David John Sands

David John Sands

SANDS – David John At home, surrounded by his beloved family on 6th June, 2020. David, the former N…
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Tide over with humour

Through the series, Hasya Kavi Potliwala, theatre and film director Feroz Abbas Khan wanted to create an animation character who is instantly relatable, likeable, charming and highly entertaining. By Sakshi Sharma Imagine sitting with a basket of homemade popcorn, coffee and watching Hum Saath Saath Hai with your family on television. Suddenly, there’s an advertisement that tells you to wash your hands thrice a day for at least two minutes. In the very next moment, you have a mobile phone ad, which says that all its proceeds will be used for COVID relief. Irritated with similar ads, you look for some news as little did you know it’s the same everywhere. As the sad and repetitive news has taken a toll on you, you finally settle yourself with some comedy and fun content online. In this pandemic-hit world, almost every other advertisement, actors in daily soap and even online films are doing their bit by making us aware about the severe consequences of the virus and ways to be safe. But people are certainly looking for some shift to get over the prolonged gloominess. Do you remember the old days when the puppet theatre, cartoons and animated shows subtly talked about social issues right from gender biasness to environment, politics, pollution and much more? Well, nowadays, we don’t get to see the puppet theatre but there are modern day memes, which has certainly forced us to think and drive conversations in an informed direction. Humour has often been used in a witty and sarcastic way to depict inequality, ignorance and injustice. For instance, Sanitary Panels, an Indian web comic analyses various issues related to social justice in four panels or less. Another in line is Green Humour, which raises environmental concern. BoJack Horseman (2014) is a Netflix animated sitcom, which addresses contemporary matters of American sexism. It has separate episodes dedicated for depression, abortion and other similar issues, which are often swept under the carpet. A similar idea was used by the Population Foundation of India when they had an urgent mandate to produce communication material to deal with stigma and myths arising due to Coronavirus as part of a national level campaign. They had to curate and create verified, reliable, and updated communication materials on COVID-19, along with the Government of India. Executive director of the Population Foundation, Poonam Muttreja said, “There is an overload of information on social media and it is extremely hard to sift the truth from falsehood. We felt that in such sombre times, we need the right information to empower ourselves and some humour to tide over these grave times.”  For the campaign, they have created a series of short animation films on key issues related to the pandemic. The series features a poet called Potliwala, who recites short poems in each film on issues related to COVID-19. These include necessary issues such as the use of masks, social distancing, precautions, stigma and discrimination. It uses entertainment education to share messages in an impactful and entertaining manner. The first of these animation shorts is a bi-weekly series titled, Hasya Kavi Potliwala, conceptualised and produced by theatre and film director, Feroz Abbas Khan. Here are the excerpts of our conversation with him, telling us about how he went about with this idea.   How did you conceptualise it? Messaging through films is a tricky business and particularly when so many are attempting to be heard on Corona. A lot of stuff we saw on the internet were sincere in its intentions but not effective in communication. Therefore, I decided to create an animation character who is instantly relatable, likeable, charming and highly entertaining. He, Potliwala, delivers a powerful message and performance in 30 seconds cloaked as a beautiful poem. Since the series is a part of a campaign that caters to all age groups, why did you think of disseminating information through an animated series and not a usual one? The lockdown has been a barrier for most of the shootings. So due to this, we couldn’t shoot with actors, which made way for animation as the best route possible. In hindsight, I believe it was a blessing in disguise because it forced us to think harder and push our boundaries. With the main character, who is an old man, we have been able to transcend all age barriers. What do you think about combining humour with social issues? Does it help reach a wider audience? We have been bombarded with constant messaging about Coronavirus everywhere that a certain fatigue has set in. The lockdown too had its effect on the mood of the people and we felt that humour will cheer them up and the message will be more effective. As the series has short clips, how challenging is it to convey strong and impactful messages in such a restricted time frame? With shorter attention span and massive content in the digital world, anything long lands up in the bin. Short and entertaining messages have more recall value and it’s consumed in huge numbers. It goes viral very quickly and everyone wants to share — that is its power. You said that “We want to trigger a behaviour change through humour, poetry and instantly likeable character of Potliwala…” What more do you intend to achieve through it? Along with this, we want a positive behavioural change particularly towards the growing stigma. Our frontline health workers including doctors are being stigmatised and that is unacceptable. The COVID patients are ostracised and even recovered patients are boycotted. We hope this attempt can help change attitudes. Since you are a theatre director primarily, have you worked on something like this before? How different was it? Yes, this is very different from theatre but honestly, I just jumped into it without fearing the consequences. I found some wonderful collaborators in writer Iqbal Raj and the animation team led by Supreet and Taruna at Doublexstudio. (The series was launched on the MyGov’s COVID-19 platform.)
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Ritesh Sidhwani Shares Throwback Pictures As ‘Fukrey’ Clocks Seven Years

As the comedy film Fukrey clocked seven years of release on June 14, producer Ritesh Sidhwani shared several throwback pictures on social media while celebrating the milestone. In the pictures, the producer can be seen striking a perfect picture pose with the entire cast including Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma, Ali Fazal, Manjot Singh, Richa Chadha, Vishakha Singh, and Priya Anand.  Ritesh shared a series of pictures on his Twitter handle and revisited some old fond memories. In the first pictures, the entire star cast can be seen happily posing for the camera. The second picture seems to be from the promotions where Riteshcan be seen posing with other producers of the film including Farhan Akhtar and writer Vipul Vig. In the third picture, Ritesh, Farhan, Richa, Ali, Pulkit, and Manjot can be seen smiling while posing during the promotions.  Read: ‘Fukrey 3’ Director Mrigdeep Singh Lamba Says Upcoming Film Could Reflect COVID Pandemic Read: Farhan Akhtar’s Projects Like ‘Don’, ‘Fukrey’ & More That Became A Franchise Having a major Déjà Choo moment with the Fukras. 7 years and counting! #7YearsOfFukrey#MrigdeepSinghLamba @PulkitSamrat @varunsharma90 @alifazal9 @OyeManjot @RichaChadha @TripathiiPankaj @PriyaAnand @vishakhasingh55 @FarOutAkhtar pic.twitter.com/vCpepGLJov While captioning the post, Ritesh shared a dialogue from the film and wrote that he is having a major “Déjà Choo” moment with the Fukras. Ali Fazal who felt nostalgic after seeing all the throwback memories was the first one to leave a comment under the post. The actor looked back at the journey and wrote, “Wow !!! What a journey … serious Deja choo happening.”   Fukrey boasts one of the funniest and the best lead gang in Bollywood. Hunny, Choocha, Zafar, and Lali played by Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma, Ali Faizal, and Manjot Singh respectively is the soul of the movie. Each scene cracks us up with their brilliant humour and dedicated acting. Each character gets into our hearts with their funny banter and heartfelt romance on the side. This movie cannot be imagined in any other way without this gang. The gang’s funny antics will leave all in splits.    The story of the film revolves around Hunny, Choocha, Lali, and Zafar who want to make easy money and approach the notorious Bholi to invest in their plan. But when they lose her money, they must come up with a plan or face the consequences. The storyline was original and the performances by the stellar star-cast were topnotch. The movie comes with a fresh flavour of comedy. It is a twisted and delectably uproarious take on the shortcuts the youth of today indulge in. Read: These Posts By Richa Chaddha Prove That The ‘Fukrey’ Star Has A Great Sense Of Humour Read: Richa Chadha Posts ‘Fukrey’ Meme, Says Lockdown Life Is ‘nothing New’; See Pic Get the latest entertainment news from India & around the world. Now follow your favourite television celebs and telly updates. Republic World is your one-stop destination for trending Bollywood news. Tune in today to stay updated with all the latest news and headlines from the world of entertainment.
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