Laxmibai Nagar in New Delhi was buzzing with good news as the cast and crew of Amit Sharma's next Badhaai Ho made the residential government colony their home for over 2 weeks. The director, who is also a leading ad filmmaker, chose to shoot at real locations as opposed to a set unit, zeroing in on a colony home in Delhi's Laxmibai Nagar.
Apart from conducting an extensive recce, prior to the film going on floors, the crew along with the Production Designer Ratheesh also worked for days on end to ensure the interiors and exteriors of the residence matched with the middle class homes and even sourced out local furniture and upholstery from the region.
Director Amit Ravindranath Sharma informs, “Born and brought up in Delhi, I had a vision for this house and Ratheesh brought it to life. We have worked together in past and I had full confidence in him. The set looked exactly like a house. I drew on my childhood memories on how my dadi would have her medicines next to her bed, how our dining table was laid out. We worked on every possible detail- like going to real houses taking pictures and trying to replicate that on our set. We observed middle class lifestyle and added those elements - everyday Ayushmann used to fondly have chawanprash that was centre piece of the dining table.”
“Talking about challenges we had to make the set rain shoot friendly. We had it easy because the set had collapsable walls, detachable windows and doors to shoot the scenes from all the angles. We had to use heatlon sheets and sand to make sure the tiles of the set didn’t break and caused no problem during sync sound. The set is seventh character (Ayushmann, Sanya, Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao, Surekha Sikri and Shardul Rana) that has added life to the whole film. Shoot never felt like one because the whole cast and the crew felt they are at home,” he adds.
Ratheesh adds, “I have worked with Amit in many commercials before. He never asks to do ‘how he wanted’, but ‘how it should be’. So the script itself was the brief. All he wanted is nothing should look fake. Real location is what we all - Sanu, Amit and I always prefer. But we couldn’t find one which could help us to execute the film how amit wanted. Around 40% of the film is inside the house. Space for camera movement, night scenes, atmosphere for sync sound and to finish within the schedule- all these factors made us think about a set. The biggest challenge was to do justice to the freedom Amit gave in production designing. We were creating an interior of an existing location. And the set should match to that- size, texture, props and exterior- at the same time we need enough space to move around but still it shouldn’t look bigger than a middle class house. That was the task. The whole set was either on wheels or on hinges to create enough space for shooting and to save time.”