Neerja' production designer Aparna Sud makes stunning debut on OTT with 'Jubilee'
Since the release of Vikramaditya Motwane’s ‘Jubilee’ on Amazon Prime Video, the period series has been receiving widespread acclaim. From the impeccable set design to the superlative performances, ‘Jubilee’ has become one of the best productions of recent times. Recreating the world of the 1940s and 1950s is no easy feat, but Aparna Sud, one of the production designers of ‘Jubilee,’ ensured that Motwane’s vision was brought to life.
Sud is elated that her years of hard work have paid off as the web series has attained cult status. She emphasizes that it is rare to get opportunities to work on period pieces where you can create a world that is your own. The ‘Jubilee’ world resembles an era, but it also has its own interpretations and liberties.
“It feels incredible. But I must say that very rarely do we get opportunities where we get scripts that are period pieces and where you can create a world that is your own. Also, it’s rare that a production design of a film or a show gets so much appreciation. ‘Jubilee’ world resembles an era but it has its own interpretations and liberties,” said Sud, who makes her OTT debut with Jubilee.
Sud drew inspiration from old Bombay architecture, streets, films, and books to create the set design. Guru Dutt’s films ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ (1959) and Satyajit Ray's works acted as major inspirations for her.
“Vikram’s brief was very detailed. Everything was there in the script… it said volumes about the set we wanted to build. We followed the script. We also referred to countless books of Bombay of that era and films. In fact, old Bombay architecture was our major inspiration,” said Sud.
When asked about the biggest challenge during the making of ‘Jubilee,’ Sud points to the Covid-19 restrictions. “In fact, we had completed making the exteriors of Roy Talkies, but then the shoot was cancelled due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, we had to rebuild the set when we resumed shooting,” she recalled.
Sud’s dedication to her craft is apparent, and her use of inspiration from old Bombay architecture and films of the era is evident in the show's impeccable set design. The challenges faced during the pandemic highlight the resilience and flexibility of the production team, and Sud's past work shows her versatility and range as a production designer.
Sud has numerous anecdotes from the shoot of ‘Jubilee.’ One memory that stands out for her is how the Mujra song by Nilofer and the bar song, ‘Babuji,’ were filmed on the same set. “We did cosmetic changes within just 3-4 days, but when you watch the show, you won’t be able to point the differences,” she smiled.
Having started as an assistant art director on ‘Dil Ka Rishta’ in 2003, Sud got her first break with Ram Gopal Varma. She went on to work with him on eight films, including ‘Rann,’ ‘Darna Zaroori Hai,’ and ‘Nishabd.’ Later, she worked on films like ‘The Gentleman,’ ‘ABCD,’ ‘Tevar,’ ‘Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar,’ ‘Meenakshi Sundareshwar,’ and the Hollywood film ‘Heartbeats.’ However, it was Ram Madhvani’s ‘Neerja’ that gave her the coveted Filmfare award in her kitty. She also won the IIFA and Zee Cine awards for best production design for the Sonam Kapoor-starrer.
As praises continue to pour in for her labour of love, Sud remembers how her hometown Shimla inspired her to become a production designer. “I came from Shimla in 2002. The day after I arrived, I went to assist Guruji on a film set. Since that day, I fell in love with designing. I am grateful to have a job I love,” she said.
Cineblues had an exclusive one on one video interaction with Aparna Sud