View Full Version : Churhi

12-28-2009, 08:31 PM


Love, Marriage, Betrayal

An Indian woman, forced into an arranged marriage and moved to America by an absent husband, falls in love with her English tutor. Revenge and betrayal test their love when the affair is discovered.

Moon Mehmood
Shiraz Hussain
Arif Memon
Zain Shenwari

Writer, Faith Friese Nelson
Director, Ubaid Seth
Composer, Randin Graves
Poster Designer, Rodney Smith
Full credits

12-28-2009, 08:32 PM
Status Updates

December 29, 2009 (Tuesday)

Big improvements. Pictures coming soon...
Confirmed DP, Makeup/Hairdresser, Boom Operator and Mixer, and Composer. Will update as soon as I get release forms back.
Will begin rehearsals one week from now. Currently location scouting. Will film here in Houston

January 01, 2009 (Friday)

Happy new years!! All except one actor is confirmed. This would be our lead.
I want to shoot on a Red but I may have to sacrifice and work from a higher end HD. Will try my best to get that Red.
Rehearsals on the 6th (Wednesday), and shooting shall be on that following weekend (Saturday and Sunday)
I have the sound engineer confirmed and script supervisor.
Location scout confirmed. Will be scouting this weekend as well as Monday.

January 04, 2009 (Monday)

I would say it was a pretty productive weekend.
Locations are confirmed. Rehearsal and shooting date confirmed. (Wednesday and Sunday)
All of CAST is confirmed. Great group of people.
DP is confirmed. Red is confirmed.
I might need grip and lighting truck.. ouch.. this will dent big on the budget but I'm sure it'll be worth every dollar (hopefully).
Finally saw the house and it looks great!
Will meet back up tomorrow to plan out props and set designing.

12-28-2009, 08:35 PM
January 07, 2009 (Thursday)

Rehearsal was very helpful and worked out pretty good. I just hope the actors don't forget everything lol :) Nah I'm sure they won't.
Finally have a grip and lighting truck.
Makeup artist came by and got a lot accomplished just by looking at the actors/actresses. She's really good
I'm just worried about the weather now...

January 13, 2009 (Wednesday)

Done with filming! Wow.. went by so fast.. Time to edit
I'm looking at the edit right now.. there were two scenes very crucial to the story that we couldn't get done because of the time and budget restriction. Will try to see if it's as crucial as I think it is...
Behind the scenes photos uploaded

January 15, 2009 (Friday)

Done with everything. Good luck to everyone in the fest :)

Rodney V. Smith
12-28-2009, 08:49 PM

12-28-2009, 08:51 PM
Thanks Rodney!!

Awesome poster.. one of your best work so far :)

Richard J. Johnson
12-29-2009, 06:52 AM
Welcome to the madness!

12-29-2009, 06:55 AM
Love, Marriage, Betrayal.... did I give you the rights to my life story? :shocked:

Welcome to the fest!

Rodney V. Smith
12-29-2009, 07:46 AM
So when do you plan to shoot? What's your status on production and where are you shooting?

Faith Nelson
01-01-2010, 03:51 AM
Moon looks very close to what I pictured in my mind when I wrote this SP... Can't wait to see her in the film

01-01-2010, 05:17 AM
Cool cast so far. How many other people are in it?

01-01-2010, 05:30 AM
Cool cast so far. How many other people are in it?

Two more people. Just waiting on their confirmations

Rodney V. Smith
01-02-2010, 06:10 AM
Moon Mehmood

I heart Moon. **swoon**

01-05-2010, 05:52 AM
great looking poster! welcome, looking forward to it.

01-05-2010, 06:07 AM
Welcome. Nice looking cast.

Nice to see you back Faith. Finally your specialty, a drama!

01-13-2010, 06:03 AM
Behind the scenes photos


01-13-2010, 06:06 AM

Scott F
01-13-2010, 06:45 AM
Thanks for sharing, MrSeth. Nice setups.

Damn, that's a lot of c-stands....


01-14-2010, 12:04 AM
Awesome BTS. I'm really looking forward to this.

01-21-2010, 07:14 PM
Thanks! Here are three screengrabs fresh from the Red (some rough color-correction)


03-05-2010, 06:21 PM
You have an interesting cast. At first I thought you were in India until I saw the bts pictures.

03-05-2010, 09:17 PM
Wow. I think you get the award for most BTS pics. :D Good luck with the fest!

03-06-2010, 05:48 AM
oooh~ looking forward to seeing this one!!! :D good luck!

03-06-2010, 08:51 AM
This sounds friggin HOT!!!

When I was living in Bahrain, I saw so many phenomenal Indian and Arab films that Americans will never be privvy to. Most of them weren't even in English...but they didn't need to be for me to love them.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
03-06-2010, 09:07 AM
Looks interesting. Welcome to the Fest.


Chris Messineo
03-06-2010, 09:34 AM
Great stills and BTS - I'm looking forward to watching it.

Matt Harris
03-06-2010, 09:40 AM
very nice color corrected stills. ah, im jealous of you guys with REDS. i like your theme / plot, thats heavy stuff. im interested to see this.

03-06-2010, 07:48 PM
Allow me to be the first to commend you one getting some of the best actors I've seen in a DVXFest. Seriously, you two male leads were so intense, I didn't have to to read the subtitles to know what they were trying to convey.

My only neg would be in lighting and sound. I felt your outdoor scenes came to life with your use of Natural Light (Natty!), but the indoor lighting was too ambient and all ecompassing. And as far as sound, some slight hiss reduction and you're good. Excellent Film, bro. You spun a cliched betrayal (love triangle) and made something unique of it. Kudos.

03-06-2010, 08:32 PM
I enjoyed the strong story with subtle betrayal.

nice characters and soundtrack

03-06-2010, 11:27 PM
Very well done. It’s hard to put a convincing love story together in 6 minutes, let alone one from a different culture than most viewers.

I like the music, it fit very well and came and went in the right places.
Occasionally the subtitles were lost on a light background. In general the lighting felt a little bit flat – I would have liked to see a little more dramatic use, at least at key turning points, to emphasize what is happening.

I quite enjoyed this film. The acting was solid, story was simple, and I like your choice to leave the issue hanging at the end. Well done.

03-07-2010, 06:26 AM
A fine example of the Bollywood style. Well done.

03-07-2010, 06:32 AM
Good drama, great acting. A delight to watch! It definitely appealed to the ladies of our house! Would love to have known what happened next - which means that you did a really good job with the storyline and kept the viewers wanting more :-)

Richard J. Johnson
03-07-2010, 08:20 AM
Great acting! and it was shot well. This one hit close to home for me, great job!

03-07-2010, 09:06 AM
Very nice critiques.. thank you so much. I completely agree and from the back of my mind I kept thinking the same about the lighting.

03-07-2010, 09:37 AM
Hi all, I just signed up here after starting to check out the films. I scored Churhi for MrSeth, and enjoyed working with him as always! Thanks, sir! And thanks to Nils and 4100xpb for mentioning the score in your comments.

My compliments to the actors, too, and everyone involved! I'm biased of course, but Churhi's still one of my favorites I've seen here, largely for telling a believable, more mature story in an honest and artful way. And I like most of the interior shots with the most notable exception of Manu's office. Since we're sort of in a tame Bollywood mode here, I think the not-quite-real look of some of the interiors, like Rajani on the couch, is well within the genre, especially with the surreal ending.

Okay, back to it... I've seen about 3/4 of the films so far.

03-07-2010, 11:03 AM
Great film! I actually thought the lighting was really good for the most part, with only the office scene detracting me from that. The score is fantastic and really helped the flow of the movie. The acting was great as well. My only real critique would be the color correction. I think you could get everything to pop a little bit more by adding slightly more contrast. Otherwise it's a great film and looked good. Good work!

03-07-2010, 12:06 PM
solid acting... agree with mike on the color correcting... it goes a long way and i think could have helped the overall look if it had more attention put to it, especially in circumstances where you are dealing with not the greatest lighting situation, a solid cc can add much needed depth and drama... the score was really good, as well... i would fix the subtitles as they were hard to read sometimes and seemed to come in early at time, but nonetheless... well done!

03-07-2010, 02:30 PM
^^ Amazing critiques. Thank you so much as this will help me out a lot

I wished Betrayalfest would allow Redcode because that way you can totally see the proper colors that I corrected from the Red one. As soon as I brought it into h264, the color/saturation/gamma completely changed


See what I mean? This is the color correction version which you don't see on the h264.. but then again I was having compression issues all day yesterday trying to fit it into 50 MB.. time to head over to reduser.net and learn something about Red compression :)

John LaBonney
03-07-2010, 03:43 PM
Dang fine story, and I'm impressed that you were able to fit it in a scant six minutes. Great acting that was at times accentuated by great cinematography, but there were a very few shots that I think the composition was slightly lacking--but overall, very solid.

The style of the music, while I think very appropriate, isn't entirely to my taste and I found it a bit overpowering at times. This may simply be a matter of personal taste however.

I expect that this will do well; congratulations on a fine film.


03-07-2010, 04:00 PM
good movie but I need help understanding the ending. The guy that is in love with her is talking to her standing right behind her and then she turns around and why did she see an image of her husband?

03-07-2010, 04:56 PM
The style of the music, while I think very appropriate, isn't entirely to my taste and I found it a bit overpowering at times. This may simply be a matter of personal taste however.
D'oh! Can't please everyone, I guess!

03-07-2010, 04:59 PM
good movie but I need help understanding the ending. The guy that is in love with her is talking to her standing right behind her and then she turns around and why did she see an image of her husband?

There are a couple of interpretations that I went for - this one being the most popular:

She had to choose between her husband or her English tutor/lover. When she turns around she sees her choice, resulting in another betrayal.

John LaBonney
03-07-2010, 05:00 PM
D'oh! Can't please everyone, I guess!

I demand you please me at all times!

03-07-2010, 05:42 PM
There are a couple of interpretations that I went for - this one being the most popular:

She had to choose between her husband or her English tutor/lover. When she turns around she sees her choice, resulting in another betrayal.

But it never became official that the tutor in fact turned into the lover. He was about to!

But ok so her husband saved her on time because she was about to choose the tutor and betray him, cool.
Almost a betrayal but kind of a betrayal in thought at the same time, cool.

Then she betrays the tutor by leading him on but changing her mind and staying with her husband anyway. Ok cool that's a soft betrayal.... (but a betrayal never the less)

I just didn't get the part where her husband just popped in out of nowhere :Drogar-Shock(DBG):
Like maybe a short cut of him walking in the house from work or something would have put him back in the house and all the way in the yard for that.

But anyway it is what it is and it definitely is a good flick!
I give you and everyone in your team props for an awesome job on this film.
it even made me give it this much thought! lol.....
Congratulations and keep em' coming!

Oh wait!
the other aspect of it!
loved the cinematography and the direction, would have loved to see more close ups on her feelings when she was reading the book and a little better lighting when the husband was talking on the phone at the beginning, but still great work there as well.

it worked for me. (for little old me) :)

and once again, awesome work!
good luck in the finals!

03-07-2010, 05:49 PM
I demand you please me at all times!
PM me your address, and I'll be over to wash your car in the morning. We composers are desperate for approval.

I like to think the ending is surreal, symbolic of her making the choice, not an indication that her husband is actually there. Again, we're sort of in the realm of Bollywood here, so we're lucky she didn't suddenly end up at the pyramids or something. :happy: But seriously, I do love this little thought provoking film.

03-07-2010, 07:19 PM
Really enjoyed this film. Great job to the cast & crew!

Cinematography was beautiful, as were the actors...who were also very good in their parts.
I liked the score and sound design in general. Smooth edit rounds it off.


Matt Harris
03-07-2010, 07:36 PM
MrSeth this was just, wow. I saw the BTS photos, you had a serious crew and it showed.
Your lighting, cinematography and music were all to notch. I was most excited about the actors,
they knocked it out of the park. I second Luis' question, what exactly was the last shot?
I'm into esoteric stuff so i assumed she was just imagining being with both men, but if you
want to clarify please do so.

03-07-2010, 07:37 PM
really liked your film! you had me wanting to know what happens right throughout the entire film. great acting!

Matt Harris
03-07-2010, 07:37 PM
She had to choose between her husband or her English tutor/lover. When she turns around she sees her choice, resulting in another betrayal.

cool, i like it, i posted before i saw your explanation. good work!

Michael Anthony Horrigan
03-08-2010, 09:47 AM
Story: The story was good even if it left us hanging. :)
I preferred the story in Requiem though.

Acting: No problems there. Everyone held their own.

Technical: Very good. This looked great and the sound was very clean. I would have done away with the suitcase as a prop because that seemed like overkill for me.

I liked 'Requiem' much more but this was still very good.
Great work on getting two films done!


03-08-2010, 10:02 AM
wow this film was one of the best. one of the few that I could see going to a festival outside of here and succeeding etc.
The acting was one of the top 3 most convincing I've seen so far in all of the shorts.
The music was very good done by someone with an obvious grasp of the idiom of eastern music. I could sort of see how someone said it might be too overpowering in choosing a more modernistic and "pop" approach with the drum beats and all, but if one is familiar with such foreign films it is similar and in line with other classics such as those of Kar Wai Wong whom I love (in the mood for love and 2046 both done by the amazing shigeru umebayashi), but for the most part I thought the music was effective and beautiful. Subtle and tension building where it should be and more robust where it should be.

The only slightly disappointing thing was the ending was a bit too much of a mystery/cliff hanger but other than that I think this piece was very strong all around and probably top 3-5 so far for me if not better.

03-08-2010, 11:01 AM
Thanks for that, Homunculus, that's really what we were thinking on the music. I love the comparison with Kar Wai Wong films. In fact, beyond even that, MrSeth pointed me to a couple full on Bollywood dance numbers on youtube as examples of the kind of music he wanted in the film! So relatively, I think the final score is the very definition of restraint and subtlety. :) But with the montage for instance, I was definitely trying to follow the Bollywood model of crossover between a drama and a musical, blurring that line even further by matching notes in the music to the notes they're playing on the piano onscreen.

It's definitely not an approach that would work all the time, but it was very fun to do in this case.

03-08-2010, 06:02 PM
A lot to cover in six minutes, but I think you did it very well. Some beautiful shots in here, some great moments...I really liked it. Everything was shot nicely, some great warm colours. Very interesting, well done score. Loved the score during the montage, that was really great. I really liked the piano shots.

Sound was very good, very crisp, clear. Didn’t draw any attention to itself, nor did the score – it was done very well.

Acting was really good I thought. Some nice moments between the two. Dipak’s father I thought had a great performance for the brief amount of time he was on screen. Very convincing to me right from his first line. Very, very good all round.

Memorable Moment

rom 2:58 to 3:15 – Great! Loved the shot through the car, loved the fact you held the camera on the guy in the car and then had the audio for the next scene cross over, that’s an effect that works so well when done right, and in this case, was done very right.

Enjoyed this film a lot, Congratulations.

03-08-2010, 07:23 PM
Really interesting film. Well acted, shot, and directed.

Doing the whole first scene in one shot is cool. My tendency would be to use a lot more shots, but it works here in one.

The montage was very nice.

I thought it was a cool choice how you started the office scene on Manu, and then panned and tilted to reveal Akhil.

The phone conversation was my least favorite part. First, her answering the phone seems mechanical, like on set it didn't really ring, but she just pretended it did. And it would have been cool if you had a wider shot of him you could use for the beginning of the scene, so the two sides would cut together more evenly.

The last shot was a bold choice. Confusing, but bold.

Really strong filmmaking! Looking forward to watching your other entry.

J Davis
03-08-2010, 08:33 PM
I haven't had time to read all of this thread but I would like to say I enjoyed this film. So refreshing to see a film steeped in culture. A1+

Chris Messineo
03-09-2010, 11:26 AM
I enjoyed this film very much.

It starts with a mature well written script. I liked your actors a lot. I think what I liked most was the ambiguity in the ending. It worked really for me in this film. I also really enjoyed the score.

Lastly, I love the title and the way that bracelet echos throughout the film. Very well done.

03-09-2010, 12:05 PM
I actually like the production by this, it felt like an indie film or something that I should be watching on television not at some online festival.

I enjoyed the music about it added to the flavor of the culture. I thought the acting was fine. I did however find the ending and little confusing because I think you were trying a little too hard to be clever. But the production value overall was really well done good job.

03-09-2010, 10:22 PM
I enjoyed the acting and the story in this movie. I should have realized it was an arranged marriage; and got the impression she was adapting to American more than her husband by the book she always had. I did have some trouble with the ambiguity in the end; and was torn when I was under the impression that the husband was *encouraging* her to spend time with the other man, then turned out jealous afterwards. I am glad I am watching all of these in order as I download them and not by favorite title as I initially planned; I may have missed out on something enlightening.

03-10-2010, 10:12 AM
Image and sound, technicaly and emotionaly very good.

I love the piano in the music when we see them playing the piano.

One thing maybe the background noise in the phone was not realy needed. I know in "real life" you would hear that, but film is always a big betrayal of sound.

The story is very nice also.

03-10-2010, 05:42 PM
Very nice film. I think the story was great from start to almost finish. The last scene threw me for a major loop... specifically the last shot. But it's very possible I missed something (obviously). But the film was entertaining and enjoyable enough all the way through, that I know I will be watching this one again to get a grasp on the ending.

Nice work!

03-10-2010, 05:44 PM
One other thing.... did anybody else's file for this film start at 1:15 into it? I downloaded this from the .zip file group, and when I opened this film, it started during the phone call. Odd.

03-10-2010, 06:33 PM
This really isn't my type of film, I typically don't watch slower dramas no matter who's in it or what it's shot on. I usually need comedy, sex, violence, something to push me along or I get bored. I think what kept me in this one was I enjoyed the musical score, the songs, the sounds of the birds, to the sounds of the windchimes at the very end, it kept it really engaging. I thought all the characters had a real feel to them and in the end the story was a bit sad.

Part of me feels like you could have got prettier shots of your main actress. More eyes, more smiles, more charisma, especially during the phone segment. I don't know if it would have been the same film though if you did get all that. Maybe she'd then come across more fake, less real, and too provocative, but that's the risk I would have taken. Some of her body language and seriousness didn't translate well for me personally, she seemed unhappy or a bit bored. I felt her confusion at the end as to what to do, but I didn't feel her love for either of them. And in turn I couldn't find it in myself to love her. I felt their love for her however but didn't understand why. I didn't feel her specialness. I think she's really beautiful, but her lack of charisma kept me away.

Overall I felt it was professionally done across the board and was a good story.

Rodney V. Smith
03-11-2010, 02:33 PM

Review: MrSeth I gotta tell you that as much as I liked your movie I kept screaming "where's the closeup?" Some carefully thought out closeups would have really made this film more effective especially on an emotional level andn made us feel for Rajani and her plight. You have some solid skills in direction and high production value, but with some shots missing, you've missed the mark of making what looks and feels like a "real movie".

Story: Classic story of betrayal, handled well... but then? What happened at the end there? Did you run out of time?

Technical: This is the part where it got me becasue I can see what you;re going for and I know what kind of equipment you have on hand. I'll start with Production design. You need a production designer. It's as simple as that. There are some shots in there that had your talent against a practically blank wall, and then in another shot where the walls were astoundingly bare. The office shots in particular. Maybe it's the camera placement but some texture was needed.

Lighting: unfortunately your lighting on this film was quite different than on Requiem. There were no strong shadows and as a result it took the feel right into soap opera territory. I know, bad words and I'm sorry to say them. But I was taken out of my enjoyment of the film by this.

Shot choices: another thing that took me out as I was watching and waiting for the closeup that never came. And it's another thing that adds to the soap opera feel... too many medium and side angle shots. You had very very few closeups to cut away to for a nice impact, or to help sell that emotion. And almost no real wide shots to speak of to communicate that sense of distance. I understand about close quarters, I really do, but you have to be no afraid to do whatever it takes to get that angle you want, even if it means going out in the water, or even more simply cheating your actors around.

SO many more dramatic shot choices you could have made and this film would have kicked significant amounts of ass.

Acting: Your actors were great. I just wish they'd had more range to show. Your lead's main emotion seemed to be irritation and I would have liked to see him go the whole range. Moon was good as well, but maybe the material needed a little more to give her. Instead of the obvious its always good to ask your actors to think of the wubtext... to show that which lies beneath the surface.

WrapUp: I think this is one time where you should have not edited your own work. A good editor could have made the whole story work in the 6 minutes snce they would have been divorced from the story. Not saying you're not a good editor. You did a stand up job, but you may have been too close to the material. Shot selection hurt you in the end and despite a solid film in other areas, it just didn't completely work for me.

PS: If you do have a longer version I'd really like to see it.

Tom Shortridge
03-11-2010, 07:20 PM
OK, here's the thing - it's a fairly basic story.

But I still bought into it. It's told well. Nice performances, nice cinematography (shot choice and colors), and I LOVE the music. Especially the segment from 2:08 to 2:21, where the diagetic blends seamlessly into the nondiagetic track.

And I don't get why people are having difficulty with the ending - I thought it was pretty darn clear, myself.

03-11-2010, 08:44 PM
I don't know if the subtitles fooled me or not, but it seemed like the acting was really good. I thought that it was a well told, beautifully made story. I rather enjoyed it and will look forward to seeing your other films.

Marlon Ladd
03-12-2010, 05:17 PM
I kind of got into this story. I thought it was very professionally done. Yes, there are probably a few better shot choices you could have chosen, but the acting to me was very convincing and this was a simple story, but yet one that was kind of engaging for some reason. The ending was very open-ended, but alot of shorts end in that kind of fashion. I didn't realize until today that you'd actually got two films done. You get a big thumbs up for that and you also get two thumbs up for making two totally different types of films. Nice job here.

03-13-2010, 05:33 AM
This was a lovely looking film with a classic betrayal seen from a different cultural eyes. I appreciated being exposed to it. Just one time though I would like to see average Indians on film, but then again how often to we see average Americans on film. Great Job.

03-13-2010, 10:28 AM
Ubaid, This was a beautiful short... Really well filmed, the acting was perfect from everyone... I loved the music and the transitions looked flawless... I wanted to kinda see a little conclusion but maybe thats just me wanting to see more of a great film... One of my favorites man.. really awesome work!

03-14-2010, 06:12 AM
Story: Classic story of betrayal, handled well... but then? What happened at the end there? Did you run out of time?

No I ran out of script? :(

Anyhow thanks a lot for all the comments and critiques. I actually agree with a lot of what you said Rodney.. thanks for your honesty. The only part I might still stick back on is the closeups. I really don't like getting too close. Maybe it's too much of a woody allen thinking but I get headaches when I'm watching someone too close, even for a couple of seconds. So I normally tend to step back. My only exception was Requiem and that was carefully planned out with a lot of medium to medium-closeups before we actually hammered in one last take as a closeup.

You have some solid skills in direction and high production value, but with some shots missing, you've missed the mark of making what looks and feels like a "real movie".

I know it's not your definition of a "real movie." Sorry.. I'll try more tighter shots next time but it's gonna suck editing it. But I like your other point about me finding another editor so maybe I won't have to go through with it after all?? Thanks for the critique!

Rodney V. Smith
03-14-2010, 09:56 AM
THing is it IS a "real movie" and shuold definitely feel that way. Everything else is so solid. You just did a couple of things in there which didn;t help increase the production value. Instead of the panning for instance I would have loved to have seen some dolly shots. There was also a lot of sitting so blocking is a major part of what you need to work on, espcially with a dialog heavy script.

05-11-2010, 10:23 AM
Just thought I'd mention that Churhi is living beyond BetrayalFest. It's screening at the Park City Film Music Festival next Saturday, May 22, 2010.

If anybody's in the area, please come! The festival runs all week, 17-23 May, and I'll be there all day the 22nd, at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, UT. At 1:30 I'll be on a composer's panel, 2:30 I'll be performing and talking about my work in Aboriginal Australia, and at 3:30 four shorts I scored will screen, including Churhi and one other by MrSeth. For 3 hours I'll be a big star at a little festival. :)

05-27-2010, 07:40 AM
Just reporting back - Silver Medal for Excellence, Best Impact of Music in a Short Film at the Park City Film Music Festival. Awards there are officially for the composer and director as film music only exists as a collaboration!

I believe Churhi also got a silver Remi for editing at Worldfest in Houston.