The Speaking Lens
by Honey Patnaik
“ L ife behind the camera is magical because it is a different world, when your lenses start talking” says Mr. Chandrashekhar Rath, well known director and DOP(director of photography), who’s known to create magical moments with his camera. “There should be a hunger to do something in life and I am always hungry to do more and to create something worthwhile. Choose a job that you love and you will not have to work for a single day,” he adds.
“After completing over 500 commercial films between ads and teleshopping, short films for social causes, documentaries, serials and films, I am happy that I have done a lot of quality work,” he smiles.
Chandra bagged the best cinematographer award for the feature film ‘Blue Mountains’ which has an important message— participation is important, not winning. Directed by Suman Ganguly, the movie featured in the 8th Nasik International Film Festival, 2016.
Mr. Rath recently directed ‘Rhythm of Life’, a twelve minute short documentary film on child malnutrition which got a special mention by the jury at the 4th NOIDA International Film Festival, 2017. What made it more so special for Mr. Rath was that the master blaster, Sachin Tendulkar was also a part of this film. The short film was produced by ‘Save the Children’ along with ‘Apanalaya India’, an NGO run by Mrs. Annabel Mehta, Tendulkar’s mother-in-law. They are working together in Govandi, to address the issue of child malnutrition in urban slums.
“I wish to make a full length film ‘Khwaish’ with ‘cancer’ as the theme. There is always a ray of hope for people suffering from this deadly disease. In the movie, the protagonist plays the part of a cancer patient who goes on to become a national champion in athletics, post recovery. It is supported by WHO, CPAA, and the Health Ministry, Government of India.”
“When I started my career with Vijay Arorain Hasratein, I was just a simple cameraman. Life started snowballing slowly and the turning point came when bhajan samrat Anup Jalota gave me the big break to do a music album for him.
I am an old town toka(grins) and I owe my e ducat iona l foundation to Biju Patnaik Film & Television Institute of Odisha (BPFTIO), in Cuttack. I first learnt the how, what, why, where and when of using the lens at this institute, which went on to create magic for me in life. I will never forget the date 26th August, 1997, when I reached Mumbai as a fresh and goggle eyed youngster with larger than life dreams. There has been no looking back since then and in seven years from then, I launched ‘Rajalaxmi Film Productions’ which has employed many Odia technicians and actors.
Other than my work, my life revolves around my family—My thirteen year old daughter Janavi and my wife Sujata, who is my pillar of strength who helps me in my projects and has always encouraged me to realize my dreams. I am also very fond of two things, which are a must for me, whenever I get back to Bhubaneswar—my favourite food pakhala-macha bhaja and a visit to my Balunga Toka khatti.
It was a moment of great pride and a ‘dream come true’ moment when I received the Padmavati Award for cinematic excellence in 2016. When I look back at all my years, I’m grateful to my state Odisha, that has given me a lot of love and encouragement.”
Three decades behind the camera lens, honing his craft, zooming in and out as he creates his magic, there is still no dearth of energy and enthusiasm in his eyes, as he just keeps getting better. ❏