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Just at the right time



Robby Grewal in Delhi. Photo: Anu Pushkarna.

IT CAME "as a shock". That is Robby Grewal's first reaction when he speaks about the National Award for the Best Editor that his debut film Samay, When Time Strikes, got this year. For Arif Sheikh, the editor of the film who also wrote screenplay for - again a National Award winner - Maqbool, it was "a shock of his life," recalls Robby in New Delhi to share his happiness with family and friends.

"I called up Arif to give the news when I got to know it on telephone through a friend in media. He thought I was congratulating him for Maqbool, which further confused me if the news was right! Both of us did not expect the award as the film was made for a target, multiplex audience, we knew with its content it won't work in places like Bihar. It was only when Arif got a fax in his hand informing him about the award that we congratulated each other," says a visibly happy Robby.

And he owes it to Arif. "He is very young, cool and a thinking guy unlike most editors who mechanically follow orders. It becomes very important for a director to have a thinking man at the editing table because a film being his baby, he falls in love with it. So he himself cannot scissor many scenes out of emotions but an editor works dispassionately, and the film finally is half his baby," says Robby recalling a scene from the film for instance. "The film was to start with an emotional, interactive scene of Sushmita Sen and his daughter. But Arif advised me to cut it saying a suspense film has to start with a high. I wasn't convinced yet I bought his point and gave him a free hand."

No expectations

Despite the award, Robby is composed and does not take the achievement as a pressure to do better.

"Films are my passion. But they are not my bread and butter. So I am cool about it. I am not bothered about outside expectations or pressures. I certainly feel honoured but the award for me is not a ladder to parallel someone's expectations," he says.

Samay was not a box office hit, but it was appreciated for its suspense quality, a trait badly lacking in today's so called suspense/supernatural thrillers. We have Rudraksh and Rakht as a recent proof. "The problem with our industry is that we over-do. It spoils the whole genre of films. Hollywood suspense thrillers are successful because they are shorter. We go theBollywood way and turn these into a three-hour affair. No one wants to stick to the chair for such films for so long," reasons he.

Time matters, yes!

RANA SIDDIQUI

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