Decoding A Scene: The immaculate details that went into Vineeth Sreenivasan's 'Jacobinte Swargarajyam'


Nivin Pauly-starrer 'Jacobinte Swargarajyam' was one of the biggest commercial hits during the summer of 2016. A family drama, it narrates the story of Jerry Jacob (Nivin Pauly) as he tried to revive his father's business, repay old debts and bring back his father Jacob (Renji Panicker), a businessman who had fled the country after incurring huge debts.

Shot in Dubai, the movie has a handful of thrilling, time-bound shots in metro railway stations and courtrooms.

Actor-singer Vineeth Sreenivasan donned the director's hat for the movie. He explained how even simple sequence of shots in the film required immaculate planning and calculations.

"'Jacobinte Swargarajyam' might appear like a movie which is shot without putting many efforts. There is a scene in that movie wherein Nivin Pauly's character gets into a conversation with the antagonist Muraly Menon inside a metro station," Vineeth recalled.

In the shot, a metro train stops at the station when Muraly Menon completes his dialogue. The door of the train opens when Muraly's character pauses a particular dialogue. Muraly boards the train and the door closes when Muraly waves bye. The scene had these much actions taking place in a single sequence, Vineeth said.

"The first thing we did was to calculate the frequency of metro trains. We wanted to know the accurate time gap between two metro trains. We noted down the minutes and seconds between the departure of a train and the arrival of next. So if Muraly Menon delivered his dialogue at a particular pace, a train would arrive, and its door would be opened by the time he completes.

"Next, we ascertained Muraly's pace of body language and matched it with the time he would take to board the train and wave at Nivin Pauly," the young director said.

Vineeth said that there are two critical factors to this scene. First one is cameraman's timing. He should capture the movements which are very detailed and limited. Vineeth entrusted this duty with Joemon T John. The second factor was the actors' timing. They had to start delivering dialogues within seconds after the camera starts rolling. They had to deliver it at a particular pace that the train had to stop by the time they finish it.

"I didn't have to worry much about our cameraman. Planning was a crucial part. We wouldn't have got a single-shot sequence unless all the actions took place in perfect sync. I was so happy when I received the end product as I wished. I still feel happy whenever I watch that scene on television," he said.

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