Jaipur : sadiyon ka shehar

IMG_1757I have been a part of many documentary films made on Jaipur. I enjoyed myself learning a lot about the history of this amazing city in the course of producing travel DVDs for tourists. These films were beautifully shot and layered with exact historical facts and details.
A thought, quite different or perhaps even quite opposite to these films, traversed my mind and I bore the idea for a long time and suddenly decided that I got to produce a short film with a very personal perspective, which would not divulge into the historical or heritage aspects of the Pink City in totality, but would present a general study of the cityscape with a hint of the lifestyle and hustle bustle of city life and its people struggling to make a living, against a background where people from all walks of life with contrasting religious sentiments, live together in peace and harmony, searching for the calm and serenity behind the loud chaos that the congested city offers.

It may sound quite confusing. Hence with all these sizzling thoughts in my mind, one hot summer afternoon in the scorching heat of May, I ventured on my own into the busy streets of Jaipur figuring out how to capture a shot which collaborates with the abstractness of my mind. It was not a day’s work. Every week, whenever I found spare time, I would target another spot to see if I could gather relative footage. Nearly four months were invested before I felt that my ideas for the content had been sufficiently recorded.


With the first and bulky part of the film done with, I approached a friend to write a script that would string the story together. Nikhil Sharma, a creative writer penned dramatically a script that weaved all my scattered thoughts together. The script was further edited and tweaked to give it the perfect form. Simplicity of language, clarity of expression and a mild touch of light poetry is the essence of the script.

Years ago I was enchanted by the voice of a Radio Jockey who mesmerized her listeners with her husky and convincing tone. I had already shortlisted Aanchal Srivastava, who now has quit radio jockeying and is a full time singer and performing artiste, to voice over the script in Hindi. On hearing the concept, Aanchal was more than excited to collaborate in the process, realizing that the project was indeed captivating.

I wanted the film to be in both Hindi and English. So, I translated the script to English and dubbed the English voice over myself.

In the meantime I was also concerned about the music I would have as the background score. Knowing the on- going issues connected with copyright and using music already available, I was certain that the music score should be original. I called up another good friend, Mukesh Lalwani, a traveller and short film Editor for assistance. He gladly permitted me to use three of his tracks which he had recorded with musicians and folk artistes at the dunes of Barmer  and Jaisalmer years ago. For some reason he had never used these compositions in any of his documentary films.

The editing and mixing of the audio was rendered at Jaipur’s own production house, Folklore Studio by the talented Amit Ojha, who, with his amazing experience treated the audio with mesmerizing effects and packaging.

Now the post production part needed even greater attention. Aditya Bangiya, a video editor spent many hours editing the enormous data I had shot. It was a herculean task to filter the prime shots and place them aptly in sequence over the timeline.

At last there was a sigh of deep satisfaction and accomplishment I cherished after the final film was ready to be released. It was like a dream come true. Nearly six months of patience and a furnace of ideas coupled with the involvement of talented collaborators had paid off.

The film was has received decent views on my Youtube channel and even more on Facebook. Based on the feedback from friends and critiques, I planned to produce the film in English. Titled, Jaipur: my home, this 2 minute film has been shortlisted for screening at the JIFF ( Jaipur International  Film Festival) 2018 on 8th January at Golcha Theatre at 12 noon.

Jaipur continues to remain a peaceful abode to those who have been living in the walled city as well as to those countless visitors who either step in here to make a living or hop by as travellers.  Jaipur, personally has been a cozy place for me. Having been born and brought up here, I chose to  settle in the Pink City even though my brother and sister kept coaxing me for several years to join them in the Middle East for professional reasons.

Jaipur, a city dotted with vibrant colours, etched with magnificent hills and palaces, resounding with buzzing bazaars, sizzling with vehicular chaos and teeming with untold aspirations of people who reside here for many a reason, finally has a new definition, I can call my own.


Melven Castelino

(teacher, artiste and blogger)


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