Guest Lecture by Mr. B. P. Singh

Adventure, Thrill, Crime! A workshop aimed to teach the students all the nuances of Direction was conducted at Digital Academy – The Film School by Mr. B. P. Singh. Being the owner of Fireworks Productions and producer of hit horror series Aahat in 1996, Mr. B. P. Singh is also the creator and director-producer of the Indian TV series C.I.D.

Commencing with providing his expertise of what determines the story, he expressed that the first scene of the shot is the most determining factor.

Honing his career with state TV-channel Doordarshan in 1973 as a news camera-man and moving on to handling the camera for another 10 years, he mentioned “Experience as the main key in shooting a scene”. When asked by a student about his interest development in this detective based serial, B. P Singh claimed his interest aroused when he started visiting the Crime Branch of police, and befriended Inspector Jayant Wagle. It was in this process that he developed a lifelong interest in detective based work.

Talking about his contour of work; it is ‘Story telling’ that is imperative, especially when it comes to crime or detective based story. A story cannot always be on the same chord. It’s like reading a book with a new chapter at every end. A story too consists of various scenes divided into segments, and then into shots. One can start with a long shot or short one depending on the criteria of the shot. It is not easy to make a serial marathon revolving around the same concept, same story, and same phenomenon. However he achieved this with his serial CID. Apart from being the longest running TV series in India, On October 8, 2004, a special episode, “The Inheritance” / C.I.D. 111, marked the completion of seven years of CID in December. It was shot in a single continuous shot for 111 minutes (one hour and 51 minutes), which landed the show in the Limca Book of Records as ‘TV show – longest continual shot’.

Amidst the understanding of what a story consists of, how does one know what is a good scene or bad scene? Throwing light on the whole debate he claimed “A good scene needs a good script, good dialogues, good lighting and then so on”. Giving an example of Vicky Donor, the latest Bollywood movie that moved the audience with its script, for him this one was a win-win when it came to good script and good movie. It managed to talk about a very different issue so skilfully. For this fiction – director some of the best scenes comes to an individual when he has experienced an analogous situation in his life.

Exposing oneself to good writing becomes of a paramount value to write a good script, because a good script will always be good even if the direction is not. When a student asked about how diverse emotions can be packed together in one scene, Mr. Singh enlightened them with his theory.

When you get script in hand you need to think of the emotions that will come in the scene. Special lighting, camera, trolley are just the means to enhance the scene. The whole scene cannot be shot at one time, you need to cut and decide how to combine the scenes and which ones to enhance.

No two directors can direct the scene similarly. Their thinking is different, their inspiration is different. What inspires one may not inspire the other. The same shot can be taken by two people in two different ways.

At the end what matters is ‘What the director does to transfer the scene on the frame’. Chop chop chop….

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