Some time back, Ashutosh Matela aka Matty, mine as well as hundreds of people’s dearest pal, and a film director had decided to shoot a short film on a green screen. Green chroma shoot is basically a film where background is all green (the “same” green all over) so that all the part that is green can be changed and any background (picture, video, animation or anything for that matter) put behind it while editing. The background then look perfectly real and not like old movies where hero is driving a car and you can clearly see background roads being shown on a screen! Chroma shoot allows you to be as creative you can be for the background at the editing table. Why green why not purple chroma shoot? Well, this works for blue also because blue and green are considered the colors least akin to skin tone but that’s not the case with any other color. The interesting thing is, if by chance, while shooting on a green screen, you have anything green on your body, it gets removed when you put a background during editing. So, if you wrap a green cloth around your neck, in the final video, you would see the body and the neck separate :). The best and most famous example of a film which was completely (except for hospital scene of few minutes) shot on green screen is Sin City. So if you had never heard of Chroma Shoots, watch Sin City and you would know what all is possible in such shoots!
Coming back to Matty’s film, while working on one script, he came across two good writers (Akanksha Mathur and Utkarsh Arora respectively for L1S1T1 and IMTB) whose stories he liked and hence he decided to shoot 2 films. The two films were “Life 1 Shot 1 Take 1” (loved the title when I first heard it) and “I’m the Best”. Won’t write anything about the stories because it’s the Director’s prerogative till it is released for public. However, one thing was for sure, it was a tough task because there were no cuts at all and both the films were approximately of 2.5-3min. Moreover, I was the solo actor! Tough task but a very good opportunity to prove your mettle and enhance your acting skills. I have done plays which had very long dialogues/monologues but believe me the game is entirely different when it comes to camera – your acting can’t be loud, you can’t underplay or overplay even for a moment (“even for a moment” is the primary difference), it should be perfect every second especially when you are single in the frame and when it’s a close-up. You can never see an actor that close in theatre so things change, though theatre has its own set of tough challenges. Theatre actors are always respected and you must have heard a lot of times – “Arre Naseer/Irfan/AnupamKher achchi acting to karenge hi, theatre ke bande hai bhai”.
We shot in a studio in Jasola on a good quality camera – DSR450. It was an interesting shoot primarily because it was my first green chroma shoot. Also, it was first film in which I was the solo actor. It was a hectic shoot but we all had fun – Pramod, Deepti, Sameer, Shahrukh, Kamal (professional cinematographer) & his asst, Utkarsh and Poonam-Ana (make-up artists – has been for several Bollywood films and even one Hollywood film). Hilarious moments were when the entire take was good but because a makhkhi/housefly flew past the camera once, we had to take another take! The shooting though hectic was very satisfying. In fact, shooting is always hectic but when you’re passionate about something, you just love it irrespective of anything at all! That’s the difference when you work in a job you’re not completely passionate about and when you work for something you would die for!
Matty, as a Director, is very accommodating and at the same time is a perfectionist! He will make you feel comfortable not just through words but also through actions. What does that mean? That means even when camera/light setting is getting awry several times leading to several takes, he maintains his cool. Since I have been a Director of several plays and a couple of films, I know how stressful it is to keep your cool when things are not going as planned. He never loses his temper at all, I had experienced this at its epitome when we had shot a commercial ad for Godrej. Nikhil used to say that at his film school in USC, he was taught that if an actor feels that one take is better than the other, Directors should make a note or if an actor asks to add/delete one word to add prominence to a feeling, director should generally agree not because the actor is a star but because he is the only one who can feel it from within. And you know what, Matty gives that space to his actors, not just in this shoot but always. Even the people in production are always happy working with him. He surely will be what he aspires to be – like James Camerom – but one thing is for sure, he’ll be loved by more people than James Cameron is! Puchchi hai Matty ;)!
Matty and Mini are getting married on 23rd May, so bhaisahab is busy living his life – Jaa Simran jaa, jee le apni zindagi 23rd tak ;P! After that, the film will be edited and released – primarily to win in National & International Film Festivals! I feel these 2 films, after the editing phase, should turn out to be real gems for all those involved. Amen!