The Man Who Saw Tomorrow
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When four-year-old Armaan Chopra's father slipped the video cassette of ET into the VCR and pressed play, little did he know that this would change his son's life. "I must have watched the film a thousand times," says twenty eight-year-old Chopra as he recalls the scenes from Steven Spielberg's ET, a film considered as the holy grail of science fiction films. "It brings us the future, gets all sci-fi and still manages to make us wince and cry," says Chopra. It is the beauty of Spielberg's cinema, of Stanley Kubrik's work, of 2001 film Space Odyssey and Adventures of Tin Tin, that Chopra aims to incorporate in his films.
Busy hunting for locations in Chandigarh for his debut venture, I Am Kkhanna, Chopra stopped by Frameboxx in Sector 34 and talked at length about his work on another sci-fi film, Last Man and Bunty Walia's ambitious superhero film, Anghad.
Chopra says that I Am Kkhanna is a comedy about four Bollywood aspirants. "It's a light-hearted journey of two boys and two girls — all newcomers from Punjab, who come to Mumbai," says Chopra, whose short film God is Dead premiered at Cannes this year. Chopra feels that shooting in Punjab has its perks. While infrastructure and proximity to Himachal is a big pull, for Chopra, a photographer too, it's the light factor. "I like to work on a Hollywood model, and light is a prominent part of it. Punjab is one state where natural light is the best," says Chopra.
But what about the sci-fi factor? "I Am Kkhanna will have special effects in songs," says Chopra, who is collaborating with a team of professionals from Hollywood for all his projects that includes cinematographer Bruce Logan of Star Wars and make up artist Barney Burman of Star Trek.
Chopra says that for him the future lies in extensive pre-production work, tight story boards, boot camps and workshops for actors in order to help them become their characters. By incorporating these working styles, Chopra wants to pick from a treasure house of stories, especially in Ramayana and Mahabharata and direct them. "Mahabharata is waiting to be made into a motion picture," says the filmmaker whose second film Anghad is a story from the Ramayana. The film goes on floors next year, so does Last Man, a science fiction on last man on the earth. "It will be in Hindi and will be set in 2017 in Mumbai. The way we are going — fighting, polluting, ignoring — things are going to come to an end," says Chopra.
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