The cast and crew of the Ravi Teja-starrer Khiladi reached Hyderabad from Italy a couple of days ago. While they were originally slated to shoot till March 31, the unit seems to have cut short its schedule by a few days, setting tongues wagging.
However, while admitting that the lockdown measures in Italy had made things difficult, the film’s director Ramesh Varma clarified that the entire schedule was wrapped up on time.
“We landed in Italy on December 9, but the place where we were put up went into lockdown from December 10,” shared the director. The unit however obtained the necessary permissions to shoot, he said.
“We represented to the local authorities that we had come from India, and that if we weren’t able to shoot, we would incur heavy financial loss. The authorities were kind enough to let us shoot, he said, adding that the schedule lasted from March 10 to March 26.
Talking about the difficulties of shooting during the lockdown, he said, “Most of the local crew wasn’t available; also getting permissions for locations was one hell of a task. There were hardly any shops open and people were not coming out from their homes. As a result, the cost of production shot up by a few crores.” The Italy schedule cost around eight crore, he added.
Luckily, the government officials were helpful, he said. Admitting that he did panic when the lockdown was imposed, he said the producers and other members of the unit insisted that they return to Hyderabad.
“We were tense about whether we would be able to complete the shooting or not. But I was determined to complete it, following all the COVID-19 protocols. In fact, the unit underwent COVID-19 tests every two days,” said Ramesh, adding that the places where they were accommodated were red zones.
Apparently, one of the unit members tested COVID positive upon landing in Italy. “He was quarantined for the entire schedule; the authorities warned that if there was one more positive case we would be sent back, but luckily there were no were no further cases,” said the filmmaker.
“I have been to Italy many times and enjoyed the crowds, the festive atmosphere, music and great nightlife. But it was so disheartening to see deserted roads and no people on the streets,” he rued.
“Since it was winter in Italy, shooting in chilly temperatures was really challenging. Our hands and feet would freeze, but that did not dampen our spirits; we wanted to wrap up our shooting,” said the director, adding that they shot one song, a chase sequence and crucial scenes.
“We have one more song left, and we want to shoot that in Dubai, so we are looking at different possibilities,” he said. According to him, the biggest challenge was shooting scenes in a yacht. “Since it was lockdown, permissions were denied, but we have managed to get it done finally, with a limited crew.