Thursday, November 02, 2006

Formula 69 - Film by IIT-Delhi and IIM-Lucknow in which my brother Ashish plays a part

This post is about a film shot in IIT-Delhi, Formula69. It is a science-fiction Film that has been made in IIT-Delhi using a special technique (code named GIn technique). It is a light hearted adventure of three IITians who use their crazy inventions to save the world from a gang of Biochemical terroists. IIT-Delhi dramatics team guys are the star cast and my younger brother, Ashish Kumar Lal, ex-IIT, Delhi, has also played a role in this movie. Nitin Das - IIM Lucknow, is the Director and Producer.

Looking for fulfilling dreams, a pool of talented theatre guys of
IIT-Delhi and IIM-Lucknow started making a movie 'Fomula 69' from January 2006. This movie is now ready and they are trying to premiere it on Telvision. Before that it will be premiered in IIT. They have got coverage from The Times of India, Asian Age, Mumbai newspapaers and magazines and 30minutes show on making of Formula 69 on Aaj Tak TV channel.
As told by Ashish, "This movie would be commercially released but not in cinema halls (the frames per second funda of the camera and the huge investment involved used doesn’t allow us to do that). The movie’s first shot was taken on 22nd Feb, 2006."

Here is an opportunity to watch this movie made by IIM-L and IIT-D guys at IIT Delhi on 4th Saturday at 5.30pm. Below is the formal invitation and details that I received from Ashish and is open for everyone.

We are having a secret screening of our recently completed sci-fi film Formula 69.
This is a confidential invitation for you. The details of the exclusive premiere and the film are as follows:

Date : 4th November 2006 – Saturday
Time: 5:30 p.m
Venue: Convocation Hall, IIT Delhi , Hauz Khas, New Delhi
Dress : Compulsory
Entry Fee: A smile (only genuine ones will be accepted)

Hope to see you there.

Ashish Lal
Actor- 'Formula 69'
B.Tech., IIT-Delhi and a Business Consultant
On behalf of 'Formula 69' Group

(Please destroy this invitation after you have memorized it)

More about the film (As told by Ashish):

Formula 69 is a sci-fi thriller about 3 IIT students who use their crazy inventions to save the world.

Chatur (Hemant Kathuria), Bhains (Himschwet Gaurav) and Magga (Tarun Singhal) are 3 final year students at IIT D who get involved in a bizarre adventure when their dean gets murdered and the secret formula he was working on disappears. Now the 3 geniuses have to solve the mystery, retrieve the formula and clear their final year exams, all in 10 days.

The film is a collaborative effort by the students, alumni and staff of IIT Delhi. The project is spearheaded by Nitin Das, a pass out of IIM Lucknow. And the film is dedicated to George Bush and Osama Bin Laden.

A short trailer of the film is available on: (final trailer)
The Times of India has article on 23rd Feb.'06 in Delhi and in Mumbai on 24th Feb.

Asian Age has the below article on 10th March '06 in its archives:-


IITians on the roll make sci-fi film- By Rajesh Ahuja New Delhi

It took Delhi students 17 years to set the camera rolling on the campus again. The IIT Delhi and IIM Lucknow alumni have joined hands to follow the legacy of Pradip Kishen, (author Arundhati Roy’s husband), to attempt a full-fledged film on the campus. But this time, there’s a twist in the tale.

While Kishen’s flick, based on Roy’s novel In Which Annie Gives It To Those Ones, was shot at the School of Planning and Architecture in 1989 and had a splendid starcast, this sci-fi movie will be shot at IIT and will have IIT students donning the greasepaint.

Science-fiction plot

Talking about the movie titled Formula 69 (no pun intended), which boasts of many crazy inventions, Nitin Das, an IIM Lucknow graduate and the creative genius behind the project, says, "I had always been inclined towards filmmaking and decided to call my management career quits. Neither has anyone attempted a 90-minute feature film on the campus, nor has this genre been touched." But why this quirky name? "Coming from IITians, it had to be ahead of its times. It’s set in the year 2010, and the name plays a vital role," he adds.

Casting ouch!

Director and script writer Das affirms that zeroing on the cast was a big issue, but as IIT had a Dance and Dramatics society (D ‘n’ D), things became simpler. "I conducted a nine-day workshop on filmmaking at IIT Delhi in January and met a lot of talented people. Realising their passion for films, I decided to make the film. I auditioned students and finalised the cast."

Let’s talk money, honey

Though the cast and crew don’t want to divulge details about their monetary investment, the group in charge of the film’s marketing says "it is quite something". "What we are primarily investing is our time and talent," says Harshal, a third year IIT student handling the film’s marketing.

Overcoming obstacles

Why haven’t many films been attempted on the campus in the past? Is it primarily due to lack of funds and the right guidance? "Yes, that’s true. It took us a month to get approvals from different departments within the college. First, I had to get permission from the D ‘n’ D Society, then the Board of Recreational and Cultural Activities and finally the dean," says Das.

The students made effective use of technological expertise available at the college. "We’ve made gadgets out of scrap material, equipment available in the labs and some inventions that ex-students made over the years," informs Tarun Singhal, who plays Magga (the bookworm).

Rolling on the campus

"As we have our classes during the day, we rehearse at night. We are only allowed to shoot on weekends and till now, we have shot twice. We made ample use of the campus area and shot in classrooms, lecture theatre and terrace. We are also planning to shoot a scene at the Tughlaqabad Fort soon," reveals Nishant Kumar, who plays the baddie in the film.

Future of independent filmmaking

Das finds the future promising but the present bleak. "Independent filmmaking is in its infant stage in India. People don’t attempt such projects as they fear huge expenses. Films like these are story and talent-driven, equipments come later. But sadly, there are no groups or societies who could provide a sound platform to people with such vision," concludes Das.


A short trailer of the film is available on Google here (final trailer) and on YouTube here.

Wish you all the best Ashish and the 'Formula 69' team. I plan to be there at the screening of 'Formula 69'. Good luck to you and your whole team :-)

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