January 17, 2010

I’m the best AD in the country: Shaad

Taking a few years off to continue studying, after having been part of the workforce, is a luxury only a few of us can afford. In the film industry, where getting independent charge of a film is tough, it would be suicidal. And yet, there’s one person who has done exactly that.

Shaad Ali Sahgal, director of blockbusters like Saathiya and Bunty Aur Babli and the tepid Jhoom Barabar Jhoom has not only taken two years (by the time Raavana releases in June 2010) out of his professional life to assist his mentor Mani Ratnam with the never ending Raavana, he also doesn’t think there is anything weird about it or that it means taking a step back. “No,” he says resolutely, “it’s not a step back because beside the fact that Mani sir is my mentor and guru, Raavana is as much my film as any film of mine and I’m still learning with every film.”

In fact,” he adds, “I have been with him for every film of his from Dil Se except when I have been shooting at the same time. It’s not something I am asked to do; it’s just something I do. I will continue to do this in the future, as I would for any close friend or anyone who had worked for me too. I have a 13-year-long relationship with Mani sir, nearly half my life. For some films I stay for a longer duration, for others I am there for a shorter while.”

He is rather amused when asked what exactly it is that he does on a Mani film which another assistant can’t. “I run around and get the work done and give whatever creative and logistic input I can give to him which is what I would do for my own film. I work very very closely with him and because over a period of time our relationship has grown, my inputs are taken more seriously. I try and add as much value as I can when I am on set, try to anticipate problems and see that the work is done on time. Also,” he adds with a laugh, “I think I am the best assistant in the country.”

Shaad was 19 and had just finished school when he saw Mani’s Roja and knew he had found the man he wanted to learn from except that Mani sent him away saying he wasn’t a good teacher. Two years later, when Shaad was 21 he brushed aside Mani’s objections and insisted he take him on. “Luckily Mani sir was making Dil Se and needed someone to help him with his Hindi,” Shaad says with a chuckle. Shaad never left.

Read more from HERE


Caulfield said...

Not a big fan of his Shaad Ali Sehgal's works. Bunty Aur Babli was fun and mostly because of its characters for which Jaideep Sahni should be credited. Never saw Jhoom Baram Jhoom. And even in Saathiya, which was an excellent film didn't have any creativity as it was a frame by frame remake of Alai Payuthey. I know it was always a remake and the credit for screenplay has been given to Mani Ratnam. But I would have loved if Shaad Ali would have made it in his own way rather than copying Ratnam frame by frame. Even the transitions between the scenes were same. So the only reason I would prefer Saathiya over Alai Payuthey is TABU. She chewed everyone in the film in a 10 mins role. What a talent!!!!

Pardesi said...

That was a nice interview. I saw Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and it was an interesting film, experimental like Tashan and a tad before its time. The music of JBJ was absolutely stunning and soem sequences - like Bol na Halke Halke - were simply dreamy! Shaad does not seem to have many hang-ups or a big ego.

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