My blogger friend Michael made my morning by informing the DVD overseas release of my film -STRINGS.[ thank you Michael ]
This was awaited news from 'HMV-Sa Re Ga Ma' people but it seems they are still busy with their yearly festival holidays.
In the process of making this DVD master i had to go through the same grind of power and politics of, 'buying and selling marketing stratergies' etc, etc... Again as an independent film maker,I was reminded severely that my film has no 'STARS' and takers etc...
When we did this DVD agreement with HMV,it was always clear that mastering will be done in my supervision. First they told me it will be done in Madras,later i was informed by my partner producer to check the mastering done at a very small studio in Mumbai itself with no proper adequate equipments and skills.I found the work was a complete disaster-
[A.] they had no clue about the subtitles,they just couldn't follow any dialogues and in the 'Mantra'[OM] poem words were not only copied literally but also words were missing from what was rendered forget the translations.It was all inspite of me giving them a DVD copy of the film which i had made for the CANNES and other film festivals which had correct subtitles...
[B.] they had used wipes of graphical 'OM' symbol between the chapters in DVD-I had a big objection to it because this was never an idea right from conceptualisation of the film to bring any religious symbols into it.In fact i am suffering in theatrical releases till date because of a PIL lodged by Sadhus of Allahabad on one poem used by me in the film which has word 'OM'...
[C.] due to the absence of a proper converter used in changing the telecine of the film from PAL to NTSCE for mastering DVD the pigmentations of the colour of the film was drastically distorted.
When i expressed my objections to HMV they made me feel guilty for having made a film without a star and sadly my partner producer got sold to this very CLICHE idea of film making and came in the way. so we lost a lot of time and days in debate.later in pressure of the D-line from the corporate desk they released my DVD with the same disasterous mistakes harming the film and violating my rights as a writer,producer and director of the film.
I felt very hurt and disturbed,never thought that passion could be crushed.I was alone in this fight.When i gave them an ultimatum of going into legal disputes they stopped the process of printing[as they claimed] and i hope so. But by the time they had released 2000 copies of the DVD's for the domestic market,they also ended up creating a lot of misunderstanding between me and my partner.
Later on a very compromising note i went to do my DVD mastering at shemaroo on my own. Completed the work by paying ourselves.HMV did take the new master from us but i am not sure which version is where...
and i don't know the accountability of those 1999 copies released earlier [i have one which i bought from the local shop in a mall]
Hope they have released the correct version with meaningful subttitles and without any religious signs in the index of the DVD.
This film took me three years to come to this stage and we have yet to recover our money.
LONG LIVE INDEPENDANT CINEMA IN INDIA