IshkIshkIshk Prod Story 4

After we returned to Fish Tail Lodge from Dhumpus, Dev Saab was informed that film raw stock running low. He summoned Production Controller Hersh Kohli. Hersh called Mumbai and discovered that the shortage was quite serious even in Mumbai and we may have to stop work for a few days. Due to stringent permit rules, things could not be moved easily. Dev Saab thought for a moment and said ‘get it from Hong Kong’. Hersh started preparing to leave for Hong Kong. No production can take 100 people on outdoor location and not shoot. In the mean while Amit Khanna borrowed some film negative from other producers in Mumbai and managed to send it. But soon the situation eased and all was well. Amit Khanna was the production executive operating from Mumbai. Hersh had an assistant Kumar Butani, who became very friendly with me, as we stayed on the same floor of the hotel. Hersh had to do a lot of flying between Pokhra and Mumbai. CAD to Dev Saab was Vishwa. He had been associated with him since ‘Teen Devian’, which was unofficially directed by Dev Saab. He went on to become producer and director later and made ‘Bhalamanus’ with Randhir Kapoor and Neetu Singh and ‘Mere Baad’ with Anupam Kher and Rakhee. Other two direction assistants Ravi Berry and Vimal Chopra are not in films since long.
We had come with two cameras (both Arri-IIC) and two Nagra (4.2 and III) on location. On Fali Saab’s camera we had an attendant called Jahangir Chowdhary. He was also Fali Saab’s nephew. Jahangir would later become a hot shot cinematographer himself, after completing his ‘photography’ course from FTII. Nasikar was a Nagra attendant. Perhaps he felt a little odd about the job he was doing here. He used to be our electronic-lab assistant at the Film Institute. He died later in Mumbai due to problems of excessive drinking. I also remember some friendly light-boys and spot-boys like, Mohan (who became lights supplier and did very well), Dilip, Natthu, Anand and Allauddin.
Next important location shift was to Shyangboche, which falls on the way to Mount Everest. Fali Saab did not come here with us. A much younger D K Prabhakar did this schedule, who was the second unit cameraman with us. Later on he would take over from Fali Mistry as Navketan’s cameraman and would do very competent job in ‘Des Pardes’.
We flew in a small Cessna airplane to ‘Lukla’ and landed on its Barbie Doll airport. From here we had to trek to Namchi Bazar, a well known village on higher Nepal. It was 24 hour trek. We stayed the night in tents. Sherpas carried our stuff, pitched up the tents and cooked dinner. It was very sexy night. There was dinner around the bon-fire, songs and naughty jokes were contributed by Shekhar, Kabir Bedi and some girls. Shekhar sang a parody, ‘Aao Bachcho Tumhein Dikhayen Ladki Solah Saal Ki…’ Early morning we all started walking. I realized I was very good mountaineer. Shekhar, Kabir and me reached together at the home of our host at Namchi Bazar. We stayed the night again here but under a roof. In the night Shiela Jones asked Kabir if she could use his hair brush. He said ‘sure’, then hesitating he asked ‘do you have dandruff?’ She felt offended and said ‘certainly not’. Offering the brush to her he said ‘well I have’ and we all had a hearty laugh.
Next morning we trekked to reach hotel Everest View at Shyangboche (Altitude 13000ft). Hotel Everest View is owned and run by a Japanese family and is the last chance for the trekkers to be under a roof before the climb to peak Everest starts. My room was on the side of the hotel. The wall near my bed was all glass. They did it on purpose. You could see the Lohtse Himalayan range from here. And to my left was the peak that is the dream of every mountaineer to conquer – Everest, clear, beautiful and right in front. On the other side of the glass had cold howling wind and snow piled up on the ground touching the glass. I got a practical crazy idea; I pulled down my bedding from the cot onto the carpet touching the glass wall. It was such a lovely experience to be safe in a comfortable room and look at the snow two inches away from my face. I have a capacity to look at things in a different way. The dining hall of this hotel too had the most amazing picture postcard view of the Everest. I remember it was a moon lit night and the entire wall facing the peak was made of glass. Almost full moon graced the clear sky, snow on Everest looked a shade yellow due to moon-light; a few clouds were hanging on its right side. This is one of the few sights that have not faded away in spite of 33 years that have gone by. If it was today all I would do, would be to sit quietly and absorb the visual in my being. Here during a busy day, Dev Saab received a telegram from his PR agency called J S Designs, informing him that his previous film ‘Heera Panna’ had released to full houses. But on our return to Mumbai we would all realize that there was not much truth in that message. The film had amazing music, but fared average on the box-office.

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