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'K3G will be the biggest film after Sholay'

Cinematographer Kiran Deohans is on a roll.

His film Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is due for release on December 14, and he could not be any prouder!

His previous film Aks did not do well at the box office. But Deohans is not deterred. His trained eye has made an K3G look opulent.

Deohans, in conversation with Pratiksha Arora:

How did K3G happen?

K3G will be the biggest film after Sholay. I have Amitji to thank.

Karan Johar saw a song we had shot for Aks at the Bachchan residence. He was very impressed with it. Since he was on a lookout for a new cinematographer he called me. Besides, it was Amitji who first recommended me.

When I came back to cinema after Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, I wanted to stick to working on only one film a year. Amitji knew that; he told me to meet Karan.

When he recommended me, how could I refuse?

My first meeting with Karan lasted over three hours. He gave me a bound script but said he'd like to narrate the story to me if I had the time. I did.

So he told me his entire dream, the whole 360-page script, from memory. It was amazing. He knew the script by heart, page for page, scene for scene, word for word.

The K3G look is very different from Aks. K3G is more international, a different school altogether. Besides, Aks was black cinema. In K3G, the look is opulent, but it is not loud.

What was your first reaction?

I was very keen on the film. Provided I was given the facilities I wanted and the freedom to do things my way.

I told Karan I wanted to be involved since the inception -- clothes, makeup, sets -- only then could I translate his vision on screen. In fact, the film has not been shot in a cut frame -- MTV style. There were cameras that whirred around back and forth, so I had to light from a distance. That was a big challenge.

Besides, Karan wanted his women to look lovely. They could look ungainly -- even if they were crying. I had to take care of that!

What do you feel now that you can see the results?

It has turned out brilliantly. I cry every time I see the film.

Jaya Bachchan told me how much she liked my work. So has Amitabh Bachchan. Karan has not said anything to me but he told Adi (friend Aditya Chopra, director of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Mohabbatein) about how happy he was with my work. That is the best compliment!

Were there any problems with such a big starcast?

In the beginning, there were problems in terms of time. Since this was a big starcast, I could not keep them waiting. But Karan gave me all the time and freedom to light up the huge sets. But my work managed to convince everybody when they saw the trials on video.

In fact, when we shot at Egypt, the light was perfect only between 0700 hrs and 0900 hrs. We were two hours away from our hotel. So that meant that Shah Rukh and Kajol had to wake up at 0400 hrs.

Karan was not sure whether they would agree to get up so early. But they did. And the results are obvious for everybody to see.

Which is your favourite sequence?

The whole sequence where Amitabh Bachchan is repenting due to his clash with his son. That's my favourite.

Inputs from Vivek Fernandes

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