Art direction is definitely not an easy task. The task of production design involves a lot of hard work and research, and often, art directors remain away from the limelight. But Sandeep Sharad Ravade is one such name who has managed to establish himself as a production designer despite all the attention going to the star cast. Having a pool of big films in his kitty, Sandeep carries his filmography forward with ‘Mission Mangal’, where he has definitely done a credible job as an art director to contribute to India’s first-ever space film. In conversation with IWMBuzz, Sandeep talks about his journey, his preparations regarding the project, the kind of compliments he has received for Mission Mangal and a lot more. Read on to know more.
So when did you actually think and decide that you want to work in the Hindi film industry as an art director?
I started in 1995. I worked with Sameer da and worked in a few films like ‘Sardari Begum’, ‘Papa Kehte Hai’, ‘Iss Raat Ki Subah Nahi’, etc. Then I worked for a long time with Mr. Sumit Basu. I have done about 20 films with him. After I left there, I started my own. Then I did ‘Baby’ as a production designer. I also did a Chinese period film and it got nominated for the best film in the foreign-language category at the Oscars. That’s how the journey began. I also have the solo credit for movies like ‘Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran’ and also ‘Thackeray’, which starred Nawazuddin Siddique as the lead. It was the biopic of the legendary Balasaheb Thackeray.
So were you always inclined towards art and painting since childhood?
Yeah, because I had studied at Abhinav College, Pune. I had actually come to Mumbai initially for two days with Rs 2,200, but I decided to make my life here in Mumbai. So, I called my mother and told her that no matter how much I will need to struggle here, I will make my career in Mumbai. But I was always inclined towards this field.
How many projects had you done with zero to very little cost when you were struggling to establish yourself as an art director?
Well, a couple of films. Movies like ‘Sardari Begum’ and ‘Iss Raat Ki Subah Nahi’. Some of the movies that I had done with Samir da, I had worked with him for about 1.5 months. After that, I had to ask for a weekly amount and a monthly amount for my bread and butter.
Lastly, you didn’t have any chance to visit ISRO. Still, you did a credible job when it comes to making the sets like ISRO. How did you prepare for it?
Actually, I had seen photos and videos. But the pressure was also to make it look realistic. If you see Hollywood, their space films look realistic. So yes, the toughest job was to make the satellite and the rocket for the film. So I had to do deep research regarding the materials. We ordered them beforehand. It was a difficult task but thanks to the research, we could do it well collectively as a team. A lot of people used to tell me and be surprised after coming two days later because everything had changed. They were like, how did things change in 2 days? But actually, for that 2 days change, I had prepared for 2 months. A lot of people like Vidya ma’am, Taapsee ji and all used to compliment me on this.