It was 4.00 am on a fabulously cold and chilly, wet and windy, dreary and drizzly, utterly rainy morning two weeks ago, on Thursday 11 June, when our alarms began ringing, rudely throwing us out of our warm and comfy beds in our respective houses.
All of us. The De Lanerolle Brothers Rohan and Ishan, and Neranjan De Silva and the entire 30 member crew and Myself.
Pre-dawn Colombo was barely awake as we all trooped in, bright and chirpy, at the Lotus Tower. With permissions all cleared by the very efficient and ultra-meticulous DLBros, brief formalities saw us in and literally whoooooshed up, in a high speed lift, from the bowels of the Nelum Kuluna, perched on the waterfront of the Beira Lake at D.R Wijewardene Mawatha in Colombo, Sri Lanka … to the very summit of this tallest self-supported structure in South Asia.
Oh boy, weren’t we all instantly bowled over by the views. All of us. They were “to die for” (no I didn’t mean suicides).
For a moment we all forgot the shoot and began taking photos and videos of the 360 degree cityscape / landscape.
Colombo was bathed in an early light infused with a bluish mist. The cloud cover was thick and heavy. But that didn’t deter us.
There we were trying to identify landmarks below and “oohing” and “aaahing” in an exclamatory chorus when we did identify the more difficult ones.
“OK guys let’s get ready”, someone bellowed and brought us back to reality and everyone got into position.
The team from Ramani Fernando Salons (official hair dressers to the DLBros and the Host) – Ode, Amanda and Buddi – was ready to make the four visible people in this video – the older Delanerolle and the younger Delanerolle, and the older de Silva and the younger de Silva, look okaaay.
Once you watch the show, you will realize that they have a done a great job on these four middle-aged men, who are nevertheless very, very young at heart.
Given the massive blowing at the top of the Lotus Tower, a live recording was impossible and would have been an absolutely insanely futile exercise.
So every spoken word and song were pre-recorded and audio engineered by maestro Neranjan de Silva in his colour coded studio near the Parliament grounds.
Now that’s another story, but let me not deviate from my main plot. But I can add that we did go “on a safari” in his jeep that day, just to make the older Delanerolle jaloux, and we sure did although he fervently claims otherwise.
Back to 1168 feet above sea level, all the equipment was plugged and tested and we were ready to shoot. The ‘Host’ went in first. Good to have a ‘guinea’ pig to work out the technicalities.
But in real fact I think they wanted to have the Host done and dusted and out of the way. They didn’t realize that I went back home and was back in comfortable slumber land at 8.30 am while they were braving the winds and the rain the entire day.
Working with maestro Neranjan de Silva is very tricky. He maintains a very straight, sober, deadpan face and then when you least expect it, he very innocently pulls the rug from under your feet.
In my case the audio track was made to periodically jump. Worse still my track was even made to go into allegro and ritardando modes.
Then came the DLBros with their songs, filmed at various elevations of the Lotus Tower and paying musical tribute to the heroes in Sri Lanka and around the world, who selflessly risked their lives so that others may live. It was rich, sonorous and joyous !!!
This was a challenging shoot with intermittent rain. Once everything was set up and ready to shoot, it rained, sending performers and crew and equipment scurrying to safety. It then instantly ceased, and then everything was set up again. And it then rained again. This went on several times over.
I know for a fact that Ishan was relatively disappointed that the sun didn’t quite come out that day. But now in retrospect he IS thankful. The light was soft and mild and just right. A harsh sun would have given a ‘burning’ effect to the image (to use a technical term)
It’s now three+ months since the deadly covid-19 virus brought the entire world to a grinding halt, with week after week of a litany of deaths, of insurmountable grief, of pathos, in its wake.
With deep sadness we remember all those who lost their lives. With deep gratitude we remember all those, in Sri Lanka and around the entire world, who fought to save lives and who still fight the pandemic so that we may live tomorrow
The world has slowly opened. We wake up each day to a new normal, to a new world order.
From the iconic Lotus Tower in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s internationally acclaimed De Lanerolle Brothers, Rohan and Ishan, pay tribute with music … to humanity … to those who have gone, to those who remain, and to those who will be born
Subscribe to The DeLanerolle Brothers YouTube channel and join us this Sunday 28th June 2020 at 18h00 Sri Lanka time !