Preface

Someone born in a lower middle class, orthodox, conservative family of Uttar Pradesh, had appeared for a written test for admission in the Film Institute of India – ‘just for fun’. As a child whose only connection with movies was singing film songs and enviously watching film posters of his favorite stars from a distance. But soon he found that his ‘just for fun’ turned into a very serious business.

It seems he did well enough to be called for an interview to the institute Pune. Bigger shock was yet to come. His plans to return back home soon turned sour because he found his name in the merit list of successful candidates! Instantly he was faced with the worst crises of his life. At that young age, he had to take a life altering decision all by himself! Well, after a few intense minutes of massive mental upheaval, figuring pros and cons; he decided to jump in. Even though he was all of 18, he was a very bold person! So deciding to join ‘sound recording and sound engineering’ course at the FII, was the best option then!

My ‘Sound Recording’ course got over in the end of April, 1972. The very next day after the formalities of final semester were done with; I vacated the hostel, packed my bag and landed in Bombay. It was 3 May. In true to ‘filmy style’; I was faced with a horryifying situation of spending my first night on a street, in the mega city. My friend Arun Chakravarty had got accomodation in a lodge, where I had parked my bag. But after 9 pm the owner would not let any outsider remain in. So, I had to get out and start walking up and down… to kill time. How much ‘time’ would that be, I had no idea. Mentally I was prepared to spend the night, in the open… In a while I sat down on a bench. I was visualizing a cop to appear, question me harshly, about what was I doing there so late or might threaten me to go home or just get lost…

It was past 11 pm and most of lodge lights were off. My eyes were glued to the lodge gate, that held all the comfort and security behind it. Suddenly I saw a figure at the gate. My friend, gingerly opened the shutter of the lodge, he gestured me to come. Very quietly he sneeked me into his room… and… very narrowly I escaped the adventure of sleeping on a cement bench at Lallu Bhai Park, Andheri. Next day, on May 4, my other friends found a large room for me at Arab Bunglaow, Khetwadi Main Road (Girgaon). I had been allotted a bed out of four available in the room. Best part was other 3 beds also were occupied by my Film Institute friends. I would stay here for the next 5 years and would become very close friends of land-lord Jayant Patel and his entire family.

In a few days I found myself working as a recording assistant in a number of movies. And soon I found myself not only working with the stars, I admired from a distance, but also became a part of their team! Within year and a half I had to bid good-bye to assisting, as in Oct 1973, I got a break as Navketan’s ‘sound recordist’.

By 1985 I had done nearly 25 feature films.

Later I got into documentaries and did ‘recording’ for many established documentary makers. I also did production jobs, did some writing, also produced and directed a few documentaries.