Zee5 releases teaser of comedy-drama, ‘Ghoomketu’ starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Zee5 released the teaser of fun-filled comedy-drama, Ghoomketu, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Anurag Kashyap, Raghubir Yadav, Swanand Kirkire, Ragini Khanna and Ila Arun. The teaser opens with Ghoomketu, an aspiring scriptwriter entering the city of dreams, Mumbai. The titular role is played by Siddiqui.

Siddiqui shared the poster of the film on his Instagram handle. The poster was captioned, “Hello Bambai shehar! Tayyaar ho jaao Bollywood ke sabse rangeen writer ki kahaani dekhne ke liye. #Ghoomketu, aa raha hai 22 May ko, sirf #ZEE5 par.”

Ghoomketu will also have special appearances of Amitabh Bachchan, Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha. Zee5 recently launched the poster of Ghoomketu which shows the lead, Siddiqui arriving in Mumbai with his pitara and the iconic Gateway of India as the backdrop.

Directed by Pushpendra Nath Misra and produced by Phantom Films and Sony Pictures Networks (SPN), Ghoomketu premieres on 22 May 2020 exclusively on Zee5.

Pokerstars India launches digital campaign with Nawazuddin Siddiqui

PokerStars India, part of the world’s largest online poker platform, has launched a new digital marketing campaign featuring bollywood star and PokerStars India brand ambassador Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

#MadeforPoker is the second campaign that PokerStars India has developed along with its creative agency Ogilvy India. The campaign, which is comprised of three advertisements, is designed to highlight that everyone has a poker player in them and that poker skills can easily be applied to everyday challenges. Each of the three digital adverts focuses on a transferable life-skill such as staying calm, taking calculated decisions and keeping a poker face.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui said, “Poker can be played by anyone who approaches life with composure and self-control. You play the hand with the skills you bring to the table. Similarly, in life, you use your skills to adapt to the cards life deals you. Look at me, I was never the quintessential Bollywood hero, but I didn’t let that stop me. Poker as a mind and skill game teaches you how to be a good decision- maker, analyse your opponents’ strategy and overcome failures. Poker requires a lot of discipline, perseverance and the innate ability to adjust to situations quickly.”

Sachiko Gaming CEO Ankur Dewani, said that “With #MadeForPoker, PokerStars India wants to connect with people from all walks of life and to make them aware of the potential poker player within them. We want to help people to understand the game better and encourage them to play safely on a secure, regulated platform such as PokerStars India.”

PokerStars Ambassadors Aditya Agarwal, Muskan Sethi and Sharad Rao have achieved fame by participating in various poker tournaments in India and Internationally, joining other Indian players making their mark Internationally.

Aditya Agarwal has cashed more than $4 million in tournaments and Muskan Sethi was awarded the President of India’s “First Ladies” award for being India’s first female professional poker player. Additionally, eight players from India travelled to the PokerStars Players Championship in Bahamas in January 2019 and six Indian players are heading to EPT Barcelona at the end of the month, including actor Siddhanth Kapoor and four players who have won packages online at PokerStars India.

Those who wish to learn more about poker and sharpen their skills for free can visit PokerStars India’s online learning platform PokerStars School, which provides interactive free tutorials, videos and training resources, as well as the chance to engage with pros, trainers and like-minded communities.

PokerStars India signs Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the brand ambassador

PokerStars India, operated by Sachiko Gaming, launched India’s first ever poker TV commercial and announced its association with Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who stars in the adverts. The launch and association is designed to strengthen the brand’s resonance as it seeks to bring the concepts of poker to a wider audience.

Three television commercials have been shot, each with a different narrative, challenging the audience to work out whether they think Nawaz is bluffing in the scenarios, or not. One features Nawaz trying to use a poker chip as everyday money, one follows him as he attempts to take on a role inspired by James Bond and one sees him analysing the behaviour of people in a café. The commercials shine a light on the different and varied skills needed to play poker, such as reading body language, eventually leading Nawaz to the poker tables.

Viewers are encouraged to vote on whether they think Nawaz is bluffing for the chance to win prizes. Those who vote will receive tickets to free poker tournaments which will give out more than 0.5 million in guaranteed prizes, ranging from cash to high tech items such as Smart TVs, smartphones, wireless headphones, smart speakers and powerbank chargers. The free tournaments take place every Sunday from 8 to 24 March at PokerStars’ official website.

“It’s a great pleasure to be associated with PokerStars India”, said Siddiqui, “I have been intrigued by poker for some time now as I believe it hits the magic balance between being easy to learn yet gives ongoing opportunities to increase your knowledge and master the game. PokerStars is one of the most popular and trusted poker brands in the world thanks to its wide range of tournaments and games, excellent 24/7 customer support, top level security and award-winning software. I am looking forward to improving my poker skills alongside some of the best professional poker players at PokerStars India.”

The advert was produced with creative agency Ogilvy who brought the concept of the bluff to life through engaging and fun narratives designed to entertain but also encourage people to work out whether Nawaz is bluffing and try their hand at the game themselves.

“We are delighted to partner with Nawaz for this ground-breaking TV advert. Nawaz is one of the most engaging and, popular and personalities in Bollywood who has shown great resilience, determination and skill to get to where he is today. These are all key attributes belonging to poker players and PokerStars India so we could not have partnered with anyone better. I look forward to working with him on many successful projects in the future,” said Sachiko Gaming CEO Ankur Dewani.

To see the poker skills in action, viewers can tune into the broadcasts of the PokerStars-sponsored Global Poker League (GLP) India, the country’s premier long-run poker league. The first show will be aired on 9 March on Color Infinity channel. Two 22-minute episodes will be aired weekly with the final broadcast on 30 March. Six teams from across the country will play poker and compete to win 10 million and be crowned champions. Professional poker players Aditya Agarwal and Muskan Sethi, who are both sponsored by PokerStars India, captain two of the teams, the Kolkata Creators and the Delhi Diehards respectively. Each team is comprised of a team captain, two experienced, high level poker players, and two online qualifiers from PokerStars India.

India’s First Science fiction short film ‘Carbon’ is a rebel!

A still from the short-film ‘Carbon’

Global warming is a universal fact. But hardly have we seen a movie being spun around the issue. Yes, we can call this film and its VFX a rebel! Maitrey Bajpai and Ramiz Ilham Khan’s Carbon did, and took the digital space by storm.

A short film clocking at 25 minutes, the Jackky Bhagnani-starrer was released on August 28, 2017 on YouTube by Royal Stag Large Short Films. The movie garnered almost six million views already, and is flooded with appreciative feedbacks.

Animation Xpress caught up with Futureworks VFX supervisor Vinay Chuphal, who takes us behind the scenes and talks about the ideation process, the visual effects and a lot more about Carbon!

Futureworks VFX Supervisor Vinay Singh Chuphal

How did you go about the creative aspect of the film? Could you also describe the plot of it?

Vinay: I had a meeting with the director and the whole direction team, and in that itself we decided how will it look. Unlike the size of the buildings today, the buildings 50 years from now, how more number of people with migrate to city, the pollution that it will produce subsequently, and on the basis of certain sci-fi movies we got references. The movie is based in Delhi as there was a pollution issue last year. We eventually decided on making high-rise buildings with more than 100 storey in it, then made the city with CG.

Then there’s a sequence where Jackky goes to meet Nawaz who comes from Mars. Here, only the rich people have shifted to Mars to live. And they are coming down to earth to get pure oxygen. However in the conversation between Nawaz and Jackky, the former explains him how the ancestors are responsible for the mess. Also, the government is supplying impure oxygen whilst the water control too is in their hands. So despite hailing from the affluent class, people from Mars descend down on Earth for oxygen as the production is done here itself.

How did you create the futuristic buildings?

Vinay: It’s a mix of today’s as well as the buildings of the future. The notion was that the buildings of the future will be built on the top of what is already existing.

Will we get to see something out of the box?

Vinay: We definitely tried to do that. However we would get little time during the post production.

Was any particular software or technology used for the VFX of the movie?

Maya is the main software for 3D, which is also the most commonly used software today; composting was done on Nuke.

Have you used motion capture in the film?

Vinay: No. It wasn’t required.

What are the interesting VFX sequences according to you?

A before-after VFX breakdown of a scene from the movie

Vinay: Since the duration of the movie is as little as 22 minutes, there isn’t much scope for VFX. There’s more of dialogue in the film. Although there are a few scenes that have visual effects such as the factory scene for which we have produced smoke so that it looks polluted.

How big was the VFX team?

Vinay: It wasn’t too big given the short-film format of the movie. We had four to five working on CGI and another four for compositing.

How many VFX shots in all?

Vinay: Basically, the entire movie is VFX. The atmospheric feel, the smoke, the settings all involved VFX.

There are also visuals of another planet revolving in the trailer. Can you tell us more about that?

Vinay: Just a few days back India launched a few satellites into space, and now there are thousands of satellites in space in all. So 70 years from now, there might be pollution in outer space as well. We are trying to show how earth is getting surrounded by satellites, and as a result, is infected with dust and smoke.

How did you come up with it?

Vinay: It’s a full 3D creation and we made 40-50 satellites for it. Then we also did animation and composting for it.

Can you tell us about the use of oxygen masks in the movie?

A before-after VFX breakdown of the scene involving oxygen masks

Vinay: The masks were real. However, Jackky has an artificial heart in the movie. Due to immense pollution, there are a lot of cases of heart failures and in fact, babies are born with a still heart. Hence the device is used to make it function normally. And VFX is used for all the heart sequences.

Will we get to see any digitally created creatures?

Vinay: The movie won’t showcase anything as such. It isn’t an alien-based movie.

How were the factories and smoke created?

Vinay: We set-up the factories, but we artificially created the smoke, dust to give the look and feel of a polluted place.

There are a lot of blue, green and grey colour used in the movie. What is the reason behind it?

Vinay: We are just showing the whole texture. For example when we go to Kashmir, we see beautiful colours. But when there’s pollution and dust all around you, it looks ugly. So accordingly we coloured the backgrounds.

Futureworks founder and Carbon producer Gautam Gupta too, shares some of his thoughts on Carbon.

Futureworks founder and Carbon VFX Producer Gautam Gupta

How did you visualise the settings of 2067?

Gautam: It’s quite impossible to imagine how 2067 could be. And the way things have changed since the 90s, the progress that our world has made, has been commendable. So what we did was try to represent our idea through VFX.

Could you tell us about the concept of water in the movie?

Gautam: There’s a shot in which you see the water is very expensive. There are no ways of storing water. We knew these issues may arise in future, so we created those 2-2.5 litre jars that we normally get, created an electronic lock on it with a beeper, which acts as an alarm system. This was done to show how expensive water gets in that time.

How big was the team, budget?

Gautam: Being a short film, there are cost constraints, as it is not an all out work. This was a small team, working extra hours, trying not to disturb the core part of Futureworks. This isn’t some best quality work, but to give this new medium some promotion is what we’ve done.

How has the response been?

Gautam: In such a short span it has already garnered 5.6 millions views, which is much higher than other short films featuring Naseeruddin Shah, Darshan Jariwala etc. I’m not comparing, but the element of VFX, the story and using conflict as environment has really excited people.

We hope more such science fiction films come in the future and up the level of VFX in Indian cinema!

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