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Film Editor, Yasha Ramchandani On Skincare And Suncare

Yasha Ramchandani is a 32-year old film and video editor, with an unbridled love for books, travel, trees, food, and photography. She has worked on films like Udta Punjab and Go Goa Gone, and in between films finds the time to edit ads, documentaries, short films – basically, anything that needs to be edited. We stole her away from her films to get all the insight on what keeps her going, her secret to healthy skin in the middle of a crazy routine and much more.

Tell us how your foray into film editing began…
I studied Film Editing at FTII, Pune. I started my Bombay journey as an on-location editor, which is to say an editor who’s editing the film as it’s shot, on location. When I moved to Bombay in October 2011, our filmmaking was in the thick of transitioning from shooting on film to digital, which meant the material could be accessed soon as it was shot. This created a new space for on-location editors and I was happy to jump on board because I love the energy of being on shoots and traveling. Work made both of these possible! Now I mostly freelance – Go Goa Gone was the first film I worked on, and the most recent were Udta Punjab.

What made you choose this line of work?
I honestly didn’t plan too much. Back in school, I enjoyed public speaking. So I knew vaguely that I wanted to do something related to communication. This was back in 2003 when mass communication was the new hot thing! So I did my undergrad in media and mass communication from IP College, Delhi University. During the course, we explored various media and I enjoyed the Editing and Film Appreciation classes the most. I decided to take the FTII entrance exam with no real hope of getting in (not in the first attempt anyway- in which case I was set to pack my bags and come to Bombay to work as an AD), but then I did! FTII was the place where I actually fell in love with films. And then Bombay happened as a natural progression. So I’ve mostly just gone with the flow.

Were there any challenges along the way?
Creative challenges are something I enjoy – with every project, you learn something new. A lot of editing is also problem solving and I find that very satisfying when it’s not exasperating. But deadlines are often crazy – one is constantly racing against time and sometimes you forget to breathe. That aside, being a freelancer is a challenge in itself. The uncertainties get too much to deal with at times. When it rains it pours – all work comes at the same time or it doesn’t. And it most definitely will exactly when you’re planning a holiday! I have come to accept these as Murphy’s Laws of Freelancing. And then there is the question of chasing payments (which I’ve become a pro at) and doing PR for work (at which I suck!). One hopes to strike that elusive balance, someday.

What pushes you to keep going, especially during the tough times?
I love a well-told story and editing lets me tell stories. It has the power to make or break films. So few and far-between as they are, little else compares to the joy of good days of edit and the satisfaction of a story told well. So very simply (and masochistically) put – I think that’s what keeps me going.

What does a typical day in your life look like?
When I’m working I pretty much don’t have a life. If I’m editing on set, I can be working odd hours, early mornings, late nights. If I’m not on set, and if it’s a regular day, I’d normally start around 10 am; make that 11 if I’m working from home. On good days I finish by 7-8 pm. Let’s not talk about bad days.

By the time I finish, I’m quite brain-dead and very asocial in any case, so I like to tuck in early. But then I’m also greedy for the time I finally have to myself, so early can mean anywhere between, 12 am and 1 am.

I balance it out with days of doing nothing and just looking out the window (ah, the joys of freelancing, which pretty much begin and end there).

What’s your skincare routine like?
I haven’t really done anything other than cleansing my face in the morning and just before going to bed at night for the most part of my life. In addition to that, every now and then, I apply multani mitti. In recent years, I’ve tried to keep up the CTM routine but I must confess, I fail on a regular basis. Once in a while, I apply aloe vera gel but that’s about it. And when I’m being mindful, I use sunscreen, because of Baz Luhrmann!

What’s your secret to healthy skin?
I guess, checking stress-levels helps. And drinking water – everyone (including my skin) seems to agree on that one!

Habits that changed your life…
Damn. You’ve put me in a crisis there.
The two habits I’m trying to cultivate but it’s work in progress – to exercise regularly and declutter. Reading and traveling don’t count as habits, right? Those have shaped my life for sure.

Beauty for you is…
Being comfortable in your own skin!

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