Most often when people watch a film they say things like, ‘Oh it was so slow!” or ‘It was so long man.’ They then go on to describe the performances of the film etc. But how does a film find its shape and structure? That’s where a film editor comes in.
Nitin Baid, the editor of Raazi, Gully Boy, Masaan and several other films, takes us through the role of an editor. In a candid chat at his residence, he took us through the challenges of editing a film, conflicts with directors and why editors need to get paid more.
What does an editor do is a question that most people ask Nitin he says. “I don’t think my father realised till very recently what I was doing, till I won my first Filmfare Award,” laughs Nitin.
An editor steps in to provide a certain level of objectivity to the film, often leading to reshoots of certain scenes. He said,
There was this scene (in Masaan) where Vicky (Kaushal) meets Shweta Tripathi for the first time and that’s the famous Bhuja scene. The chemistry we wanted to build between Shalu (Shweta) and Vicky was not happening.Nitin Baid, Film Editor
He added, “So I felt like because I wasn’t feeling it, I should just bounce it off with Neeraj (Ghaywan) and Varun (Grover) quickly. They watched the edit, I had made two-three versions of it. They also felt in a similar way. Varun said that let’s just write a new scene and that scene was actually shot in an hour.”
What is the kind of time that an editor spends on a film, and how does he/she maintain interest and objectivity towards the film?
“Gully Boy was there in the edit for nine months. I know that when I’m getting into a certain film there are a lot of varied narratives. We are going to compress it with time, we are also going to be struggling with time. There is this really famous Martin Scorsese editor Thelma Schoonmaker who has said in one of her interviews that, ‘We all have a bad day, the day you’re having a bad day just shut the computer and just go back home and start afresh,’” said Nitin.
But for all the time that editors spend on a film, do they get paid well?
Nitin said, “It is an extremely underpaid job. For the amount of time and effort that you put in it’s like really really underpaid. A lot of editors and I have also gone through it during my initial phase where the projects have gone from a five month period, my deal has been just for five months and and it’s almost gone on for nine-ten months. And I haven’t got a single penny.”
In spite of this, Nitin can boast of some credible films in his repertoire of work and a great start to 2019 with Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy.
Camera: Sanjoy Deb
Assistant Camera: Gautam Sharma
Video Editor: Ashish MacCune