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Monday, 16 January 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Production Design

Best Production Design

2017 might already have seen its Production Design award winner for the next year, with the release of the trailer of the much anticipated Rangoon, Vishal Bhardwaj's film looks dazzling and despite ropey vfx at this point; seems to bring an aesthetical authenticity to a dazzling Bombay as well as the World War II.

As for this year, it's a tough race with some films already picking up steam and other here seeking their next award or even first. So let's go...

Amardeep Behl for Parched

From the carnival like tent bar dance club to the dusk and congesting interiors of the huts, to the tight collective village. Parched embodies a space that very much answers why it becomes easier in a world like this to be seen by everyone and obviously be judged.

It's society and its close minded notions that are the very centre of issues for these women and the production design rarely allows a space of privacy. As Rani recoils at the emptiness of her bedside, a wall away; her innocent daughter in law is stuck between an unwanted violent husband and an unfair lonely rejection.

It is thus ironic then, that the design crafts liberation in an interesting dichotomy between lone bus stops and buses as well as the distant exteriors of forts and interiors of a warm dark cave.

Setting is vital in Parched, in enveloping the themes of the film into the world we are immersed in and this job is pulled of with aplomb.

Laxmi Keluskar for Nil Battey Sanata

It becomes stark within the first few minutes that space is a vital factor in generating conflict between Chanda and her daughter Apeksha. They sleep close together on the floor, share a one room house with practically every amenity tightly knit. More so it highlights the financial constraints Chanda has and why it means so much to her that Apeksha get a better life she deserves [or not].

The school is where time however is most spent and the dreary atmosphere does give way to the natural looking public school, a sign of why Apeksha's boredom as is; especially when contrasted against the open roads where she has her freedom.

It helps that other spaces are equally well applied in terms of character, Chanda's meeting Sanjay Suri's IAS officer and the wonder in her eyes in his place is an engaging understanding of her dreams. It is both the small space that confines her and the big that enchants her that makes Chanda so endearing.

Satyen Chowdhury for Phobia

Much of Phobia takes place within one house, important for the sake of the plot and Mehek's character. For that reason and the shenanigans that take place, it's important that the design of the film not only be memorable and haunting but for the sake of the twist be a surprising stark danger.

One of Phobia's memorable plot stretches is the scares first elicited by the shared wall between Mehek and her nutty neighbour, it wonderfully works with a room that's especially rotting. More so it seems the whole house is rotting, with pastel like colours washing away and a stuffed room.

It plays a nice contrast to the sheen of the whole society building outside the room, glimpses of the society around show a sane world, however like in life; it's in the insides where the secrets come flying open and the horror takes over.

Laxmi Keluskar and Sandeep Meher for Dangal

The rustic world around Dangal is very much enhanced by the little detailing in the films overall look.

For example the wrestling scenes, after the film has had its fill of authentically recreating the dune-esque local wrestling arenas-the akkhadas-the film then moves to official level competitions and in a nice scene the professional wrestling mats are recreated with multiple mattresses at home by the Phogat family.

It's not only that the wrestling arenas are recreated with astute observations, but also the contrast between the softness and genuineness of small town India and Mahavir's small training grounds to the enchanting big city and its shining allowing for a character evolution of Geeta Phogat.

Everything works wonders in embodying the reality of the situation and making the wrestling absolutely a delight to see.

Anna Ipe and Aparna Sud for Neerja

What is with this year and confined spaces?

Much of Neerja's runtime is taken up by the intense plane hijacking where in the constrained environment, Neerja comes face to face with her greatest fears, torrid past and finds her inner heroism.

In one of the highlights of the films making, Neerja's makers were smart to showcase how they recreated the whole Pan Am Flight. The interiors and exteriors are so wonderfully made, they highlight the absolute importance of the painstaking research done for the film.

It's also vital to note, how smartly the production design is crafted in not only working out the right details of the plane but also making sure it works in such a way that the authenticity does not come in the way of letting the camera and actors have the space to navigate perfectly to create a genuine cinematic experience.

This is production design that supports its film while being genuine as it should.

And the Winner is...

Anna Ipe and Aparna Sud for Neerja!!!

Neerja scores its second win and is slowly becoming a strong honorable best picture in the dramatic category. Definitely a top ten film this year. 

Up Next: The final technical award, the big one...Best Cinematography!

'Nuff Said,

Aneesh Raikundalia

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