A graduate of the Academy Of Art, San Francisco, 33-year-old Jay I Patel achieved his breakthrough success this year with his perceptive cinematography in Meghna Gulzar’s humanist spy drama, Raazi. The film’s camerawork actively aids Gulzar in keeping viewers on the very edge of their seats. In the scene where the character played by Alia Bhatt is almost caught with a top secret file, the blocking leads from the ground floor of the house, to the upstairs bathroom, back down and back up, and Patel deftly builds the tension with a Steadicam. In another key scene in which a character is eliminated in broad daylight, he effectively uses a spiral staircase to enhance the tension. Shooting with anamorphic lenses, Patel also daringly uses dark shadows around Alia at times to accentuate her apprehension. Gulzar entrusted Patel with Raazi after she saw his work in a short film, which she had directed; and the calculated gamble has paid off.
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