Constrains are opportunities for film industry
With the end of lockdown insight, the Telugu film industry is hoping to get back to work and awaits cinema theatres to open as soon as possible what with an illustrious line-up of films awaiting theatrical release.
With the end of lockdown insight, the Telugu film industry is hoping to get back to work and awaits cinema theatres to open as soon as possible what with an illustrious line-up of films awaiting theatrical release. However, post-corona film shootings would mean lesser crew at the location and a lot more of coordination with technical teams working remotely.
Telugu film industry bigwigs met the Cinematography Minister of Telangana Talasani Srinivas Yadav; top heroes of the industry Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Bahubali director Rajamouli, director Trivikram Srinivas and others assured the minister that they can shoot with the minimum number of people on the sets and will take necessary precautions like wearing the mask and maintaining social distancing, which in a way sets the tone for the future of film making in the coming months. Gone are the days we had 100s of crew members and tens of equipment that they handled. Modesty is surely going to be the order of the day.
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There would be challenges, but the industry is gearing up to face them. Among other things, technical personnel like editors, VFX and Graphic artists would play a major role in the post-lockdown film making.
When the whole world was locked down, there have been few videos and short-duration episodes on social media that were made with the cast filming using their phone cameras from their homes, and then the technicians; especially the editors and the music experts giving their support remotely. 'Family' virtually directed by Prasoon Pandey was one such awareness film shot by popular actors from various states like Mammooty, Rajanikanth, Chiranjeevi, PuruRajkumar, Amitabh, Alia Bhatt, RanbirKapoor etc., promoting #Stayhome.
Any challenge is only the beginning of innovation and creativity says, writer, actor Aripirala Satyaprasad. During the lockdown, he shot a film, which in every sense is a home production, literally. Satya Prasad acted and directed the film, his wife Srilakshmi did the costumes, makeup and took care of production, his 12-year-old daughter Maukthika handled the camera and 7-year-old son acted in the hour-long film 'Locked'. What started as an exercise to introduce film making to children turned into a full-fledged shoot using whatever limited resources he could find at home, and mobile phone for the camera that was tied to a suitcase using rubber bands for a trolley shot, secured to the ceiling fan for a crane shot, and the drums stand that could tilt sideways used as the camera stand.
The rooms doubled up as locations, and the script and scheduling were done professionally using the Celtex App and excel sheets for better execution. Shooting in a fully functional home was a bit of work, but the team handled it with zeal as each time the room had to be emptied to make it ready for the shoot. The story is a thriller about a psychologically disturbed person locked up in his home due to Corona and he begins to see a boy in the house. He took care of the editing on his laptop and hopes to find a good sound guy to make it even more professional. For now, he has used royalty-free music. "It is fine for home viewing, slick editing would be needed to make it a proper film for a wider audience," shares Satya Prasad, who is working in his book on world cinema history 'Lights Camera Cinema'. He says "Innovation and creativity are necessary in downtimes to bring back the lost charm to the cinema."
Venu Udugula, director of the much-awaited film, 'Virataparvam' starring RanaDaggubati and Sai Pallavi says it's time to make corrections. New producers and new productions may find it difficult, but existing production houses will still be able to pull off with some changes, he adds.
"We are used to having 200 and more people on the sets. Shooting locations are like fish markets with lots of noise and drama, sometimes hindering the creative process. Until now we let it happen especially for huge productions with big starcast, but, now, Corona will force us to look at using lesser manpower.
"Plus we do not know how many people will come to the theatre to watch the film. In such uncertain times, it is important to reduce production costs, and artists too must reduce their remunerations, especially the heroes. Earlier if a Sharwanand movie or a Nani movie took 30 crores or more in the making, we are not sure if we can make that kind of money today. If we let the producer incur losses, the ripple effect will be seen down the line. How can we burden the producer?" he asks.
"Digital revolution brought in enormous changes bringing in OTT platforms, and with Corona, the importance of OTT has increased manifold. It is a welcome change. The more the merrier. Our job is to tell stories and make it reach the audience through every possible medium. The digital platform needs varied content. And in order to cater to the many platforms, we can increase the number of productions and I am hoping that this also will open up more opportunities balancing the use of a lesser number of the film crew on locations. I also feel individuals must be ready to adapt to changes and if possible upgrade their skills to go forward successfully because change is unavoidable."
Venu's film 'Virataparvam' is almost done. "We have 10 more days of shoot left and then it will be post-production. We have to deal with it when we get permissions."
He also feels that the government should help the industry by reducing the rentals for locations which are huge in terms of real and hidden costs. The whole process should be made industry-friendly. Otherwise, it will be difficult to make smaller cinemas. Government support is extremely important for the industry to come out of challenging times.