Creating 2016 in a masked 2020 has been the biggest challenge!

Director Badri’s film with Prasanna, Shaam, Ashwin Kakumanu and Yogi Babu in the lead is among those projects that were conceived during the lockdown and went on floors as soon as permission to shoot was granted by the state government. When we visited the set of the movie recently, Naanga Romba Busy, we got a glimpse of what it is to shoot amid the pandemic. “We are following all the safety protocols mandated by the government — maintaining social distancing, doing temperature checks, monitoring oxygen saturation level using pulse-oximeter, and placing hand sanitisers across the shooting area,” said the director.

The team had done a COVID-19 test for the artistes and technicians before beginning the shoot. “We are also sanitising the whole set often. For instance, if we have to shoot inside a house today, we would have thoroughly sanitised it the previous night. The production has also taken insurance for the whole crew,” he informed, adding, “Where we require 10 people on the set, we are working with only six of them. It was difficult on the first two days, but we got used to it over time.”

The film, which is now in its post-production stage, is a remake of the Kannada hit, Mayabazar 2016. “Sundar C sir saw the film recently and he bought the remake rights. He then asked me to watch it, and I loved it, too. We decided to make the film in the first week of September and had started shooting on September 14. So, there was no time to do pre-production,” Badri told us, adding, “The story is based on demonetisation. The biggest challenge was to recreate 2016 in 2020, a year when COVID-19 had turned all our lives upside down. Whenever we wanted to do exterior shots, we would always find people with their masks on. How can we justify public wearing masks in 2016? So, creating that ambience was quite difficult. We had to request people to remove their masks for a few minutes so we could get those shots.”

While Prasanna and Shaam play cops, Ashwin plays a jobless youngster who’s madly in love. “Yogi Babu plays a petty thief. “Shruthi Marathe and Rittika Sen are paired opposite Prasanna and Ashwin, respectively,” the director tells us.

It’s good to be on set

When I got this offer amid the pandemic, I was surprised. It feels good to be on set. I think it’s one of the first movies to start the shoot. So, we have been taking all safety measures while filming. It’s a pleasant experience to work with Prasanna and Yogi Babu — Ashwin Kakumanu

Safety is priority

I play a simple, happy-go-lucky girl, the daughter of a rich man. I’m quite thrilled, nervous and excited, all at the same time, shooting for the film. I know Yogi Babu Sir from my previous film, Dagaalty, and I’ve also become comfortable with the rest of the team. Safety is priority on the set; everyone is wearing masks and surfaces are sanitised often. We are keeping our surroundings hygienic. — Rittika Sen

There are no hugs and handshakes on the set

There’s no crowd like before on the set. It is different now. Earlier, we used to greet others by shaking hands and hugging. Now, none of those things is there. I was initially sceptical, but the safety standards are maintained. Everyone wears masks, uses sanitisers, maintains distance from others… As far as my character is concerned, I can say he is a jolly person — Yogi Babu