Attenborough as seen through Bhaskar’s eyes

G.S. Bhaskar who worked as the second unit cameraman on the film.  

G.S. Bhaskar, well-known cinematographer, stood silent for a minute after he heard the news of actor-director Richard Attenborough, the man who made Gandhi.

Mr. Bhaskar worked as the second unit cameraman on the multiple Academy Award-winning film and was greatly influenced by Mr. Attenborough. Recounting how he became associated with Gandhi, Mr. Bhaskar said that it was his mentor at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTTI), A.K. Bir, who introduced him to the project. “It was my first real exposure to shooting and my real learning commenced then,” he recalled.

He vividly remembers the way Mr. Attenborough captured the scene of Gandhi’s funeral procession on January 31, 1981. He had made elaborate preparations to re-enact the funeral procession on the 33rd anniversary of the event. Everything was researched meticulously and rehearsed. “As many as 12 cameras were used to capture the sea of humanity. Rehearsals were conducted for nearly 15 days to avoid one camera crossing over the other. Camera units were briefed with a route map with miniscule details, as it was the biggest crowd scene in film history with over 4,00,000 people participating,” he narrated.

Mr. Bhaskar recalled how Mr. Attenborough personally instructed Martin Sheen, who played foreign correspondent Vince Walker, during the shooting of the Salt March.

He particularly recalled the scene where Walker reports Gandhi’s disciples protesting his imprisonment by allowing themselves to be brutally beaten by soldiers at Dharasana Salt Works. “Though assistant directors were in charge of the scene, Mr. Attenborough, himself being an acclaimed actor, would intervene to instruct Mr. Sheen to get a real feel of the scene,” he said.

“Mr. Attenborough never bothered about hierarchy. Scores of Indians were part of this National Film Development Corporation of India project and he made sure everyone on set was comfortable,” he added.

Mr. Bhaskar has worked on films such as Papeeha, Saaz, Disha, Hyderabad Blues, Tabarana Kathe, Kurmavatara, Ijjodu and Amrutha Ghalige.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 1:58:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/attenborough-as-seen-through-bhaskars-eyes/article6350928.ece

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