Siddharth Anand Kumar: Have one COVID officer on set
From monitoring safety measures to trimming down staff to 25, makers of Comedy Couple discuss kicking offshoot post lockdown.
While some filmmakers returned to the set to complete their pending shoots, Yoodlee Films' Comedy Couple — featuring Saqib Saleem and Shweta Basu Prasad — became the first Bollywood movie to kick off production from scratch. The comedy, that was initially slated to be shot in Mumbai, went on floors in Gurugram last week.
Siddharth Anand Kumar, vice-president, films and events, Saregama, informs that adhering to safety guidelines, the crew headed to the city 14 days before the shoot and practised self-quarantine. In a crucial step, the production house has employed three COVID officers — hospitality professionals who have been trained in preventive measures — who monitor the crew members for symptoms as well as check their temperatures every morning before the shoot, on a rotational basis. "The regulations bar us from having a doctor or ambulance on set as they are required at hospitals. So, we have a designated COVID officer, who is in charge of ensuring that the strictest measures of hygiene and sanitisation are followed. Everyone on the set wears gloves, masks or face shields; we also have built a sanitisation tunnel. Actors have to mandatorily wear masks between takes," says Kumar.
Producer Kumar at the monitor
Though the original crew comprises 60 people, only 25 are on the set at a time. The make-up and hair styling department has been trimmed down to four artistes. "We have two artistes who handle the hair and make-up of the leads while two others take care of the rest of the cast. "
Shweta Basu Prasad's hair and makeup artistes take preventive measures before attending to her
Giving shape to a film — while working with a slim crew and maintaining physical distancing — is no mean feat. Director Nachiket Samant hopes to wrap up the project in a start-to-finish 40-day schedule. "Shooting under such circumstances is a different experience altogether. We find ourselves in a curiously strange situation. But we are taking precautions, and safety to the highest standard is being ensured for all," he says.
Comedy Couple is based on a story by Bikas Mishra, with a screenplay by Raghav Kakkar and Kashyap Kapoor. The movie is based in Gurgaon and is set against the backdrop of the burgeoning stand-up comedy scene in the city.
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