Exclusive: Lockdown diaries – Indraganti Mohan Krishna

Y. Sunita Chowdhary

Indraganti Mohan Krishna’s ‘V’ is ready. While it was going for the second round of the final mix, (which is just a week’s work balance left) the lockdown was announced. The question on everyone’s mind is if the films will release in the theatre or will they get to see at home. The director believes that ‘V’ is worth the time and money and the cinematic experience it is offering. It is just not entertaining but sensible too. We ask him his preference and through a nice comparison, he tells it all.

Theatre versus OTT

“When the joy of movie making and watching is lost, everything is for an alternative platform. It is like the difference between a marriage happening in a function hall and a registered office. In theory, you want to have a marriage where there are people and there is an exchange of fun and gaiety but a registered marriage has its simplicity and progressive. Still, I don’t believe marriages are meant for functions hall only. I am, in fact, dead against wasting money on such marriages. Register marriage lo sambaralu undavu. It is like a bad movie. A good movie is like a celebration in a social set up.”

Having said that he is keeping his fingers crossed. He along with his producer Dil Raju will take a call soon. Here he talks of the risks and responsibilities associated with shoots in the sets and outdoors. “There are a lot of logistical issues, I have one week of post-production left. I wonder how safe is it to come to the studio though post-production begins? I have old people and children at home and I got to be extremely careful, the responsibility is on us more than than the government. I am trying to gauge how I will finish that one week of work. By the end of the month, we shall have a clear picture where it is all heading. Ideally, I want to have a theatrical release.”

“Here, the film is a social experience, there will be enough distraction watching it at home. The joy is that the result comes immediately and you get your judgement of your flaws. We see good cinema too at home in a detached fashion with breaks. We also might not revisit it. We did an interesting sound design by Biswadeep Chatterjee (who worked in Uri, Bajirao Mastani). We are focussing on giving an immersive experience. Even Dil Raju has been supportive and said we shouldn’t panic and will take a constructive call.”

Shooting in the time of a pandemic

“We can’t blame the actors. An actor has a crew of 50 people and there is a lot of traffic in a shoot. Everyone from the stylist, makeup artistes etc. have closest contacts with actors, it is difficult to wrap yourself in protective wear and do the work. Supervision of sanitisation is tough. Actors, technicians, artistes are exposed to risk. In Telugu, most of our heroines are non-local and they have to travel and got to be in quarantine after coming and after leaving. Shooting will be a tense affair and how much creative aspect will be delivered is not sure.”

“If we are making a complex film, you can’t work with minimum crew. I come from an independent school of film making and am trained to function with minimum requirements i.e without makeup and minimal crew but all films don’t work that way. That is a subjective call to be taken by producers. We can have regulations but how much will it help us? Do action films compromise? The moment I read the guidelines I felt it is tough.”

“Everyone is clueless; how long can the government help without the economy feeding you? People are asymptomatic. I may not carry symptoms but infect people while interaction. The government is in a dilemma, I don’t find the fault with them for giving responsibility to the film industry because we asked them for permission and help. If the government steps in and supervises, it will be a lengthy procedure. In extremely desperate situations when you have a good offer from OTT platform, you can take it. For other films, you can wait for one more month and assess the situation.”

Onus on big films

“Supplying food to the unit will be a problem. Everything has to be done in isolation but here we need to touch or get close or hold equipment. What if someone coughs or sneezes? Unless all that is resolved constructively, I don’t see shoot happening peacefully. The focus on the creative aspect is lost and it will be more on all the above. Producers get money from financiers, it is risky for them too. They will wait but the big films will set the yardstick on how to go about it. Because of their power, they can install certain equipment for sanitisation which small budget films can’t. Infection possibility indoors is more and day to day sanitisation is needed. It will be like working in an ICU. Big budget films can afford it. In centrally air-conditioned places, droplets will infect. However, the chances of getting infected are less outdoors, as hot weather helps.”

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