It was quite an experience to start lighting the sets in the huge indoor studio with it's high catwalks full of different types of lights mounted on it. Prof.Lall Jaiswani and Mr.Ramanathan were in-charge of the practicals and they explained to us how to use those lights according to the needs of the scene. The experienced light boys ( though they were quite old, were called like that ) helped us with expert advice on how to proceed with the placement and lighting of the sets. We were divided into groups of three so that when one person operates the other two pitch in as assistants doing the follow focusing and pushing the dolly. In my group the other two were Ram Agarwal and Kasturi Ramachandra Murty.
I was 8 or 9 years old at that time. From our school we were on an excursion to Mahabalipuram which is a famous tourist spot near Madras. While seeing the monuments we saw some film unit shooting going on. We were told that it was the Tamil film "ALLI PETRA PILLAI" starring S.S.Rajendran. A scene in which a horse drawn cart driven by some actors was being pictured. Some people wearing blue coloured dhoties were resting under the shade of trees. ( In Black and White days pure white was never used in costumes, instead blue or saffron colured clothes were used, which I learnt when I myself became a cinematographer ) Some boys shouted Pulimootai Ramaswamy ( a popular comedian with a big girth) looking at a fat man amongst the blue coloured dhotiwalas and soon they surrounded him with pieces of paper torn from notebooks for autographs. Every one wearing a blue dhoti was considered to be a worthwhile cine actor and were asked for autographs by the eager crowd of students. Puzzled by their sudden popularity the extra actors signed on every scrap of paper presented before them. I too was one of the boys who collected the autographs on pieces of paper from my note book.
As our lighting and camera operating skills improved we had combined exercises with Direction students working out small sequences.