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GROWING up in Chandigarh, Anay Goswami was surrounded by art. Spools of world cinema, books on art, literature, history and culture, and cameras young Goswami's world was subconsciously being influenced and groomed. "At 15, I knew I had to go to Film and Television Institute of India (FTII); it was on my agenda," says the award-winning cinematographer, who is being credited for giving Abhishek Kapoor's Kai Po Che! a raw and rooted feel.

An alumni of Government College of Arts, Sector 10, Chandigarh, Goswami comes from a family heavily into the arts, and was exposed to cinema outside the mainstream Bollywood/Hollywood realm. Regional films showcased on Doordarshan, such as Bagh Bahadur and MS Sathyu's Garam Hawa, left him impressed. Goswami understood his calling and soon after college, four years at FTII paved the way for Delhi and Mumbai. "I specialised in photography at FTII, and then worked as a photographer with Cosmopolitan in Delhi before moving to Mumbai," he says.

His father's passion for photography rubbed off on him, but Goswami's greater goal was always to get into films. His short film Chabiwali Pocket Watch (directed by Vibhu Puri) won him his first award for cinematography in the Emerging Filmmakers section at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. It was India's official entry to student Oscars as well. In 2005, Chauras Chand, based on the life of poet Paash, made it to International Film Festival of India, Goa. While FTIIans would be looking for apprenticeship and struggling for work in Mumbai, Goswami says he was lucky as his short films got noticed, and before he knew it, filmmaker Aparna Sen brought him on board for The Japanese Wife. He bagged the Star Entertainment Award for Best Cinematography for the film, followed by No One Killed Jessica and Dil Kabbaddi.

It's been seven years now in the industry, and Goswami's eye for detail has been appreciated in Kai Po Che!. "It took us several rounds of Gujarat to finalise locations, research the background and recreate the climax in a Rajasthan town called Sambhar," says Goswami. Not the first choice for Kai Po Che!, Goswami got the job when Kapoor realised that they both were on the same page. "If the director is yin, cinematographer is yang in the relationship," he says.

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