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Shah Rukh Khan
Gerson Da Cunha
Author, Making of Asoka
'Whenever I have worked with Santosh, I have won an award' - Sabu Cyril
I was working on a very limited budget for Asoka. It was to be a small budgeted film earlier. I had to constantly keep that in mind, I had limited options. But because you are pushed against the wall, you begin to think out of the box and that is how genius is born.
I did not have to much to fall back on in terms of research for the architectural styles and building techniques, there were not to many references. Whatever matter we managed to get our hands on, documented these styles after the Kalinga war. Our film, Asoka, ends with the war of Kalinga, so we had to predict what the look of the period and the décor would be like.
I based the film is setting on other references that existed at that time...The Ajanta and Ellora cave murals and temples, the Ashoka pillar and the Sanchi stupa for example.
Working with Santosh is a great experience. We go back a long way, I won the National Award for Kala Paani, which was directed by him. Whenever we have collaborated, I have won some award or another.
I also tried to give the different parts of the film different looks: for example when the viewer is taken to Magadha (Bihar), the temples and houses have been made using black granite while when we are in Kalinga (Orissa) I have used brown sandstone and earth tones to generate a different feel. Also I worked with only six pillars in the film, it is hard to imagine that once you see the film.
Santosh is a great cinematographer, I knew he was the only one who would be able to capture the film on reel as I had visualised it in my mind.
More than half the film has been shot indoors on the studio floors of Film City and Filmistan; though at first glance it does not really look like it has. Sharmishta Roy visited the set in Filmistan and complimented me for coming up with original ideas. She knew what she was talking about, so her praise meant that much more to me.
The irony of the profession I am in is that the more effort and hard work you put in, the lesser your work goes noticed. Because people think that what is shown on the camera was real, when it was not.
Sabu Cyril spoke to Vivek Fernandes