The stage was all set for the short-film. The entry of our friend and freelance 'graphic designer', 'Saket Patil' in the scenario was the plus point for us. Saket Patil was the only person who had little bit knowledge of 'short-films' as he had acted in two short-films 'BOOND' and 'GUZARA' by Manthan Group. Anant and Saket both are good friends and neighbors. We initially decided that we will shoot our film at my place in Virar, but due to the scarcity of 'property' required for the film we changed our mind. Saket played the major role in convincing the parents of 'Chitra' to play the 'lead lady' role in the film. We got our 'heroine' as well as 'location' for the short-film shooting. Mrs.Sandhya Ghadi was kind enough to give permission to use her 'house' for the shooting purpose. On the 10th Jan I purchased photography stand from 'Dadar'. My brother had bought 'Sony Handycam' many years back. But I had never tried it, as I was never tech-savvy kind of guy. During 'Lakh lakh Chanderi' I shot the 'Rehearsal' of the drama to create 'Making of Lakh Lakh Chanderi' video, that was the only experience I had in operating Camera.
I was little bit worried about the video quality also; as the Handycam was of 'Standard Definition' and not 'High definition'. The requirement for 'HD' video is the major criteria of all the short-film festival. We planned to submit our short-film on 14th Jan to Ideal Events ,an event management company for their 'Marathi Short film Festival'. Rajendra Balsara my 'ex-student' and an active member of 'Ashwamedh Kalamanch' told me that he can easily convert 'SD' videos to 'HD' using some softwares. After his promise only I gone ahead with purchasing Memory Sticks, RW- DVD's for handycam etc. The team was excited about their fist step in Short-film making. As Indians, we all are 'Filmy'.So my team was not an exception.
The concept was good, but there was no written Script.I did messaged all the artists of 'Lakh Lakh Chanderi' to attend the audition for short-film on 10th Jan.The film-name was not finalized till the last day. Jitesh Bhilare one of my friend suggested me the name 'DO NOT DISTURB'. and I agreed on it. All the cast & crew members loved the 'Title' as it was 'apt' for the theme.
On 11/01/11, in the morning at 7:30 a.m. I caught Virar local from 'Dadar' along with my students 'Rajendra' and 'Jeetendra'. We had lot of luggage with us.In the journey we discussed about next ventures and plans of Ashwamedh Kalamanch. No one talked about the film, yet all were excited about shooting it.
I somehow trusted 'Rajendra' for his capability of 'playing & experimenting' with softwares. I knew the 'Editing' part will be the most difficult and 'Expensive' part of the film. But I was ready to take the challenge by myself and knew that 'Rajendra' will help me out in that.
We reached Virar at 8:30 a.m. When we reached Viva college, we saw all the happy faces waiting eagerly for us. Anant, Abhijeet were waiting at Mangal-Murty Temple, all excited, fresh and with full of energy. Rakesh had caught the same train from Mira-road, so he was with us only, in Rickshaw. Saket came on his bike and we greeted him. Saket & Abhijeet went to purchase the material for Pooja. Anant guided us to the 'Madhuban Park', the shooting location. As we entered in the building we saw the staircase were nicely washed for us. Mrs. Sandhya knew our story and she knew that we would be shooting some scenes in corridor. We entered her house and saw a well-furnished and neatly kept house, exactly the same we wanted for the film. She prepared 'Tea' for us and till that we finished our 'Muhurat Pooja'. The Muhurat scene of the short-film was actually the first shot taken by 'Saket' and the entire day he took the responsibility of handling camera. Well that was not at all in the planning.
After we finished our 'tea', Mrs. Sandhya introduced her 'daughter' Chitra. That was the first time I met heroine of our film, on shooting day. Amazing. I laughed. 'Chitra' was little bit nervous. and anxious about her first film. She was facing the camera for the first time and so was the Rakesh. The consolation prize in 'Lakh lakh Chanderi' for his acting was the only thing which kept his morale up. He had a great responsibility on his shoulder as 'Chitra' was not compatible as a pair for him. Rakesh in fact did a great job by making her feel comfortable and involved in chemistry,much required for the good finishing product.
Abhijeet started narrating the sequence of the scenes, and we started shooting as per his suggestions. But withing first few scenes itself, I became the Director, Anant the Asst. Director, Saket the Camera man and Rajendra & Jitendra Lights-boys. Nothing was pre-planned. We all knew it was our first experience, so it will be total mess-up, but surprisingly we divided our work professionally and took 1-1 department each. At 2:00 p.m.,Rajendra and Jeetu bought 10 plates 'Veg Pulav' from Banjara hotel Virar. We started having lunch.During lunch Saket and I decided that we should change our 'Game-plan'. We were shooting the film as per sequences. Now we started shooting the film as per 'camera frames'. 'Rakesh's scenes in-side the home were on priority list. We had permission for the whole day and we wanted to somehow finish the entire shooting in one day. So after lunch, every other character was out-of-focus and we shot all the scenes of Rakesh. In the film Rakesh had 4 outfits, Night suit (Green T-shirt & track pant), Formal wear, and Blazer suit (for dream sequence) and final jacket blazer for climax. So we decided to finish all the scenes as per his outfits.
There was no script in our hand, but the sequence of activities were very much in our minds. Anant and I was continuously thinking about the scenes and how they can be shot? Saket did very good thing by giving actors the right expressions during the act. The procedure was quite simple. In the evening we were almost tired and the 'tea' came. Thankfully Mrs. Sandhya was there to support us whole day. She gave us all her house to use for shooting and also gave some important inputs during shoot. Obviously all the neighborhood was in her house that day. Yet all kept pin-drop silence during the entire shoot.
We finished almost all the scene of Rakesh till 6 p.m. We developed a 'Grip' till then. The thinking process was much faster than the start and the actors were more in the 'bearing'. We then took-up the remaining scence of 'Chitra' and 'Rakesh'. Chitra didn't knew much acting, so she was quite natural in all the scenes.The climax scene was completely shot in the dark, as the staircase didn't had enough lights at 8:00 p.m. the work of Rajendra & Jeetu become crucial for that scene.That scene was supposed to be 11:30 in the Morning in the film. And luckily we managed to keep enough lights in the scene.
The last scene which we shot was 'Birthday scene'. We wanted this scene to be the 'highlight' of the movie and so wanted to make it totally filmy. The scene was very important one. The chemistry between Actor and Actress was what we are expecting in it. But our luck was not on our side. It was already too late for retakes. Chitra got quite uncomfortable in-front of her parents during this romantic scene. We had to compromise as we were in their place for almost 12 hrs now. So we didn't re-shoot the scene. Made it OK in the first shoot.
We had almost finished all the important scenes of Rakesh, Rakesh & Chitra, her neigbors Aunty-Uncle and the Indoor ones. We thanked Ghadi family for their support. We all ate the Cake which we used for our Shooting, took all our belongings and left for home. Everyone kept all the luggage at my place and went home. It was late night 11:30 p.m., all the hotels were closed. I went straight to Chinesewala, had 'Veg Fried rice' as my dinner and then returned home to take a nap as we had to start again on early in the morning next day.....
Read part-III here..