How we managed to shoot the BiRDMAN film in 100 hours ?
The best incidents always happen to be accidents. Birdman was one such interesting accident we’d say. YES FOUNDATION was coming up with YES IAM THE CHANGE social short film contest. It was a 100-hour-challenge. A topic would pop up in the mail and we had to plan, write, direct, shoot, edit and deliver the film within the next 100 hours. Now that’s a challenge. We were up for it and ours was “Random act of kindness”. We loved the topic and set our brains to storm. Instead of looking far and pulling in a concept, we decided to shoot something real right around us. The story of Sekar, the cameraman who feeds thousands of parrots in his terrace everyday had been making its rounds and we decided to do document him.
Sekar was amazingly kind to say a YES, the moment we shook hands with him over the idea. For the first day, we didn’t shoot anything but stayed with him and witnessed the way he patiently prepares the food for the parrots, arranges the racks, places the food and makes way for the parrots to come and consume. It was a divine sight to see so many parrots flying from all over the city and having their meal here, day after day, over the past 10 years. Yes, we all love to feed birds but to do it for 10 years in a row, two times a day was something so inspiring that we found hard to believe. That is Sekar.
So we had two potions to ponder. One was to make this inspiring story heard from the heart of Sekar and the next was to make the story to be seen from the soul of the parrots. Luckily, Sekar was a wonderful storyteller and we had him speak his heart out very well in front of the camera. But the second part was no easy. Parrots are not really camera friendly and the moment they saw someone anywhere near they flutter away in style.
It was a sting operation that we had to stage. Near the water tank on the top of the terrace, in a small space we crawled under and covered ourselves with thick tarpaulin sheets. A small creek was all we had to zoom in the parrots that were having their feast on the racks. Every morning and evening, we were these passionate commandos under cover.
Nights were lit with the process of editing and the days were colored with the green of parrots. 100 hours ran away like 100 minutes. And at the end, when we saw the film in its final cut, we did not see it but felt it. Check it out for yourself.