Mitesh Mirchandani is a rising cinematographer in the industry who is currently based in based in Mumbai. Only 26, he DP’d the feature film Neerja, which could be the sleeper hit movie of 2016. From here on out, his future is bright.
Interview with Mitesh Mirchandani:
Matthew Toffolo: How is the film scene in India? What do North American audiences need to know about the films your country produces?
Mitesh Mirchandani: There are lots of films being made on a regular basis. Various different genre’s. Lots of interesting and original content coming your way. Indian cinema its not about song and dance anymore. Lots of the films being made in our country tap into the human emotion. So there’s an instant connect.
Matthew: Out of all the projects you’ve worked on, what film are you most proud of?
Mitesh: The film currently in cinemas titled “NEERJA”.
Matthew: Generally, how do you get hired to work on a film? You have worked on many different types of films, from light comedy to intense thrillers. Your range is wide and long.
Mitesh: We have a very few agents here in India. So we get direct calls from production houses asking about our availability. Yes I particularly don’t want to stick to a similar kind of film. I feel to explore all genres
Matthew: The film NEEJA (2016) is a wonderful film that is just coming out in North America and I hope many people get to see it. What were you initial conversations with director Ram Madhvani on the overall cinematic design of the film? The film feels so real.
Mitesh: I must insist people go watch it, it’s really an amazing film not because I’m a part of it but its truly something you shouldn’t miss. A lot of the approach came from the director: No lights. No marks for the actors. 360 degree shooting. All handheld. Just capturing the moment rather than staging it. Long takes following the actors. We call this the “Indian Eye”. With a lot of clutter and ciaos visual cacophony.
We didn’t want to light the film and wanted it to be very natural. I did not use any lights and even the aircraft has only the existing lights – bulbs and tubelights. I lit the plane like a normal plane is lit. I spent a lot of time with the production designer figuring out where and how we could add practical lights everywhere.
PHOTO: Still shot from the film NEERJA:
Matthew: You’ve worked on a lot of short films. What keeps inticing you to work on shorts? Do you like/love the medium?
Mitesh: Honestly any medium to tell a story. Be it a commercial a short of a feature. I enjoy all of it.
Matthew: What type of film would you love to work on that you haven’t worked on yet?
Mitesh: I think I’d love to shoot a si-fi, and maybe a drama/crime Mystery.
Matthew: What does a DP look for in its director?
Mitesh: A collaborator, someone with a vision. Someone they can get along with.
Matthew: What does a director for for in its DP?
Mitesh: I think someone who understands their vision and can add something of their own to the project. Enhancing the director’s vision in a positive way.
Matthew: Where do you see the future of camera/lighting technology in film?
Mitesh: I think smaller and faster cameras. Similarly with lighting smaller more compact setups as the sensitivity of the cameras is increasing.
Matthew: What film, besides the ones you’ve worked on, have you seen the most times in your life?
In recent times – Rush.
Both of cinematographers I completely look up to.