With the number of COVID-positive cases on the decline, filmmakers who were forced by the second wave of the pandemic to halt shooting schedules in March, are gearing to resume work. The team of the Nithiin-starrer Maestro, the Telugu remake of Bollywood’s Andhadhun, re-started filming on Monday.
There’s barely one week of shooting left to wrap up the black comedy crime thriller, and scenes are reportedly being canned on Nithiin, Tamannaah and Harshavardhan. “It’s always exciting to be back on the sets,” says director Merlapaka Gandhi.
“We have been meticulously planning the shooting schedule, and we have cut down on the crew drastically. Where we would have used four crew members earlier, we went with only one,” explains the director, adding that most members of the on-location crew are vaccinated.
Admitting that, even so there’s a fair bit of tension at the back of his mind since the pandemic is far from over, Gandhi says, “We don’t want to take any chances, and we are following all the COVID-19 protocols.”
For instance, he says, the actors wear masks throughout the time they’re on the sets, until they’re called for the shot. Asked about the experience of shooting during this time, he smiles and replies, “It’s pretty much the same, except that there aren’t too many crew members around.”
The Venkatadri Express helmer reveals that in the winter of 2018, when he went to Araku to work on the script of one of his films, he heard rave reviews about Andhadhun.
“When I watched the film, I was fascinated by the screenplay and liked the thrill factor. In fact, this was the only film I wanted to remake,” he shares. Almost a year later, the director was offered the chance to remake the Hindi film in Telugu. Describing it as a “pleasant surprise,” he says, “Honestly I never thought I’ll be helming the remake version.”
Has the pandemic changed the way filmmakers write scripts, we ask. “Yes, to a certain extent,” he replies. He shares that filmmakers need interesting ideas to get them excited. “Filmmakers’ thought processes are changing after the pandemic. So out-of-the-box plot ideas that excite us as much as the audience are the need of the hour to pull the crowd to the theatres.”...