Ballad of Rustom is fully shot on 35millimeter film(not digital) on the Cinemascope format with Sync(live) sound since it was an aesthetic and artistic decision by Director AJITA SUCHITRA VEERA, to shoot only on traditional film and also she wanted to create a visually different scheme for the film. The negative went through a unique process called “Bleach by pass” to create a very very different "look".
The Film itself took 3 years to make since Ajita was particular about several things.The location, which was found after extensive travel around the country, casting was done with both professional & new actors by extensive auditions & there are local non actors as well.
Shooting happened only in the magical hours of light.The Music was also something she collaborated extensively with composer Andrew T Mackay for a powerful score which took 2 years to evolve.
“BALLAD OF RUSTOM”- Director Ajita Suchitra Veera says-“is about imagination, dreams, of the passion for life, love, hope, despair and conflicting philosophies of a few people in a small Indian township-“
“Rustom is seemingly an ordinary young man yet so extraordinary in some ways and, it exposes India in a very different light from what has been seen in Indian Cinema up until now..”says Ajita Suchitra Veera
“ I was particular about using traditional 35millimeter film-and this was a strong decision before we began shooting- I have always loved 35millimeter negative which has it’s own deep cinematic aesthetic, & create this unique vision of grain, rich blacks and unusual color palette..”says DIRECTOR AJITA SUCHITRA VEERA
Ajita wanted to CAST NEW ACTORS in the FILM for the authenticity of the characterisation. The actors were chosen by travelling all over India and with extensive auditions. Also Live SOUND was used in the film and not dubbing, for artistic reasons & for the natural feel of the characters voices ..live sound is not the norm in current Indian Cinema and is not the first choice due to the precision of sound capturing on Location -exceptions appear in few big canvas productions. Dubbing is the norm in Indian productions since it’s easier.
“We did several things to make sure sound was captured right-and quite often we had enough Sound Takes for Actors to make sure we got our stuff and the Director was quite particular about location sounds..we recorded a vast variety of bird sounds and ambience which are so true to the film and location-it gives an authenticity”-Barun Maitra (First Assistant)
"As a composer one is always looking for the next great project to work on and Ballad of Rustom was certainly one for me. Composing a score that is perhaps not expected for such a film is always a challenge and a joy - especially when that is also what the director wants! This is a beautiful film - both real and surreal-says Andrew T Mackay –Film Composer
The Casting was done for over 2 years –searching for actors who could become the potential characters in the film.The Cast includes, professional actors & also many small town people part of the landscape who play key roles in this film. AJITA wanted Indian audiences to have a novel cinematic experience and introduce them to truly innovative and bold new Cinema and begun “IMAGINEM CINEMA” which she founded to make such Cinema in India. Ballad of Rustom a tale of joy and sorrow, passionate friendship and unspoken love marks a new chapter in Indian Cinema.
“When I read the script I knew it had to be 35mm,cinemascope,beautiful landscapes, and amazing colors-but it was also decided that these factors should not over power the film & Ajita was damn sure about it.she said let us do a Bleach By Pass on the negative since she had already experimented with this on her previous film”Solitary Sandpiper and we took the plunge” says Shanti Bhushan Roy-Cinematographer, (Director of Photography)
Shot fully on rich 35 millimeter Film on the Cinemascope format quite uncompromisingly using Motion Picture Cameras with live sound and shot in exquisite natural locations in a small remote township in the Indian countryside in Natural light through the seasons, and made over a couple of years including scripting, raising funds unconventionally and searching for the right cast, and locations, BALLAD OF RUSTOM is gritty and bold New Independent Cinema from India -made with immense passion for Cinema-
“Passion. Detail. Take After take..Ajita knew what she wanted. It wasn't the easiest of conditions to shoot under..she braved it all- never compromised.. - Denzil Smith-Lead Actor
Ballad of Rustom-is the story of an imaginative young man in the remote Indian Countryside, who is a dreamer and who seems to drift into his imaginary world in the beautiful hills around him- and what could be a better backdrop than the awe inspiring locales of Southern India’s most exotic coffee plantations in-“Coorg” nestled in the jungles and hills of Karnataka’s undulating landscape.The entire film was shot in raw remote locations in Coorg-Karnataka.