Mr. Nakul Kamte. The sound designer of films like Lagaan, Dil chahta hain, Lakshya and many more. I met him for the first time on September 2007, during the 53rd Indian National Film Award. I was there for getting a special mention for my documentary, “Bhraimoman Theatre – where Othello sails with Titanic” whereas he was there to collect the best sound designer award for the film “Rang de basanti”. He walked up to me and said, “My mother is from Assam. If you ever have a project based on Assam, I would love to be a part of it.”
Latter on, when I was building the team for as the River flows, I decided to approach him. People told me that it is of no use – I don’t have the budget to afford him. Still I went to meet him – after all I had nothing to lose! I decided to be up front with him – “ Nakul I have to choose between paying you the market price or doing my film’s sound on Dolby. And I have decided to opt for the later. Still I am approaching you as you had asked me to…”
He asked me to leave my script behind. The next day he told me that he will be doing my film. Much later, he confided on me that he had decided to do my film right when I told him that I will opt for a digital sound for my film rather than paying him his price….
The shooting dates are coming nearer. I got a call from the production department that they are yet to receive a confirmation from Nakul. Some people are even worried whether he had a second thought about doing the film…I called him up to find out the reason. “I am talking to different audio studios to find out ways to do the film on your budget – somehow not able to get confirmation from any as yet”- he told me in a slightly worried tone. After clarifying with the production team, I told him not to worry so much – the figure quoted to him was for his team & it doesn’t include the charges of studio hiring…
Mr. Rajesh Parmar. Two time national award winning editor. The guy who refused to touch feature film after having an unpleasant experience as an assistant editor right in the beginning of his career and is happy doing documentary & ad film for the last 25 odd years. Many big time directors & production houses have tried to talk him out of his decisions – unsuccessfully. Hence many people were surprised – to say the least – when he agreed to do my film & the big question was how could I managed the impossible? “Simple. I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse” – I said.
Once he agreed to do job, he is a maniac…many a time, when working out a complex sequence, he will throw us all out of the studio… when I am tossing and turning on the bed, not being able to sleep (and anyway, generally I don’t go to bed before 2 am), I know that I just have to land up in the studio – trust Parmar to be still in the edit table…
Not being to a film school also created some drawback for me, especially since this happened to be my first feature film. But whenever some theoretical or technical questions haunted me, I knew where to look for the answer. The name of my walking, talking film encyclopedia is Rajesh Parmar….
We had our issues. And I am sure we will continue to have them. At times he makes me feel like tearing my hair out. I am sure at times I made him feel the same. But then, this is also true that with him I can agree on certain things and agree to disagree on others…
As I mentioned earlier, in this film I am especially blessed to have many people working without bothering about their remuneration. But my equation with Parmar is even more unique in this case. Not only we not discussed money till almost the completion of edit of the film but he also used to serve as my ATM. Whenever I ran out of money during the edit ( I must confess, this was fairly often!), my search used to end with Rajesh Parmar!
Now, coming back to the question – what made Rajesh Parmar pick up a feature film after 25 odd years? Well, it was pretty simple really. As I said, I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Shyamol Karmakar, the guy who originally supposed to edit the film had fallen sick and had to opt out at the last moment. So I went up to Parmar and told him, “ Parmar, I’m in trouble…”