They Want To Tell Our Stories

With Hindi cinema embracing the edgy and the real,an increasing number of Hollywood experts are making a beeline for Mumbai

Written by Sankhayan Ghosh | Published: May 10, 2013 3:14:21 am

With Hindi cinema embracing the edgy and the real,an increasing number of Hollywood experts are making a beeline for Mumbai

Four years ago,when Nikos Andritsakis visited Mumbai to shoot a commercial,he was unaware of the Indian film industry. Through a colleague, Andritsakis met director Dibakar Banerjee,who was looking for a new cinematographer for Love Sex aur Dhokha,a film that had to be shot in the style of cctv footage. It was the beginning of a mutually beneficial creative collaboration that continues till date. He not only shot Banerjee’s visually striking Shanghai but also his latest short film in Bombay Talkies. “Dibakar is constantly discovering a new language to tell his stories and doesn’t want to repeat himself,that is something that excites me,” says Andritsakis,who just wrapped up shooting Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly. Incidentally,both Ugly and Bombay Talkies will be showing at the Cannes Film Festival.

Just like the 36-year old Andritsakis, originally from Greece,who now works between Mumbai and London,a number of foreign technicians are making their way into Bollywood. This includes cinematographers,musicians,stunt directors and physical trainers,who dedicate a substantial part of their time here,even if it means squeezing out time from scheduled dates given to Christopher Nolan,as did Tom Struthers,the stunt-director of his Dark Knight trilogy,for Nikhil Advani’s D-Day.

For his high-powered RAW agent action drama,Advani wanted the film’s action to be as real as possible,along the lines of Zero Dark Thirty. Advani recalls how Struthers,who has worked Inception,Blood Diamond and Troy,agreed to do the film without much difficulty.

Zoya Akhtar’s creative collaboration with DoP Carlos Catalan started with Luck By Chance and went on for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and her part in Bombay Talkies. Sophie Winqvist,a Swedish cinematographer just shot Suparn Varma’s Aatma. These collaborations suggest that the industry is striving to reach world standards,at least on technical levels. This is undoubtedly fuelled by a group of filmmakers with global sensibilities.  

“While making a film ,I don’t limit myself to Bollywood; I like to think of putting up a global team,whoever fills the part,” says Raj Nidimoru,one half of director duo Raj-DK. The photography and prosthetics of their just released film Go Goa Gone has been done by foreign technicians. While Australian DoP (director of photography) Dan Macarthur and Polish DoP Lukazs Pruchnik lent the film its “crunchy,fast-shutter” visual quality,the prosthetics for the zombies required deft hands of Emmy Award-winning make-up artist Sean Genders,who has worked in the Matrix series and Star Wars II. “In many ways,we were going to introduce zombies to the Indians. We gave it a more practical look and painted them by hand,” says 40-years old Genders,who lives in Melbourne. The film’s other prosthetic artist,Tom Luhtala,who specialises in medium-budget,indie prosthetic make-up effects had worked behind the superhero suits in Ra. One.

Some of them,having spent substantial time in the industry,are expanding their Bollywood repertoire dabbling in different kinds of films. Like composer Wayne Sharpe,who has moved from the epic-styled background scores for Prakash Jha films Aarakshan and Raajneeti to independent films such as Dekh Indian Circus,this year’s National Award-winner. His next is with National Award-winning director Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan’s dark comedy 72 Virgins. Similarly,Kiwi arranger turned composer Mikey McCleary,who made the saucy versions of old Hindi film songs popular,is coming onto his own,turning into full-fledged composing with recent films such as Rohan Sippy’s Nautanki Saala and his next Sonali Cable.

Even Bollywood superstars are not averse to calling in Hollywood experts. Aamir Khan’s preparations of his role in Dhoom 3,where he plays a gymnast,under American fitness trainer David have been much in news. Hrithik Roshan sought the expertise of fitness trainer Kris Gethin before getting into shape for Krrish 3.

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