Art & Entertainment

Manoj Kumar Khatoi On Sooraj Barjatya: To Consistently Make Films On Values That Define People For 33 Years Is Not A Cakewalk

Manoj Kumar Khatoi worked with legendary producer and director Sooraj Barjatya in the theatrical film ‘Uunchai’ which starred the stalwarts of Hindi cinema like Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Danny Denzongpa and Neena Gupta along with Parineeti Chopra and Sarika.

Manoj Kumar Khatoi And Sooraj Barjatya
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The world is all about perspective. What you see depends largely on how and through what medium you are viewing it. Cinematographer Manoj Kumar Khatoi, who is known for his work in Bollywood and is a prominent advertisement cinematographer, is capturing the essence of stories in his lens with one frame at a time.

Recently, Manoj worked with legendary producer and director Sooraj Barjatya in the theatrical film ‘Uunchai’ which starred the stalwarts of Hindi cinema like Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Danny Denzongpa and Neena Gupta along with Parineeti Chopra and Sarika.

The film marked the return of Sooraj Barjatya to the silver screen 7 years after his last film ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’. Sooraj, who is known for his calm and composed demeanour, was a delight to work with, shares Manoj.

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Manoj Kumar Khatoi Instagram

Talking about the experience of working with Sooraj Barjatya, Manoj shares, “Sooraj sir commands a towering legacy because to consistently make films on values that define people for 33 years is not a cakewalk. For me, the best part of working with him was the clarity in his mind as a director. He set me free to explore the emotions, the locations and the character. Often, he would ask for suggestions from me on how things could be made better out of the ambit of cinematography. It really makes you feel involved and one with the greater cause of telling a story collectively in the collaborative medium of filmmaking”.

The cinematography was the bedrock of the film which presented a heartwarming story as the shooting locations spanned Everest base camp, Delhi, Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh and even Lukla and Kathmandu in Nepal. What made the shoot tricky was the use of terrain as an important element in the story.

Recollecting the challenges, Manoj says, “The journey to ‘Uunchai’ was rife with challenges as we fought unpredictable weather, geographical challenges and physical strain. But, it was all worth it as the film beautifully tied its narrative around a friendship that stood the test of time and manifested itself even after the passing of one of the friends from the group. Capturing the vast expanse of the landscape is on every cinematographer’s bucket list and to have veteran actors like Mr. Bachchan, Anupam sir and Boman sir doing what they’re known for against such picturesque backdrops, was truly heartening”.

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