Friday, May 23, 2008

Ajay Menon, the creative behind the Cinthol 'Hrithik' campaign gives us a lowdown about the film shoot in KL.

The Cinthol Hrithik Film or How everything went according to the script.

Hrithik’s dates were available. And we were ready to roll with the first line - “Film opens on Hrithik Roshan at Kuala Lumpur.” We had come a long way from the presentation of the script to finding the right director – Abhinay Deo. Then it was a month of preproduction and more preproduction, but in Abhinay we had an extremely talented director and things couldn’t go wrong. (Or so it appeared to me.

So I will concentrate on what I did best at the shoot. I was a traveller (tourist seems to bring to mind a shopper with a camera across the chest. I always travel light, that’s without a camera.). And I had Kaushik and Kevin for company in Malaysia. We reached KL and I was taken aback by the sheer beauty of the land. The roads were perfect, I saw no dust in the airport, and the equatorial greens were fantastic to the eye. Our driver was Shiva, a third generation Tamilian from Malaysia. (Language was no more an issue, and I hit it off with Shiva that it even got me some nice local toddy.) Further, it was the Chinese New Year break. So no traffic, and the entire country was celebrating the Year of the Rat. The city was dressed in red Chinese lanterns and it was beautiful. I put it down as a good omen.

Ashit from Ramesh Deo Productions handed us a 5-day shoot schedule. We quickly worked around it to fit in our itinerary: see everything in KL, catch up on the pubs and bars, and do a little shopping. Food was high on the agenda with Kaushik as captain.

So we would go to the shoot, get a first hand look at how a great director works with a great team, works with a great star. There were schedule issues which they quickly sorted out. There were certain logistics issues, which they sorted out. There were certain stunt scene issues, which they sorted out extremely well. While I carried around within a 5 meter radius, of the cooler filled with everything.

We would laze around while Colston, the still photographer, would catch Hrithik in between the shoot to grab some still pictures. They turned out really well the first day so we didn’t disturb them. So we clung to the cooler in the 38­­ degree celsius environment. Every once in a while we would go to the monitor and enjoy watching the professional in Hrithik. It was quite an experience to watch Hrithik go canoeing, rollerblading, diving, horse riding, jet skiing, parkouring, bungee jumping and playing rugby. While every woman in the agency wanted to be there, we three men just hung around with a cold tin in hand.

We burped our way through the shoot and celebrated at the wrap-up party organized by the production headed by Ravi. We were happy especially when Abhinay, Hrithik, the director of photography, the production crew, the stunt team, all echoed that it was fabulous shoot and would make for a great film. That bought a smile to our very tired-looking faces. I decided to take a couple of days off after the shoot. I needed a break.

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