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The making of SIGNAL

posted Aug 4, 2010, 10:21 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Apr 21, 2011, 8:16 PM by Vivek Shivaprabhu ]
Idea/Story Development:
After the nice response we had received post the release of ‘DIU’ and ‘Nanna Neralu’ we were all buoyed and wanted to work on next project as soon as possible to keep up the tempo. So, we  soon started working on the script. Bharath and Chidu had this one-liner story ready in their mind. Keeping in line with our motto to convey a socially relevant message we started to develop the story around it. The message to be conveyed was simple which was ‘FOLLOW TRAFFIC RULES’ but at the same time we wanted to see how good we were at story-telling.
 
                                                                    Original Sound Track:
 
 

We spoke to one of the traffic cops on duty to understand the most common mistakes people usually commit. This gave us an idea as to what we should highlight and what not! After a couple of rounds story-board discussions, we came with a initial draft of the script (which by our own admission) was bit complex!! It had too many characters (for a short movie!) with a non-linear screenplay which we thought would certainly confuse the viewers. We also thought, in our attempt to tell the story the message to be conveyed was being diluted! Even with the shooting perspective, the story required resources beyond our means. So we had to fine tune the script keeping the message to be conveyed as the principle point and the story to revolve around it. At the same time we also considered the feasibility of shooting while developing the script. Good thing is that we retained the non-linear screenplay. If you look at it, two stories run in parallel the scenes of which juxtapose on one other only to converge at certain point in the end to make sense of the whole thing!!
 
In a way, this can be considered as our first attempt at story telling!!
 
Preparation/Casting:

Once the script was ready, Bharath and I made a quick recce of the locations for the shoot and finalized few of them. Next thing that we worked on was ‘casting’. There were principally 4 characters. We knew the casting for the role of ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’ wouldn’t be a problem as we have some friends who we thought might be interested!! J. We were quite apprehensive about casting for the other two roles (of a child and grand-mother!). Since Shridhar was already involved with b2c for previous project and since he was interested we zeroed in on him for the role of a boyfriend.

As for the girlfriend’s role, I had spoken to one of my friends Gunavanti and she had readily agreed. But unfortunately the day before the shoot, she fell sick! So immediately I talked to Gagan (my colleague) to speak to his wife Bharani if she is interested. I too spoke to her and briefed about the part she was going to essay. Thankfully she gave her consent and accepted the role much to our relief!!.

 For the girl’s role, I thought one of my colleague’s (Vijay’s) daughter would suit the role perfectly and after speaking to her dad finalized her. Later I came to know that the kid who had been to her native and who was supposed to arrive well before the day of the shoot may not make it to the shoot due to unforeseen circumstances. It was then Vaishnavi, the cousin of Raghavendra H R came to our rescue!! Both Bharani and Vaishnavi who were never in the scheme of things till a few days before the shoot came onto the board and the best part is that they have done a fabulous job! I must say this was like icing on the cake!! May be, I’ll use this forum to thank both of them again to have made it at such a short notice and doing a great job at that!! J

Finally, for the grandmother’s part, we knew she had to be old enough to be a grandmother of a 10-11 yr old. But we didn’t find anybody in our radar not at least we knew anybody in Bangalore! Not until many days later, Amar finally said he had found one who incidentally was his neighbor! He then immediately swung into action and spoke to her and her son. We later heard she was very reluctant in the beginning (understandable at her age isn’t it?? J) and that it took a great deal of cajoling on his son’s part to convince her!! J

Day of the Shoot ( May07, 2010):

The mistakes we committed while filming ‘DIU’ and ‘Nanna Neralu’ and the lessons learnt from them came in handy! Biggest lesson that we learnt was to have the bound-script ready even before the we shot the first scene which is so very important if you want to finish the shoot in time and also to avoid the possibility of re-shoot. Since we were thoroughly prepared, we din’t face much of a problem on the day of the shoot. 

7:00AM – 8:30AM: Location - Sadashiv Nagar.

The team along with Vaishnavi assembled at Sadashiv Nagar Bashyam Circle to shoot couple of traffic violation sequences and the all important ‘accident’ scene. No prizes for guessing the time chosen! We wanted to finish this part as early as possible to avoid the difficulty of managing both the people and the traffic later. To our surprise we found quite a traffic presence even at that hour which made our task a little more difficult. Biggest task was to manage the people which I think both Shivaprasad and Chidu managed to do well. After a lot takes and re-takes, we finally were satisfied with the shoot.

9:00AM – 10:30AM: Location – Barista, New BEL Road.

We were given an hour to complete the shoot by the Barista management. Thanks to both Gagan and Bharani who were on time at the Barista outlet. We wasted no time in setting up the handy-cam and started to film. It took may be an hr and a half to complete all the scenes here. We then bid good-bye to Gagan n Bharani.

1100AM – 2:00PM: Location – New BEL Road, Kamala Muththalli’s home.

We shot the medical-shop scene with Vaishnavi in the New BEL road. Here again curious eyes of the people made us feel that we were involved in something special! J Then we went to Mrs. Kamala Muththtalli’s (who was our grandmother) home. She and her son were waiting for us.  We apologized for being late and soon setup the camera after exchanging pleasantries. We then briefed both Vaishnavi and grandmother about their part. She immediately went into the role and started coughing! But we found it was bit melodramatic! J We asked her to tone down a little. It took several takes to get that ‘coughing’ from her!! We made her cough to such an extent that she started to gesture with cough if she wanted to say something! J We felt bad though! We were finally done with the scenes involving both grandmother and Vaishnavi. As it was time for lunch, we had it in Adigas at Sanjaynagar. Since no scenes were left for Vaishnavi, we asked Chidu to drop her to her place in Vijaynagar.

3:00PM – 5:30PM: Location – Aspect Technology Premises, Cunningham Road.

We then went to Aspect Technology office to shoot office sequence. We shot couple of nice sequences here. Later, we were on Cunningham road to shoot the sequence of ‘rash-driving’. I was riding the bike and Bharath was handling the camera by being a pillion rider. That was the concluding sequence. We were happy and congratulated each other for the job well done. At the end of the day, we were very tired, went home and had a good night’s sleep!!

Post-Production:

As usual, Bharath took the role of an editor at his home. He was ready with the first print of edited copy and gave me a call. We then sat together and fine tuned to a large extent. Bharath then took the copy to Vishwesh for sound-mixing and background score. Vishwesh took his time and gave a nice music. He has now become a part of ‘Dream-Team’.
 
Release:
 
Finally the ‘SIGNAL’ saw the light of the day on 14th of July. This was the day when we launched our own website too! We simultaneously posted the video on YouTube and on our website. We were glad knowing that it was received well. An inspiration to carry on the good work that we have been committed to!
 
- Bagli Gururaj
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