Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt shot one another for a short film Family

Updated: Apr 09, 2020, 08:17 IST | The Hitlist Team | Mumbai

Director Prasoon Pandey of short film Family on how he got the Indian film industry together for the offering.

Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth and Ranbir Kapoor
Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth and Ranbir Kapoor

Ad filmmaker Prasoon Pandey says there is an "incredible back-story" to how a dozen of India's top actors, including Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth and Mohanlal, came together for Family, his virtually directed short film on the importance of physical distancing, in the wake of the pandemic.

Pandey said Bachchan was most excited about the project and also came up with the idea to include an appeal about helping the daily-wage workers in the film industry. He added that Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt suggested that the director not limit himself to the Hindi film industry only.

Family features Bachchan, Rajinikanth, Kapoor, Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Diljit Dosanjh, Chiranjeevi, Mohanlal, Mammootty, Sonali Kulkarni, Shiv Raj Kumar and Prosenjit Chatterjee. All the stars speak in their respective local languages, giving it a pan-Indian appeal.

The film chronicles a family's effort to find a misplaced pair of sunglasses belonging to Bachchan's character.

"The back story is incredible. Amitji's portions were shot by Abhishek. Nick Jonas shot Priyanka's segment, Rajinikanthji's was shot by his daughter Soundarya. Ranbir and Alia went behind the camera for each other. Everyone was so gracious. They didn't come into the frame, but they were simply helping. They were so selfless," Pandey said.

The director even toyed with the idea of releasing behind-the-scenes footage, but it could not be possible to do so within the limited time he had. Pandey said he first came up with the idea when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has praised the film on Twitter, announced the lockdown of 21 days. He discussed it with his brother, renowned adman Piyush Pandey, about making a short film that is shot, edited and acted while staying at home.

They called up Bachchan who was "the most excited."

As there was no physical meeting, his son shot a template film — in which he played all the characters — at their home.

"We sent that to all the actors so that they could see each shot precisely, [including details of] how to frame [each shot], and in which direction to look, so that it could connect to the next shot. I sent it on April 2, and told them it would be great if they could shoot it by the next day, and they didn't bat an eyelid. They started shooting on April 3."

Still, there were glitches, and retakes were required, but all the actors cooperated without any hassle.

It was harder to coordinate with Chopra, who is currently in Los Angeles, because of different time zones, but the Quantico star sent in her clips just in time: a day before the final submission of the film. "We started working on the music even before the film was ready. Because the film kept changing with more shots coming in, the music kept changing too," he added.

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