Bolly winners behind the scenes

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By They are the unsung heroes of the year so far. t2 picks the movers and shakers who have toiled behind the scenes to give us some of 2013’s most TALKED-ABOUT films. Add to the list at
  • Published 20.08.13


PRITAM (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani) and AMIT TRIVEDI (Kai Po Che! and Lootera)

If there was one man — Ranbir Kapoor apart — who made Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani the film it turned out to be, it was Calcutta boy Pritam. The Presidencian spun out one magic track after another — Badtameez dil to Balam pichkari, Kabira to Ilahi — to give us this year’s most rocking album. Pritam had able competition from the talented Amit Trivedi whose compositions for buddy film Kai Po Che! (energetic and playful) and doomed period romance Lootera (soulful and sublime) struck all the right notes. For the two music men to have made a mark in a year that had an A.R. Rahman release (Raanjhanaa) is HUGE.

Playback singing

ARIJIT SINGH (Tum hi ho)

Born in Murshidabad, now rocking Bollywood. Arijit Singh’s soulful voice is behind the success of the year’s most popular tune — the romantic Tum hi ho from box-office biggie Aashiqui 2. Once a reality-show contestant, the half-Bengali Arijit started off as Pritam’s assistant but had to struggle for years before Aashiqui 2 happened. Today, the 26-year-old is much in demand, having lent his voice to two other hits this year — Dilliwali girlfriend (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani) and Kashmir tu, main Kanyakumari (Chennai Express).



His pen has been behind this year’s most talked-about releases — Bombay Talkies to Go Goa Gone, Ghanchakkar to Chennai Express — but it was with Badtameez dil that Amitabh Bhattacharya struck gold. The inane but fun lyrics — “the theme that we hit upon was to have the Kishore Kumar kind of nonsense lyrics! When Amitabh wrote the paan mein pudina bit, we knew we had a winner” YJHD composer Pritam had told t2. Most of us remember Badtameez dil for Ranbir’s energetic moves and Deepika’s sexy curves, but it is actually Amitabh’s ‘badtameez’ lines that defined Badtameez dil.


BINOD PRADHAN (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag) and MAHENDRA SHETTY (Lootera)

Farhan Akhtar may have breathed power and pathos into every muscle of Milkha Singh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, but there was another man who brought alive each frame of the life and times of the legendary athlete on screen. Kalimpong boy Binod Pradhan’s camera focused on every bead of sweat on Milkha’s forehead as vividly as it captured the beauty of the sun-kissed climes of Ladakh. In contrast, Mahendra Shetty’s lens explored the forests of Purulia and the snow-covered plains of Dalhousie and relied largely on the play of light and shade to make Lootera a one-of-a-kind visual experience.

Art direction

BOISHALI SINHA (Special 26) and ADITYA KANWAR (Lootera)

This year, Bolly has revisited the past much more than it ever has and art directors have been challenged like never before. Two names that stood out were Boishali Sinha who transported us to the ’80s — Gold Spot hoardings to Premier Padmini cars — with the Akshay Kumar heist film Special 26. On the other hand, Aditya Kanwar had a lot more to play around with in Lootera, exploring the life and times of opulent rural Bengal in the 1950s. From the vintage car that Sonakshi’s Pakhi drove around in to the well-stocked library that occupied pride of place in her lavish home, not a page or patta was out of place.


SANYUKTA KAZA (Ship of Theseus)

Anand Gandhi’s avant-garde three-in-one film has been making all the right splashes ever since it released last month. Ship of Theseus has three stories that run parallel, but end up being connected at the end. Along with the direction and performances, editor Sanyukta Kaza deserves special mention for making each of the three stories crisp and managing to keep the central theme — of whether the replacement of a single organ changes the person as a whole — alive.



Your jaw may have dropped seeing hottie Vidyut Jammwal’s death-defying stunts in Commando, but the man behind it was ace Hollywood action director Franz Spilhaus who has films like Dredd, Safe House and District 9 on his CV. Spilhaus smartly harnessed Vidyut’s athleticism and his martial-arts skills in Taekwondo and Kalaripayattu to design action set-pieces that Bollywood has rarely seen. What we loved? Vidyut’s squeeze through a 4ftx4ft car window and the scene in which he double-flips to kick a pair of lights dangling from a high ceiling.

make-up & prosthetics


Saif Ali Khan signed on Holly make-up wizards Sean Genders and Tom Luhtala (inset) for Bolly’s maiden tryst with zombies. And the two men made magic with their brushes, turning out specimens of the walking dead that made the audience’s blood curdle. The best? Saif’s zombie killer Boris with peroxide-tinted hair. #win.



Sudhir Mishra’s bold take on sexual harassment at the workplace wouldn’t have been half as hard-hitting if it wasn’t for Manoj Tyagi’s lines. Tyagi pulled no punches when it came to giving his characters lines bold enough to match the theme of the film. So we had Chitrangda Singh’s Maya hardly blink when she says: ‘He has taught me everything. But does that mean that every time he passes by I should spread my legs?’ while Arjun Rampal’s Rahul was blatant enough to mouth: ‘Tum aur mere jaise log jo zindagi se pyaar ke alaava aur bhi bahut kuch chahte hain, kya hamare beech kuch mumkin hai?’ Considered too explicit for the screen, Mishra had to cut out a few dialogues from the film, though they were later released online.


SUBARNA RAY CHAUDHURI (Ghanchakkar and Lootera )

Subarna Ray Chaudhuri has been the success story of the year so far. First, the Calcutta girl made Vidya Balan slip into the shoes of a loud Delhi housewife in Ghanchakkar. The shock value — with Vidya in feather boas and banana-shaped slippers — worked well at first, but resulted in overkill when she started wearing them even off-screen to promote the film. Subarna, however, took a diametrically opposite route with Lootera, scouring sari shops in Calcutta to make Sonakshi’s Pakhi an epitome of the beauty and charm of a Bengali woman of the 1950s.