WWI Masterclass for the session kick started with the team of Mary Kom, where in we had the Director of the movie, Mr. Omung Kumar; Dialogue Writer – Mr. Ramendra Vasishth and Mr. Karan Singh Ratore; Story & Screenplay writer Mr. Saiwyn Quadros, Actor Darshan Kumaar, Director of Photography Ms. Keiko Nakahara and Background Music Designer Mr. Rohit Kulkarni. The session was moderated by our Faculty, Mr. Somnath Sen.
The session started with Darshan Kumaar cordially speaking on how he can relate with the students looking back at the yester years while he was preparing to become an actor and joined a theatre group to learn and hone his skills in acting. Darshan Kumaar’s preparation for the role and his coming on board was interesting and inspiring. He did his homework as an actor by intently listening to people from Manipur speaking Hindi in a certain way. He also worked on his look to make the character ‘Onler’ look believable as a native of Manipur. He expressed his gratitude to Mr. Arvind Singh, a WWI Faculty of Actors’ Studio, for having prepared and groomed him in the workshops conducted to prepare the actor for the role. As a suggestion to aspiring actors at the institute he said, “Imagination is the core for any actor to build a character.”
DOP, Keiko Nakahara on being asked her experience of being a part of the crew which was filming a woman-hero story, she somberly answered that she wants to be recognised and remembered as the cinematographer on the project more than being a female cinematographer, which is a rare in the film industry. She further added that she could relate to the struggle and effort of the main character of the film, ‘Mary Kom’. Given the fact that she too belong to a small town in Japan and the struggle she did to become a cinematographer, it was a natural and coherent relation that she could draw with the film’s main character – Mary Kom. Originally a native from a small town in Japan she went to the United States of America to study Cinematographer and then has confidently set a stride to pursue her passion as her profession.
Omung Kumar, the director of Mary Kom, very candidly shared his experience and journey of becoming a director from being a reputed Art Director. He shared snippets on art direction and production design of the film, where he mentioned that ‘Detailing’ is the key to a film’s art direction. “At no point should a set look like a set, rather it should look real, appealing and should fall in sync with the requirement of the film adding to the visual structure and appeal of the film.” He also shared beautiful snippet on the process of building the visual structure/sequence of Mary Kom’s character. Portrayal of a character’s look and costume were done to reflect the journey of the character over a span of a decade. The look and costume of the character and the film would change citing the affordability factor of the real Mary Kom- the iconic Boxing Champion from India.
Saiwyn Quadros on being asked how he zeroed-in on the idea of filming a living sport legend, he said that his knack for sports & looking for a woman-hero character for a film culminated in telling Mary Kom’s story. Mary Kom a Boxing world champion, from India and that this achievement should be brought out in public, gave him the idea to tell the story of an unsung sports legend.
Dialogue writers Ramendra Vasishth & Karan Singh Rathore shared some interesting snippets. Mr. Vasishth strongly abides by the fact that job of a dialogue writer is not to alter the story, rather it should be done in a way that adds to the story by making it more relatable. This can be achieved by using common phrases and words that makes it easier for the audience to relate to the narrative of the film and the characters therein. He shared his experience of doing a thorough research on the dialects and way the natives of Manipur and the actual character – Mary Kom, speaks. Mary Kom’s mother tongue, the language of the natives and Mary Kom’s fluency in Hindi were the deciding factors on how to write the dialogues without alienating the viewers’ experience. To add to it, he also mentioned that the “Expressions” used in the film were written as is used or said by the natives of Manipur, while speaking Hindi.
Background Music Designer, Mr. Rohit Kulkarni, strongly opined that the ‘Nature of the score of a film should connect to characters and feel of the movie.’ To add to the rhythm of the narrative, they used a lot of music pieces and lyrics from Manipur.
Overall, it was an interesting and interactive session where students’ queries regarding various aspects of filmmaking were answered, thus, giving them a better understanding of Filmmaking as a craft.