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Film Tent
Mohsin Ali Khan & Vishal Ramchandani
Text Radhika Iyengar

There

Left: Mohsin Ali and Vishal Ramchandani, Photography Evren Dsouza. Below: Still from Talaash

is something arresting about being behind-thescenes. It gives you an insight, a different perspective, if you may, into the world of cinema. A world that is a carnival of takes and re-takes, of lights, camera tracks and trolleys, of actors scuffling with lines, boom mikes tipping into frames, spot boys scurrying about, art directors constructing mammoth sets, and the hawk-eyed director sitting at the epicenter of it all, orchestrating the entire show. There is hard work here that interweaves into the sprawling and creatively dense fabric of cinematic magnificence. Sadly, it is seldom that we have the opportunity to watch the glorious workings of a film crew. Film Tent, pitched by two film enthusiasts, Mohsin Ali Khan and Vishal Ramchandani, is an independent offering that intends to change that. A small, yet remarkably impressive crew of ten, it captures the phenomenon of making a film. They go behind-the-scenes, documenting everything from the embryonic stages of pre-production, location scouting and invigorating script-reading sessions, to the crucial

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and fascinating moments of post-production. Since its inception two years ago, Film Tent has mustered a commendable repertoire, having worked on large-scale productions such as Talaash, Bombay Talkies, Kai Po Che and Fukrey. I have been a film fanatic since childhood. Right from Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese to David Dhawan and Govindas partnerships, I have loved them all, says Vishal, who is a graduate from the London Institute of Management, and steers the marketing helm of the company. I have a diverse interest in films and collect a lot of DVDsespecially the Making Ofs. It is the pleasure of watching how a film is made that gives me a kick! Professionally equipped with an MBA degree, Vishal joined the marketing department of Excel Entertainment five years ago to nurture his preoccupation with cinema. His job, among other things, entailed looking for unusual ways to promote a production, and sure enough, the idea of making behind-the-scenes diaries surfaced. When we talk about films, the Making Of is a big aspect of promotion. I have seen a lot of Making Ofs for international films and feel that there is a need to do something as comprehensive as that here. The way its done in India is not even close to how its done in the West! he says. So the idea of establishing a setup to rectify the non-existence of a behind-the-scenes culture was firmly incepted in

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Vishals mind. But, he needed a partner; someone equally obsessed, equally curious about the working dynamics of cinema. On the sets of Luck By Chance, he met Mohsin: talented, focused, precise, and well-versed in the affairs of filmmaking, having pursued a Masters in Mass Communication from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. The two instantly hit it off. We used to watch a lot of films together, shares Mohsin. A couple of times we discussed directing short films as well. It was during one of these sessions that Vishal expressed a desire to start Film Tent, and Mohsin, ready and enthused, jumped at the idea. The two didnt start small. With an array of ideas at hand, they marched into filmmaker, Reema Kagtis office with a pitch for Talaash, and emerged with their first project in tow. Ive assisted both Zoya [Akhtar] and Reema briefly, says Mohsin. I spoke to them personally, and both were extremely encouraging. Reema was very clear that she wanted a very crew-centric Making Of [video]. Fortunately, this is something that Vishal and I always had in mind. After Talaashs completion, their first behind-the-scenes projectsuccessful albeit challenging received a nod of appreciation from Reema. Since then, there has been no looking back. With the intention of making behind-the-scenes snippets for various films: interactive, informative and memorable, Film Tent has experimented with content and structure. For example, while the crew members played a pivotal role for Film Tents Talaash footage, the back-stories of the new actors seemed more intriguing for Fukrey. For Kai Po Che, they documented music

composer, Amit Trivedi talking about creating the music for the film, while they also captured the making of certain memorable scenes such as the earthquake sequence. In comparison to the content of the films they make, Film Tents project blueprint seems timid and less experimental their future projects Besharam, Gulaab Gang and Dedh Ishqiya, all belong to the Bollywood hemisphere. But Film Tent assures that they will not be blind-sided by the lure of mainstream cinema: Although were only working on Bollywood films right now, we are extremely malleable, says Mohsin. Given the opportunity, we would love to document independent films as well because at the end of the day, all we want to do is showcase the passion of filmmaking. P
Facing page: Stills from Bombay Talkies. Below: Still from Fukrey

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