Location Diaries: Too much on her plate
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is from the floors of Idiot
Nikki Galrani returned to sets after the pandemic for the Shiva-starrer Idiot. Although she was glad to get back to work, there was a bit of apprehension. "The situation was somewhat scary for everyone. All of us had to get used to the new normal of sanitisers, masks and social distancing. Though we were all thrilled to be meeting each other, at the back of our minds there was always the thought that we should not get too close, for everyone's safety. We had to take off masks for the shot and remember to immediately put them back on again," says Nikki.
Nikki also noticed the additional concern of unit members. "Almost all of them had families with elders and kids to go back to daily. So, as an extra precaution, many unit members would go home and quarantine themselves daily, to avoid the slightest risk to their loved ones. I'm sure that must have caused a great emotional strain, but they tried not to show it at work."
However, people soon adapted to the situation, and the film being a horror-comedy helped lighten the mood. Nikki also credits on-set sporting activities for keeping their spirits up. "We found a secluded building near our set and after taking necessary precautions, we would go and play badminton there between shots."
Nikki narrates an unforgettable experience from the first schedule at Tenkasi. For an important scene, director Rambala told her she would have to sit and gorge on a plate of biriyani. Being a foodie who loved the dish, Nikki was delighted. However, when the shoot began, and she started eating the biriyani, there were several cuts and retakes due to the large number of characters and junior artistes in the scene. And with every take, Nikki would have to resume eating. "Rambala also needed several angles, so that meant I had to continue eating for every extra shot. By the end of the day, I'd eaten way too much biriyani. The dish is a heavy one and I began to feel very lethargic and even a trifle sick. I was so glad when pack-up was announced."
But the next day she was again served a huge helping of biriyani since the previous day's sequence still had to be completed. "It was a huge shock! I am usually a very hyperactive person and all that lethargy from over-eating had left me feeling drained." Nikki continued as per instructions, however, hoping the scene would soon be over. To her utter dismay, the biriyani scene continued well into the third day as well. "By the end of the third day, I could hardly move. I was so glad we somehow finished the scene that day. Though I love it, after three whole days of gorging platefuls of the dish, I didn't want to see a plate of biriyani for a very long time!"