If you are a television buff and a fan of the hit show Big Boss Kannada, you would have not missed the large set of the show. I catch up with the brain behind this set Architect and Set Designer, Shyam Bhatia who tells me more about his passion to bring dreams sets on screen to life.
Eyes On Design
An architect by profession, Shyam admits that he was always interested in architecture even as a child. After graduation and a couple of months working as an architect, he got an opportunity to work with national award winner late Samit Chandra which gave him his first foray into the field of set design and he admits that he absolutely fell in love with it. “During my four year architecture course, there was research thesis that I did that was called the ‘elements of architecture in set designing.’ In this process I met a few art directors, visited couple of sites and started liking momentum of artistic work in field. Set design gives you the opportunity to display the work a larger audience on a bigger platform. There is also the opportunity to test limits in set design. In architecture, given the permanence of the structure, not too many people are open to experimenting in terms of concept yet. Set design by the sheer nature of it is open to more vivid and experimental concepts.”
Big Boss Calling
So how was it designing for Bigg Boss? “Well designing for Bigg Boss is always challenging. Bigg Boss Kannada 4 is not my first foray into this area. I have designed a couple of Bigg Boss houses for the Hindi show as well. So while I’m familiar with the concept, we need to ensure freshness and fun in every season. It is challenging to design a concept right from scratch to completion in 45 days, and it is also fun at the same time. We also needed to keep in mind that the house has to be foolproof. There is no opportunity for maintenance once the show gets started, so quality is very important as well as efficiency.” Naturally the biggest challenge was creating an entire space in 45 days. “This includes developing the concept on paper, getting the production and construction underway, ensuring quality. We have to be fast in designing and ensure that delivery date is in sync with the date we go on air. There is no scope for extension. We have to deal with all possible interruptions, including unforeseen ones (like some of the bandhs and such) and simply get it done.”
Shyam has also designed sets for shows like MasterChef, Miss India, India’s Got Talent, Dance India Dance and Indian Idol. “I have designed more than 200 sets in my career to date. The consistent new trend is that the audience wants a fresh look canvas in every show. They don’t want to look at even a ‘similar’ set from last season. And it needs to resonate with the audience. Set design has evolved considerably in the last five years, and we pay attention to even the smallest thing. HD Television has also changed the set requirements, since it brings a more vivid picture into your living room and I’ve to design the set accordingly.” Shyam is currently working on some large-scale commercial architecture projects in Kerala. “Other than set design, which is ongoing, I’m also exploring opportunities in architecture in Bengaluru. The city’s architecture has a beautiful vibe and such a great history. I love to work on a project in Bengaluru, where we can create something that resonates with the local culture, landscape and be absolutely unique and something that will stand strong for decades and can be seen as a unique piece of work. Of course, that would need a partner or a client with the same vision,” he smiles and signs off.
This story appeared in the Jan 22nd 2017 issue of Deccan Herald’s Sunday herald here.