Bhisma Pratim from FTII Pune shares his experience of working on Befikre.
Yes, we report from Ground Zero aka Pune by the hour! Here’s a sneak peek well before you walk into the theatres later today..
“I wanted to feel as if I’m making my first film. To achieve this, the most important decision I took was to surround myself with people I didn’t know. Since the film is set in Paris, I chose a full French crew. All my key technicians, the cinematographer, production designer, costume designer, etc. were all French. Since I was a complete stranger to them, they did not come with any baggage of my past achievements and treated me as any regular director. And since, they were unknown to me and my style of film making, I could rediscover myself as a student of cinema again,” explains acclaimed film director Aditya Chopra in a letter explaining why he calls Befikre his ‘second first film’.
Bhisma Pratim, a final year student at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) had the rare opportunity of working on the film as a Digital Imaging Technician (DIT). During his visit to France for the film’s shoot, he had the experience of working with a French crew and he shares what it was like to discover French culture. “My initiation to French culture happened through its cinema. Since I am a film student, that was my point of identification. It was a rare experience because the Eiffel Tower shuts at 11pm but the Befikre team got the permission to shoot there for the whole night,” explains Pratim who got in touch with us through the Alliance Française de Pune. His tryst with French food began during the lunch hours on the set, “The caterers for the film were based in France and everyday there was a buffet of cold cuts and desserts. Everyone gained some weight because of that!”
The 28-year-old goes on to talk about the French work ethic and how disciplined it is, “The best part about working in France is that after working daily for ten hours, you get both the days of the weekend off. The crew was very disciplined about the work and every job is respectable there. Everyone is treated as an equal. They have been practicing liberty, equality and fraternity since years and it shows.”
Pratim got to work a diverse group of people and was delighted to see a number of female technicians in France as compared to India. He talks about how he has noticed this gap even in film school, “We are not used to seeing women in the position of technicians handling the light and trolleys. It’s because of the lack of opportunity. Even in film school, there are fewer female students and they are not on the ground. Unfortunately, it isn’t expected of women to carry cameras.”
Befikre is a romantic drama set in Paris which depicts contemporary love story about two free spirited people that releases on December 9. Aditya Chopra is back with this new film after directing blockbusters like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge in 1995, Mohabbatein in 2000 and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi in 2008. Pratim was very excited to work with the critically acclaimed director and talks about how seeing Chopra on set is the best thing, “He has so much energy! He runs around the set to interact with everyone. He is so into it. He has a vision and a deep understanding of the craft. He is always updating himself with what’s new and what’s happening. He has to know what all is going on. But after the shoot is done, he vanishes!”
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