At the movies

RGV’s film shot during lockdown does not surprise Mani Ratnam

“Ram Gopal Varma is capable of doing this. I am not surprised that he has done this.”

That was ace filmmaker Mani Ratnam’s reaction with a smile when asked about RGV’s movie `Corona Virus’ that was shot entirely during the lockdown period. The trailer of the movie is out on YouTube now. 

Ratnam was the guest speaker at `The Mitraa Dialogues’, a series of high-quality webinars titled Rebooting India, hosted by the South Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), the premier industry body South of the Vindhyas on Thursday. The filmmaker likened the present crisis to a rain break during a Wimbledon final, after which play will resume and take off from where the players left. 

“The momentum will change, the game will change. Not to make it look trivial but everything will find its own way,” said Ratnam. 

Mani Ratnam is in the midst of the shooting of `Ponniyan Selvan’, a story set in the 10th century. Talks are reportedly on to get bulk dates of the leading stars and the ensemble cast after the situation is better than what it is now and the lockdown is lifted in order to target a release date in 2021 though Ratnam during his interaction said, that has not been frozen yet.

“My film has a lot of war sequences which will take a lot of effort. I don’t know how I am going to do it but we will have to. Technolgoy has improved, there are computer graphics which will help us adapt to the situation,” he said. 

Shibasish Sarkar, the CEO of Reliance Entertainment who was the other guest speaker at the webinar, said cinema theatres in many Western countries are looking to open sometime end of June or mid-July.

“At the global industry level, we are basically looking for that one big film for the confidence to return to the system” said Sarkar. “Research and some reports say that after these months of lockdown, if confidence can be given to the people about basic hygience and safety aspects, they would return to the cinema halls.”

While advocating working out ways to reduce of cost of movie production, Ratnam advised against having 200 people on sets and rushing in as soon as restrictions are lifted. 

On the debate on OTT vs cinema theatres, Ratnam was clear where his loyalties lie. 

“There is no other better way to watch cinema than with 500 other people in the dark,” he said.

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