Screen Awards: Cutting Edge
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The 19th Annual Colors Screen Awards nominations in the Best Editing category tell you why women make the best cut.
The initial cut of Gangs of Wasseypur did not take long to put together when the raw footage first arrived at the editing table. What followed was a long and arduous task. "Much of what the audience saw in part one of the film was actually supposed to be in part two. But there are so many links between the characters and incidents since the story spans three generations that we decided to switch the footage," explains Shweta Venkat, the editor of Anurag Kashyap's acclaimed 2012 two-part movie, Gangs of Wasseypur.
It took Venkat a whole year to edit both the parts but the result was worth the hard work — the film premiered at the Cannes film festival last year and she, too, joined the cast and crew for the occasion. Now, the 34-year-old is set to attend her first awards function as a nominee — she is one of the six editors shortlisted to win the Best Editing award at the 19th Annual Colors Screen Awards, scheduled to be held on January 12 in Mumbai.
While Venkat looks forward to the evening, she faces tough competition from other editors, three of whom are also women — Aarti Bajaj for Paan Singh Tomar, Hemanti Sarkar for English Vinglish and Namrata Rao for Kahaani — the others being Akiv Ali for Barfi! and Shekhar Prajapati for Vicky Donor.
In an industry that for long remained male-dominated, women have today emerged as some of the best film editors. Late Renu Saluja is still considered one of the most respected names in the industry even today, and Deepa Bhatia is regarded among the highest paid in the field. "Although the trend in India is new, Hollywood's prominent editors have been women. Take, for instance, Dede Allen, Thelma Schoonmaker and Sally Menke," points out Rao. Editing, according to her, is akin to nurturing a film, something that women are good at. "We take the raw footage given to us and shape it to look like the end product," she explains.