She has edited critically acclaimed films like ‘Udaan’ and ‘Lootera’ which received immense love from the audience too; Dipika Kalra talks about what it takes to make that cut and tell a good story.

7 lessons that you have learned in your years of experience 

  •  Each film is a new experience and a lesson.
  •  No two directors are same.
  •  No two films are same.
  •  Your rushes are your tools. You have to make the best of it.
  •  You don’t have a choice of saying its not working. Our job is to make it work.
  •  The best edited films are ones in which the edit is not noticed.
  •  Never forget the Director’s vision and story

Essential qualities required to become an editor

  •  Be Patient –  It takes immense amount of patience to go through the footage and think and re think your possibilities. It’s not about how fast you are on a machine. That is just a tool and an added advantage if you    know the machines.
  •  Be Objective – As an editor you have to keep in mind the emotion and the story. The script and the rushes will tell you the pace of your film.
  •  Be Brutal – Don’t get carried away by your own cutting skills! If it does not work for the film, Throw it. Tell a good story.

Favourite editors 

As cliched as it gets

  • Renu Saluja (Masoom, Jaane bhi do Yaaron, Parinda)
  • Sally Menke (Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs)
  • Walter Murch (English Patient, Conversation)
  • Thelma Schoonmaker (Wood Stock, The Aviator, The Departed)
  • Jon Harris (Snatch, Lockstock & Two smoking Barrels)

6 films that, according to you, are very well edited and should be seen by every filmmaker and why?

  •  ‘The Shining’ by Stanley Kubrick – The best horror story ever told.
  •  ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ by Alain Resnais – A beautiful blend of Edit and Sound.  This film must be watched silent and with sound to understand what edit and sound do to a film.
  •  ‘Breathless’ by Jean-Luc Godard –  A revolution in film making.
  •  ‘The English Patient’ by Anthony Minghella – Beautifully structured film.
  •  ‘In the mood for love’ by Wong Kar Wai – This film shows how it is not just about fast cutting but creating an emotion.
  •  ‘Masoom’ by Shekar Kapoor – This is an absolute gem that I love. Simple narrative but the emotions have been caught so beautifully.

Although I studied in FTII, I don’t think formal education like a film school is mandatory. Watching films, Reading books and practicing editing is more important. The more we edit the more we understand film making.  As a student I was lucky to have a variety of exercises to work on – studying and re-editing scenes from old films, workshops with senior editors and student projects. And of course we had a whole library of films and books at our disposal.