Renish Phago is one of the popular colourists of Nepali film industry. He has been working in the Nepali film industry for over 12 years. He is the first colourist to colour films shot by the Red4K camera (Digital cinema camera) in Nepal. Kathmandu was the first film for which Phago worked as colourist in 2008. Since then, he has worked as a professional colourist for over 60 films, 100 music videos, 65 TV commercials and a few documentaries
Phago recently talked to Renuka Dhakal of The Rising Nepal. Excerpts:
Which projects are now with you?
Even though film production came to a halt after the COVID-19 lockdown, I am busy working on various projects. Currently, I have two Bhojpuri films, four Nepali films, including Krishna Leela and a few music videos to work.
Many people are unaware about the job of a colourist? What do you actually do?
Colourists are those who play with colours and manipulate them in films. They work closely with filmmakers and cinematographers to help the film achieve a specific mood and style by using colours in the scenes. From giving a shot a stunning look with a distinct visual style to a movie, a colourist helps the director achieve their vision. Depending on how the director wants a particular scene to look and feel, the colourist highlights specific colours that reflect the mood of the story and characters.
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Has not the restriction order affected your work?
Indeed, lockdown was very painful for everyone, many people lost their jobs. However, I was not much affected. Even though the filmmaking was stalled, I am still getting works as there were films shot prior to the imposition of the lockdown.
Currently, I am working in two Bhojpuri films--Prem Geet 2 and Jaya Shambhu and in four Nepali films.
Even though technicians are the backbone of any film industry, moviegoers know only the actors. How do you feel when the audiences do not know you?
This is true that only the artiste who is seen on the screen is given importance while a film is prepared by everyone’s effort from spot boy to director. But in my case, many people have noticed my name and when they meet me in real and know I am Renish Phago they appreciate my work. The film industry has also appreciated my works.
How is the scope of a colourist in Nepal?
The scope of colourist in Nepal is significant. When we started, there were only two or three colourists, but now there are many, mostly from the young generation. Those who work best obviously get more opportunities. This profession is also attractive in terms money. If the youth join this field, I am sure their future will be bright. I have no alternative works, but still I am living comfortably with my family in Kathmandu.
What are the challenges of this profession?
First, many people in Nepal still do not know what colour grading in films. Secondly, we have to work in great details of every scene and theme of the movie and make the movie presentable and make ready to show on the screen.
What are your future plans?
My future plan is to attract new generation people into this profession. I want to produce new colorists by opening an institute to teach colour grading. Also, I would like to assure everyone that colourist is a reputed profession like any other profession.