Ram Sampath makes directorial debut with Heere Heere, says shooting was a breeze
Music producer and composer Ram Sampath has added another feather to his repertoire with his directorial debut, Heere Heere. The song, produced by him and sung by his partner, artiste Sona Mohapatra, is layered with poetry by the legendary Punjabi poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi and celebrates beauty in all its forms.
“It was a germ in my head that came to fruition over three months. We simply wanted to celebrate beauty in these gloomy times and the idea was to explore Shringaar Rasa in song form with Sona and in dance form with Kuchipudi danseuse, Pujita Chivukula. Yet, because we were shooting the video in times of serious social distancing and with a skeleton crew, we decided to take the ‘less is more’ approach. We shot the video with just two lights, two DSLRs and total crew of five people. We finished the shoot unscathed by Covid,” he says.
For this video, he collaborated with people he has had a long-standing association with, which helped in wrapping the shoot hassle-free. “Sona’s a natural in front of the camera and directing her was a breeze because I just had to let her be herself. I was collaborating with the brilliant designer, Anand Kabra, who really helped define the aesthetic of the video. Our DoP, Sahil Makhani shoots a lot of Sona’s live gigs so she felt extremely comfortable. Through all this, Sona was as patient as could be,” says Sampath. The two got married in 2005.
Sharing some anecdotes, he divulges that things did get heated on the sets, but largely due to scarcity of time: “Since we had only a day-and-a-half to shoot the video and quite a few dress changes, it would get heated between us when setups would take longer than required. We had to improvise quite a bit because the lights were like tube light, so we had to cover them with cellophane gels and most of the time, one light wouldn’t work, so we had to change plans and shots quickly. But overall, we really enjoyed the process.”
With over two decades of association with the indie music scene, Sampath had an inkling as to how music videos were made. He wanted to try his hand at creating something abstract, keeping the artiste at the forefront. “I’m not a big fan of music videos with storylines in them. Some of them are truly great, but most of them are trying to make a short film which doesn’t place the artist front and centre. I love music videos that serve the artist as a performer and are abstract, impressionistic interpretations of the song, so that’s what I had in mind while I ventured into this,” says Sampath, while noting certain shifts in how music videos are being made now versus when he had begun in the late 90s.
“I think modern camera technology has improved to a point where people can shoot a pretty good music video even on their phone and that’s a huge shift. This democratisation of technology does free the imagination. I like the experience of letting the music paint its own pictures for the listener, but we do live in such a visual age that a music video serves as a great vehicle for the song and the artist, he opines.
The 43-year old, who has given music to films like Delhi Belly (2011) and Fukrey (2013), is now looking forward to more such collaborations. “I’d love to make more videos, for Sona and other artistes. It’s a fun medium to work on and it’s a team effort, which I love. Nothing feels better than being part of a team that’s pushing in the same direction to try and create something magical,” he signs off.
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