Watching Sunita Radia’s sweeping shots of the parched Rann of Kutch in Jal can leave you feeling uneasy. Indeed, Girish Malik’s tale of love and loss set against a backdrop of water scarcity, which took many months to transition from film festivals to commercial screens, is given life
simply by spectacular camerawork. Growing up in Jharkhand, Radia had no cinematic aspirations. In Mumbai, where she travelled to after marriage, a chance meeting with cinematographer Gopal Shah introduced her to movies. Radia’s first apprenticement was under Binod Pradhan, for Sanjay
Leela Bhansali’s Devdas. “I can’t forget how much I enjoyed assembling cranes, levelling tracks, fixing lights, connecting cables and wires. Whenever I found a camera, I’d try to operate it,” she recalls. Radia assisted on Rang De Basanti and Munnabhai MBBS before making an
independent foray into cinematography. The enthusiastic streak has paid off. Jal’s evocative visuals showcase Radia’s mastery. “Cinematography is an intense art and I’m not an art student. Someone just gave me a camera and here I am,” she says. The cinematographer,
who stays in Mumbai with her husband and son, is slated to start work on director Sangeeth Sivan’s new film,
among a slew of other projects.