First Time is Always Special

By Sunny Verma | 1st Oct, 2011

On Set - The Bridge

The Bridge has screened at the following festivals:
- Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival - 2011
- Monaco Charity Film Fest - 2011
- Hyart Film Fest - 2011
- WorldKids International Film Fest - 2011


Yes, first is first and nothing can ever replace it. Be it the first job, the first kiss, the first child or even your first film. You will always cherish it regardless of how it turns out.

And I cherish my first film - "The Bridge" like my child. Although I won't ever go through the agony of childbirth in this lifetime, I have to admit that I did come close to experiencing the ordeal while making or rather conceiving this special one.

When I first set out to work on The Bridge, I was as confused as any other student film maker normally is. Several ideas played hide and seek in my mind for several months as the 6-month course progressed from the history of cinema to the shot division exercises. The early ideas included a love story centred around Facebook, a more serious one was about the night of 26/11 during which a wife is on phone with her husband who is stuck in the Taj Hotel, then there was a thriller about a girl and a guy stealing from a jewellery shop. But all were dismissed due to lack of logistics, actors, budget or the 10 minute time limit. By the way, in order to successfully complete my diploma in film direction, I was supposed to make a short of not more than 10 minutes duration and with zero budget.

And just as the apple fell on the ground, the story of my diploma film landed on my door step in a newspaper. I usually don't get time to read the newspaper other than the headlines and the sports page. So spotting that little article tucked safely somewhere in the corner of the inside pages was truly a miracle. It was about this bizarre incident that had happened thousands of miles away. It had this happy sad sort of feel to it, was unbelievable yet real. And it was to become the inspiration for my first film "The Bridge".

With the solution of finding the script came several problems. The incident had a long back- story to it and establishing the whole thing in 10 minutes was a thing to ponder about. I racked my brains, sought advice from various people who in fact told me to keep reading the newspaper for some better ideas. So I stopped seeking advice just so that I didn't lose my conviction. The solution to the problem came during one night that I remember vaguely. It must be 3 or 4 am, not sure whether I was half asleep or not. The screenplay played in my head and it showed the way of telling the entire background within the stipulated time. I woke up and started documenting whatever I had dreamt the night before and within the next week, the final draft was ready.

Over to the second big issue. The script required 'extensive' outdoor shooing, that too in a city like Mumbai which makes even the professional film makers quite apprehensive. But bless the engineers at places like Sony and Cannon for making those tiny, portable things called HD cameras without which we budding film makers would be unable to get away with our guerrilla shoots. So after two days of indoor and three 3 hour sessions on a bridge in Lokhandwala, "The Bridge" slowly came to life. It had minor hiccups like a small accident of my beloved car, a thunderstorm that almost destroyed our camera and a visit by the ever cautious Mumbai police during one of our outdoor excursions. But I loved every minute of it and even managed to tape most of the making of The Bridge.

Happy that the tough part was over, the film moved to the more controlled environment of post-production. And that's when I realized that the child is after all only special to you and is of little significance to others. Apart from my editor, the people doing the post production gave me a hell of a time. I had to sit for hours to get hold of the FCP machines at the academy, beg the guys to give more time for doing the sound and was just not able to get the credits done the way I wanted. Fed up after 2 months of post, I downloaded a trial version of Sony Vegas and called upon my DOP Satish, who had little experience with the software, to do the color correction and other stuff.

And finally the moment came. My first film was finally complete. With the knowledge gained during post production, I was even able to make a respectable documentary from the footage recorded during the making and titled it - Building "The Bridge". So here I was with 2 films to my credit at the end of the course.

Some liked the film and some had "issues". It got selected at some film fests, got rejected at many but I ask myself, does that really matter? Coz you love your child no matter how beautiful or ugly it is. And I was doubly thrilled as I had delivered twins!

THE BRIDGE was completed on 12 Nov, 2010. Building "The Bridge" was completed on 13 Nov, 2010. Both the films premiered at Digital Academy on 14 Nov, 2010.

Directed by Sunny Verma, the film stars Pransh Chopra, Krati Khujneri and Anisha Verma. Cinematography by Satish Kumar Turai and Produced by Digital Academy, Mumbai.

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  • Priyanka Panicker | 29 Oct, 2011

    Wow! very well written article. All the best for your film career Sunny.

    • Sunny Verma | 30 Oct, 2011

      Thanks Priyanka

  • Darshan Goradia | 2 Oct, 2011

    Well done Sunny, loved the film. Many more to go I'm sure :)

    • Sunny Verma | 3 Oct, 2011

      Thanks a lot Darshan

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