Posted by barkha on September 3, 2013 | No Comments

 Most debutant directors would probably shy away from making their first film, in the open ocean. But that is what sets  Gurmmeet Singh apart from the conventional. He has honed the craft while assisting in films such as DON, GANDHI MY FATHER, JODHA AKHBAR and along with his technical skills of editing, he garnered the confidence to present, India’s first film shot exclusively in the open seas. Gurmmeet talks about the challenges of presenting this visual treat, to the cinema audiences:

Your background leading up to WARNING?

My background is Graphic Designing and then I moved to Editing. I was an editor for TV shows, documentaries. Then became an Assistant Director and worked in almost six features as an AD, the big one’s being Gandhi My Father, in which I was the first AD, Jodha Akbar where I was the first AD and Farhan Akhtar’s DON, where I was the second AD. Then worked on commercials for a couple of years and then WARNING came my way.

 What were the challenges while making WARNING?

 The fact that it was shot in the open ocean, as opposed to the set, the water, was the biggest       challenge. The film is India’s first Underwater film, filmed in 3 D.  Filming and shooting in water is not something that we are used to and everything increases three folds, whether it is the cost, the time taken, etc. It was quite an adventure and to combat this, we got in technicians and crew from across the globe, who had prior experience with filming in water and filming in 3D. My DOP, Franz Pagot is from Italy, then there was crew from LA and very experienced action director, Dave Judge, from UK and Matt Baldwin as a safety consultant. Because all these folks came with a streamlined plan of action, we were able to pull of this film, with the limited budget and time, that we had available.

How much did your Graphic designing background come into play, when you were setting up the film in your head?

The Editor part of me helped more. We storyboarded the entire film, that helped me plan and execute the project. It helps making you sure of what you need in the scene and prepares you. Also being such a technical film and post heavy, it really came handy, the Editing that is.

In traditional Bollywood, whenever something new and technical has been tried, it has been on the back of Stars, here you chose an ensemble cast?

Mainly because the film was so technical, the cast had to be trained and be ready for some real Underwater and Sea Water action. There is also technically no protagonist and antagonist, so there are basically seven people with each playing an important part. So we decided to cast as a group, as opposed to an individual. The criteria was not known vs unknown faces, although both Manjari and Varun have been part of successful films, our criteria was they had to be good actors and also be willing to put in adequate time for the training required for the film. They also had to clear the water test, which tested their comfort level in the water and also undergo medical tests to ensure that they could endure the kind of filming that we were planning. Also the film was budgeted keeping more a cast of newcomers, as opposed to big stars.

Has the film met your expectations from a film and an acting perspective?

The film has grown organically and there are scenes that we have pulled off, which I never thought was possible, in the way, we did. Also we have managed to keep the budget in check.  My cast has been the core of the film and am very happy and satisfied with their performance and also how  the film has shaped up.

So why WARNING as your debut film?

I have know Anubhav Sinha for a while and we have been bouncing ideas off, each other. I narrated a traditional romcom, but I felt that nothing was exciting him too much.  This was the time he had started his Production house and was looking to make his first film, under that. So one day I asked him what sort of film, he would like? He replied, “something that compels people to watch it in a theater and give people a visual experience that they have not had before!” So I responded that there is a thought I have, it might be far fetched for a first time director. I told him I was envisioning a film, set in water. He loved it and the very next day, the film got rolling. The scripting has been done by Tejpal Singh Rawat and Rajesh Chawla. Working with Anubhav was great since his risk has been the highest, but so has been his trust in the film and all of us.

So the audience should head to see WARNING in theaters on September 27th, because….?

Yes, watch it for a unique experience in the theater of underwater filming and aqua sounds, but more importantly that has been combined with an emphasis on story and performances.

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