Exclusive: Garry BH does a balancing act, won’t quit editing but will also direct

The editor-cinematographer is debuting as director with Nikhil Siddharth’s Spy, a spy thriller produced under the Ed Entertainments banner.

ByY Sunita

Published Apr 09, 2023 | 10:30 AMUpdatedAug 18, 2023 | 3:50 PM

garry bh spy

When Garry BH changed gears from dentistry to photography, his well-wishers presumed that he had finally settled down in his career. But that was just a presumption.

Even Garry BH didn’t know that he would take to editing like a duck takes to water and enjoy his career infinitely. In no time, he has been found wielding the megaphone.

His debut film as a director hits the screens sometime next month. Titled Spy, it has Karthikeya-fame Nikhil Siddharth and Iswarya Menon in the lead roles.

In an exclusive interview, the media-shy editor-director bares his heart out to South First. Here are the excerpts:

Q. How did you get into the film industry?

A. It wasn’t a conscious decision. Cinematographer Vamsi Patchipulusu, director Ravikanth Perepu of Kshanam (A Moment) fame and I were roommates when Ravikanth’s film took off.

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Editor-DoP Garry BH. (Supplied)

The shoot was happening in Visakhapatnam and I went there. Vamsi told me to join the team and I began working as an assistant director and then became an editor. Kshanam (2016) taught me everything.

What shouldn’t go wrong with filmmaking happened with Kshanam. It was being made on a shoestring budget (₹1.08 crore). We were newcomers and we made mistakes and kept correcting ourselves.

It taught us everything that no film school could have taught.

Q. How is the understanding between you and your director?

A. By the time Goodachari (Agent) came to me in 2017, I had already edited five films.

As a Director of Photography, one has to stick to a single project. But as an editor, I can handle multiple projects.

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I believe in my first intuition when I read a script and I stick to that. While reading I can visualise it, too. After that, I sit with the director or writer who pens the screenplay and tells them what I understood — the highs and lows, how I am looking at the film, etc.

I check if we both are on the same page. Otherwise, there is no point in being part of the project. While talking to the director, I gauge by his/her response if we can travel together.

Q. How do you edit multiple films around the same time?

A. As an editor, I look at things that need to be completed first. If people come in at the last minute, with erratic shoot schedules, it’s difficult.

We do have assistants, i.e., I have an associate for an entire film. If possible, s/he will also act as an online editor for spot editing and thus help the director.

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Nikhil Siddharth in a still from ‘Spy’. (Twitter)

S/he can see in person what’s happening on the set. There can’t be a better person than him/her.

I recall actor Adivi Sesh taking me to editor Abburi Ravi from whom I learnt everything. He shaped my perspective towards filmmaking.

Filmmaking is teamwork and I’m proud to say that whoever came out from my team is doing good for themselves. I believe in sharing knowledge and giving space.

Q. Do you have your style of looking at the cinema?

A. Yes, I do. Learning to edit is a never-ending craft.

I’ve been diagnosed with chronic insomnia because I am consistently working.

I’m conscious of what I’m learning. Though I try to assess from films, I have my style of looking at things.

Being a doctor, that’s what I learnt in my third year of dentistry. Even if I give local anaesthesia, a few people would touch my feet and I wouldn’t understand. That’s how I slowly started developing my character.

Whatever goes around comes around. I try to be simple and stay away from social media.

Q. How did Spy happen?

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Garry BH and Nikhil Siddharth on the sets of ‘Spy’. (Supplied)

A. The producer (K Rajasekhar Reddy) was looking for a better person to handle the script. That’s when they approached me and narrated the story. I shared my perspective with him. In no time, the project was mounted.

I had it in me to be a director but the opportunity didn’t come to me. All my hits were Adivi Sesh’s movies and all of them were thrillers.

I never worked with a star actor and never edited a star’s film. In terms of my work, I was happy that I was doing off-beat cinema but I always craved a big film.

Q. What are your current projects?

A. I wrapped the shooting of Spy. I am busy with post-production work. Simultaneously, I’m editing Venkatesh’s Saindhav.

Spy is a regular spy movie/thriller. We did a lot of research. It went so deep that we got our facts out. The support we got from the producers was really good.

Three cinematographers worked on this film. Julien Amaru Estrada, a Peruvian, worked on a schedule and left as his mother passed away.

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Then, we got Mark David from Hollywood. He had another commitment with Warner Brothers and had to leave.

I was getting uneasy waiting for them to turn up and then decided to rope in Vamsi Patchipulusu. Three-fourths film was done by Vamsi and the rest was shared by the other two cinematographers.

Q. Why did you get foreigners when we had the best here?

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Editor-DoP Garry BH. (Supplied)

A. I would like to cite a few reasons, in general. The major issue is the mismanagement of dates because of which we usually change the technicians. In some cases, there will be creative differences.

Before the pandemic, normal technicians would work on OTT space. But now, even mainstream cinematographers are working on OTT originals which means there is a shortage.

Dates are going awry and it is getting hard for the directors to bank on one.

Also, no hero is free. When people ask me what’s next, I really have no answer. Everyone is busy for one-and-a-half and two years.

We hire foreigners because we want to get international standards for our films. They know the light patterns too well.