The Genesis of School Cinema & Story of I CAN DO IT

It all started off as a series of films that EduMedia would develop that would be part of the school system. Films that will be shown to students in school but the backbone would be learning through fun. This project was initially called Project Image internally.

When I first came up with the idea it seemed very alien for most of  the people who thought that it was interesting but not many knew what it would do in future. It was my colleagues at work Naina, Misbah, Dilip, Fathima who started believing in the idea and now the number of fools who believed in the idea increased. But we just could not figure out how and where to start from.

One of the breakthroughs that happened was a lead into NID Ahmedabad. Dr. Vidya who is the editor of my Mentor Magazine suggested that I meet up with her friend Vaibhav Kumaresh who runs Vaibhav Studios. I met up with him in his very small and messy office in Mumbai… Kandivali. But I was very impressed with the person, very genuine and very talented. He had to his credit some of the most famous cartoon characters of present TV like Channel V Simpoo & Chulbuli. He loved the idea of Project Image and suggested that I get in touch with the head of animation in NID Ahmedabad Shekar Mukherjee, I spoke to him and he referred me to Dr. Soumyajit Ghoshal. It was Ghoshal who was very enthusiastic about the project and we started talking about associating with NID in an organised manner. This was around the month of July 2008 and for the next 5/6 months things moved very slowly like it does with government projects and agencies.

In Bangalore I had several meetings with Prakash Belawadi who was heading Miditech South and a very promienent Kananda Film maker. He loved the idea of Project Image and was very keen to work with us.

I was in Delhi in early December to have a meeting with GSK for the first quarter project of Horlicks. In the past we did several projects like ‘Exams Ka Bhooth Bhagao’ which were great successes. This year the project was titled internally as Project Scholar and I suggested that we make an educational film that will help children face exams better. The film could be shown to all schools and children could benefit. The Horlicks marketing team were very impressed with the idea and I was eager to start off.

Now we hardly had any time to make the movie as it had to be ready by the first week of Jan. We started our hunt for a film maker. Prakash was travelling to Sweden and he could not work on it. Who next??? I knew that Arundati Nag was a good contact to utilise and she was very impressed with our work as she was a judge for the National Finals of Horlicks Wizkids 2008. Naina, Fathima & me met her up at RangaShankara her auditorium dedicated to theatre & culture. The meeting was very good and she referred us to Pinty.

Naina & Fathima met up with Pinty…aka Padmavati Rao at her place and were very impressed with her and her work. I called Pinty to meet up with me at my office and when I met her I was sure she will do my film. I told her to come back asap with a script and costings. The next one week went with concepts and costings. I did not even wait for Horlicks to give me a green signal I sent a contract to Pinty to start work.

The work was going on in full progress… and things were moving in the right direction. A couple of weeks later, the brand manager of Horlicks informed us that they will not be doing the film. This came as a shock to me!!! Now I had to answer a question either I stop the project or do it with comapny money. My team was all so kicked with the progress and so excited about the overall project I decided that we will invest our company money and make the film. This was a huge risk I was taking, but one that had to be taken.

It was an amazing experience to go to the shoots and sit through the editing table. The film was emerging in front of our eyes little by little, we moved from being very apprehensive and unsure of what it will be like to gaining confidence after the final edit was shown to our office team. The loved it… we had a screening for friends in our office one evening and they all loved it. I then knew we had a great project in our hands it was called I CAN DO IT…. it actually is more a story of how we did it….Visit www.edumediaindia.com and you will get a trailer of the film and the people behind it.

One of the days I was explaing the concept of Project Image to Dilip Patel who is a Director with The Activity and I used the term Project Cinema to describe it to him… he loved the name. That moment I realised I finally had a name for one of the most ambitious projects of my life….. SCHOOL CINEMA

Everyone like the name… it was only Vidya who thought it was not nice and she suggested another name I guess it was Cinema in School Project CSP… naaa I did not like it… stuck with School Cinema

As I write this article very few people have heard of the project and its impact. I believe that it will change the way people look at films and the way we study in school. I am really excited about the impact I can create in education with this project….

Cinema will get a new meaning and dimension …. that is what I belive…. I know someday I will visit this blog again to read this statement…. and smile at myself for being right…. Inshallah!