Production Notes

1st Assistant Director's Take
By Devika Bhagat, 1st AD

Devika Bhagat - First AD Ext. Penjor's home - Night, 3am, -3 degrees C

The night is still and dark. The crew huddles around each other, dressed in layers and layers of warm clothes to beat the freezing weather. Thick clouds of condensation escape from mouths. The Assistant Sound Recordist tapes lapel mikes on to the actors. The Camera Department sets up lights. The 1st AD walks in.

1st AD
What's the Story, Morning Glory?

The Sound and Camera departments look at her, cold, irritated, frustrated. Whoosh! They all fall upon her and tear her from limb to limb. It's a mass tackle. At the end of it, the 1st AD lies there broken…but her spirit is still alive.

1st AD
(weakly)
Ready Freddy?

Yup! That was me…Asking for it all the time!

50 locations in 35 days spread over three towns. For a 1st AD, it was a daunting task, especially when the Dharamsala weather never seemed to agree with the Met Department and perennially threw the schedule out of whack. But the momos, chai and ever-smiling crew pulled us through.

Ritu and Tenzing tried to be mom and pop to the hyper young crew that was stuck in beautiful McLeodgunj for 3 months but somewhere along the way they let nature…and hormones…have their way. They had their own co-directorial creative differences to work out…

And yes, I did find love on a forest walk while taking a break from my laptop…

I was the AD jack of all trades managing the script supervisor's job as well as the clapper board! Did anyone take my mean voice seriously? I don't think so! I might have got hoarse from shouting at a below-the-line crew made up mostly of first timers, ranging from recent college graduates to Himalayan trek-leaders to NGO workers, and torn my hair out at the languid Tibetan attitude but one thing was sure - each one stood up to their task when the camera rolled because they were there for a cause, to make that one Tibetan film each one could be proud to have been a part of!

As for me - Dreaming Lhasa taught me that the 1st AD has to support the directors and also manage the varied egos on set with as much delicacy and attention as the schedule, breakdown and continuity!

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