Bollywood director Vishal Bhardwaj needs no introduction when it comes to modern filmmaking. For him, technology will always assist in good story-telling but what he has achieved with iPhone 14 Pro in creating a 30-minute magic on screen is something that gives him goosebumps.
Shot entirely on an iPhone 14 Pro — ‘Fursat’ with Ishaan Khattar and Wamiqa Gabbi in lead roles — according to Bhardwaj, has proved that making a full-blown, two-hour feature film is now possible with the device. And he is willing to take a shot at it.
“Not just short films, I feel that the iPhone is now ready to help us create a full feature film. It is kind of unbelievable that we can have such a kind of stabilisation in scenes with Action Mode in iPhone 14 Pro. Cinematic Mode, or shift focus in our language, is another intelligent feature. The amazing part is that we could use this Cinematic Mode tool even after the shot was taken,” Bhardwaj said.
The device, he said, gives freedom to filmmakers who cannot afford to hire the entire fleet of tech equipment.
“It liberates you. You have a great device and now you only need content,” he said, adding that several years down the line, people will actually realise the transformation the iPhone has brought to the world of filmmaking.
The film has all the ingredients of popular cinema, including songs and choreographed dances, which are integral to Bollywood, packaged together on a scale never seen before for a non-commercial film.
“A traditional film camera comes with 10 people, 3 attendants and 10 boxes of lenses. You can’t move around. You can’t be quick. The iPhone liberated me in that sense,” said Bhardwaj.
“I’ve never had this kind of scale in my films ever before. And this can tell you about the scale the iPhone can achieve. As a device, it’s taking you out of the limitations which we had when we were growing up,” he added.
According to Swapnil Sonawane, director of photography, the phone’s action mode is an interesting feature.
“For it to be held in your hand and run with all your might looking at the actor, one can get extremely steady shots, without external gimbal. The way Cinematic mode shifts focus is the way the focus puller would, it’s an emotional shift focus, which is what was absolutely beautiful about it,” Sonawane elaborated.
Bhardwaj, who has directed 10 feature films, produced five and composed music for more than 40, including the internationally acclaimed Shakespearean Trilogy adaptations — ‘Maqbool’ (Macbeth), ‘Omkara’ (Othello) and ‘Haider’ (Hamlet) — said he will be making more movies on iPhones.
“There are many subjects for which we won’t find producers to put their money on. I am going to shoot many films on iPhones going forward,” he said.
“We never had enough time for ourselves. We should focus on what we have -- the time right now, in this very moment. ‘Fursat’ is all about finding that 'waqt',” said Bhardwaj, who is ready with ‘Khufiya,’ his next spy thriller on Netflix that is based on Amar Bhushan’s espionage novel ‘Escape to Nowhere’.