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‘Working on Gandhada Gudi with Puneeth Rajkumar was a fanboy moment fulfilled’- Cinema express

‘Working on Gandhada Gudi with Puneeth Rajkumar was a fanboy moment fulfilled’

...says DOP and editor Pratheek Shetty who shared his experience on working with Puneeth Rajkumar in director Amoghavarsha’s docu-drama, Gandhada Gudi

Published: 24th October 2022

Pratheek Shetty is known for both his editing and cinematography skills. If he got to collaborate with Rishab Shetty and Rakshit Shetty as an editor in Sa.Hi.Pra Shaale, Hero, 777 Charlie, and Kantara, he also worked as a second cameraman in Raj B Shetty’s Garuda Gamana Vrishaba Vahana.

With Puneeth Rajkumar’s Gandhada Gudi, Pratheek has taken up dual responsibilities of both cinematography and editing.

“Coming from Mangaluru, Raj, and I, along with a group of friends started out as ad filmmakers. The kind of projects we would get were usually low on budgets, and we couldn’t afford to outsource either. So we ended up taking double responsibilities. That helped us learn everything on our own. Initially, I started as an editor and got an opportunity to work with music composer Ricky Kej when I came to Bengaluru. Having travelled with Ricky for 6 years, I got the opportunity to direct music videos, and that’s when I got introduced to cinematography. Ricky and Amoghavarsha were mutual friends, and that’s how I got to team up with the latter,” says Pratheek Shetty.

Directed by Amoghavarsha, Gandhada Gudi is slated to release on October 28, and Pratheek shares his experience on working on the film and calls working with Puneeth a ‘fanboy moment.’ “I come from a middle-class background, and back then, I used to be part of a dance group. Puneeth was always an inspiration. I used to practice steps by watching his films. So when Amoghavarsha said that we are getting associated with Puneeth for a project, I felt it was a big deal,” says Pratheek, adding, “Initially, I was scared because I was not used to working with such big stars. But Puneeth made it easy for all of us. Personally, I am a very small person to talk about Puneeth Sir, but I must say it was a fanboy moment fulfilled.”

Pratheek explains how he went about shooting the docu-drama. “Since the entire film was shot in the wild, we went with natural light. Our shoot would begin as early as 6 am, for which we would wake up at 2 am, and would often trek to the location. Even Puneeth Sir showed the same amount of interest, which helped us to achieve that kind of output,” says Pratheek, who travelled with the team for nearly 100 days. “There were times when Puneeth and Amoghavarsha would finish their portions. Post which, I would stay a week longer to take some extra shots,” he adds.  

Pratheek says that shooting with Puneeth for Gandhada Gudi was drastically different from working on a regular feature film. “We would make use of the early morning light between 6 am to 9 am, the golden light, and the night light. There was an equal amount of fun and responsibility. Unlike regular films, Gandhada Gudi did not have a script. Everything that happened between Amoghavarsha and Puneeth Rajkumar was captured. Making it spontaneous was the major challenge. I also got to be close to nature as the film had me study wildlife too. Amoghavarsha helped me and gave me the time to do a lot of recces before we went for the actual shoot. This helped to understand how one forest is different from another in terms of flora and fauna,” says Pratheek.

When asked about Puneeth’s love for nature, Pratheek says, “After spending those 100 days with Puneeth for Gandhada Gudi, I should say that he is an inspiration for people who want to live life to the fullest. Even when we were filming in the wild, he never threw airs about his stardom. He was not just being one of us, but also one with nature. His dedication to Gandhada Gudi was equal to his other feature films. The excitement in him was there throughout, and being with him through his journey was a privilege.”

Pratheek asserts that both as a cinematographer and the editor, there is no doubt that Gandhada Gudi is an experimental film. “The lessons I learned after travelling for this film is that in India, we were taught about Zebras and Giraffes, which aren’t really indigenous to our country. Watching Gandhada Gudi will give an insightful view of the wildlife we are surrounded with, and the nature in our own backyard,” he signs off.

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