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Making The Video: Airport

Airport will premiere their debut video ‘Raat’ tomorrow on NH7. We speak with producer Sapna Bhavnani about the concept of the video and the crazy things that happened on-set. “Some people could think of it as just three people hanging out, and he’s giving her more attention, or maybe there was actually a threesome.”

5 Oct, 2010

Grishma Rao

Writer At Large

Mumbai Hindi rock band Airport are releasing their debut video for the song ‘Raat’ tomorrow as an NH7 premiere. The video was directed by Siddharth Sikand of Bang Bang Productions, and produced by Sapna Bhavnani, who has also acted in the video. We spoke to Sapna Bhavnani about the beautifully shot, black and white, somewhat-ambiguous video and found out what went on behind-the-scenes.

What was the concept of the video?
Arijit (Datta, frontman) had not written a song in a really long time, since separating from Agnee. He had formed Airport but still there was nothing coming to him. We started dating, and one night I was fast asleep and he was just sitting there, and he was trying to write a song and wondering what the fuck to write about and he thought, “Holy shit let me just write about what’s in front of me, that is, me trying to write a song, and this woman who is sleeping in front of me.” So the song started off pretty much with him sitting there and then we see me who’s sleeping there, and he starts writing about that. The thing is he wanted to be very true to that in the video, and portray it as that. The lyrics are very self explanatory. They have a story.

When your lyrics have a story, and if you try to tell a story with your video as well, then your video has to follow the lyrics – you can’t have two simultaneous stories – it would confuse a person. We decided if we were literal it would be quite boring, because how much can you just show this woman sleeping and him writing, right? So we decided to come up with a very modern issue and since we’re not tied up with a label, we have no restrictions, we have nobody telling us what we can do and what we cannot do with our video, so lets push boundaries.

Arijit Datta and Sapna Bhavnani

So I spoke to Sid and initially I was going to direct this song, and then he heard the song and said “I’m directing this, fuck you,” and he sent me a reference. It was a Lindsay Lohan video which is in one room, with Lindsay and her friend Anna – it’s about a threesome pretty much. So he was just like, “I wanna push boundaries.” But we didn’t wanna really push it to that level as in show a threesome threesome. We shot a lot of scenes like that, but it was more up to the viewer’s imagination because I didn’t want it to be like, just have a third party and go to bed. We have conversations, we do talk, it was more like foreplay, so I wanted to tap into that aspect a little bit, be a little more subtle.

So we decided for the story to be about a night – him and I are a couple, this woman is there and he’s giving her more attention than me so obviously I’m pissed off, and there’s a little tiff or fight between us and in the end we make up and move on. It’s something of a modern day issue, and we really wanted to tap into the modern day world because this kinda shit also happens.

We didn’t want to be very in-your-face about the sexuality when it came to the threesome, because we didn’t want that kind of audience to be passing it around just to look at it like soft porn or something like that, because I know how India is. So I decided to make it have just a little undertone, a little tease, a little talking, make it a little suggestive, so it’s up to your mind where you want to take it and I quite like that part of it as well.

Some people could think of it as just three people hanging out, and he’s giving her more attention, or maybe there was actually a threesome, I quite like that people can come up with their own conclusions, I quite like that in a story.

Were there any interesting experiences on set?
Yeah, there were lots! Arijit is a very shy guy, and there were so many points where like – I was taking off his t-shirt and he was just freaking out, he was like “Dude I can’t do this!” He’s really sweet, all he wanted to come out of this video was inspiration and love. He’s such an old-fashioned guy and I love that about him. “I don’t want it to be very sexual. I just want it to be about love, because this song is about love and it should come across.” So we were like, “Yea dude, there are many ways of showing love.” For example him and I kissing – it’s a very normal, very great way of showing love, instead of just holding hands and walking on the beach. It’s the same thing, it’s better than showing two roses. And I was like “Baby it’s you and I, that’s why I’m in the video, so that you would open up to me.” We wanted it to be very real, you can see with the styling as well. We didn’t want to go overboard and make it like completely high fashion, I wanted it to be very real, very chilled out, a home environment.

Arijit Datta and Sapna Bhavnani in the video of 'Raat'

The weird part for him was when Minakshi, the other girl, came in and there were some parts – we did do something sexual with her and I, and he was getting really uncomfortable, but we edited all of that. He was pretty much ready to walk off the set. He couldn’t handle it, and that’s when I fell in love with him all over again, realizing how old fashioned he is. I quite like that in many ways – because I mean what guy wouldn’t want to see that! I mean your girlfriend and another woman, and even the director and the DoP were telling him “Dude you’re the stud! Like everyone here would love to be in the situation that you’re in! And you’re freaking out about the whole thing.” I think we spent like two or three hours just calming him down like “It’s gonna be okay, it’s gonna be okay.”

Minakshi in the video of Airport's 'Raat'

Minakshi was superb, I wanted to find a girl that we did not know. How do you go to a stranger and say, “Hey do you want to do like a threesome role?” How do you do that? And I was like, shit I cannot find a person. Then my friend Sarika told me, “I have a friend who really respects you, and really likes you, and used to read your column, so she came and met me and she was totally for it! I was like whoa, this is superb. And she’s an actor, so she’s quite comfortable in front of the camera. And on the day of the shoot she was like full on! Even I was a bit like, shy, and, “Dude I just can’t jump into this, I need to be talked to first.” It was really fun, the minute she came in. Initially me and Arijit were cool, doing our thing, and then she came and he was just freaking out. I was a little apprehensive for a little bit, then I got comfortable with the entire situation.

How long did it take to shoot?
One day, one shift. We found a really beautiful old Parsi place in Colaba, and did it up with all these props from my house. We were really happy that Kartik (Kartik Vijay) was going to shoot it, because he’s really well known in the ad world and movie world, and I’d worked with him on many ads, and I’d always wanted to work with him on a personal project. Sid, who’s also a director with Bang Bang Productions – he had also wanted to work with Kartik because he’d heard a lot about him. So for all of us it was just great to all be working on this project, we’d all come together, we knew what we wanted to do and we just shot it in a day. I just really wanted to make a video without it looking like a home video, and nowadays a 7D isn’t hard to get your hands on, you can just rent it, it’s not that expensive, and because of that we have so much power in our hands to – even if you have no budget, you can at least make your video look good. It was mainly like, since I was the producer and the budget was coming out of my pocket, but it was very important that it should not look like a cheap home video. That’s why having a good DoP and the 7D really, really paid off.

Sapna Bhavnani and Arijit Datta

Watch out for the video premiere of ‘Raat’ tomorrow on NH7. Stream the song on our Airport page.

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