Ajita Suchitra Veera

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Ajita Suchitra Veera
Ajita Suchitra Veera.jpg
Film Director

Ajita Suchitra Veera is an Indian film director, writer, illustrator, photographer, and film producer. Veera is best known for a highly visual, grand, epic, cinematic style, with unconventional narrative structures breaking form, blending reality and imagination, fantasy, dreams, scientific, philosophical, metaphysical and humanistic ideas. Her upcoming feature film "Ballad of Rustom" was in Oscar contention for Best Picture 86th Academy Awards 2014.[1] Her earlier short film "Notes on Her" was an official entry to the Oscars in 2003.[2] Her First Feature Film "Ballad of Rustom" which she wrote, directed and produced and also did production design, collaborated on film editing, sound design and music, was described as a "powerful cinematographic poem, epic, and faustian" by The 61st International Film Festival Mannheim, Heidelberg, Germany.

Early life[edit]

Veera was born in Hyderabad, Southern India. Her father Anjan Babu, is an illustrator, cartoonist, graphic designer and photo-journalist. Her mother Usha Rani, is a journalist turned banker. At the age of three Veera started learning sketching from her father, who was an illustrator. She did her schooling from Nasr School, Hyderabad, and was the only child to parents who were both working and much of her early childhood was spent sketching, reading, watching movies and printing photographs with her father in their small private photo studio. Veera's father introduced her to a range of cameras in their studio and she dabbled in making pin hole cameras and other scientific devices, which fascinated her as a child.[3] This would later on influence her distinct visual style. An introvert, shy kid in her childhood, she was raised as a very special and individualistic child by her parents. Both parents loved watching World Cinema, Hollywood classics and Indian Art House. Veera was often taken to watch movies by her father in the local cinemas playing Hollywood films, this was a significant influence in her childhood. David Lean's Doctor Zhivago and the grand epic narratives and adventure films like "Butch Cassidy and Sundance kid" coupled with detective stories and science fiction, which she read avidly, fascinated her immensely. In high school Veera was introduced to the Indian master Satyajit Ray – his films and short stories, which would affect her strongly in her cinematic development. She started watching lot of the World Cinema directors specially French New Wave directors – François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Bresson and Hollywood directors – Alfred Hitchcock, Sidney Pollack, by renting videos and going to small theatres and film clubs in Hyderabad while graduating from college, and was enamored by directors like Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Tarkovsky and Luis Buñuel.[4] She graduated in Science (St. Ann's College Hyderabad) and was a bright student, however she decided to discontinue her education in science and pursue her ultimate passion for cinema. After a brief stint in M.A Theatre Arts, Central University Hyderabad (1999) and acting in plays she joined the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, the prestigious national film institute in India.[5] She graduated in Film Direction.

Career[edit]

The short film "Notes on Her" 2003 which she directed was an Oscar entry and critically acclaimed for it's unconventional style, it marks the beginning of her cinematic journey. Her graduate film "The Solitary Sandpiper" (short film), blending dream and reality and fantastic visual landscapes, where she worked innovatively to create a distinct color palette with special processing techniques on negative, such as "Bleach bypass" to create desaturated, high contrast images, would be the hallmark of her feature film "Ballad of Rustom" again in 2013[6] and define her keen interest in image making in cinema. Documentary "CHAOS" which explores the interrelationship of science and art juxtaposing mathematics and music was also a significant step in her filmmaking which mark her distinct craftsmanship.[7] Veera free lanced as a director working on corporate videos and small promotionals (2005–2009) before starting her own film company called Imaginem Cinema in 2009 which she started to create the necessary space for imaginative and interesting new cinema from India.

Ballad of Rustom[edit]

Her maiden Feature Film "Ballad of Rustom" (Hindi, 35mm film, CinemaScope, Color) which is slated for a world wide release in 2014, which she wrote, directed and produced under her company Imaginem Cinema, and on which Veera is also the production designer, and extensively collaborated on sound design, film editing and music, won the "Best Director" at the 12th Osian Cinefan in India in 2012[8] and Veera was also awarded the Indibor Bose Award for Excellence in Cinema (Nov 2013), instituted by Cine Central one of the oldest film societies, founded by the legendary master Satyajit Ray in Calcutta. This is the first award instituted in 45 years since the formation of this society for a Film Director.[9] "Ballad of Rustom" had unveiled it's Trailer at the Cannes Marche du Film (2012) and opened at the 61st International Film Festival Mannheim, Heidelberg, in international competition in November 2012, the oldest film festival parallel to Cannes and went to screen in International Film Festival Prague (2013), Czech Republic. Ajita Suchitra Veera is the first Indian director to be invited to this European festival in its 20 long years which has seen World Cinema masters such as Wim Wenders, Roman Polanski, and Krystoff Zanussi.[10] "Ballad of Rustom" was also screened at the 17th International Film Festival Kerala, & International Film Festival Hague, Netherlands (2013) and the 12th Osian Cinefan, New Delhi (2012).[11]

Awards and Recognitions[edit]

  • 2003: "Notes on Her" -Short Film (Oscar entry Honorary Foreign Film category)[12]
  • 2012: Ballad of Rustom (Best Director at the 12th Osian Cinefan in New Delhi)[8]
  • 2013: Ballad of Rustom (Indibor Bose Award)[9]
  • 2014: Ballad of Rustom (Oscar contention for Best Picture)[1]

Filmography[edit]

Feature films[edit]

Year Movie Format Aspect Language Duration Awards Role Notes
2013–14 Ballad of Rustom 35 mm film CinemaScope Hindi-English 120 min Best Director (Osian Cinefan, New Delhi) & Indibor Bose Award Writer, director, Producer & Production Designer Fiction

Short films[edit]

Year Movie Format Aspect Language Duration Awards Role Notes
2000 Stereotype Digital Video 16:9 English 5 min Writer & Director Fiction
2001 Anaganaga 16mm film Telugu 4 min Writer & Director Fiction
2001 Images 16mm film 5 min Writer & Director Fiction
2002 A Short Film And Life 35mm film Widegate English 5 min Writer & Director Fiction
2003 A Day in a Studio Digital Video English 15 min Writer & Director Fiction
2003 Chaos Digital Video 16:9 English 5 min Writer & Director Documentary
2003 Notes On Her 35mm film Widegate Hindi-English 9 min Oscar entry Honorary Foreign Film Writer & Director Fiction
2004 The Isle 35mm film Cinemascope Persian 5 min Writer & Director Fiction
2004–05 The Solitary Sandpiper 35mm film Cinemascope Hindi-English 22 min Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography Writer & Director Fiction
2005 An Unnamed Poem 35mm film Cinemascope English 60 min Writer & Director Fiction

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lattanzio, Ryan. "289 Feature Films Eligible for Best Picture Oscar". Indiewire. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Pasupulate, Karthik. "Ajita Suchitra Veera's film in Oscar contention". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Bansal, Varsha. "Back to roots with a ballad". New Indian Express. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Mishra, Bikas. "People take time to understand and relate to new or unique films: Ajita Suchitra Veera, director of Ballad of Rustom". Dear Cinema. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Singh, Rajesh. "Osian's Cinefan Best Director winner Ajita Suchitra Veera on her film BALLAD OF RUSTOM". Bollywood Trade. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "A Character's Real and Imaginary Journey Drive Ballad of Rustom". Kodak. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Veera, Ajita. "Chaos". Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Bhushan, Nyay. "12th Osian's Cinefan Festival Awards Best of Asian, Arab Cinema". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Window of World Cinema". International Forum of New Cinema (8): 2. 18 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "International Film Festival Prague". Febio Fest. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Mehta, Santosh. "Thinker's cinema". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Krishnamoorthy, Suresh. "'Ballad of Rustom' revisits 35 mm". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]