While the football fever is on, I remember the day we had to shoot the football match for “Lilkee”. For days, I’d been trying to pass on the responsibility to someone else, Vivek maybe, an assistant director, the kids, and hoping they’d bite. I’d also tried wistful sighing, reminding everyone that on a commercial film set, the match would be looked after by an action choreographer, and I may not even have landed up on the location. We would also have had at least two days to shoot the match, more raw stock, and professional child artistes, who knew how to play football.
But this is a low-budget film, and I have no choice but to land up on location, and face the unit, all men, who look at me knowing I know nothing of football, nor anything about shooting the game. Twenty or more children, from the apartment block we are shooting, are at their morning best, creating a din, which makes it even harder for me to assume or pretend control. They kick around the ball, and go from one end of the garden to the other, and behave as if they’ve never played football before. The pathetic attempts I’ve made at a shot breakdown, curl up limply in my sweaty, terrified hands.
We have two hours to finish the shoot. Vivek’s getting impatient, we are all yelling at each other to no effect, my assistant director goes off into silence nursing a cold. I go off to the loo, and have a secret cry, sure that everyone finds me ridiculous. I come back on location to find Aiman crying as well, for no real reason except she can feel my desperation.
I wonder why I ever wrote that football match into the script. We bung through the two hours, in a sort of stoic frenzied way. And trust to the editor to cover up the “absence” of the director.
I watch Germany and Argentina play for the World Cup, look at the tight circle of cameras around them, and keep thinking of how I could have handled my own football match better. I’m looking at the TV, but don’t see Argentina make a goal.
Sometimes, you are so busy scratching your own backside, you miss the moment.