The studio Big Banner Entertainment and Media LLP in Vasco is set to be officially launched today. NT BUZZ speaks to the creative head of the studio Jojo D’Souza to know more about his process of filmmaking, the studio and his next Hindi feature film ‘Ishq Tera’
Janice savina Rodrigues|NT BUZZ
‘If you have a dream, we have the team’ is the tagline Jojo D’Souza goes by at his newly established business venture Big Banner Entertainment and Media LLP. Though they have been working for the past six months from their fully equipped hi-tech studio, the banner is officially set to launch today. With over two decade’s experience in film related works, Jojo has now given Goa something to rejoice about.
Passionate about films, and hosting workshops in filmmaking called ‘Dream To Screen’ over the years, his interest in hands-on filmmaking was spiked only when one of his students Ramprasad Adpaikar asked him a rather challenging question: ‘If you haven’t made films how can you tell us what will make a good award-winning film?’ This got Jojo thinking. Having worked as a software engineer in a Dubai-based studio he had collected all the technical knowhow, and thus started putting it into practice.
“This was around 2008; so I said let’s make a film together, and we made a short film ‘Sin’ with Ramprasad’s concept and story. It was chosen to be a part of the short film section at the IFFI in 2010. Then we went on to make another short film called ‘In Search of Mother’ which premiered at IFFI in the Goan section; we worked on yet another film called Hitback,” says Jojo. By this time he had resolved to get deeper into the art of making films. His wife Rajkumari Bandekar joined him as the production head and he got on board another young lady, Sapna Naik, who then became his editor.
Sapna who actually wanted to become an actor, ended up handling post production. Though she was raw in editing, she took up the challenge and picked up the software very fast. “When we working on the film Hitback we hit a roadblock with the distributors; that is when we approached Deepak Bandekar with our film concept and he liked the films we were making, thus we decided to take it to the next level. We had a small studio in Vasco but we decided to partner and build a bigger studio,” says Jojo.
With a very creative, sincere and strong technical team, the work done at the studio is at a higher level than the rest of its breed. “We have always been pioneers in all we’ve done, so when we thought of the studio we needed to do something different. In Goa studios don’t work 24×7 but we operate round the clock; we are a dedicated studio only doing films, serials and the like,” says Jojo. In keeping with their tagline, the team works from scratch, even if it is just an idea. “Even if someone comes to us and says we only have an idea, from that idea to getting everything done, all can be done in-house at the highest level. It’s not a video editing lab but a filmmaking lab,” he adds.
With the help of dedicated software the team works from the idea and converts it into a workflow, a script and then doing the recee to find locations and giving characters an identity, to casting and titles, shooting schedule and finances involved. Speaking about the process of filmmaking, Jojo adds that the production phase is the most important and the most expensive. “One day’s shoot goes up to 3 to 5 lakhs, and if the actor doesn’t show up it becomes difficult to manage. We’ve lost money that way. Thus contracts are now written to include that aspect as well,” he says. He does say that the concept of a contract is often neglected when it comes to Goan films and people have suffered miserably. “In Goa we work on trust. And this works in both ways, sometimes we would get a call from the actor who’d say my mother is not sending me today. We have now become very organised and we have a contract and schedule,” he says. Though he states the above, he also stresses that post production is also very important. “We have several cuts while editing. We will keep watching the movie and delete or modify scenes that are not needed, to keep the flow. For our upcoming film Ishq Tera, we’ve done up to 20 cuts as of now; we don’t like to make continuity mistakes,”
Ishq Tera is a psychological thriller starring Hrishitaa Bhat and Manoj Pawar and this is the studio’s first Hindi feature film. “It is a complex film with a breakaway story: it’s about a mother with a split personality. Her husband leaves her questioning who the father of the child is and then he comes back to win her over but has complications,” says Jojo. He adds that he wanted to have a good music base for the film, as in his opinion music sells in India. “I have always been associated with music and I wanted the songs to be at a very high level. Thus we approached Sonu Nigam, Siddharth Mahadevan, Sunidhi Chauhan, but they initially said no, but when Shreya Goshal said yes to us, all the others followed suit, it gave us the push we needed,” he adds.
Speaking about the filmmaking scene in Goa today he says there has been a lot of improvement since IFFI was brought to Goa. “Quality of films and filmmakers has improved. It has also led to filmmakers getting united, and understanding the need to have more money involved. The problem with Goans is that we don’t pitch our stories well and our budgets are more than our returns as the audience is small; so we need to know how to market the movie right and we need to make an impact,” says Jojo.
With the latest equipment from grading panels, working in Apple-based systems, 5.1 surround sound systems, to working round the clock, the studio is set to offer people in Goa what the ones in Mumbai are offering. “We have a separate sound room and we also do live folly – the ambient sounds like the jingling of keys or the clanging of bangles that are often not recorded in Goa, but they are what make a film lifelike. We have noticed that people don’t mind visual defects but they do mind bad audio,” says Jojo. The studio is looking at going larger, with 30 per cent discounts being offered to Goan filmmakers, and even having a preview room. “There is a career in filmmaking; though we are equipped to understand equipment and stories, we don’t interfere with the process of filmmaking of another director. They can come here and tell us what to do, we will suggest changes but the decision lies with the makers,” he concludes.