DATE | DURATION
An ambitious agency, a mad director, a legendary lyricist, an eccentric musician, a never-say-die DoP, and a brilliant team. What do you get? A film made in a record 10 days, from concept to completion.
When Senthil, CCO, JWT called us 15 days before Diwali for a film to screen during Diwali, we knew we were in trouble. This is mainly for two reasons: 1. Senthil does not take a no, and 2. We never say no to Senthil.
Collaborating on unique, one-of-a-kind projects like Sulekha.com, it’s no surprise that some of our best projects have been with the man himself. He called us with the idea for this film and asked if we could come up with a basic storyboard for the client meeting the next day. We obviously thought he was crazy. The costs were not greenlit, the logistics were not in place – we had little to nothing to work with. There was a huge chance the project would not even see the light of day, given the timeline. But we loved the script and went ahead anyway.
With a storyboard made overnight, we approached Swanand Kirkire, the most sought-after lyricist today. For a world-class tearjerker film, we knew it had to be him. It was decided that we would have a female protagonist as a woman is more likely to miss her family and therefore be more relatable. Not that we do not expect men to miss their families – just especially not when munching on a Kitkat in space!
We auditioned at least 50 women for the role, and to no avail. Suresh was against the idea of bringing a celebrity on board because all we wanted was a girl next door who showed courage and power by following her dreams. She had to be a powerful personality first. Finally through an online audition, we found our perfect candidate. We loved her rawness and brought her on board immediately.
It was a complicated shoot, and given the 10-day timeline looming over our heads, we could not afford to spill over past the designated schedules. Prior to the shoot, she spent a full day practising the anti-gravity stunts the ad required her to perform. Our DoP Tapan Basu spent a few days studying the sci-fi thriller Gravity to ensure realism with the anti-gravity simulation. During the shoot, there were multiple things that had to be in sync with one another. There was a moving DoP inside a moving set trying to get a shot of a girl suspended in mid-air, and of course, according to the beat of the music.
The shoot went on for 18 hours straight, and after quickly catching a couple of hours of sleep, the team was back in action. The 3D team got to work, the CGI started, the VFX was added, the music came together, and we delivered on time.
Our music director Sameerudin is strictly a day worker and on a usual work day wraps up by 8pm. With this project, however, he was up at 2am all charged and excited by the visuals in the film. A cello player from Bandra walked into the studio at 3am thanks to Sameerudin’s enthusiastic phone call and revelation. The track that finally played under the film is a true masterpiece that moves us every time.
Creative Agency: JWT
Creative: Senthil Kumar, NCD, JWT India
Client Servicing: Saurabh Saksena, Rohit Sharma, Siddhartha Ghose
Films: Vineeta Misra
Production House: Eeksaurus
Director: Suresh Eriyat
Producer: Nilima Eriyat
DOP: Tapan Basu
Sound: Arun Crastos
Lyricist: Swanand Kirkire
Singers: Jasleen Royal, Swanand Kirkire
Editor: Yaser Abbas
Talent: Rupa Bargaonkar
Art Direction: Sandeep Shelhar and Ashok
Line Producer: Manish Sharma
1st Asst. Director: Livia Aranha
In-house Assistant Director: Bargav Sridhar
Production Manager: Nitesh Khatavkar
Asst. Production Manager: Ashish Kumar
Action Director: Vikram Dahiya
In-house Associate Editor: Tintu K. Philip
Colourist: Naveen Shetty
Casting: Meera Unnikrishnan and Manish Sharma
Costume Stylist: Harpreet Sawhney
Make Up & Hair: Vicky Salvi
Project Coordination: Divya Sangle, Bargav Sridhar
Project Lead: Sunita Kathiwada, Nilesh Dhore
Storyboard: Sunita Kathiwada
Research: Sunita Kathiwada, Devender Parmar, Bargav
Environment Design: Ranjit Mandal
3D Animation: Anik Roy, Debajyoti Roychowdhury
Modeling: Aditya Raje, Keyur Patel, Devender Parmar
Texturing: Devender Parmar, Amar Patel
Lighting: Devender Parmar, Amar Patel
Rigging: Hitendra Singh, Anik Roy
Compositors: Nilesh Dhore, Mohammad Azeem
VFX Supervisor: Nilesh Dhore
Roto: Vinod Shetty and team, Nilesh Dhore, Mohammad Azeem
Post Production: Jivan Gaikawad
Why did we do it?
Well, for starters, it was an impossible target to achieve we set ourselves a brand new record. To be able to successfully pull off something of this scale in this timeline without compromises in quality is something we are proud of. That, and the fact that we did not want work to spill over into our Diwali break. Delivering a film after a jam-packed schedule and then taking off on a holiday was definitely one of the highlights of 2014.