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Deviprasad Goenka Management College of Media Studies

How not to make a film - Part 1

by Prof. Mukesh Sharma

Jan 4, 2019 at 4:30 PM

How to make a film, ask Subhash Ghai and he will tell you.. How not to make a film , (the way I made), you can learn from this Post.

The year was 1988. Jaya Bachchan was appointed as the Chairman of Childrens film Society,India.

She had taken over the reigns from Mr Amol Palekar, who had resigned from CFSI along with the board members due to bureaucratic hurdles. Mrs Bachchan was a Chairman in a hurry. She wanted to ensure production of at least one film from CFSI by March 31st 1989.

The hunt for the director began and Mr Mohan Hari (an FTII graduate) was chosen to direct the film Anokha Aspatal .The story of the film was written by Saroj Mukherjee . It was about an old woman who lives in the forest and animals come on their own for treatment.

Being the producer of the film, on behalf of CFSI, I went with Mohan Hari in the month of Oct 1988 for location hunting at Kanpur. We chose Allen Forest(a zoo) as our shooting location, since we could get all the animals for filming and the surroundings of it were more like a forest then a zoo.

CHILD OF CIRCUMSTANCES.... The shooting was planned for the month of December 88, since Mrs Jaya Bachchan had promised to the Parliament that CFSI will produce a new film by 31st March 1989. Man proposes and God disposes. Mr Mohan Hari the director of the film had other plans. He took a parallel assignment with Films Division and left for Orissa for shooting. Mrs bachchan was quite upset with the unprofessional behavior of Mr Mohan Hari and lo and behold, a director was born. I became the child of circumstances by default.

It was the beginning of November 88, when I finally embarked on the production. Keeping 31st March 1989 as the censor date, I decided to do backward planning.

That means before censoring of the film I must have the the final print by 28th March. If thats the case the Color corrections, Rerecording , Sound Effects, had to be ready by the 3rd / 4th week of March 89. The final rough cut of the film with Voice dubbing, should be with ready within the first week of March 89.

December,January and February were planned for Shooting and Editing of the 1st rough cut. The month of November was allotted to do the entire Pre-production, Screenplay, Dialogues etc.

Sunny Sound theater at Juhu was booked for 10 days in the 3rd week of March, with out shooting a single frame of Anokha Aspatal and advance was paid. Application with censor board was also filed. All this was done even before shooting a frame of the film.

A four to five pages of the story idea was to be converted into a script. Sandeep Pendse the writer from Pune was the Screenplay writer. Alok Upadhaya was the cinematographer. Sharang Dev was the Music Director and I was the director .... All of us were first timers. In addition to Directing the film I was also the Producer of Anokha Aspatal on behalf of CFSI . And thats were my problems were compounded... With Shammi Aunty( She expired recently) , Paintel the Child artistes and animals; managing production, maintaining accounts, writing Hindi dialogues, my platter was full. The icing on the platter(pun intended) was the news item in the Times of India, dated 23/2/1989 titled"Jaya bachchan playing favorites"

Was I successful in my Back ward planning of things?

What happened during shooting at the Zoo in Kanpur?

Did the film got censored on 31st March 1989? ....

Why the twin job of both Producer and Director was not conducive to do a creative job ?

Look out for Part 2 How Not to Make a Film.... in the next post.....