Shoot at site

Filmmakers today are stepping out of studios and hitting the streets to capture
raw sights, sounds and feel of real locations, writes Dibyojyoti Baksi

SHOOTING behind the closed doors of a studio on a set made to resemble a kitchen or a court is now passť. Bollywood directors are increasingly hitting the streets to capture the raw sights, sounds and feel of real locations.

Most of the films released recently like Dhobi Ghat, No One Killed Jessica and Band Baaja Baaraat have been shot in real places.

Akshay Kumar at the Oval, London, in Patiala House
Akshay Kumar at the Oval, London, in Patiala House

"The audience finds a connection to the film through the locations. I was very sure I wanted to shoot the film at all real locations. We shot Patiala House on the streets of London, the Gurdwara, the Oval stadium and South Hall," director Nikhil Advani said.

"Though one has to wait for permission, arrange for security, I donít like to compromise. I make sure I get what I want."

Shooting at real locations cannot be compared to the sets. So directors are capturing the locality that would help their audience connect with a film more effectively.

Band Baaja Baaraat director Maneesh Sharma says a real location makes a film more visibly distinct, which he was able to accomplish in his first film that is still running in the theatres.

"It was a conscious decision to give a texture and flavour to the film, which I thought if shot in real locations, will communicate with the audience in a better way. I was very clear that I wanted to capture the essence of Delhi very well.

"As it is about aspirants, the journey between Janakpuri and Sainik Farm had to be visually distinct, which we wanted to shoot in real locations and thatís why I went with it. I wanted the quality of realism in the film," Sharma shared in an informal chat.

The fact that Ranveer Singh was a new face and was debuting with the romantic drama helped Sharma shoot amid heavy traffic on Delhi streets.

Maneesh Sharmaís Band Baaja Baaraat captures the essence of Delhi
Maneesh Sharmaís Band Baaja Baaraat captures the essence of Delhi

"We did lots of candid shooting. For instance, letís say Bittu and Shruti (Anushka Sharma) are on a bike and thankfully Ranveer, not being very well-known actor by then, we would just ask them to ride the bike behind an Innova. My director of photography and I were sitting in the backseat with a camera and shooting them. We just rode along wherever we wanted."

High-end equipment makes it easier to shoot a film in real locations, says Sudhir Mishra.

"Technologies are making it easier to go and shoot in real locations. Earlier, it was difficult but now with newer kinds of cameras, itís becoming easier to shoot at real locations. People connect with the stories very well and there is a new breed of actors, who merge with the crowd very well," said Mishra.

How difficult is it to handle the crowd?

"If you go to the streets with norms that you are the intruders and not them and if you talk to them politely and if you understand their problem and adjust to it, itís not much of a problem," said Mishra.

Not only the posh localities of metros, directors are shooting also in other difficult locations to create the right mood and correct setting. Ace director Mani Ratnam travelled with his cast members Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Vikram and crew to Athirapally forests in Kerala, Ooty in Tamil Nadu, Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, Kolkata, and the Malshej Ghats in Maharashtra to shoot for Raavan.

He had said, "As a filmmaker, every tool you get to tell the scene better is important. The geography and the lights are big tools used to tell the story. The film is completely set in the outdoor. So if outdoor has got to play a role, you have to make sure, it is helping you to tell the story better. The set gives the mood and correct setting to concentrate on the emotions of characters."

The film didnít do well, but the viewers enjoyed breathtaking backdrops.

Even Rahul Dholakia took lot of pain and faced hurdles to shoot Lamhaa with Sanjay Dutt and Bipasha Basu under life-threatening situations in Jammu and Kashmir.

In Kiran Raoís directorial debut Dhobi Ghat, the city of Mumbai is one of the important characters; so she didnít hesitate from shooting it in the narrow and crowded Mohammad Ali Road in old Mumbai with her husband Aamir Khan to make the story effective. "I have tried to show all the facets of the city,"
she said.