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A day at the shooting of ‘Misti’

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Director Raja Chatterjee with Cinematographer Shreya Gupta during the shoot.

By Alok Joshi

Just back to my home ground in Dehradun from the US after months, I was invited to the ongoing shooting of a short film, “Misti”. It sounded interesting and the invite came from someone whom I don’t know how to say a “no” for an answer.

A bit of Dehradun had changed during my absence. The road conditions and uniform shop name boards impressed me, thanks to the G20 Summit. But I did not know the city has now become an attractive and sought after location for film shootings from Bollywood.

There was a buzz at the location, a cute little cafe in Rajpur, The Ziba Cafe. I sat down in one corner to observe the film shooting from close quarters. The crew was so busy that they thought I was one of the customers until formal introductions happened.

Avantika Shetty

The Director of the short film, “Misti”, is Raja Chatterjee and the Producer and Executive Producer is his wife, Sakshi Shail. To my surprise, they are a young couple, totally dedicated and passionate about their work. Kannada actress Avantika Shetty is playing the female lead. Our very own popular media personality Satish Sharma has been cast for the lead role. The other cast includes Nitish Rawat, Radhika and Shobhit Mathur.

Raja, the Producer and Director of the film, is an amazingly humble person. Despite all the commotion, he was very calm under pressure. I stole a few moments to have a conversation with him. He told me that the story of “Misti” was written in 2017. It is basically the story of conflict between the alter-ego and feelings between two protagonists. It is a sweet love story that may be unusual in this age where young people choose and decide relationships with a swipe of their fingers on the screen. It is the story of a young couple who rediscover their internal and external self over a period of time. They find the truth walking through the already drawn paths of their respective lives. They realise how their ego, ambition and race in life had distanced them from the celestial beauties and charm of a nascent heart only by paying a heavy price of a lifetime. The pride of egoistic youth keeps them apart in their lonely journey of life until they make one last attempt to accept the truth. It is only after chasing wasteful materialistic dreams do they reach the beauty of communion. The story is as sensitive as the Producer of the film, himself.

Once “lights, camera, action” was announced followed by a shout of “silence”, Raja took control like a true professional. He knew exactly when to say “cut”. His wife Sakshi was dealing with all the difficult stuff of managing and lining up things for the subsequent scenes and locations.

Another thing that impressed me was the young lady Cinematographer of the film, Shreya Gupta. She is known for her excellent work behind the camera for PK (2014), Mohenjodaro (2016) and Aurangzeb (2013).

I also had a word with Omkar Ketkar, the young Casting Director who came from Mumbai in advance to conduct the actors’ workshop. He told me that, while casting for actors, he looks for personalities, irrespective of their background, who fit into respective roles. Another vibrant youngster whom I noticed running around frantically and overwhelmed by the complexity of her new role was Naomi Nauriyal, the Assistant Director and in-charge of production, costumes and art.

All in all, it was a team of young people trying to create an artistic product for the eyes of all ages. That the film is shot in Uttarakhand is the icing on the cake. I can’t wait to see how the film comes out finally after post-production and hopefully hits the screens of film festivals world-wide and the OTT platforms.

(Alok Joshi is an HR Advisor, motivational speaker, freelance writer and author)