Directed by Dilip Khatri/ Reviewed by Akarsh Jaiswal
Documentary films have been among us for a long time and we are surrounded by them. The first films which were made in the history were basically documentaries, like a running horse or a moving train. These were the films which made cinema possible as we know it today. Documentaries give you information, they also give knowledge and get us insights on the subjects or facts that we never knew about. They are indeed really fascinating. Documentaries can be made on any given subject but a good documentary is where you just not focus on the information but also the people; people who are telling their stories or sharing their experiences and their achievements. Where you let the pictures speak for themselves and the emotions play out their role with words spoken.
Such a documentary I got to watch which is ‘The Wilshire Grand Story: Tech Talk’. It is about the planning and construction of the magnanimous 1,100-foot tall skyscraper ‘Wilshire Grand Center’. This monster of a building consists of 73 floors with a hotel, retail businesses, observation decks, shopping mall, and office complex. During my research, I found out that it is the tallest building in Los Angeles, the tallest building in California, the tallest building west of the Mississippi River and outside of New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia, and the 11th tallest building in the United States. Basically a very, very tall building. Did I also mention that it’s occupying an entire city block of Los Angeles? Well, it is.
The documentary gets deep into the building. It explores the history, the people and their emotions in a beautiful way. The beauty of it is how the director with the crew touches the lives of people who are involved with it. Built-in the ‘Metamodern’ architectural style, the Wilshire Grand Center was designed by AC Martin Partners and developed by Thomas Properties Group, LLC and I must say that it is an architectural achievement for both firms as this is the only building without a flat roof in whole Los Angeles till date.
But what we are talking about here is not just the building but the people and their lots and lots of time, effort, sleepless nights, liters of coffee and strong as concrete dedication towards their goal. Hundreds of people getting together to make this design on a paper become a reality and leaving anyone who looks at it in an awe. When you watch these people talk about what they did and how hard it was, they talk with a smile on their face. They tell you about what challenges they faced and how hard it was to get this done and they tell you as it was the happiest time of their lives. No, they are not made of concrete but their labour of love is and they are proud of it. And that’s what makes them happy. Happiness can be such a mischievous thing sometimes. A mother gets happy when her child says Mama for the first time. A child gets happy by just playing with their toys. These people are happy to leave a mark on the world that will stay even after they are gone. Their work, their legacy will live on.
Mr. Dilip Khatri who is himself a structural engineer and has hands-on experience with the stuff takes you on a ride. The documentary shows you how they planned and executed the construction without taking away your interest. Time Lapse shots were beautifully captured along with the aerial shots from drones were magnificently taken. People telling about their work and plans doesn’t let you scratch your head as Dilip shows the implementation as well. Music was soothing and the best part is that the duration is also just on point. Editing team, I’m tipping my hats to you!
In a whole, a documentary is what lets you connect with the people and their stories and The Wilshire Grand: Teck Talk does exactly that. Buildings or films, it all comes down to some basic things which are same in both fields, ideas, plannings, teamwork and putting all of them towards one single goal… legacy.