My work as an associate director, Okka Magaadu
I consider myself fortunate that I got to work as an associate director for the eminent director, YVS Chowdary - it was for the film Okka Magaadu (in 2006-2007). The first task he assigned to me was scouting for locations for the movie. Then, during the shooting, it was my job to explain the scenes and the dialogues to the non-Telugu speaking cast of the movie - Simran, Nisha Kothari (Priyanka Kothari), Anushka Shetty, Ashutosh Rana, Ravi Kale, Salim Panda. Being computer savvy, I was also given any computer-related work. Apart from such sundry tasks, each associate director is generally assigned to supervise one or more of the crafts. In Okka Magaadu, I was asked to ensure the continuity in costumes.
In Okka Magaadu, the hero, Nandamuri Balakrishna, had three getups (in the backstory, young; in the present, young and old); Simran had two getups (in the backstory, young; in the present, old). In addition to them, for almost a year, I had to ensure the continuity in costumes for Anushka Shetty, Nisha Kothari, the CBI team, the family and others in the movie.
In those days when cell phones were not as common as now, to ensure continuity, we would generally take and print pictures at the end of a shooting schedule and maintain albums of the prints. Sometimes the prints would have a different shade of the actual colors in the dresses; or, fine details of objects like ear-rings would not be clear. So, we would make a note of such things (including drawing fine details) in a book. To overcome this problem, I decided to record the actors and their costumes in scenes with the video camera I had used for location scouting. Generally, I would always carry with me in a bag, the video camera and all the recorded tapes, always ready with the continuity details of costumes for any scene to be shot or re-shot. I guarded the bag like it was some treasure!
Today, whenever I recall an incident of a monkey on my bag, I still hear my screams and the monkey’s screeches but find myself smiling thinking of how I fought to keep my precious camera bag, twirling both the bag and the monkey around!