In 2000, I started my career as a junior computer graphic artist in a small but popular film studio; in Mumbai. I was hardly 21; naive, dumb, and half-mad.
He’s in smoke.
This is the first conversation I heard on the first day of my job; offered by the HOD of computer graphic and animation department. I was wondering about this smoke word. I was delighted and surprised to know that the studio had a smoking room. It was much later that I came to know that Smoke is a film editing and SFX software.
See, I told you I was dumb!
In a few days, I gathered the courage to peek inside the smoke room and found this man sitting inside the darkroom. He was tall and the hunk and was doing his stuff — swiftly — on the software. We eventually got introduced at lunchtime.
Bunty Nagi was the top employee of the studio. Everyone looked at him with utter respect that he had earned for himself due to his modest nature and peculiar art and craft for film editing.
Successful editors require a strong sense of story, which isn’t a flashy skill and Bunty had it all. Editors also play a critical role in shaping a film’s narrative and how a story is told. I used to observe him and other editors while they work busy working.
I think, it just took us a week to become a good friend. He was quite open, and a friendly person and offered me his pearls of wisdom. In a short while, I’d made friends with every artist in the studio. It was a small studio but with rare gems.
One thing that makes the art of cinema distinct is its ability to show the viewer something, CUT, and connect it to something else that creates new meaning, understanding, and feelings.
I witnessed the first CUT at his table.
I clearly remember one funny incident when he visited our computer graphic room. I was a junior and out of a weird habit, I never used to sit when a senior was around.
Bunty was in the room and I was showing him some graphic that needed to be added to his edit. He repeatedly requested me to sit but I was adamant. I think he got furious and said something that I can’t forget for a lifetime.
Agastya, the only thing that looks good standing is a dick. Understood.
I’d found my enlightenment and sat down next to him; immediately. Sometimes, you need shock therapy to make you work; or sit.
Those were the days.
We’ve so many fond memories of working with each other in daytime and hopping bars at night.
Oops! Silent, can’t give any details on that one!
I may write another blog post about my encounter with the nights of Mumbai. But till then, let’s continue with this one.
I remember one more incident when we were sitting in his car and he was — briefly — discussing an opportunity he got — to edit the mega Hindi film Kaante. He got married and this opportunity demanded a long stay in the USA for a shoot. He was quite skeptical and asked my suggestion; randomly.
I was naive but I knew that it was a golden opportunity to set his footprint in the world of Bollywood. Not that my suggestion must have meant a lot to him at that time but he made it quite big after that opportunity.
He’s a big-time film editor now with more than 40 films under his profile. He’s a celebrated film editor and even has an IMDb profile.
This is huge for me!
He’s a busy man now and runs his own studio along with two other master-editors — Manish and Deven. These 3 musketeers are quite popular in the film industry; just in case you wanted to know a little more.
So, while I’m still an amateur and don’t know anyone in the film industry, I know Bunty who in turn knows all of them. The best part is that whenever I visit him, he welcomes me with a warm heart even if he’s super busy.
Believe me, it takes a lot of courage to be a good human, to be the one you were before, to be a constant friend, and to be humble; always.
There’s one in a million who’s a great-successful artist, a friend, and a phenomenal human being. This is a deadly — and rare — combination; and Bunty has it in him. I call such people the epitome of goodness.