The Telegraph
Saturday , December 8 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Another two weeks of shoot left and we are in the thick of things. Andul was our first proper outdoor location. For three mornings in a row, we have driven to Andul and practically lived in this forgotten house over two hundred years old. A house like a mood piece with exquisite wrought iron work all over.

This is house number two in the series of houses that will complete the home of the Mitras where the story unfolds. It is Rashpurnima and right beside the location, there is a rashmela going on. After many years I experienced a rustic mela and it is such fun to see that it still has elements of tradition hidden within.

The early morning chill, which is piercing in Andul, drove the unit to drink hot cha in the mela. This is a foodie cast and crew, so shamelessly we ate badamer chakti and gurer jilipi. These twisted jilipis seem to be like a motif on this shoot. They keep popping up everywhere. This mela has wooden toys which are such a delight. Small drums, little noisy carts, and small cups and plates. In a world where plastic dominates this is like a delightful revelation. There are puppet shows with strange handmade figures and an entire stall with iron utensils. It seemed like another world. We invariably lost ourselves in the bright colours of the mela during our lunch and tea breaks.

I also saw about a thousand locals hang around outside the location for 12 hours. From morning till late night, they stood outside waiting to catch a glimpse of the stars. While half of the crew were mistaken for stars, finally Konkona had to wave from the balcony to keep the crowd happy. For the locals of Andul, this is a break too.

For us, this part is crucial as most of the scenes are continuity ones. Parts of these have already been shot earlier in other locations. So all of us are busy checking details, ensuring identical hairstyles, exact clothes, make-up, props, angles. It is like tying up loose ends and completing images. But there is a great sense of fulfilment as scenes get completed. I keep cancelling scene after scene on the schedule sheets knowing that we are nearing completion. It also means that very soon I will be back to Taj as director of PR, doing my regular job which I love. Yet, I am so deeply embedded into cinema right now, loving every moment, because amidst all the hard work, there is so much fun.

And we have a great team. The degree of involvement is so deep that I will have to make a lot of effort to extricate myself from the magic of cinema. Right now we are all looking forward to Bawali Rajbari (two hours drive from Calcutta) for the third instalment of Somlata’s (Konkona) home.

It is such an adventure, as talented actors slip into unknown roles making them real. The flexibility of their temperament to willingly submit to the filmmaker’s will and ideas is a treat. The faith in the creator, with the ability to improvise, makes them so amazing to watch as they add texture to the characters. It is like a wild trek with several obstacles till one arrives at the peak. It is an artist’s canvas, where layer after layer reveals and hides, until the complete picture speaks several languages.

The great Akira Kurosawa once said: “Cinema resembles so many other arts. If cinema has very literary characteristics, it also has theatrical qualities, a philosophical side, attributes of painting and sculpture and musical elements. But cinema is, in the final analysis, cinema.”