PONDICHERRY, India—Bagalvan Perier was studying in the media department at Pondicherry University in southern India when he was asked to be an on-set translator for the “Life of Pi” team—his big break.
Within a week, he became the set production assistant, and even—to his great surprise and delight—got to give director Ang Lee some hurried advice.
“One day when I was standing next to Ang Lee,” Perier recalled, “he suddenly asked me, ‘Will this frame work?’ I was stunned. A director like him was asking a starter like me. I blurted out, ‘This is a very good frame.’”
Lee was “cool and calm” on the set, Perier said; he didn’t show anger or perturbation when things went amiss.
“He is a perfectionist,” Perier said. “He wants perfection even from his background artists.”
Lee would call a translator over and patiently explain the details of the mistakes.
The background artists were numerous—about 6,000 in Pondicherry, Perier said—and even included 400 local school children.
The lead actor, Suraj Sharma, had very few scenes in Pondicherry, Perier said, but Perier recalls Sharma often lingering on set long after his scenes were done to stand aside and watch everything going on.
Tara MacIsaac contributed to this report.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 21 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.