Art is a passion and sometimes takes a form of madness too. Here I share the experiences of artists who have dared to follow their passion despite insurmountable challenges.
Art Director: Sandeep Bhamkar, “Each day on the sets is a new day and each film or event poses a new challenge, as the concepts on which the set had to be created are varied.”
Sandeep Bhamkar has always preferred to express himself through his creations. His inclination towards art has made his life journey exciting & he keeps adding to his creation each day with unfading passion.
As an art director he has worked on the most prestigious TV shows like Roadies – X, Masterchef India season 2 & 3 & Channel V perfect couple. His company Creators Media & Entertainment has arranged live performance of many famed artists like Arijit Singh, Badshah, Hard Kaur, DJ Chetans and lot many in Pune. They also organize the annual fest at Trinity College and actively participate in organizing Pune International Film Festival PIFF.
Sandeep Bhamkar shares his experiences with us in this candid tete-a-tete:
Why did you choose to be an Art Director?
As a child I had an amazing aptitude for drawing, which was noticed and encouraged by my parents and teachers. But, then accepting art as a profession was not too popular, nor was I aware of art colleges. I came to Pune and got to know about them; I joined the Bachelor’s course on Fine Arts at Bharati Vidyapeeth. While watching films I observed credits given to the Art Director. This got me curious about art direction and I approached some students at FTII to learn more about it.
I assisted them while making movies and learnt its various aspects.
What really caught your attention about art direction?
I wanted to pursue a profession that is different and innovative. As a child I created my world by painting and using colors of my choice. When I realized that art direction is similar to that; it is putting my imagination into reality, I started loving the experience.
Each day on the sets is a new day and each film or event poses a new challenge, as the concepts on which the set had to be created are varied. Once I was given the task of recreating Space, which obviously I haven’t ever seen. But, I still managed to do it with a bit of research and imagination.
I realized there is just no limit to what and how I can create a world that is totally unimaginable and can make it look real, through my ideas and creativity.
Also, research before starting to design a set is important. If the film is based in pre -independence period then I need to find out how people lived in those days.
A couple of years back, sets were not an important part of film making in India, nor did the art director get his due. But, in recent years people have started noticing and appreciating the contribution of sets in a movie. Movie makers invest time and money in creating something grand thus, now glamour is attached to art direction.
Did you deliberately choose to work on varied platforms like theatre, feature films, short films, events & wedding venues?
It was not deliberate, one thing followed the other. It so happened that during the Pune festival I was hustled by the guard for barging on the stage. That moment I decided the next year I would be a part of the organizing team. Determined, I approached the organizers and they gave me the responsibility of raising the Ganpati festival pandal and I accepted it. My work was widely appreciated for its grandeur and innovativeness.
The next year I was part of the organizing committee at PIFF.
We started designing sets for plays. But, we realized that it takes time to dismantle a set on a stage, transport it and set it back on another stage. We thought we might as well do short films that require a onetime effort to design sets.
We started with a short film called ‘Ahuti’ & then did documentaries.
This all was while I was still in college. Once, the cast and crew of the Marathi movie ‘Aeeshapath’ was shooting in our college. I approached the team and assisted the director throughout the shoot.
How did you start your company Creators Media & Entertainment?
I met talented people from varied fields and we all started Creators Media and Entertainment with the zeal to do innovative work that has never been done in the past. We started with designing wedding venues. For one of our wedding projects we created a traditional and old ‘wada’ (ancestral home) found mostly in villages, which was totally unbelievable for people to visualize.
I have an awesome team of young people and workers who stand by me. As I started working at the grassroots levels doing small jobs,. I know the challenges of workers, so I can communicate with them in their language, at the same time I feel communicating with a film or event directors with the same comfort level. This is what I love about art direction; the experience of handling people at varied levels.
What are the challenges while creating sets for reality shows like Splitsvilla, Roadies, Masterchef, etc?
There is hardly any time available for us to raise the set; we work in a limited time frame. A lot of the shooting schedule depends on us. If the set isn’t ready on time, shooting is delayed.
I remember we had to raise a set in Tamang in North East where the temperatures are too low. My workers had to work after 6 am till 4pm because, before 6 am we could hardly see anything due to the fog and post 4pm it got really dark. Within this limited time frame we all worked under extreme climate.
Again, my team did the impossible by creating a set for Splitsvilla, a reality show by MTV, which was floating on the river waters. None of the art directors wanted to do a floating platform & we took up the challenge to successfully execute it.
We are recognized as an enthusiastic team that is always set to achieve impossible tasks.
Often the creative team of a reality show has grand ideas but, I have to watch on the excitability of a particular idea and budget constraints.
Excited about his plans for the future Sandeep says:
I wish to start a production house in Pune & involve students who drift to other professions later in life, due to the fact that pursuing this profession is not financially viable during their struggling period.
I want to create hydraulic sets, which is common in Hollywood but, has never been attempted in India.
Multi faceted Sandeep feels that his journey has just begun & he has many more miles to traverse before he realizes his dreams.
Though being tremendously engaged in all of these projects, Sandeep has never let go his childhood passion for drawing. He often immerses himself in world of drawing portraits, caricatures, perspective drawings, wall paintings, etc.