Production Posts : Pink
Casting and Editing are strokes in a film’s canvas that come in the Pre-Production and Post-Production stage respectively. While casting lays a strong foundation, editing ensures that the jigsaw is solved in the smoothest fashion. Pandolin spoke with Casting Director Jogi and Editor Bodhaditya Banerjee about their contributions in the recently released film, Pink.
Jogi, Casting Director
What was your brief for the casting of Pink? Also, what is your process of casting?
Shoojit (Sircar) and I have a long-standing understanding. At the very basic story level itself we had a discussion about the characters. Then came successive drafts and redrafts by Ritesh Shah who is an old friend from the Act One theatre group.
The discussions were simple to let us keep this film as realistic as possible. And I am not saying it for the heck of it. With this film we have aimed at creating characters and situations which are so real yet harrowing. The aim was to give the viewers a feeling that an incident like that could happen to their sisters or mother or any acquaintance. We did not want to make it over – the – top dramatic or filmy.
Talking about my process, I have spent years doing theatre so I understand characters and actors. When it comes to characterization in a script, faces automatically start popping up in my mind. I am also hungry about meeting new talent frequently. So, step one is identifying the actors suitable for the part. A list gets prepared in my mind. Then those actors are called for an audition. My auditions are done very patiently, without rushing into anything. I don’t believe in taking auditions just for the sake of taking them. When I call someone for an audition, I trust that they are right for the part.
We have aimed at creating characters and situations which are so real yet harrowing
Was Shoojit Sircar, being a director himself, also involved in the casting?
Shoojit has a face in his mind which he explains very explicitly. Since he is a perfectionist, he works in detail about every aspect. Having said that, he gives you complete creative freedom. It is also because of our mutual respect for each other’s work. So when I say something he knows where I am coming from. And he instantly gets it. He trusts my instincts on casting because I meet them (actors) on a daily basis. I too get what he is trying to say and my focus is always on finding the actors seeing whom he’d prompt, “You know what Jogi, that’s exactly what I had imagined”.
It’s a positive relationship which is driven by creativity. We appreciate and criticize each other’s work for the benefit of our film.
Vijay Varma is said to play the negative lead though not much has been revealed. How did his casting happen?
I know Vijay personally. He’s trained from FTII and I had seen his previous works. When this character came to me, there was no other actor that I could think of. For me he was perfectly suited for the part. I am happy that the choice has worked fantastically. Vijay has done complete justice to his part.
Was Amitabh Bachchan’s character written keeping him in mind?
When we were in the initial phase of scripting, the character that we had in mind was that of a frail old man. The only actor that popped in our mind to play that character was Mr Bachchan. Since we have worked with him so much, the character was tailor-made for him. Deep down inside we knew the role is only for him.
Any new talent that you are launching with this film?
In this film there are lots of small parts which are contributing to the narrative. I have made sure that I hand-picked every character carefully. There is a character in the film which is played by Mamta Malik. She is based in Mumbai but is originally from Haryana. Everyone in the team liked her audition a lot. She has gone on to perform well in the film too, and the character flows with ease.
There are other actors such as Angad (Bedi), Tushar (Pandey) and Raashul (Tandon). The chemistry between the four boys is something to look out for. All four of them come from different backgrounds in society but spend time together in the evening. That understanding between friends, regardless of the external being and their individual personalities, has come out wonderfully.
I have made sure that I hand-picked every character carefully
Anyone that was particularly difficult to cast?
There was nothing difficult as such (Laughs). Andrea Tariang, a girl from the North-Eastern part of the country was cast for an important part. She hadn’t faced the camera before. There is a history of music in her family so she had an idea about self-expression that a performer needs. We conducted a workshop for her. Looking at her performance in the film is heart – warming. Nobody can tell that it’s her maiden experience.
Casting her was a bit difficult. But I believe, when there’s hope, things start to roll in your favour. Positive approach makes things happen.
You have also acted in the film. What was the demand of the character? Are you open to exploring more acting opportunities?
I too am an actor. I am still an actor (Laughs).
Shoojit wanted me to do this character because there are parallels between the character and me. The language spoken by the character is my mother tongue. I have spent so many years in Delhi and have seen Delhi police personnel very closely. There was lots to do in just one scene. He had belief in me and thought that I could pull it off. I too had confidence in myself. When you watch it, I am sure you too will love it.
Shoojit wanted me to do this character because there are parallels between the character and me
When were you told about this film? What were your inputs?
It all started last year just after Durga Pooja got over. It was around November. I was working with Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury (Director of Pink) on a short film named Devi. He narrated this story to me. At that time, the film was still in its casting phase. From thereon we got together and started working on the project.
The film being a thriller, what style of editing have you adopted for it?
Editing a thriller is always a challenging job. The entire film depends largely on the edit. Cut patterns become different. For a thriller, you need to have some spaced out cuts to create the thrill for the audience. You also have to keep in mind that the tempo is not lost.
These things always become a challenge while editing a thriller. Pink was shot with a multi-camera setup. The entire courtroom was shot with a minimum of six cameras. There was a huge amount of rushes that I had to play with. Possibilities were immense. I had to cut again and again to get a rich final cut. It was very challenging.
Editing a thriller is always a challenging job. The entire film depends largely on the edit
As you mentioned, the film was shot on multiple cameras. Was matching the footage ever a problem?
No, not really. Because all the cameras were running simultaneously, there wasn’t any such continuity issue. Technically, it was sorted. The entire thing was shot sync sound. So it was a fast process. When I was cutting, I also a sense of how the final film is going to sound.
According to you which was the toughest scene to edit?
The entire second half was very challenging for me. I cannot divulge much about the film. But the entire film is very challenging because its language is very different.
What was your shoot to edit ratio?
It was nearly twenty is to one.
Was there any particular performance that you loved the most while editing?
Almost all the actors have played brilliantly. The performances were a clear reflection of the workshops that they had done. Mr Amitabh Bachchan is outstanding. Piyush Mishra is also brilliant. In the entire second half Piyush and Amitabh’s characters are in conflict. Tapsee and Kirti are also good. As a matter of fact, it is a performance – driven film and everybody has done justice to their parts.
The performances were a clear reflection of the workshops that they had done
Was online editing ever used in the film? How much of a help is that?
Yes, we did adopt online editing. It helped us prepare a rough idea of where the scenes were heading. We saw the loose edit while shooting. It helped a lot.
What software did you work on?
The complete film has been edited on Final Cut Pro (FCP)
What was the total duration of time taken from the rough cut to the final cut of the film?
It took nearly four months to complete the whole edit.
Choosing one shot among all the otherwise perfect shots was a big challenge
What is the biggest challenge that you faced while editing Pink? How did you overcome it?
This is the first time that I am working with Mr Amitabh Bachchan. I am a huge fan of his work since my childhood. Editing his performance was a big challenge.
All his shots were okay takes. So choosing one shot among all the otherwise perfect shots was a big challenge.
His character is that of a lonely lawyer. That became a big clue for me to choose his shots. I would choose keeping that character line in mind. But one thing was for sure that there were no N.G (Not Good) take from his end.