Did you fall in love while watching Shahid and Kareena in the locales of Manali in Jab We Met, secretly craved for Farhan Akhtar’s house in Rock On!!!, or sat wide-eyed as Deepika Padukone restored beautiful old havelis in Love Aaj Kal? If yes, then applaud those who made the film sets come alive — the production designers. This new breed of designers absorbs the script, explores locations, and brings the filmmaker’s vision alive on screen.
Shashank Tere, who has designed the sets for Rock On!!!, Delhi Belly, Crooked and Stepmom says, “Production designing has changed a lot from the 80s. Now, we sit with the director and discuss the script the subject and even the costumes.” About Farhan Akhtar’s house in Rock On!!!, he says, “His character is a successful investment banker running away from his past. I designed his house so that even though it was beautiful and chic, there was something missing. The décor and the light was minimal reflecting that too much perfection is bad.”
The biggest challenge for a designer is to recreate locales and the atmosphere of one city in another. Wasiq Khan, who has designed for films like Black Friday, Wanted, Dabanng and Tanu Weds Manu says, “For Lamha, I had 45 days to create Srinagar in Mumbai. It took a lot of effort because we had to bring truckloads of utensils and chinar leaves to Mumbai from Kashmir.”
Tere adds, “For Stepmom, we’ve created the exteriors in Sydney and the interiors in Mumbai, complete with fireplaces, wallpapers and window panels.” Samir Chanda shot Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi-6 in a village in Rajasthan. “Anyone who sees Delhi-6 will not know that the film was shot in a village near Jaipur.”