Friday, August 13, 2010

The Men Within - Making of The Movie

It has been a wonderful experience to be part of the crew that is making the movie based on 'The Men Within'. Shooting started sometime late in April or the first week of May 2010. We had all got a bit into the cricket playing mood thanks to the indoor cricket tournament that we played under the Art Beat Capital banner, (Sumanth was pretty much the star of the show with some sensible batting and bowling that made a big difference and even Mohana Krishna and Sagar turned their arm around in a match), and we were all set for the shooting. The youngsters had a couple of week s of coaching under Baig saab's eye at the ML Jaisimha Indoor Cricket Academy and even played a couple of practice matches. The initial part of the shoot was in All Saints and I went for a few hours with Bro. Joseph one day. My real job was when the cricket shooting began.

Come May 11, the hottest day last summer, and we were all called to the ground. Since we needed a couple more teacher like cricketers Pawan and Suri consented to spare some time. On May 11th then, we played in the blazing hot sun, when it was difficult to even sit in the shade. Sitting beside a highly rated young director like Mohana Krishna under the director's umbrella and watching an accomplished technician like Senthil operating the camera from close range, is a rare privilege and I consider myself lucky for that. And I also realised that this process is at its most interesting at that range.

Each shot was taken meticulously. If Mohan wanted a particular shot in a certain way and was happy with the result, Senthil would always insist gently that they could try another shot and invariably that turned out better. I realised how meticulous the planning has to be in the director's mind. Its almost as if he has seen the entire movie shot by shot in his head and he comes to the shoot and is ready to make it happen. I realised how much clarity one needs to be in the director's seat, how much in control he needs to be since the entire unit is looking to him for directions. Even the cinematogropher, Senthil, is clear in his mind that this is entirely the director's vision  and his job is only to enhance his vision. And everything in the set, the shoot does exactly that. It is really amazing that this one person has this hole thing planned out in his head and everyone else helps execute it.

I must mention how amazing it was to see the entire unit function from the first day I went. I realised that there are several departments all working like perfect clockwork so that we are all ready at the location before 7 a.m. and ready to shoot. There is the director and his team of assistants (one chief AD, and a team of several others setting up everything ready for the shoot), the cinematographer and his team of assistants (from the light variation to setting up the tracks, lenses, changing magazines etc), production guys taking care of the needs of all the people on the set, catering guys having everything ready for everyone hot and in good shape whether there are 30 guys or 600, set department, artistes, junior artistes, transportation, costumes (they have to keep everything ready for everyone), the finance guys, the executive producer, the co-producer, and I do not know how many more departments work in tandem. Every one, every single person, is ready by the time the first shot is ready for take at 7 in the morning. And it goes on all day till the director calls 'Pack up' at 630 p.m. at the end of the day.

If the Director is the captain of the ship, the Producer owns the ship, the Executive Producer represents the Producer on location and ensures that the money is well spent and the shooting is going on, the co-Producer ensures that all call sheets are given and the actual shooting is going on. One meets all kinds of people with hope, passion, talent, commitment working like their lives depended on it. I will take you through some of the things I noticed in my time at the sets, people I met, things that happened before I forget.

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