Shooting the title track of the film. Photo courtesy of Director Samit Kakkad
“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears. We dance for madness, we dance for fears. We dance for hopes. We dance for screams. We are the dancers. We create the dreams.” These few song lyrics neatly encapsulate the essence of Aayna Ka Bayna — The Dance Film, a feature film from Indian director Samit Kakkad and cinematographer Sanjay Jadhav, presented by Akshara Films Division and produced by Amar Kakkad and Pushpa Kakkad.
Where most Indian films, and particularly those shot in Marathi, one of India’s many dialects, portray traditional Indian forms of dance, Aayna Ka Bayna eschews this convention, substituting instead many contemporary forms of western dance including hip-hop, street jazz, bachata and freestyle.
The story centers on nine boys, all with misspent childhoods, who are in a juvenile home that is run by a tyrannical and sadistic warden. The one thing the boys all have in common is that they are all street smart and well groomed in the art of survival. They enter a challenge of a lifetime in which they will dance for passion and hope, and for their dreams to come true. Think Slumdog Millionaire meets Glee.
The feature was shot in 29 days all over Mumbai in October and December 2011 and February 2012. The majority of the locations were real, as opposed to sets. The primary camera was an ARRI 416 with Ultra 16 lenses. Film stocks were KODAK VISION3 200T Color Negative Film 7213 and KODAK VISION3 500T Color Negative Film 7219.
Jadhav explains that the look he was after for Aayna Ka Bayna was raw and realistic, “and there is no better way of achieving this than using film.” In keeping with the feature’s unconventional use of western dance, the film was shot in a very unconventional manner. “At times I went six stops over and five stops under to achieve the effects I was after, and this is only possible with film,” he notes.
“Because the story is about breaking barriers, I decided to use the same language in my cinematography,” continues Jadhav. “So, after consulting with Samit, I deliberately flouted many of the conventional rules of photography which is why the shooting pattern includes many crash zooms, odd blocking and abrupt cutting. These help to enhance the different look of the scenes and to faithfully capture the intricate dance movements.
“For the epic climax of the film, the boys are performing in a life-or-death situation.” Jadhav adds, “And as they are all brilliant dancers, I wanted to capture every single move. So I lit up the set for 360 degrees but still it was not like a football field where everything is seen. I had to keep my shadow areas in the field for the drama that occurs there. We used a five-camera setup. Film stocks were again important here as I wanted to avoid motion blur and there is a particular speed in the movement of the cameras.”
The director is very proud of Aayna Ka Bayna. The passionate filmmaker concludes by saying, “I consider this feature to be the first international dance film with a lot of hope, friendship and passion. The process of filmmaking is very beautiful because you meet new people, make new friends, and learn a lot from them every day. In the process you learn that filmmaking is not a one-man show; it is always teamwork.”
Aayna Ka Bayna will be shown all over Maharashtra in India as well as Singapore, the UAE, the UK and the United States. In addition to its native Marathi language, the feature will be dubbed in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.