Training the Eye

This week, students of Dikshant International School, Zirakpur, are attending lessons of a different kind. The students, mostly from the secondary school, are participating in a week-long workshop on filmmaking with Karm Chawla. Chawla has been first assistant cinematographer with films such as Jannat 2 , The Dirty Picture and the Mumbai leg of the recent hit Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana.

He admits to treating this workshop as a refresher course for himself. "To be honest, I was a tad nervous. I had a feeling that a couple of kids might have a mental block about cinema but they surprised me," says Chawla. The workshop started on Sunday with the students doing exactly what cinema demands — "debate, discussion and arguments".

Trained in theatre by Delhi-based actor-director-filmmaker Sanjay Kumar, Chawla found his calling in cinematography. "A cinematographer is the eye of the director. He translates the vision the director has in his mind," he explains, recalling the imagery of masters in the field such as VK Murthy, who was Guru Dutta's regular cameraman, and Ashok Mehta, well-known for films such as Bandit Queen and 36 Chowringhee Lane.

The director of Dikshant International School, Mitul Dikshit, says that he is looking forward to this "little experiment" with the students. "The best part is that the children will get to work hands on in all departments and produce a film at the end," he says, adding that several world classics will be screened for the students.

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