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A debut at 52!

“Parineeta” brings glory to director Pradeep Sarkar



The charm lingers Saif Ali Khan and Vidya Balan in “Parineeta” and (down) Pradeep Sarkar

“A National Award for the best first film of a director at the age of 52…Doesn’t it sound like a joke? I will go on stage and say, ‘Sir, my son has gone to school, so I have come on his behalf to collect the awa rd’,” laughs Pradeep Sarkar as one congratulates him for bringing Parineeta alive on celluloid.

A known name in advertising, Pradeep says, “Seriously, it’s my fault for I didn’t have the guts to switch to cinema till the age of 45. It was the advent of news channels in New Delhi that proved to be the catalyst. First I did set designing for Siddharth Basu, Arun Purie and Prannoy Roy and then made some promotional black and white films for Aaj Tak. They were noticed and this emboldened me to try music videos, starting with ‘Pichak Dhoom’ and ‘Ab Ke Sawan’.”

“At that time,” continues Pradeep, “Vidhu Vinod Chopra was looking for somebody to direct songs for Mission Kashmir. He liked some music videos and asked his office to call the director. Fortunately whatever songs he picked up were directed by me. So I got a chance to direct two songs in Mission Kashmir, including the hit ‘Bhumro’. Then I directed one song in Munnabhai MBBS.

One thing led to another, and one day on the way to Pune, Pradeep narrated the idea of Parineeta to Vinod. Talking about a distinct visual appeal that he has brought to cinema, Pradeep quips, “I am a romantic to the core. What I have done is adapted an advertising technique to cinema.

It is to prepare the audio board of the entire film before shooting. It is like a radio film where all the dialogues and sound effects are done first so that the film gets embedded in your conscience. The idea came to my mind when I was shooting a Coke ad with Aamir Khan in a Bengali coffee shop. He had to say certain words in Bangla which he was not getting right in the context of the story board. Aamir asked me to record my voice in place of his. Then he listened to it a few times and came in to give a perfect shot.”

Dwelling on the advantages of this format, Pradeep says it was the sound of “Raat Akeli” in Parineeta that made him shoot the song in silhouettes. On the new credit of visual director in films, something Pradeep did in Eklavya, he says people should not take the person as somebody who encroaches upon the territory of director.

“It is like a surgeon needs an anaesthetist during an operation.”


Pradeep feels sometimes it’s divine intervention that makes a shot perfect. He says people think that he waited for the wave that made the frame in “Piya Bole” ethereal.

“The wave rocked the boat on its own and fitted into the metre of the song. When such magic moments happen, I feel God is taking the shot on your behalf.”

Now Pradeep has switched sides to other Chopras and is making Laga Chunri Main Daag for Yash Raj banner.

“It was like parting from your parents but I had to make a decision.”

ANUJ KUMAR

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