Actor Jaaved Jaaferi discusses the challenges of shooting a film against a blue screen, as it heavily relied on VFX due to the inclusion of dwarf characters.
At a time when superhero films was a genre mostly associated with Hollywood, actor Jaaved Jaaferi starred in the 2003 fantasy action comedy Jajantaram Mamantaram. The film gave India its own superhero, who would save people in a far-off village from an evil called Jhamunda, played by Joy Fernandes. As the iconic film completes 20 years (on May 30), Jaaferi recalls how shooting for the film was a fun yet extremely challenging experience .
Jaaved Jaaferi fondly recalls the filming process
“The entire film was very heavy on VFX and I had to shoot the entire thing in front of the blue screen. Back then, there was no green screen, so it used to be all blue around me. The difficult part was to act with no actors in front. There were little matchsticks or wooden pieces placed here and there for the cue, and I had to deliver dialogues by looking at those objects,” recounts the actor who co-starrer with Gulshan Grover and Manav Kaul in the film.
Explaining the process further, the actor adds, “For instance, if the film shows a dwarf sitting on my shoulder, I was talking to the matchstick placed on my shoulder. The only time I had an actor in front of me was during the climax, where I fight with Jhamunda. That’s because we both were of the same size.”
Jaaferi notes that the film gave him a lot of scope to learn as an actor because to react without any action or reaction was quite a task. And challenges didn’t end here as he had also severely injured himself while shooting for a scene.
“Interestingly, it was not during the iconic fight with Jhamunda in the climax. The injury happened when I slipped off a box that I was standing on and tore the meniscus of my knee. It took a lot of time to recover and it still hurts,” he shares.
On hearing the script for the first time
On hearing the film’s script for the first time, the actor says he was fascinated with the idea of giving a desi twist to the characters from Gulliver’s Travels. “That’s a story we all have grown up listening to. Also, at that time, I was hosting adventure task-based reality show, Takeshi’s Castle, and kids loved that kind of stuff, so I agreed to come on board,” he tells us.
Now a cult film, which had received appreciation from audiences across age groups, Jajantaram Mamantaram had a tough run at theatres due to the strike that was going on.
Audiences love the movie even after 20 years
“I remember theatre owners were on some strike for around three weeks and because of that, we lost out on a lot of business. The film could have done much better otherwise. But it still ended up becoming one of the most-watched children’s movies on TV later. Even today, when I stop on signals, kids who come to ask for money, recognise me as Aditya (my character in the film) and excitedly shout ‘Areee Jhamunda…aree Aditya’. This is happening after 20 years so it definitely feels good,” ends Jaaferi.
Disclaimer: Except the headline and synopsis, this story has been taken from the HT News Service