నవతరంగంలో రాసే వాళ్ళు, చదివే వాళ్ళలోచాలా మంది చలనచిత్ర దర్శకులవడానికి కృషి చేస్తున్నారన్న విషయం తెలిసేవుంటుంది. అసలు సినిమా దర్శకుడు ఎలా అవ్వాలి, దర్శకత్వ శాఖలో పనిచేయడానికి అవసరమైన విషయాలను తెలుసుకోవాలంటే ఇప్పటికే సినిమా దర్శకులైన వారికంటే ఇప్పుడిప్పుడే చలనచిత్ర రంగంలోకి అడుగులు వేస్తున్న సహాయ దర్శకులను (assistant director) అడిగి తెలుసుకుంటే మేలని నా అభిప్రాయం. అందుకే మొన్నీ మధ్య అమెరికాలో Kites అనే బా(హా)లీవుడ్ చిత్రం షూటింగ్ లో ఆ చిత్ర చీఫ్ అసిస్టెంట్ డైరెక్టర్ సునీల్ సుబ్రమణి తో నేను చేసిన ఇంటర్వ్యూలో ఫిల్మ్ మేకింగ్ గురించి కొన్ని మంచి విషయాలు తెలుసుకున్నాను. ఆ ఇంటర్వ్యూ విశేషాలు మీరూ చదవండి.
Left: Sunil Subramani Right: Reddy Ganta
Sunil Subramani is a well acclaimed talented upcoming bollywood director. After working in TV industry for five years, Sunil entered bollywood in 2004 and since then has been working in different capacities under well known bollywood director Anurag Basu in movies MURDER, GANGSTER and worked as a Chief Assistant Director in LIFE IN METRO. Currently Sunil is working in the most awaited movie KITES starring bollywood hot throbs Hritik Roshan, Kangna Ranaut and mexican beauty Barbara Mori. Kites is currently being shot in the US in Santa Fe, New Mexico and later this month the film. will be shot in Las Vegas, NV. The final schedule will be shot in Mumbai. Kites Team comprising about 40 unit members arrived Santa Fe during the last week of July.
Hi Sunil, how are you? How is KITES progressing?
I am fine. Thank you. We are very pleased with the way the KITES is progressing. Its going to be a block buster for the theme is so fresh and entertaining. It will steal the hearts of the youth in India and across the globe.
Is KITES your first project in the US? How is it working in the US?
Yes. I haven’t visited US before. It is very exciting to work in the US, its so different working in the US compared to working in India. We have a very friendly Indian community in Santa Fe. Last Sunday our Kites unit played cricket with Indian cricket team in Santa Fe. Of course we lost both matches but it was lot of fun. There are some hardcore cricketers out here especially Venkat. Thanks to Venkat for arranging the cricket match. Thanks to Santa Fe cricket team for arranging transport and refreshments..
How did you get a break into bollywood?
Anurag Basu, my guru was instrumental in getting me a break into bollywood. I learnt a lot from Anurag during the past four years I have been working with him. Anurag is my brother’s class mate. I also established some contacts while working for TV.
What’s the difference between working for TV and working for bollywood?
TV is mostly family drama and you got to work hard 24/7, bollywood is comparatively better that ways, it is mostly 8-9 hr work days and you can get some rest. I can not emphasize you the importance of rest at the end of a hard day. Pay is more in bollywood compared to TV.
What is your role as an assistant director in KITES?
Script continuity, work with camera man and art director on setting frames, work with writer on dialogues on the set, check costume continuity during a scene, semifinal editing (work with editor), Post production (work with sound, music and songs with sound manager), closely follow the whole production process.
It seems to me…like a lot of tasks to manage
Hey… these are only few pieces of the pie… stuff gets added to the list when we get onto sets
Can you give us an insight into setting frames and shots?
We do a lot of tight shots meaning close ups (CU), medium close ups (MCU) and very few wide angle and long shots (LS). We work with art director on what needs to be in the frame. We check the monitor and make sure everything looks the way we want and then concentrate other items in the list I provided.
Is your decision final on all the tasks you handle?
Assistant director works with the director on most of the tasks and Director’s word is final. A director is like the captain of a ship. He is responsible for a movie project in it is entirety. Asst. Director assists the director in overseeing the movie project. It is all tightly linked, if you know what I mean. Director has the final call in fixing the frame.
You have been using the word frame a lot. What is it?
Sorry for using techie lingo! In layman terms frame is one of the many photographs in a movie. You might have heard about 24fps, means 24 frames are needed for one second of film. A typical two and half hour movie has about 216,000 frames. Movie cameras photograph frames one after the other automatically. Setting up a frame is deciding what audience should see on the screen at a given point of time. For example a director might ask the camera man to pan the camera such that the car is in the frame while it speeds.
Interesting…. So how do you coordinate the long list of tasks?
It’s all about planning. I plan way ahead for the whole project and micro-plan for every day’s shoot. For Monday’s shot we plan everything on Sunday, I read the script and make sure I have all the items I need for the shot like cars, props, gift boxes etc.. Sometimes trivial things like having an apple become crucial if the shot is about an actor thrusting a knife into an apple because most of the times we will be in the middle of no where and it gets difficult to procure or buy things we forget to take… Imagine the whole shoot being held up for hours because somebody forgot to bring apples. Sounds funny but shit happens sometimes. So planning is very crucial. My shooting prep also includes rehearsing a scene the previous day of actual shoot with out actual actors. .
Do you do story boarding?
In bollywood we don’t do a lot of story boarding. I take notes of all shots.
In bollywood are the dialogues recorded after the movie is shot (dubbing) unlike in Hollywood where dialogues are recorded on the set (sync sound)?
Yes. In bollywood most of the movies do not have sync sound. Dubbing is done in post production. Big productions go for sync sound though.
How do they match lip movement if they record dialogues after the whole movie is shot?
We use powerful software programs such as VILD to synchronize lip movement.
Do you narrate the whole story to the actors before you begin shooting?
Yes we do when we sign up actors. On the day of shooting we talk about just the scene we shoot and give relevant portion of the script.
In bollywood do you register scripts with any organization?
Yes we register the script with Writers Association of India (http://www.thefilmwritersassociationindia.com/)
What’s your advice for aspiring film makers?
I advise the new comers to get formal education in film studies in good schools. Freshers with film degrees get a break quicker and better pay in the beginning compared to those without formal education. However what you learn in schools is very different from real world so they should get real time experience working on some movie. As I said before just having degrees does not help. It’s all about whom you know besides what you know!
Do you have a film degree?
No. I don’t. I learned working on sets in various capacities.
What did you do before coming to film industry?
I did many petty jobs, worked in a bank for 2 years then in TV industry for five years.
What motivated you to get into bollywood?
From my child hood I was interested in acting, plays and directing. I directed a play when I was in my teens and I got a lot of appreciation from the audience besides a second prize. That inspired me to become a director.
Do you enjoy working in bollywood?
Very much. I have been successful as an assistant director and wish to become a bollywood director soon. I am very passionate for movie making.
What skills are required for an assistant director?
People management, developing good rapo with actors, establishing contacts with producers besides inherent creativity… to name a few.
Did you pen any screenplays?
I have three story concepts in mind and currently working on finalizing screenplays. All the three concepts are fresh and inspirational.
What is the difference between a screenplay and script?
In bollywood terms screenplay is a 10-20 page document describing all the scenes in a sequential order and when dialogues are added to screenplay, it becomes a script. There is one more piece of the pie called synopsis which is one page document with 12-15 lines that outlines the whole story. Synopsis will be used for advertising purposes besides for selling DVD rights. In most cases dialogues will be written on set.
What does a new comer need to get into Indian film industry?
Good narration skills, Creativity, contacts..contacts and contacts, filmy family background is a plus. Regarding building your resume you need a script, good narration skills and few show reels, I mean documentaries, shorts etc.
Thank you for your time and your advice to novice film makers and we all wish you great success in your future endeavors.
You are welcome…