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Chitchat with Ravindar

May 3, 2009

R Ravindar who did art direction for many blockbuster movies in the past and recently did for Ram Charan Teja’s Magadheera is donning a new avatar of production designer for a Hollywood film ‘Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain’. Based on the real tragic incident happened in 1984, this film is directed by UK-based Ravi Kumar and being shot in realistic sets created by Ravinder in Hyderabad. Here are the excerpts of an exclusive interview with the art director and production designer of this international project –

What is ‘Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain’ about?
This film is based on the tragic event that occurred in Union Carbide Pesticide Plant, Bhopal on 3 December 2984. It exposed more than 5 lac people to toxic gases. It consumed lives of 16000 people in and around slums that are situated in the neighborhood of the factory. Another notable fact is that the factory was already shut down when this tragedy took place. UK-based Ravi Kumar is directing this movie and it stars Martin Sheen, Kal Penn, Rajpal Yadav and Zakir Hussain in important roles. The director was looking for a reliable art director and production designer. After meeting me, he decided that I am the man for that twin job.

This movie needs factory and slum set. We leased some vacant area in Bollarum to erect sets from the scratch. It is a Rs 17-crore budget film and they allocated Rs 2.5 crores for Art department. It cost around Rs 1.4 crore for constructing factory and slums set and Rs 90 lacs were spent on purchasing property/furniture.

Have you done any research?
Yes. It is a period film set in 1984 where not much of computerization happened in control rooms compared to today. I had to visit various plants and learn the intricacies. They have different colored pipes for different gases/liquids. The buttons used in control rooms in 1980’s are not being used now. Hence we had a tough task finding supplier of those buttons. I visited Bhopal for more than 20 times and studied the factory and adjacent slums.

Where did you get the set property?
We needed the interiors of houses from 1980’s. I went to Jodhpur and Jaipur to buy property/furniture of vintage look.

What is the status of the movie now?
70% of the shoot is complete so far. 30% is yet to be shot.

How is the working style of UK-based production house?
It is highly systematic. There is no work in Sundays and the entire unit will pack up by 6 pm every day.

Tell us about the much awaited Magadheera in Rajamouli and Ram Charan Teja combination?
I am not allowed to share any information about that movie. I can only tell the extravagant scale that movie is being mounted on. The budget for art department for Magadheera movie is Rs 5 crores. So much of budget is being spent because it is partly a period film.

Tell us about your future Telugu projects?
Magadheera, Katha (Gangaraju – Genelia), Prayanam and next movie of Rajamouli with Sunil as hero.

click here for another interview of Ravinder

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