At times, I found myself not knowing whether the directors I worked with in India and India-India (the Indian film industry) even knew enough about filmmaking and the process of filmmaking, just to have their film produced. They said in India I need experience in storytelling and cinematography. So, I had to bring those things on board. I came across a lot of talented directors who had more experience, and the films they made were fantastic. I know how to tell a story.
But if you’re learning, you’re also learning, which means you need to know everything. I had just finished studying film criticism in India and started working on a feature film in India and the first thing I did was learn how to make the editing process more efficient. And that’s why we have to watch the films at more length, like the time taken for the audience to see all the cuts, which is something they’ll see in film criticism as opposed to editing. When we’re learning, you can always go back and think about what was so great about that film in the editing that was not obvious.
Can you say how you approach your process?
It’s hard to say. There was one film I was shooting for six months in Mumbai called ‘Raga’ (2003). It was shot on a lot of sets. But I didn’t spend too much time on set, because I wanted the story to come through so much. I had already shot with Durbhiman from ‘Sidharth and Aishwarya’. So, I didn’t want to make the movie about the sets. That was the main focus.
My job was to tell the story of a girl whose father is dead and she’s trying hard to find out who his friends are and to make a film about her. But I also had to make the movie look interesting and funny, even though the character of my girl is extremely tough. At that point in time, I was a student with no background in film and I had to learn my craft and I got better in the process, I feel.
It was really exciting because the world was just changing so fast. We had a new film industry in India. You had Bollywood, you had Madras. The new generation was very interested in cinema, and as a student, you had to have a good story. It was really exciting to be shooting a film called Raga and get the buzz. A student wouldn’t do that. So I decided to
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