His name is Guillermo Navarro (Gi-err-mo Na-war-row), and, two weeks after winning the Best Cinematographer Oscar for the stunning Pan's Labyrinth, he was in Mumbai shooting Blood Brothers for our very own auteur, the consistently groundbreaking Vishal Bhardwaj.
I had been hounding Bhardwaj for a while, the director justifiably shying away from interference on the sets. His new project is part of Mira Nair's AIDS quartet, where Bhardwaj, Nair, Farhan Akhtar and Santosh Sivan are making one short film each to spread HIV-AIDS awareness. It was a random February evening when I was gushing about Labyrinth to Bhardwaj, who casually informed me that Navarro was, in fact, going to be shooting his next film.
This is a major coup. Guillermo Navarro isn't just a mouthful of a name, but a mega cinematographer with a prolific career, largely aiding cult filmmakers in achieving their vision. Starting his career with Paul Leduc's 1973 film Sur: sureste 2604, he went on to establish collaborations with edgy Mexican directors like Guillermo Del Toro -- the surrealist who started with horror films and went on to Hellboy and Labyrinth -- and Robert Sin City Rodriguez, and cult icons like Quentin Tarantino.
Now, it was Bhardwaj's turn with Guillermo, and an incredulous me was invited along for the ride. Buckle up, senor.
Text: Raja Sen | Photographs: Abhik Sarkar | Design: Uday Kuckian