A chit-chat with Sumit Osmond Shaw, Director of LEBE JETZT– KAL HO NAA HO
The music video titled ‘Lebe Jetzt’ based on the famous Kal Ho Naa Ho’s title song featuring Michael Steiner, Ambassador of Germany to India, his wife Eliese Steiner and Salman Khurshid, former External Affairs Minister of India, has become an instant hit. Prakash K Ray, Editor, bargad.org, talks to Sumit Osmond Shaw, the director of this video…
Scroll down for THE MAKING OF LEBE JETZT– KAL HO NAA HO
Sumit, many congratulations. From where this whole idea came?
Thanks a ton. The idea of the video originally came from the Ambassador himself. For him, modern diplomacy is all about connecting with people. Mr Steiner was quite confident that this song Kal Ho Naa Ho will work; because it has the same meaning as in German they say – Lebe Jetzt – Live right now. He thinks that Bollywood is one of the best ways to reach out to people because Bollywood is also an ambassador of love, peace and harmony reaching out to the world.
How you rate the ‘actors’ in this video?
Carving out of wood has its own fun. Mr. Steiner used to call himself a wood but I convinced him that he would be able to pull off. Now we can say that he has given a tremendous performance. Salman Khurshid is fantastic. He has projected the cuteness of Saif Ali Khan quite nicely. And Ms Eliese is certainly mesmerizing. She glows on screen.
I have worked with noted actors like Sanjay Mishra, Prashant Narayan and Anjali Patil in my first directorial venture. I have also shot with Amitabh Bacchan, Anil Kapoor, Susmita Sen, R. Madhavan,Verendra Sehwag, Sonu Nigam before. Experience was quite helpful in the making of this video.
I must say, I enjoy working with both actors and non-actors.
Would you share some interesting experiences related to Salman Khurshid and the Steiners?
Simply wonderful. Great fun. They are hard working people and have achieved tremendously. Salman Khurshid is a relaxed and spontaneous actor, but the Steiners are very hard working and passionate. Their combined dedication and professionalism made this video to reach this level.
Shooting with Zara, the German shepherd pet of Mr. Salman Khurshid was really good. Zara needed one take shots where the rest of the actors required many retakes to complete the required shot.
Also having too many cups of tea and coffee in the freezing Delhi nights during the shoot, and dancing on the terrace of Ambassador’s residence was something memorable.
The staff of German Embassy who played various characters in the video, were overwhelming, beautiful people with golden hearts.
What problems you faced in shooting and production?
The budget of the original song is huge in comparison with our version. They had amazing locations to play with, but we shot 99 percent of the video within the German Embassy itself. The biggest challenge was to match the frames of the original with the existing location what we got in hands, and I guess we achieved it satisfactorily.
We used to shoot for odd hours and we had to face the freezing nights of Delhi. Fear of rains and thunder was also there.
Lip sync, expressions and then, the moves, all three we needed to get from someone who was not familiar with the language of the song. But, as they say, and I truly believe that music and emotion are beyond boundaries, and Mr Steiner has proven it right. Well! Nothing can go wrong when there are three people with grey hair- Me, Mr. Steiner and Mr. Khurshid.
Tell us something about your background and the works you have done so far?
After working as a journalist for sometime I joined the BBC World Service Trust in 1999. After six year stint with BBC WST and working with various production houses, I moved on to become a freelancer. I wanted to have a free fly as a creative person so I formed a company Baanyan Tree Productions pvt. Ltd.
The idea behind Baanyan was to bridge the gap between what clients want and what creativity demands. And I am proud to say that we are moving ahead with our works- whether it is about Behavioral change communication or hard core selling of brands.
We are producing all genres of audio-visual content for the last 12 years. TV commercials, Public Service Announcements, Documentaries, Short films, Music Videos, corporate films etc. And our first feature film “ISKI USKI SABKI” directed by me is nearing completion. The film features acclaimed actors like Sanjay Mishra, Prashant Narayanan and Anjali Patil.
You write as well?
Yes. I have published three books- two Hindi short story collections and one English verse collection. I also contribute to various print and online platforms. My father was a very well known writer Robin Shaw Pushp, and my mother Geeta shaw writes stories too. And I believe in –there are so many stories which should be told to the world. Medium can be varied, but the main thing is to tell and share these stories. That is my passion.