Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Film-making:The Madness

Film-making-It is more a mad effort than a team effort. Script discussion, budgeting, shot breakdown, Budget approval, financ(ier)es, Crew contracts, Artistes' tantrums, location hunts, Equipment deals, Annoying assistant directors, Patient Production Managers (ahem ahem), Eccentric Executive producers, Demanding directors.. uff!! It is indeed a mad mad mad effort to put together a film.

But it is a super experience to be a part of a shoot crew. Advertising films is jujubee once you are part of the feature film eccentricity. In ads, you shoot for a maximum of 3-4 days with a week's pre-production, post production goes on for yet another 3 days and once your ad film gets approved you are out of it. But feature film is a completely different ball game. You are part of a feature for almost 6-8 months, think, eat, breathe the film for the entire period. If you are in the production, art, costume, direction department you forget your sleep for that period, work round-the-clock, party hard and wait for that one big day when your film releases.

These days Bollywood film-making industry functions very differently from our very own Kollywood. In most Bollywood feature film productions, the crew does not get on floor without a bound script, no last-minute dialogues scribbles on paper, the first assistant director's[a.d] break-down is the bible, he/she calls the shots, treate on-par with the director, second to second assistant director takes care of the artistes and not the director's chai, the last assistant director is the clap guy.. Each department is given clear and specific tasks. Like for instance, the production manager is responsible for the make up van's diesel but if the artiste sitting in the van refuses to come out for the shot, it is the headache of the second second assistant director to get the actor out. The production personnel cannot be blamed for the shoot's delay. Lagaan, Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya, Don, Swades, Honeymoon Travels (P) Ltd are few of the many films whose pre-production went on for a year before they went on floor. With every department handed out a detailed list of requirement for every scene and shot things are made easy with less goof-ups. It is a great boon for the lighting department who, with a bound script and storyboard, can go about with their work instead of waiting for the cinematographer's instructions till the last minute. This saves a lot of time and money.

Unfortunately Kollywood still functions the old way where the assistant director is more the director's assistant taking care of his needs "Director tea kekkaraaaru", "Sir-kku chair eduthupodungaappa" is also what he does apart from sitting for script discussions. A friend of mine worked as an assistant director in Kollywood's # 1 director's production. A schedule was shot in Switzerland and including the 2 main actors they were just about 12 of them flown to Switzerland. She ended up acting as a friend in the film apart from dialogue rehearsal sessions with actors, ironing actors' costumes etc. It was a terrible experience for her. "No budget" was the answer from the producer's front when confronted. But I wonder how that justifies an A.D doubling, tripling, quadrupling as costume assistant, make-up assistant, actor etc. My friend was on her next flight to Bollywood city from Chennai, as soon as the film wrapped.

A mega hit tamizh film is being remade in Hindi with the same director from Kollywood who is used to his way of functioning. In Bollywood, he has been given the first assistant director who calls the shots, is treated on-par with the director and is probably flown business class! Wonder how Mr."devotee-of-Lord-Shiva's-son" is managing with his Bollywood first A.D

But I still go with Kollywood when it comes to artistes. They are punctual, humble and do their homework unlike the Bollywood lot. Having worked with a couple of Khans, some Ka, Ra, Aj, Vi actors in Bollywood, it felt terrible seeing all months of pre-production work on a feature film to start shoot at 9.30 am go down the drain when these characters reported at 10 am for an 8 am reporting call-sheet.. Ennatha seiiya? Ennatha solla?

I came across this website which covers the madness of film-making...blogs by directors, assistant directors, production stills, interviews with cast and crew and so on.

If you are interested in film-making as a process, do visit

PS : Mani, Ambi , LKS, The Visitor - will post Vilambara Vilayaatu results soon. Have been a bit busy with work

7 Responses:

The Visitor said...

What do production managers do?

moneykandaan said... problem.neenga late-ta vanthalum latest-ta varuvinga...enna ambi&karthik...nan sonnathu seriya...?.

Karthik Sriram said...

Was an eye opener. But was just curious - do people really go around with bound scripts of movies like Buddha mar gaya and RGV ka AAAARGh? If so, its a further waste of money.

I have been to a shoot of a tamizh movie which 'ultimately' became a super duper hit - but when I saw the shoot location, the hero, heroine and the uyarndha villain were literally waiting for a shot for 3 hours bcoz some AD screwed up...

I guess its u either get a professional crew or a professional actor, but never both!!


ambi said...

//Mr."devotee-of-Lord-Shiva's-son" is managing with his Bollywood first A.D
LOL :) i found out, he heee, ellam murugan seyal! :p
good post again.

i'll be extremly cautious if some big directors come and request me to act as hero (*ahem, *ahem) unless if gopika as heroine.

//enna ambi&karthik...nan sonnathu seriya...?.
neenga sonna sari thaanganna! :p

The Visitor said...

How loooong is soon?

Anonymous said...


அருமையாக இருக்கு...இன்னும் கொஞ்சம் இதப் பத்தி எழுதுங்களேன் ப்ளீஸ்

Anonymous said...

Making a film wasn't that easy. There are lot things to do and consider. From the budget itself up to the artist. This is a matter of choosing the right team.