.  This David is a musician and lives with his Christian father Noel (Nasser) and his sisters.  Everything changes when a Hindu fundamentalist, Malti Tai (Rohini Hattandgadi) orchestrates an attack on Father Noel.  The lightest segment of the three is the one set in 2010 Goa, about drunken fisherman David (Vikram) who falls in love with a deaf-mute girl Roma (Isha Sharvani), who his friend is going to marry.

The acting by the leads and supporting characters in all three segments is very good, and the movie is well written.  It’s a little long though and the stories themselves I thought, were good but not anything extraordinary.  However, where David absolutely excels is in its storytelling – the way it is all put together.  In Shaitan, Bejoy Nambiar used stylish camerawork and music wonderfully – here he just takes everything one step further.

David is one gorgeous looking movie.  Three different cinematographers worked on the movie – “Gangster” is shot by Sanu Varghese, “Mumbai” is shot by P S Vinod, and “Goa” is shot by R Rathnavelu.  The work by all three (and their respective crews) is absolutely stellar – featuring beautifully composed visuals and wonderful lighting.  The colour palette is different for each sequence, so you always know which story any particular scene belongs to.  The 1975 scenes are in B&W, the 1999 scenes have a muted colour scheme, the 2010 scenes have a bright and colourful look.

The Production Design (Rajeevan) and Costume Design (Ameira Punvani) also are very well done.  Like Shaitan, David is also edited by Sreekar Prasad.  This is also very well done, since switching between multiple storylines thematically is not an easy thing.

Like Shaitan (remember “Bali – The Sound of Shaitan”, the remix of “Khoya Khoya Chand”?), David also uses music brilliantly.  I love the dramatic “Ghum Huye – The Theme of David”, which opens the film, the light “Maria Pitache”, Anirudh Ravichander’s “Yun Hi Re”, and the English track “Out of Control”.  Of course, as you’d have seen in the trailers, this movie also features a remix of an old song – “Mast Kalandar”.  There is a rock version with an aggressive electric guitar sound.

Overall, I really liked David.  Sure, there are some flaws, but I’d rather take an original piece of filmmaking like this any day, over a “lazy” blockbuster movie.  Many filmmakers would probably kill to have a second film as good as this.

Rating: 8/10

Additional Notes:

Tamil Version

  • David was simultaneously shot in Tamil, with actor Jiiva playing the guitarist David in the 1999 story.
  • The Tamil version features only two stories (the “Gangster” one is not featured, since apparently it didn’t suit the target audience).
  • As of today, the Tamil version has not been released in Hyderabad.  I had earlier tweeted wondering which version to watch first – I am glad I saw the Hindi version first, because I’d have missed the beautiful B&W segment and the “Mast Kalandar” song otherwise!  I still want to see the Tamil one.

Cinematography

  • If you observe the end credits of the movie, there are logos for both Kodak as well as Red.
  • As I read, the Goa sequences were shot digitally – and if IMDb is right, Rathnavelu used the Red Epic on that.  The other two sequences, I am assuming, were shot on 35mm film followed by a digital intermediate.
  • P S Vinod is the cinematographer for Panjaa – which I liked a lot.  I mentioned the cinematography in this post from a year ago.  I happened to see Panjaa on an IMAX screen – and it looked great!
  • Sanu Varghese is the cinematographer for Karthik Calling Karthik and also Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam, which I am seeing today (the Telugu version is playing on the IMAX screen too, which is what I have booked tickets for).

Now about the drawings I did. I did four of them in all – one for each David character from the movie, and one of the director, Bejoy Nambiar as well.

These were all done digitally on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.  Previously, I used the Sketchbook Express app for doing some drawings (see this post and this post).  But a few days back I got another application called Sketch Guru, which has some nice “sketch”-type brushes.  I did all the drawings using that application, and with my fingers (since I don’t have a stylus that works with my Tab).

The drawings were then opened up in Snapseed to add some effects (grunge and the organic frames).

I put them together in Photoshop Elements and then added the text.  The movie’s title is in the font Sketch Block.  The other text is in the font Agency FB.  Agency is also the font actually used in the titles for David.

A few months back, I mentioned that font in this post of mine, with a drawing based on the fifth season premiere of Fringe.  The same font was used in the opening sequence of the show, and I used it in my drawing also.

Here you can see the individual drawings of the three Davids –

Vikram as David - Art by Karthik Abhiram Vinay Virmani as David - Art by Karthik Abhiram Neil Nitin Mukesh as David - Art by Karthik Abhiram

And this is the drawing of the movie’s writer-director Bejoy Nambiar –

Bejoy Nambiar, director of "David" - Drawing by Karthik Abhiram

I am eagerly looking forward to what the director does next!

Trailers and Music for the movie:

You can listen to the songs from the Hindi version of the movie here:

The theme from David:

Hindi Version Trailer:

Tamil Version Trailer:

Only God Forgives Drawing

Here’s my very first drawing of 2013 – just completed!  This is a picture of Ryan Gosling from the upcoming movie Only God Forgives, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (who directed Drive and the Pusher trilogy).

Only God Forgives - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramThe drawing was done on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 with the Sketchbook Express app.  The image you see above was cropped in Photoshop and the text was added.  Otherwise no other editing was done to the actual drawing.

The drawing is based on the poster for the movie.  You can read more about it on the Wikipedia page.

Here is the first teaser for the movie, on YouTube –

It looks like it will be a violent action thriller – I am looking forward to seeing it!

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 Drawings – Sandman, Ma-Ma from Dredd, The Collection

This being the first post of 2013, here’s wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!  (I started writing this post last month, so it’s not designed as a New Year post.)

In the beginning of November, I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.  Now, this was an impulse purchase, I didn’t really need a tablet but I got one anyway, and am very happy with it.  This is the first Android device that I bought, and I really like the OS (it came with Ice Cream Sandwich, and I recently got an upgrade that pushed it to 4.1 Jellybean).  I’m using it for reading comics (in CBR or CBZ files), watching videos and taking photos with Instagram.  Another application that I got for it, was Autodesk Sketchbook Express.  It’s a great drawing app, and I have done three drawings so far with it.  It takes a little getting used to (I’m not quite comfortable with it yet), and so far I’ve only been drawing using fingers (no stylus – I tried some pens turned backwards but they didn’t work).

This is the first drawing – a picture of Morpheus or Dream, from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series (done without reference – I was actually waiting idle after a conference and drew this) –

The Sandman - Art by Karthik AbhiramThis is the second one, a drawing of Lena Headey as “Madeline Madrigal” a.k.a. “Ma-Ma” from the kickass movie Dredd

Ma-Ma from Dredd - Drawing by Karthik AbhiramThat movie was one of the most entertaining yet underrated movies of the year in my opinion and Ma-Ma was a great movie villain.  While doing this one I filmed some video footage, so I’ve posted that as a short clip on YouTube –

The third drawing is based on the Marcus Dunstan-directed movie The Collection.  This also was a very entertaining (and quite violent!) horror/action movie, and I was pleasantly surprised that they released it theatrically in India!

The Collection - Art by Karthik AbhiramWhile the earlier two drawings are straight from the tablet (I’ve posted the PNG files that I copied off the device), this one was edited in Photoshop to darken it a little and add the text.

I posted this one on Facebook and sent a tweet to the director of the movie about it, and was pleasantly surprised that he replied to me!

I still prefer pen or pencil and paper for drawing (you don’t have undo or customisable brushes, but that is easier to control and doesn’t require charging!), but this is also interesting to use.  I will post more drawings as I do them.

T is for Turbo Drawing

Recently, a trailer for The ABCs of Death was released, and it looks great.  Related to that is a drawing of mine that I wanted to post.  Keep in mind, that this is a year old, but I never wrote in detail about it, so I’m posting it now.  Explanation will follow.

The ABCs of Death

The ABCs of Death is an interesting project – this is an anthology horror movie consisting of 26 segments (each around 4 minutes long), one per letter of the alphabet.  Each segment is about an instrument of death starting with that respective letter of the alphabet (say, “K is for Knife”).  26 different directors worked on this movie!  More details can be found on the Wikipedia Page or this page on JoBlo, where you can view the trailer.  Warning: Contains Blood & Gore, not for kids!

The people behind this anthology project left one slot free, for which they invited submissions from filmmakers from all around the world.  This was the slot for the letter “T” and there were more than 100 shorts that they received (you can view them at this site).  Out of all these films, “T is for Toilet” by Lee Hardcastle was selected to be in the final film.

T is for Turbo a.k.a. Turbo Kid – The Film

One of the top 3 finalists among the submitted entries was “T is for Turbo” by team RKSS (Roadkill Superstar – consisting of members Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell).  I absolutely LOVED this short film, and in fact I felt that this would be the winning entry that’d make it into the final The ABCs of Death film.

Here, you can watch the short film (contains violence, blood & gore, not for kids!) –

I loved this film since it so very closely matched the look and feel of the 1970s/80s post-apocalyptic movie!  Specifically, I think they were referencing the loads of cheap Italian-made knock offs that came out after bigger-budgeted movies like Mad Max.  The costumes, the make-up/gore effects, the cheesy dialogues, all make for a wonderfully nostalgic experience.

The filmmakers have come up with interesting characters also (the villain Zeus, Shandella, Beardman, the Skeleton mask guy, etc).  The Turbo Kid himself reminds me of an older version of Commander Keen.

I liked the cinematography in the film (by Jean-Philippe Bernier).  The film was shot on a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR, but using an anamorphic adapter.  The camera shoots video in 1920 x 1080 resolution, which results in an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 1.78:1.  However, a lot of productions use a wider aspect ratio like 2.35:1, which gives a more cinematic look (since that is the ratio many films are presented in theatrically).  One way to achieve this would be to film in 16:9 and then crop off bits from the top and bottom.  This means that we’re not effectively using all the information that the camera has captured (the resulting image dimensions might be 1920 x 800).  An anamorphic adapter optically distorts the image horizontally, so it squishes a wider image into the 16:9 frame.  Later on, the image can be un-squished in post-production, so what this achieves is an image width of roughly 2500 pixels and a height of 1080.

I believe this is the source of the slight blur/distortions at the edges of the frames, which for some reason I find aesthetically very good looking, and it goes even further to enhance the feel of an old movie.

The submissions for The ABCs of Death were supposed to be kept to 4 minutes in length.  The longer (by few minutes) ‘director’s cut’ version of this film is called Turbo Kid.  I don’t think that version is online anywhere – I suppose you have to attend a film festival where it is screened, to be able to see it.

T is for Turbo – My Drawing

As is the case with things that I am deeply inspired by, I made a drawing based on this film.  I did this based on screenshots grabbed from the actual film, and the shot of the Turbo Kid was referenced from a behind-the-scenes still.

The drawing was done with pencil on an A5 size paper.  I scanned it and added the paper texture in the background and the subtle colours in Photoshop.  The fonts used are Helvetica for the credits, and the title of the film is in a font called Headline HPLHS (this font is designed to mimic the look of old woodcut headlines – I got it from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society site).  Perhaps not the most appropriate for a retro-futuristic film like this, but I think it looks good.  Cthulhu fhtagn!

Want to see a few in-progress / behind-the-scenes photos as I was making this poster?  Here is an album on Facebook which you can check out: T is for Turbo Drawing – Behind the Scenes [9 photos].

By the way, I posted this drawing on the RKSS Facebook page and even sent a message to them.  They liked it – and that made me really happy.

The Music – “58 minutes pour vivre” by Le Matos

Apart from everything else I loved about T is for Turbo, a standout aspect for me was the music in it.  It’s simply brilliant – the synthesizer-type music is exactly what you might find in a 1980s movie.

The track is called “58 minutes pour vivre” (translates to “58 minutes to live”) by the band Le Matos.  A little bit of trivia – “58 Minutes” by Walter Wager is the novel that Die Hard 2 was adapted from.

Here is a music video for the track, also edited by RKSS.  This video is called “58 Minutes dans le wasteland” which is very apt, as it is entirely edited together using footage from the very films that inspired Turbo Kid.

A full list of films featured in the video is there in the video description (if you view it on the Vimeo page).  Should be a nice list to pick movies from and watch.  And during the song, there is a bit of dialogue that comes up – that’s the voice of Bruce Willis and that’s a sample of dialogue from 12 Monkeys.

If you want to purchase the track, you can do so here (I did – I legally bought “58 minutes pour vivre”).

On a related note – you can also watch the grindhouse-inspired pulp horror fake trailer Demonitron: The Sixth Dimension by RKSS (it’s very good, and the look is again spot-on, though in some bits where they intentionally tried to emulate “unintentionally funny” – especially the ‘demon cake’ bit – I felt they went a little overboard, which kind of detracted from the experience).  The music used in that trailer is called “Sarah” also by Le Matos.  you can listen to the track and buy it here.

Other Notes

If you are on Facebook, you can view the “Making of T is for Turbo” album here (photos shot by Marie Raymond).  In that album, this photo is the one I used as the reference for the Turbo Kid in my drawing.  I think you have to “Like” the RKSS page to be able to see these photos.

There is an album with posters of their short movies.  In that one, you can see the digitally-created official poster for the film.  I love the look of the poster – I can almost imagine seeing this artwork on a VHS videotape and renting it immediately (back in the days when we used to rent videotapes).  I love the caption – “This is the future, this is the year 1997”.  Since Turbo Kid is inspired by those science fiction films made in the 70s and 80s, it makes sense that 1997 would be ‘the future’.  (For that matter, even John Carpenter’s classic Escape from New York, released in 1981, was set in ‘the future’ of 1997.)

The latest update about Turbo Kid is that it is going to be adapted into a full-length feature film!  This article has info about that.  Count me in as a fan!  I’m sure it’ll be a unique, quirky film that I will love.  I look forward to seeing it, reviewing it and drawing something based on it, in the future… in the year 1997.  “So what the fuck is your super power?”

Browsing Through Time – The Last Few Months

As I’d mentioned in an earlier post, I thought I would do a quick recap of what I’ve been up to, in the last few months.  This is presented roughly in reverse chronological order, and I’ve used photos to illustrate what I am talking about.  (NOTE: I wrote this post in the mid of October, so it doesn’t cover absolutely everything right up to the present time.)

150+ Days at the Gym

Looks good, no?  I’m quite proud of that photo!  I started going to the gym at office in mid-December 2011.  For whatever reason, I kept count of the number of days I was actually working out, and that count has crossed 150 by now.  I go to the gym on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (since on Thursdays I attend Guitar class), so typically the count gets incremented by 4 every week, less than that if there are office holidays or I am travelling.

You could say this is a new hobby of mine and just like posting my drawings or photos, I’m uploading pictures taken at the gym to mark milestones.  I posted the below one to mark Day 100, and that got a lot of Likes and comments on Facebook.

I was going to post one more when I hit Day 150, but towards that date, I knew there were going to be a few breaks since I was travelling for campus recruitment.  Therefore, I posted the below photo when I reached Day 146.

I’d have left it at that but the Day 148 picture just kind of happened… and it looked good so that’s my current Facebook and Twitter profile picture.

On a related note, here is a very useful link with a workout that you can do even if you don’t have access to a Gym: Beginner Body Weight Workout from Nerd Fitness.

Covering events at office

Over the last few months I seem to have become an ‘unofficial official’ photographer for several events at work.  It’s been a great experience for me and a lot of fun.

Covering these events teaches you a lot – how to get better at not missing important moments, how to plan in advance about what kind of shots you want to get, the importance of getting the photos right in the camera, and the importance of selecting the shots that you want to show to others.

For no particular reason, while I was working on the photos from one particular event, I decided to tweet about the process of selection (read the tweets from bottom to top) –

As you can make out from the tweets, I shot more than 1300 images during the four hour event, and made a selection of around 250 images to show to others.  However, out of that set, I further filtered images and only uploaded the 180 best ones to Facebook.

At one of the events, apart from being the photographer, I also played a small bit of music on guitar.

I later recorded a video of what I played that day.  Here it is –

This was recorded at home with my Nokia 808 PureView phone, and as you can make out, the audio quality is really great!  I edited the video on kdenlive and Windows Live Movie Maker.  The old videotape-type font is called “Camcorder” and you can get it here.

Pecha Kucha Night Hyderabad

I attended Pecha Kucha Night Hyderabad Volumes 8, 9 and 10 in the recent past.  I took photos at each one of them.  I believe I may have put links to a couple of the albums in earlier posts, but for easy reference, here are the links (all are albums on Facebook) –

Two of the photos I took at PKN Hyd Vol 9 got printed in The Hans India newspaper.

(Both photos in that article are mine – you can see them on the Facebook album.)

Speaking of this, earlier (in May 2012), my Pecha Kucha presentation from November 2011 got mentioned on the Pecha Kucha Daily blog.  My presentation is also there on the global site.

Blue Moon and Hard Disk

I took a photo of the Blue Moon from 1-Sep-12 – this is probably my best Moon shot yet.

At around that time, I also welcomed a new 1 TB hard disk to the family –

Mumbai Trip

In the beginning of August, I went on a short trip during a long weekend to Mumbai.  I stayed at my cousin’s place, visited TCS Gateway Park office, met my friend Rajith there, watched Gangs of Wasseypur II, and participated in the TCS Fit4Life – 5 km Run with the CEO.

Here are the two Facebook albums that show photos from this all-important trip –

Two notable pictures – the below one shows me, Girish and Vrushodh – the crew behind the Gods of Galactica podcast (earlier known as Galacticast)…

…and here is a photo from the 5 km Run.  This was the second 5 km Run I’ve ever participated in.

Secret Lake Photo

From earlier in August, here is a photo of Durgam Cheruvu, the “Secret Lake”.  This was shot from Inorbit Mall one afternoon when I went there for lunch, on my PureView phone.

My post mentioned by Nokia

After I wrote that long post about the Nokia 808 PureView, I tweeted it to the official Nokia account (@nokia).  It was really nice of them to retweet it – and they mentioned they liked the post.  I felt very happy about that.

Han Shot First Drawing

I did the below drawing as a gift for my cousin on his birthday.  I also got it printed on a t-shirt (that’s what Girish and I are wearing, in the Galactica crew photo above).

Star Wars fans will know the background of this.  For the uninitiated, here’s the explanation in short.  In the original Star Wars movie released in 1977, there is a scene in which the character Han Solo played by Harrison Ford, is confronted by the gangster Greedo in the Mos Eisley cantina.  Greedo points a weapon at Han and says that Han owes money to the ruthless Jabba the Hutt.  Han then shoots Greedo and exits the cantina.

In the 1997 “Special Edition” re-release of Star Wars, this scene was slightly altered, to show Greedo shooting first and missing Han (at very close range), and Han shoots Greedo after that.  This alteration (though made by the movie’s creator, George Lucas) was not looked at favourably by fans.

My cousin has a long post on this here.  This is why I made this t-shirt for him!

On the topic of the alterations made for the Special Edition of Star Wars, it is to be noted that a fan called Harmy has created high-definition “despecialized” versions of all the movies in the Star Wars original trilogy.  This is an assembled edit from various sources, since LucasFilm had not released the unaltered versions on Bluray.

More details at the below links –

Blue Sky at Hyderabad

Early in the month of June, there were a couple of days when the sky was a wonderful blue colour.  A great opportunity for photography –

Here is the Facebook album with some more photos – Blue Sky.

Electric Guitar

For my birthday on May 15, I was lucky to get a great gift from my family – an electric guitar!  I uploaded some photos of it on this Facebook album, and posted a short video of me playing it.

Rooftop Shooting Challenge

I had earlier written about a photo shooting challenge I’d done, of taking only B&W photos in my room at home.  I tried a different challenge sometime later, of shooting with just one lens on the rooftop of my house.

Here is the link to the album on Facebook: Rooftop Shooting Challenge.

I believe I have covered most of the important events from the recent past in this post!  More to come later.

Evil Dead 2013 Drawing

I have been a fan of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series of movies for many years now.  The three movies – The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness – are critically acclaimed as well, and one might even say that they have achieved cult classic status.  Over the last several years, there has been talk of another Evil Dead movie – either a Part 4, or a remake.  None of that actually materialised however… till now.

Of late, a remake of the first movie has been announced, being directed by Fede Alvarez with Diablo Cody contributing to the screenplay.  I had only a passing interest in it, but the first red-band trailer (trailer intended for adult audiences) for the movie made me sit up and pay attention.  It was so bloody and gory that it screamed to be noticed – and that inspired the below drawing –

The new movie seems to follow the broad template of The Evil Dead – a group of young people discover the Book of the Dead in a cabin in the woods, and on reciting passages from that book, evil spirits possess their bodies and mayhem ensues.  The remake seems to be very serious in tone, though.  They’ve also dropped the “the” in the title, this new one is simply called Evil Dead.

Here, see the notorious trailer for yourself (warning: lots of blood and gruesome stuff) –

This trailer was originally screened at the New York Comic Con, and it found its way online in a bootleg version (someone recorded it off the screen and posted it), which is what I first saw.  The studio posted the official version a few days later.

For making the drawing, I followed my usual process – I took several screenshots from the trailer and used them as reference.  The drawing was done using primarily a black ballpoint pen, but a black marker was also used for solid black areas, and all the blood was done with a red gel pen.  A slight touch of blue ballpoint pen is also seen – on the guy with the chainsaw.

After completing the drawing, I scanned it in and then adjusted the contrast in Photoshop Elements.  I also overlaid two paper textures (bashcorpo’s texture 5 and 6 – these two are favourites of mine and I’ve used them very often), and then added the logo and the text.

The logo is actually sourced from a screenshot from the trailer.  I boosted the contrast and then inverted the image, leaving a nice solid black title.  The font used for the rest of the text is Univers – a typeface from the 1950s/60s, which I believe adds to the ‘old’ look of the poster.

I came up with the caption.  The first part “Within the woods…” is a reference to Within the Woods, a 30-minute film that was a precursor to The Evil Dead.  The rest of it is taken from the trailer (the trailer says “Evil Lives Again”).

I am eagerly waiting to see the movie!  IMDb says the movie’s release date is 12 April 2013 in the US, and the Worldwide Release Dates page from the official site says that it’s going to be released in India on 26 April 2013.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

It’s been a while since I wrote a post on this site, and it’s also been a while since I published a drawing.  So I thought I would put up my latest work – one drawing and one photo here.  I will write another post as a recap of things that have happened over the last few months.

I watched the Season 5 premiere of Fringe and liked it very much.  So, as you’d expect, I drew something based on it –

Season 5 Episode 1 “Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11” was set in 2036 (like the Season 4 episode “Letters of Transit”), and depicted a dystopian future where the Observers have taken over the planet.  Over the next 12 episodes of this season, we will see the Fringe team save the world (and possibly the universe). I loved this episode for it’s writing and handling of characters (my cousin’s review is here, but be aware that it has spoilers).

I loved the blue-tinted (sometimes almost monochrome-looking) cinematography in this episode (by David Geddes). On that note, IMDb mentions that Season 4 (and presumably, this present season) of the show is shot digitally, using the Arri Alexa camera and Panavision Primo lenses.  This is as opposed to the previous seasons which were shot on 35mm film.  This camera was also used to shoot the movie Chronicle, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, and the Sherlock TV show.

The Observers led by what seems to be the new villain on the show, Captain Widmark made for sinister characters.  So I drew them – this was done in ballpoint pen (black and blue) and markers (black and red).  I added a paper texture for style and the font used is Agency FB (mimicking the new 2036 Fringe opening sequence).  You can click on the image to see an even bigger version.

The red background was added to maintain consistency with my other two Fringe-based drawings (both from 2010).

This is my drawing of Anna Torv as Agent Olivia Dunham –

and this one is a drawing of John Noble as “Walternate” –

I am not sure how much the 2036 storyline in Season 5 will make reference to the fictional Massive Dynamic corporation, so I didn’t include that bit of text in my Observers drawing.

I feel a little sad that Season 5 will be the last of this great TV show.  But it’s probably for the better, since this would mean that the series would go out on a high note.

The title of this post is a reference to the Green Day song, yes, since it’s being written on the last day of September, but it’s also a reference to the Observer called September (played by Michael Cerveris) who helps the Fringe team.

One more recent work of mine is this photo –

This is a shot of Visakhapatnam, the City of Destiny.  I took this photo with my Nokia 808 PureView phone, on my recent trip to Vizag for Campus Recruitment.  My colleagues and I visited a place called Kailashgiri, where you can go up a hill on a rope way.  From high above, you have a really nice view of the city.  As I’d mentioned earlier, the PureView is really nice for taking pictures like this, because the high resolution allows you to show off a lot of detail.  You can see the full-resolution (7728 x 4354 pixel) processed shot here. You’ll have to download the file from that page (almost 10 MB in size), and you can zoom in and see small details (like for example, near the bottom left corner, you can read the text “VUDA MARINE DRIVE” on the arch on the road).

I have uploaded an album on Facebook with more pictures from the trip – Vizag Trip – 24-26-Sep-12 (40 images).  All of these were taken with the PureView phone.  I didn’t have my Canon EOS 550D with me on this trip, since I travelled to Vizag from Chennai, and couldn’t carry too much stuff.  The PureView camera served me pretty well I must say!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Lisbeth’s T-Shirt Drawing

My first attempt at digital art (can be seen in this post) was pretty decent, I’d say, but there was a lot of scope for improvement.  Based on a suggestion I got, I tried a different style for my second piece of digital art today.

This is a picture of Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander from the 2011 adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher.  In the scene where Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) first meets Lisbeth and asks for her help, I loved the t-shirt that she was wearing.  So, when looking at my images folder for something to draw, I picked this.

This time, I did three things differently from the earlier piece –

  • The earlier piece was done on The GIMP in Linux.  This time, I did it in Windows, because I actually installed the drivers for the Wacom Bamboo drawing tablet.  It makes a huge difference, since without the drivers, the tablet behaves like a mouse, so you don’t actually get the benefit of pressure sensitivity.
  • I drew this in Photoshop Elements, which I am more comfortable with using, than The GIMP.
  • Third, I used the reference image as a 70% opaque layer and kept turning it on and off, to draw more accurately.  Some might consider this cheating, but then, I didn’t ‘trace’ it all the way through – I only used it in the beginning and later on was looking at the reference image in a different window.  Anyway, that’s one of the advantages of doing things digitally, right?

You can click on the drawing to get a larger image (800 px wide).  I took an image canvas of size 2000 x 3000 and worked on it.

Kahaani

Kahaani is a 2012 thriller from director Sujoy Ghosh.  It was released in theatres on 9 March, and I watched it the next day.

If you are going to watch this movie, it’s better to go in knowing as little as possible about the story.  Therefore, in my review I’m not going to reveal much more about the plot than what you can already gather from the movie’s trailer.

The movie opens with Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan), a pregnant woman, arriving in Kolkata during the Durga Puja festival.  She has come here from London.  Her taxi driver points out that most people head home, or go to a hotel, on arrival in a city.  No one so far has ever asked him to drive them directly to a police station – which is what Vidya does.

Vidya is searching for her husband, Arnab Bagchi.  Arnab had come to Kolkata from London on official business a few weeks before.  But when all contact is lost with him suddenly, the worried Vidya comes to Kolkata herself to find him.  A young police officer Satyoki a.k.a. Rana (Parambrata Chatterjee) helps her in her search for her husband – but it appears that the two are looking for a ghost – Arnab seems to have vanished off the face of the Earth.  Just what is going on?

The movie sets up an intriguing mystery and doesn’t let go till the very end, constantly introducing plot turns and keeping the viewer engrossed.  The execution is excellent – Vidya Balan carries the film brilliantly and her character is one of the most interesting protagonists I’ve ever seen in a movie.  Think back – how many movies can you name which feature a pregnant woman as the heroine?

Not only her, the acting from the rest of the cast is also good.  The characters are also interesting and the good guys are likeable.  The movie is nicely shot and captures the feel of Kolkata (and of the Durga Puja) well, and when the ending comes and leaves you with your mouth open, you’ll realise that this is a lean and efficient thriller, with no unnecessary scenes.  I really liked that the setting and Vidya Balan’s character were all actually integral to the story and not just gimmicks.

The movie features a nice rendition of the song “Ekla Cholo Re” with vocals by Amitabh Bachchan.

When I saw the trailer, I was reminded of Anurag Kashyap’s That Girl in Yellow Boots, since that movie also had a woman searching for someone in an alien city.  Both movies seem to have been shot in a handheld, almost vérité style.  But then, having watched the Kahaani, I can safely say that this is a totally different beast.

Overall, a very nicely done movie and a must-watch, in theatre.

Rating: 9/10

Further Notes

  • It’s not too often that you see a Chief Minister thanked in the opening credits of a movie, this one has it.
  • The movie has some relatively realistic depiction of using computers – unlike other movies where one might find some made-up OS, here it’s Windows XP that is shown, and certain other elements that don’t require you to suspend disbelief too far.  Also, realistic use of actual Adobe Photoshop seen!
  • The photography for the publicity campaign is credited to fashion photographer Dabboo Ratnani.
  • As I’d mentioned in my review for Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, the publicity campaign for this movie was handled by the agency Marching Ants.  In this instance too, the art director is Raj Khatri who I am following on Facebook and on deviantART, and it was cool to see his name in Kahaani‘s end credits.  (poster sample)

My first digital artwork – a drawing of Vidya Balan from this movie

When I installed Ubuntu (as I mentioned in an earlier post) on my computer, I noticed that the System Settings page mentioned configuration options for a Wacom Drawing Tablet.  And I happen to own a Wacom Bamboo Fun graphics tablet, which was a gift that I’d never made use of till now.

So I thought I’d use this as an excuse to draw something based on this movie, and I did.  Below is the result – perhaps not that great but I think it’s decent for a first attempt.

I did this one using the GIMP.  And as is usual for me, I used a screenshot from the trailer as a reference image.  Below is the way that I did it – had the reference screenshot open and then painted with the tablet on a blank file.

It was not that easy to do, I still need to get comfortable with drawing this way.  The GIMP seemed to have limited options for altering the brush sensitivity etc (or maybe I didn’t explore enough).  I will try installing the tablet on Windows and use it in Photoshop next.  Digital art should be something interesting to try out!