The film Hero, starring Rishab Shetty, will hold a special place for everybody who is a part of the project, since it was shot last year during the raging pandemic. The 24-member team, including every artiste and technician, had to work in the safest way possible, with whatever resources available around them. For Arvind Kashyap, the director of photography, it was more like a DIY (Do it Yourself) process on the sets, and the entire film was made with jugad.
“In the normal scenario, even with a low budget, we would at least have the basics things and a proper unit available. However, the making of Hero was done with a handful of cast and crew members,” says Aravind Kashyap. He, however, adds that the Covid-19 outbreak allowed him to explore, which is something he wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise, and it helped him in bringing more creativity at less cost.
“In terms of creativity, being simple is elegant, and it looks grand. When everything is available, we tend to overdo a lot. With scarcity of resources, we were able to get down to the basics, and simplicity was all that mattered. When you have a great script and content, you will find a way to get the shot you want, and all you need is a camera and lenses. The situation pushed us to figure out a way to shoot, without the necessary equipment we usually have, and the natural space helped us a lot,” he explains.
Talking about how he went about picturising the film, Arvind recalls, “Since we couldn’t get the normal lights and rigs, we ended up decorating the entire house, which measured 10,000 sq.ft, with normal bulbs. The entire roof was wired and we would staple the bulbs wherever required.”
Arvind says it was equally interesting to create the smoke, which was necessary to create the ambience of fog or mist. “Since we didn’t have the full team, we ended up taking help from the artistes and whoever was free to take charge of holding a big pan filled with burning coal. In one episode, three people followed a tractor with the pan and coal for almost 2 km. Looking back at it now, we think we have got better effects, and an output that we couldn’t have managed with a professional team,” says Arvind, making a special mention of his colleague, Manu, who, he says, went out of his way to bring the right things in the frame.
“There were some scenes that required rain, but the downpour stopped during the shoot. So we ended up using a machine that is used to water betel nut plants, connected it to a small lake with 200 metres of pipe. It created the effect of rain that worked better than the normal set-up,” he reveals.
Arvind, who made his debut with Dayavittu Gamanisi, has earlier made his mark with films like Lambodara and Bell Bottom. The cinematographer is also working in the Rakshit Shetty-starrer 777 Charlie, and Hostel Hugudaru Bekagidaare, which are yet be released. The Kannada film industry gives a lot of opportunity and space to anyone to learn, he points out. “Of all the five films I have shot, there is not one thing similar between each project. Also, there has been no fixed pattern of working, which has helped me explore from movie to movie,” he says.