IIT KGP En Plein Air Diary – Prologue

iit kgp epa prologue

02 May 2017, Day of Trial Shoot

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” – The Alchemist

May be this is really how it works after all! I can’t say for sure, and only time will tell;but till now there have been enough indications to prove it; and I am slowly turning into a believer.

Trial in Progress
Trial shoot in Progress at Nehru Museum

As a plein air painter and a KGPian, I have always wanted to come back and capture the different moods of our campus in real time on canvas. I probably started thinking about it more than seven years ago when I got hooked onto painting outdoors. But frankly, I had never really wanted to do it desperately enough. The ‘wanting really bad’ thing happened in March this year when I came back to meet a friend at campus. I was in the campus after twenty years; and was seeing it through the eyes of a painter this time. That is when inspiration struck. Around the same time I was also exploring the idea of making short sketching based videos for a government organisation (which never moved beyond concept stage).  As a natural progression, by that night I was dreaming of not only painting different locations in the campus, but also of capturing it on film. By the next morning, it had turned into a very strong desire.

The Painting that did not work
The Painting that did not work

Back home I started to look for documentary film makers. I met a few amateurs and professionals but nothing really worked out. Either I would not be convinced about the person or he would not be convinced about my idea. And when there was agreement, the budget was far beyond what I thought I could raise. As an artist my own income is meager and suddenly the idea of making the film seemed too far fetched because of the costs involved. There was a point when I had almost given up on my dream. But as luck would have it I got introduced to the ex Gymkhana VP of IITKGP and that is when I learnt about Technology Filmmaking and Photography Society (TFPS). And suddenly there was a ray of hope.

Vegies
Vegies

Very soon I was talking to Lokesh (TFPS head) and he seemed to like the idea and I liked what I saw of his work as a film maker and we decided to meet at KGP. Yesterday when I came down and met Lokesh, we started bonding in no time and I thought that was a great sign. But even after more than four hours of delightful conversation and ideation, what initially seemed to be a great idea was not looking like an implementable one. Both of us were completely unsure of how to go about making the film. That’s why we decided to do a trial shoot today, and probably that would help Lokesh to get some idea about how the film can be made.

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The vegies sketch
The vegies sketch

When I woke up today morning I was pretty nervous. The events of the day would probably decide whether the film can be made or not…

The first place for the shoot was Nehru museum. The combination of my nerves and May heat of KGP made me quite jittery and restless. Needless to say, I was not happy with what I painted there. It was a complete blur. Thankfully none of the camera guys turned up for the shoot; and the trial shoot was moved to the afternoon at Vegies.

It was around 4 in the afternoon when I reached Vegies and took my position opposite to the entrance. The heat had come down, and there was a slight breeze. Vegies was slowly coming back to life as people had started returning from classes. I started sketching to get used to my environment and soon I felt relaxed. Probably it was a bit of everything that put me at ease. Or maybe it was the aura of Vegies.  The camera guys soon turned up and started shooting. My inspired self was starting to break free from my nervous self and colours were starting to flow well on paper. Short conversations were being made with passers- by (which is such an integral part of the process of painting en plein air) and I was enjoying myself. Soon it was dark, but I managed to finish the painting in time.

Vegies En Plein Air Almost Done
Vegies En Plein Air Almost Done

Post the shoot we moved to Vegies and soon others joined in. Everyone seemed to like what I had done and I could sense that Lokesh had also got some direction in his head about the film. With most of the equipment and professional fees removed from the equation, the expenses for the film are also looking reasonable now. I think I should be able to raise the funds needed.

Looking back at how things have progressed so far, I feel very happy and positive right now. The idea that seemed to have hit a dead end just a month ago, has just found wings and is ready to take off…Well, almost. The film crew still need to get clarity about the film, funds still need to be raised and everything else still needs to fall into place. But I have a gut feel and it’s a good one; – that Paulo Coelho is going to be right after all!

En Plein Air at Vegies
En Plein Air at Vegies