getting the truck of dreams on the road....

Written by Arun Kumar on . Posted in politics and society

well....its quite a mad story....

it all started when I was planning to make a short film -'eating out' - in
August 2003... managed to get my actors, crew, location, camera, lights etc all via favours but still needed £200 or so to feed everyone and get us all through the 2 day shoot.... which was a problem until a friend called me saying she had a new job as creative director of a boutique on the Kings Road in London - was I any good at painting? She needed someone to repaint the place - a days work for £100... to cut a long story short I was painting for 10 days and made a grand (you can see the film here - http://www.creative-channel.tv/film.php?synopsis=9).... during my painting time my friend introduced me to an executive producer - Claire Lewis who showed me a picture of a travelling cinema and said she wanted to make a documentary about India's travelling cinemas and would I get involved.

I jumped at the chance, persuaded her to buy me a flight to Mumbai and went out to find a travelling cinema. She tried to sell the idea to
broadcasters here but no one was interested. While I was in Mumbai she met the head of an Indian movie house in London who expressed interest in the idea. She said I was already over in Mumbai and he asked her to tell me to get in contact when he returned. Meanwhile a script editor friend of hers said it was a great idea but it needed an element of drama. I thought about this and came up with the idea of a village girl who is other. Different. A singer and a dancer. Not someone who was willing to follow the village norm and get married and basically be someones wife. I decided that the film would be her story intercut with the story of a travelling cinema tour. The cinema would screen a bollywood movie in her village and be the catalyst for to change her life and follow her dreams. The film would be shot from her point of view and in fact be taking place in her mind... like a dream almost...

So I called the dude when he was in Mumbai and he invited me in to pitch. It was a bit nerve wracking cos I had the story in my head but not on paper or as a script. Anyway I went into the studio and five minutes into my pitch he banged his fist on the table and shouted "I love this! I'm gonna make this movie" It was a surreal moment... he picked up his phone and started barking orders at people.... This was July 2004.

I found my actress to play the girl through a mutual friend and explained that I wanted someone who would go and live in the village for a few weeks before we shot and become our character. Not something your average bollywood actress would do. She - Peeya Rai Chaudrey (Bride & Prejudice, Bhoot) assured me that she would and so I cast her. I found a trucking cinema and cast the owner and his grandson. And then spent a couple of months on my screenplay. I worked with a Mumbai based writer Anisa Mukerjea who wrote Peeya's village scenes. I structured these with scenes of the travelling cinema into my shooting script. I brought my DoP's - Roger Eaton & Owen Scurfield and sound recordist from London but otherwise worked with an Indian crew. We shot for 9 weeks from end of october till mid december 2004. The shoot was chaos! But somehow I got all that I wanted and more.

And then my editor - Tony Palmer (who cut Performance back in the day along with much more since) and myself cut in Mumbai for 3 months. We shot a mixture of film and digital and conformed an HD master which we then printed to film. FX shots were handled by Brynley Cadman who also oversaw the conform/online. My music composer Mikey Benn created a truly magnificent soundtrack which complements and accentuates the visuals. We finished in August 2005 when I returned home to london.....

The result is a magical allegorical film which hopefully will entertain
people all over the world!

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