Sunita Radia

Q. What was your approach for lighting any scene/shot for “Jal” ? How did you prepare your cinematography scheme while working for this  film?

We were very concerned about the look of the film. Neither one of us wanted a glossy and Pretty look. We wanted to emphasize the harsh aspect of the story. Add to the discomfort of the audience manipulate their emotional response by the style and look of the film. But how was this look to be achieved?  Seized the opportunity,  point the camera and shoot but how were we going to do it for the entire film?  How was that to be achieved technically ? May be by being attentive, punctual, observant ,alert with your  best team always.

Shooting at 48- 50 degrees were intentional call to captures the harshness of it.  Sometimes you have   to believe in your  instincts. Unlike a painter a cinematographer is strongly guided by many factors. The most important  guideline is the story as depicted in the screenplay then vision of other creative team ,budgetary limitation, scheduling requirements ,availability or unavailability of equipments etc.

Q. What were the challenges you encountered while shooting ” Jal” in desert of kacch? Please elaborate few.

The challenges were clear to us after reading the script .Every day was full of challenges and surprises. The place was surreal. Mornings and  evenings had its own beauty. To stay alive in extreme temperatures at 48-50 degrees, sand storm would daily garnish our meals. We eventually started enjoying all this. Every day one way drive of 2 hours to location. We had to enter and exit Rann of kachh in a convoy. I would like to share one incident. We reached the location 4 days prior to shoot. While coming back  we got bit late and took one wrong turn as we thought that we can go back on our own by following white stones. We were roaming in the Rann for more than an hour . In the beginning  we were having fun and enjoying the full moon drive  but after a point we panicked. As fear of running out of fuel and getting lost in Rann and also we had heard the ghost stories of CHIR Batti etc. We all got very scared. The local driver also panicked and said that he can see a lady in white and she is doing all this. We had Such a relief when we saw two tribal and they guided us. We drove about 150 kms extra miles.

                 One equipment all DOPS  must  have is camera rest all is subject to availability ,budgetary constrain and lot of other limitations. I am extremely fortunate as after explaining look and feel of the film, Girish gave me full freedom and allowed me to do all possible experiments, never felt restricted as he gave me freedom to explore. The most amazing part was that he had a fantastic team. Being attentive and  alert ,greedy was the key to achieve the best in such tough situations. Crew is falling sick ,some or the other  were being hospitalized but that it never reflected in our schedule. Extremely supportive actors and team has made “Jal” possible.

Q. From where you draw your inspiration for doing the same thing differently in terms of lighting?

Honestly Inspiration comes from the story and the place where we were shooting. In the middle of nowhere. Nature instigates you to do  your best

Q   What  do the director , Girish  brings in to your lighting approach-for the  movie “jal”.

Research.  Girish is extremely particular about the authenticity of every bit .During recce we went to tribal villages spent lot of time with them, attended their wedding, had food at the wedding, listened  to their music, met real water diviner and conservationist. In the film you will see a type of rock which signifies and indicates the existence of water ..the research is endless.

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