Arvind Ashok Kumar was the first crew member- official designation – Director’s Assistant. Originally from Kerala, Arvind is a trueblue Mumbaiite. Today he works in the Art & Design department of mainstream Hindi films (like Don 2, Talaash.). Back then he was First time assistant to a first time feature director! Sheer madness 🙂 Here’s his take on how we started off:
“Would want to term it as a virgin start, of this journey of me and a full length feature film. “There is a lot of paper work to do, why don’t come and start with it” says the Director. Mind wanders in every direction to get a justification as to why and what for paper work in film-making?! The mention of paper work seemed very official and dry. It was the ever lasting excitement that convinced me and my wandering mind. But today I am self assured that if nothing I can surely handle a administration vacancy. From the very next day I handled, preserved, hid end number of papers, not to miss out, of different sizes, colours, qualities etc… And eventually it were these papers that introduced me to the Lucky Red Seeds.
The introduction was as informal as with the director. The papers were the references, the pictures, the lists and lists of minute details of scene by scene. They introduced me to the story ahead that I was to live in. These papers were my only companions in the square room with a window facing the sea whenever I was alone there. As I write this let me be frank in admitting that from last few minutes have been trying to stress my memory to get to the day I read the script fully and I am not able to. That is when I realise that it just sunk into me unknowingly.
Whether it is the dining table, the car, the super market, script kept scrolling through Anjali’s mind. She would suddenly take you to a scene and describe it and ask for your opinion. And that is it – at first I used to feel all jittery. What should be the answer, will it be right or wrong? Am I the right person to answer this? Those were the baby steps I took to the style of working that I admire the most and miss too. We were virtually living with – Vicky, Roja, Manikutty, Kannan – the characters of the film. I could say we would eat, drink and sleep with them. It kept lingering in my mind as to why do you need to write so many drafts to get to the final. When I get into the square room in the morning and if Anjali was already there then surely one of the characters was there in the room too. Their personalities were building up and we were making friends with them individually. Anjali had a great connect with Vicky. It is today when I write this I realise that this characterisation had started influencing the scenes and their outcomes. Probably now I understand better what Anjali was doing by making us live with the characters. And it were these encounters that eventually answered my question of why so many drafts to get to the best… Going through this prep period and then being there for the production and later the post just opened my eyes in awe of the outcome!
[ Script – I surely still can’t recollect the day and time I read the script in full but can feel the connect I had with it for the first time. The smell, the colours, the house, the green, the people, the attitudes I still can’t part with from the script. It just transferred me to my childhood vacations I had in the small beautiful innocent village in Andathode, Kerala. As rightly said all those who could connect then with the Manjadi then still stand tall and united for the Lucky Red Seeds.]
As I pen my first few encounters, I am already looking forward to the next leg of encounters which has left impressions as deep as influencing my career choice.”