Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Varilux Shabana film shoot

Tape rolling! Sound rolling! Camera rolling! Trolley! AAND AACTION!! I blinked.

Being a greenhorn has its share of advantages. I was staring at the scene, wide-eyed like a three-year-old. At 7.00 am that Saturday, the quiet imperial interior of the Emperor’s Court at the Renaissance Hotel, Mumbai was swarming with screaming men & women who will breathe life into the humble storyboard sitting snugly in my backpack. Things were being ripped apart, put together, moved into position, taken out of field, fixed, measured, moved and mounted all around me. The term ‘buzzing with action’ must have originated from a setting like this one.

Enter Shabana Azmi looking quite elegant in a lovely green kurti. She takes a seat facing the window & picks up the script. Did I hear someone humming a tune from Jab We Met amidst the commotion? Turns out it is her. Beautiful voice. Really.

The shoot begins. ‘Its great to go single after 40’ states the talented actress smiling into the camera. Just perfect. This should be over soon, I think. Minutes later, the tracks change course. The heavy-duty lights & reflectors are moved into position after much deliberation. The young couple appearing in the far end of the frame look suitably engrossed in a friendly banter. I stare at the little monitor. Baba, Shabana’s brother who happened to wield the camera does not look too happy. The stylist rushes in. Leaves the frame. Not a hair is out of place. The blinds go down on the French windows. The reflectors change position again. The cold coffee in the tall glass is replaced one more time. Did I tell you we were already in the second half of the day? Tape rolls, sound rolls, Abhishek, our director calls for…oops! In walks a stranger looking for the coffee shop. Coffee? Sorry. Shop’s shut. All becomes quiet. Somebody chuckles. Abhishek delivers a wisecrack. Laughter breaks out. The production folks speak urgently into their walkie-talkies. The frame is ‘cleared’. The camera rolls again.

They said the location presented a relatively controlled environment. They described the script as being without complications. They spoke of an actress of great calibre and an experienced team to back production. 30 seconds, did they say? More than 10 hours after we stepped into the hotel, Abhishek and team decide to pack up. One has to witness it to fully understand what they mean when they say ‘attention to detail’. With Abhishek & Baba cleverly capturing Shabana Azmi as she played the part the day saw its share of ‘wow’ moments.

But then, I guess I’ll leave out the more obvious details here.

Posted by Parvathy

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