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Shah Rukh Khan
Gerson Da Cunha
Author, Making of Asoka
'Santosh should make a film with Spielberg' -- Atul Kasbekar
The look of Asoka was already decided by Himanshu and Rahul Nanda by the time I came in the picture. The only debate was whether the long haired or the short haired look would eventually look better on the hoardings and pre-publicity material.
I thought of Ashoka as a very cruel man, even though history suggests that he was a great ruler.
Unlike other rulers of the Mughal period, there were no pictures, but the Ashoka that I researched and found was supposed to be short, dark and not a very hugely built or a handsome person. I pictured him as a despot -- like Mussolini or Hitler.
Having shot Shah Rukh for every campaign that he has done, barring one or two, working with him on Asoka was a pleasure. It was simple. We wanted to break away from his chocolate boyish looks and as this belonged to a different genre of films.
We did the shoot at Filmistan when SRK wrapped up with K3G for the day. Santosh was lighting up for a shot at one end, while I had set up my stuff… and it happened. We were done in ten minutes, Santosh is lightening quick. He had set up the shot in a few minutes. He was ready in the blink of an eye.
I think he is the fastest cameraman that I have ever known. Having a reasonable eye for technical details, I know what I will see in the monitor after the shot has been set up. But with Santosh, what he sets up and what you see on the monitor is just so different. He is so good.
In fact, I think he should go abroad and make a film with the Spielberg. But knowing Santosh, he probably won't. He can do such great work in so little. In fact, I think he may not even know what to do with so many resources at his beck and call.
Although I have seen only 20 per cent of the film, I'm already in love with it. It's brilliant and will bring about a genre of films by itself.
Atul Kasbekar spoke to Pratiksha Arora