For director Pradeep Sarkar, Mardaani became a film of many firsts. For one, it was the first time that the director was shooting without a storyboard, because according to him, he wanted to capture the spontaneous reactions of all the actors, including lead actress Rani Mukerji. Getting Polish cinematographer Artur Zurawski, who he had met on one of his trips abroad, was another.
“Coming from another land, Artur has a different way of looking at light and using it. As the story of Mardaani is dark and edgy, his innovative way of using light in different hues made for some fantastic visuals. I remember, for a scene, in which we needed to show some haziness, we all watched as he lit agarbattis and dhoops for a while to create some smog. This was when we were shooting in Delhi. To recreate the same effect during our Mumbai schedule, he used a water spray, keeping in mind the different climates of the two cities. The result was stunning,’ said Sarkar.
The director recalls another instance when Zurawski created light out of reflections while shooting in suburban Mumbai. He explains how while shooting, the sun started setting in the evening and suddenly, there was hardly any light and everyone started panicking. “And then all of a sudden, I saw a beautiful light, which brightened up the set. I was wondering what Artur had used to create it. That’s when I saw a building whose facade was made of mirrors. The sun rays would hit the mirrors and bounce back to where we were shooting. Later, I came to know he had done a recce of the location and knew how we could get this beautiful, natural light. Shooting with Artur was a huge learning process. He also showed us how to use a camera while shooting a person from the back and capture the back jaw line and close ups. Actually, the techniques are the same, but the unique ways in which he captures light and images made for some fantastic visuals,” Sarkar mentioned.
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