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I have gone rogue with mini cameras
RGV's latest film 'Department' is creating a buzz for its innovative camerawork. The filmmaker, whose forthcoming projects include '26/11’ and 'Ab Tak Chhappan 2', speaks to TOI-Crest on why he has decided to point and shoot.
You've done some innovative shooting for Department?
I've been shooting with digital cameras for a while. I have shot Department with ultra small cameras. What I shot with is called Canon 5D GoPro, the size of a matchbox. They come in multiple formats including 7D Lumix Gopro, Sony Nx5 and 60D. So for Department, I used at least 8-9 such different cameras;each capturing a particular angle. But I have shown that an entire film can be shot using GoPro like in the case of Department.
Isn't that unconventional?
The camera is nothing but a recording instrument and has its own special feature in terms of lenses, movement etc depending upon size and weight. With small cameras, one gets angles and movements which a conventional camera cannot capture and that's what I've attempted in Department. The film is shot in such a way that each frame gives you an angle which is not seen before in cinema. I find this very revolutionary and call it the rogue methodology.
Rogue? That's an interesting description.
(Laughs) Yes. I call it rogue because it is something that appears from a herd. Just like a rogue elephant does his own thing, this camera can be used to shoot in innovative ways. This method is everything that filmmakers ought not to do.
Was it difficult for Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt to shoot in this new technology?
Mr Bachchan, who's used to reacting to a camera for decades, was suddenly in a situation where there's no camera (the new cameras are hardly visible). It can be very disorienting. But he said that this technology had actually freed him as an actor. No longer was he conscious of what camera was looking at him and from where. It changed his performance style and he felt more real than he normally felt before a camera.
So is the future of cinema headed towards more such technological innovations?
Cinema is going to become very expressionist now. Each person will portray his own sensibilities. Films will become as different as people.
So in a way you're saying that anyone with some sensibility can make a film?
I don't think it's even about sensibility, even without any sensibility you can make a film. But now filmmaking will no longer be centralised from Mumbai or wherever the film industry is located. Even a guy in Gorakhkpur or some village in Haryana can make a film. All you need is one of these cameras and you just build on your story with imagination and passion. You won't need inventories like cameraman, lights, generators, conventional cameras or trolleys.
You are always playing with themes, technology.
I get bored very fast so I always need to reinvent myself. I started with steady-cam at a time when it was not prevalent. New technology draws you out of your comfort zone and I like to challenge myself.
Does this make filmmaking cheaper?
A genre film like Satya which took 50 days, I can shoot in 20 days with this technology. I can shoot Kaun today in one day with these new cameras because the entire film is shot inside one living room.
Will this technology make it easier for new directors to break into Bollywood?
It will democratise filmmaking which will no longer be some star producer or son's prerogative. A guy in Nagpur made a film and sent it to me. I was zapped - he had done the entire post-production on his PC without any access to film related equipment, tools or studio facilities. I'll tell you something more shocking. The new iPhone 4, if used to shoot a film, has a projectable quality of a full screen cinema. So you can actually make a feature film entirely on it.
So this will be the new style of filmmaking?
Eventually any film, including Department, works at the box office only if it has a good narrative, script, characters and a story. It will have nothing to do with how it is shot as audiences is only interested in watching the film, not in how it is shot. At the same time the technique helps in amplifying and enhancing the story. It will also make people think in terms of bringing down the costs of filmmaking.
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