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The Making of DemoNcracY

posted May 19, 2011, 9:37 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 19, 2011, 9:47 PM by Vivek Shivaprabhu ]
Movie | Cast & Crew | Making | Comment
 
First of all I must say that the experience of DemoNcracY was wonderful and memorable. As I write the making of the film, I get the images of challenges that we had to face to make this short film. Times of India had come up with a competition of making videos on the theme a Day in a life of India  and there were several categories such as ‘jugaad India, Incredible India, Chaltha hain India etc…We thought that the script of ‘the uncivilised’ (screenplay of which had been worked over more than 6 months)  would just fit well for the competition. We specifically wanted to post this video as an entry under ‘chaltha hain’ category. While the pre-production work on this video was underway, I noticed that there was another section named ‘Assignment1’ which required participants to make a video for the pre-composed background score/song which was close to a minute-and-a-half in length.  This presented us with a new challenge and I thought we shouldn’t let go of this opportunity. To our pleasant surprise, work on this video starting from storyboard to conceptualization to shooting to editing to release was completed in just three days!!!

 

Day 1 - Conceptualization

I heard the song again and again (more than 100 times to be precise) and was just trying to visualize what can be filmed on this song. Song had a peculiar lyrics; it had touched upon numerous things from market to bullock to idli-vada to the politician. Basically, I would say that the song resonated the pulse of India. In couple of hearings, I could sense that it could be filmed in a busy market of the city in tune with the lyrics. Then I thought, given this song most people would make the film along the same lines showing scenes of market, bus, bullock etc.  So my next thought was can I make this film differently yet retain the essence of a day in a life of India. I started to write the lyrics while listening to it at the same time and studied if it had any hidden meaning! Can we apply visual metaphors? This thought triggered a chain of numerous other thoughts and slowly but steadily story started to unfold in front of my eyes.

 

Day 2 - Improvisation

Song starts with “Ajab tamasha re, gajab tamasha re……” so I thought I will just portray the people who have become dangerous to our country. I was extremely happy that most of the lines were in sync with the characters (and their actions) that I was thinking. I came up with few characters and spoke to Guru and Ashwini the next day (Thursday, 10 Feb 2011); I was hesitant that they might not accept the concept as song did not depict this directly. I was extremely happy when not only  did they appreciate the concept but also added their own thought process to it. This was when our four principal characters who represent four pillars of Democracy formed. I took this concrete concept to the rest of the team over email and we were all ok to go ahead on this. We dint have much time as the shoot of our next big project “the [un]civilized” was planned and due for the coming weekend. We had to act upon very quickly. I thought casting was a foremost challenge, followed by the identification of location of the shoot and then production management.

 

Day 2.5 – Casting and Preparation

Casting , the difficult part,  was solved easily as we decided to get by2coffeefilms team on board. This was fairly a simple decision to make as we didn’t want to waste the limited time we had at hand for scouting people for the roles. As mentioned before, the principal characters in the script had to represent 4-pillars of democracy namely Legislature, Executive, Judiciary and Media/Press. This we what we decided as to who represents what:

Guru -----------à Legislature (Politician).

Ullas -----------à Executive (Bureaucrat/Govt. Servant)

Girish----------à Judiciary (Lawyer)

Ashwini -------à Media/Press (Reporter)

Vishwanath --à Comman Man and

Shridhar ------à A mute spectator who starts and closes the play. His was a last minute entry. I mean the character was not defined in the script.

 

Work had been divided up to the last detail and assigned to the team. This involved arranging the costumes, getting the materials required for the office set, other things such as garland and cake etc.  To my amazement everything was arranged in a day’s time.

 

Day 2.75 – Group discussion and Arrangement

We all (Shree, Vishy, Girish n Guru) joined at my house on 11 Feb night (the day before the shoot) where intense group discussion took place where our script found final level of improvisation. At the same time we prepared things required in the film like name plate, collage work depicting politicians promises, hoardings etc. I consider this preparation as the best part of this whole process as we had lot of fun. We decided that shooting of the film will be limited to my building where I live. Satisfied with the preparation, we went to bed at around 2 in the midnight that day.

 

Day 3 – Shooting

We woke up early in the morning….got ready and started arranging the set; we wanted a news room (studio) set up and government office. Our drawing room became the studio and kitchen became the office ! J Irfan (cinamatographer), Ashwini and Ullas joined us in the morning. We started shooting soon after each of us had breakfast. I took up the responsibility of direction. Apart from the hall and kitchen, we shot in the stairway and majority of the scenes on the terrace; we did not go out of our building for the shoot as decided. Several retakes to get the best shot extended our shooting time till afternoon. Soon after the shoot, everybody let their bodies loose to dance in front of the cam!!!! Great fun again ! J

 

Day 3.75 – Editing dubbing

We quickly started with the process of editing and dubbing. Expectedly this process din’t take much time as the song with lyrics was already there. All we had to do was to stich the scenes in tune with the lyrics. Guru came up with the wonderful title “DemoNcracY” which aptly depicted what we had in our film. Final round of review by everybody involved led to one  more round of editing. After thoroughly satisfied with the end product, we released it on TOI’s portal J

 

Reception
I am extremely happy to know that the film has received well and we are humbled by the kind of appreciation it got. Film was screened to the students of summer camp in the remote village of Karnataka as part of Project My Dream and we could see that this film was a very good material for the discussion as we received wonderful feedback from the students.
 
Regards,
Bharath Balemane
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