It wasn’t even 9.00am on a Saturday morning, but myself and Sam had already been up for over 3 hours and having already completed two significantly large sand drawings were now part way through a third. Now, normally when a sand drawing is made the last thing you want is someone walking on it, however on this occasion I was waiting with eager anticipation for a large group of people not to just walk on the drawings, but to start dancing on them as well! My ears strained to hear the sound of the film crews helicopter that would signal the invasion of the drawings by a dozen dancers and the films two stars. Time and tide wait for no one and the tide had long since turned!
It was less than a week ago that I’d received a call from a ‘Bollywood’ film production Company inquiring whether we could produce some Sand Drawings, for dancers and actors to perform on for a song sequencer in an upcoming Tamil action feature film. The exact designs as well as their size and number were yet to be determined. We had virtually no planning time and the weather forecast was pretty appalling, surely this was Mission Impossible? Of course not we were Sand In Your Eye! So here we were on an overcast beach near Margate meeting the challenge, but would the weather hold and the chopper manage get here on time before the sea erased all our creative endeavours leaving the dancers with nothing else to do but paddle?
I was the first to hear the distant throbbing sound that signalled the long awaited approach of the helicopter. My profound sense of relief was replaced by wonder and awe as perfectly on cue, the dull overcast morning was magically transformed by the sun appearing from behind the clouds. The magnificent white cliffs glowed with an ethereal pink hue and glorious shadows were cast by the dancers across the golden sand as they assembled on the sand drawings. Then all hell broke loose. It was like a scene from ‘Apocalypse Now’ as the dancers went through their routines on the sand drawings and the chopper circled overhead to get the vital shots in the can.
For the moment our work was done and as the helicopter continued to make hair-raisingly low level sweeps I had a moment of reflection. The sense of satisfaction and achievement when a collaborative project like this comes together is hard to put into words. People talk about living in the ‘Now’, well all I can say is that I had a profound sense of been totally immersed in an extraordinary adventure, a real heightened sense of been alive. I’ve had some incredible experiences working with Sand In Your Eye and this was certainly one of the best. It was a very special moment.
The smile on Director Vijays face when he had landed told me all I needed to know as to the quality of the footage he had obtained. ‘Thank you so much Andy. You are the ‘Sand Boss!’ he said as he pumped my hand and his smile got even wider as he showed me the footage on the film camera’s LCD. It was a hairs standing up on the back of your neck moment. The aerial shots were absolutely amazing. As with all truly successful creative collaborative ventures the resulting whole was so much more than the individual parts. The sand drawings looked amazing, but the addition of a group of choreographed dancers had lifted them onto a completely different level. The long early morning dancing shadows that intrinsically linked the dancing figures so powerfully to the sand drawings were simply the icing on the cake! I started to speculate what the final result cut together with music would look like on the big screen and things only got better as Vijay invited me to a possible U.K. premier of the film in London. The red carpet awaits!
‘Thaandavam’ directed by A.L. Vijay and starring Anushka Shetty and Chiyaan Vikran is due for release later on this year. It will be the first feature film to showcase sand drawing, so once again Sand In Your Eye are at the cutting edge of Sand Art Innovation!
Thanks to location manager Nav and of course to the film’s Director Vijay who made the project such a truly wonderful collaborative experience. A thank you also to Mother Nature for totally disregarding my Met Office App and blessing us with the presence of the sun at just the right moments, to create some truly magical lighting effects. Finally many thanks to Sam ‘The Man’ Dougados, my fellow sand artist, certainly the right man to have at your side when time and tide are against you.