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Deviprasad Goenka Management College of Media Studies

How not to make a film - Part 3

by Prof. Mukesh Sharma

Jan 15, 2019 at 4:30 PM

Tom Alter's absence reversed roles and Mukesh Sharma donned the grease

In my last post I had mentioned how I managed to complete the shooting of the film Anokha Aspatall at Kanpur in 35 days. I was very much within the time schedule, thanks to my backward planning.
The rough cut was viewed by the Chairperson CFSI and her team.

Jaya Bachchan ..... committed chairperson of CFSI

After viewing the rough cut, Mrs Jaya Bachchan and others looked at each other. There was a silence. And then madam spoke. Your rough was different from the story line..But there is a vast improvement in the overall presentation of the script. However you need to re-edit the film so that flash forward becomes flash back. Also with some more outdoor shooting, you can do away with the claustrophobia that film suffers from. Some portions of the film only require new voice dubbing, since the characters are in long shot. In a nutshell if your graph was A to Z, you may now open the film with Z i.e flash back. Accordingly you can re arrange the story line as per the new suggested script". Thus spake the chairman of CFSI. On my face was the simple expression of being CLULESS and the voice of Mrs Bachchan "So you understood Mukesh . Please ensure the dead line of 31st March is adhered to, as the film has to be censored on or before that date". "Yes ma'am It will be done".was my instant reply. She left and I regrouped my team members. We had only a month left to complete the film.
Like my school friend Mr Naresh Upadhaya who helped me in my production work, another team member Mr Rajesh Aggarwal, (who was from the 1965 Editor batch of FTII Pune) was instrumental in bailing me out, with his editing skills and creative inputs.

Rajesh Aggarwal

Naresh Upadhaya... Mr Reliable

Here I would like to mention another CFSI colleague of mine Rudolf Samson or Eddie. Besides me he was also a full time staff of CFSI and worked as an assistant. Though technically his boss, I learned quite a lot about film making from Eddie. His father Samson was an old time Bollywood leading man and worked in B grade movies. I write this with a very heavy heart that Eddie died of Cancer couple of years ago.
The revised rough was ready in 2 days as we worked day and night. Once we knew, what we need to re-shoot we were back at Kanpur.

Veteran Shammiji with Padmini the Elephant...

As usual the first hurdle was the non availability of the elephant, as she was transferred to Dudhwa National Park, which is about 80 kms from the place of shoot. Since the elephant could not be transported, she started her grand elephant walk from the wild life sanctuary and reached Kanpur in 3 to 4 days. The second shock was the green cover or foliage which was missing due to the onset of Spring in Northern India. This would upset the continuity of the film. We started searching for some green patch to finish our work and I found one. The patch was like a Mirage in the desert.Somehow we completed our shooting and were back in Mumbai in the first week of March 1989.

Sound Studio....working backwards

By the 2nd week of March 89 we were ready with the revised rough cut and were all set for BG music, effects recording, voice dubbing and mixing or re recording. It is at this juncture that I asked Rajesh Aggarwal (the Editor Colleague), to visit Sunny Sound Studio and organize the post production work. As written in my earlier post, we had booked the Sunny Studio and paid the advance for the Rerecording etc without even having shot a single frame.

The Gentleman...

When Mr Rajesh Aggarwal reached the studio, he saw Dharmendra (the He man of Bollywood) holding the Studio diary and finalizing the dates for the dubbing of his film. Unfortunately he was looking for the same chunk of last 10 days of March 89, which we had booked and paid for. Some how Rajesh Aggrawal managed to gather courage and spoke to Dharam Paji. "Sir we had booked the studio 3 months ago prior to the commencement of shooting. We had already applied for censor certificate. Some how, in spites of the odds, we have managed to keep our date with destiny. Now if you take the studio, Mrs Jaya Bachchan will not be able to keep her promise to the nation. We are supposed to complete it before 31st March 1989. " Though it was Dharmaji's studio he could have overlooked our commitment and gone ahead, yet he was more then a gentleman. He shifted his base to Madras(Chennai) for his post production work and saved the day for us.

Anokha Aspatal was premiered in cinema at Mauritius

The pearl in Indian ocean

Need less to mention the film Anokha Aspatal was censored on 31st March1989. As promised, Mrs Jaya Bachchan brought the final print with her as her personal baggage to Port Louis. I could not see the final print in India as I was sent on duty to Mauritius, to start shooting of the Indo Mauritius co production "Operation Pink Pigeon" (or Ankur maina aur Kabootar). This film too won the National Award. But that's another story..

Hope you enjoyed reading... the making of Anokha Aspatal....
Wishing you all a very happy 2019....