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How not to shoot re-enactments

And then the puppet asked, “What’s my motivation?”

I was frantically shooting the final third of the film in Rajasthan. Day for Night madness, Truffaut style. Or that’s what I tell my co-producer. Truth is, I set aside ample time to check out some of the state’s acclaimed sights.

It was during one such excursion when I heard a tour guide inform his charges that Rajasthan was the birthplace of Indian puppetry. ┬áReally? So then I ought to… no, there wouldn’t be enough time… but how could I not do…

And so I did. I found some puppeteers and invited them to my hotel one afternoon (when all the other guests were out admiring the forts). We made a makeshift stage in the lobby out of garden benches and gave it a shot.

“It” being my ill-conceived idea of shooting some re-enactment scenes for the film using puppets. For example:

MALE PUPPET:
How come you don’t use sanitary pads?

FEMALE PUPPET:
If I did, we wouldn’t have money left to buy milk. And by the way, who’s pulling the strings around here?

And so on. Problem was, the puppets were of different sizes. And of different types, to boot. (Who knew there’d be more than one type of Rajasthani puppets? Everyone but this idiot, apparently.) Then there were issues with movement, and lighting, and…

Like I said, ill-conceived. But still a fond memory. And it’s a good habit. You gotta take chances while making a film. Oh there will be disasters, but every once in a while, you’ll end up inside John Malkovich’s head.

“They’re ready for their close up, Idiot Director.”