The technical aspects of a film — such as sound, art and production design — are often those that go relatively unnoticed by the audience. In Bollywood, until recently, the detail given to these while making a film, too, was little. Take production design, for instance. Wasiq Khan, production designer for Gangs of Wasseypur, says the concept of production design hasn't been in Bollywood for too long. "There's a difference between art and production design. In Hollywood, the latter has been around for a while, but in India it has only been two to three years," he says.
The nominations for the various technical categories for the 19th Annual Colors Screen Awards, to be held in Mumbai today, suggest that it's this attention to detail in terms of sound and production design that has caught the jury's attention. One of the five nominees for the Best Sound Design category for Barfi!, Shajith Koyeri says in a film like Barfi!, which has very little dialogue, sound design is of utmost importance and was given due attention. "Usually in a situation with a lot of silence, we try to fill that silence with sounds. But in Barfi!, there are many scenes that have just been left silent. In many of those, we put the music and then removed it as we realised the silence works better," he says.
One of the things that allowed for this attention to detail, however, was the fact that a number of these films were shot on location. For instance: Kahaani, Barfi! and Gangs of Wasseypur. Each of these has been nominated in more than one category — Best Sound Design, Best Cinematography and Best Production Design. Satyajit Pande aka Setu has earned himself a nomination for Best Cinematography for Kahaani and says the film is as much about Kolkata as it is about Vidya Balan. "Both Sujoy Ghosh (the director) and I are from Kolkata. So, we knew exactly what we wanted from it," he says. "Detail is essential in story telling — from the way they're dressed to where they are. There are several tram sequences in Kahaani, and in these, we've kept the trams dimly lit so you see the city in contrast. When Vidya is in her room, too, it's dark so that you see the lights of the city and the puja outside — a celebration — but that isn't Vidya's own state of mind," he adds.