Last night, New York University hosted a screening of India’s entry for the Oscars this year, Eklavya, The Royal Guard. Representing NYU were Prof. Richard Allen (Cinema Studies) and Prof. Tejaswini Ganti (Anthropology), representing Eklavya were the film’s director, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and he co-scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi, both who answered questions at the film’s conclusion.
It was a very interesting hour of Q&A. One of the first comments Mr. Chopra made was that, in looking at Eklavya again, it occurred to him that the early scene with the sister is “terrible.” But he was able to do all that he wanted on this movie, costs be damned, because thanks to Lage Raho Munnabhai, “we had the money to lose” on this one.
Owing to the self-reference to Parinda in Eklavya, and the fact that many on stage and in the audience loved the film, there was much mention of it as well. Mr. VVC shared a memory that he was in a theater watching Parinda, when it first came out, and when the fade-out came at the end of a scene, the audience didn’t realize there was more to come, and they started whistling, thinking the projector had broken down. He also shared that he believed that his use of fade-out in that film was a first for Indian cinema at the time. Given the audience reaction, he said he swore at that time never to use it again.
Prof. Allen asked about his attention to sound design and Mr. Chopra replied “I think a lot in sound” and Mr. Joshi shared how, when mixing the sound for Mission Kashmir at Shepperton Studios with Mike Dawson (who worked on Full Metal Jacket), he was being particularly fussy about the sound of a crow in one scene, and someone asked why such a fuss was being made over this one detail, and VVC said “It may not matter to others, but when we’re old and watching this on DVD, it will matter to us.”
Will continue this later, but in the meantime, for anyone in NYC, both the Chopras (Mr. VV and his film journalist wife, Anupama) will be present at the Asia Society tonight for a panel discussion of her book King of Bollywood: The Seductive World of Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive Word of Indian Cinema. (Previously discussed here.) Word has it that anyone interested in the book should keep an eye on the New York Times this weekend…..