Coping with the Corona: From workouts to gardening, here's what Kollywood celebrities are doing during this lockdown
We catch up with a few from Tamil cinema to know how the lockdown is treating each of them, and how they are coping with the corona
It is often said that sport is a great unifier, but in recent times, we have found that something else, in utter contrast to the hope and joy sport fills lives with—a pandemic—has a similar unifying effect. People across the world, borders and language differences be damned, are talking about the same topics: Quarantine, isolation, privilege, gratitude, awareness, healing…
Almost all of us are confined in our homes not knowing how long this lockdown will go on for, and the stars of the film industry have it no different either. All the film industries have come to a standstill. Shootings are stalled, releases are delayed, opportunities are slipping away, with some resigning to catching up on long-pending rest.
We catch up with a few from Tamil cinema to know how the lockdown is treating each of them, and how they are coping with the corona.
GV Prakash Kumar, music director-actor
“I've been spending the quarantine time rejuvenating myself. I have a gym in my basement and this has helped me continue my workout schedule without a break. As I have already finished composing for all my films that are close to a release, I don't have the trouble of any impending deadlines now. I will resume any other work only after the lockdown. I am using this free period to read a lot and watch films that have always been on my wishlist. I have caught some really good films on OTT like Badhaai Ho, Kumbalangi Nights and Virus.”
Balaji Mohan, director
“I have started writing these shorts called ‘micros’ regularly. These times can be scary, confusing and depressing to people, and I just wanted to post something that could make people feel good or introspect. Isn't it great to offer a few minutes of comfort? This is just my way of offering a few minutes of company for anyone scrolling through their social media.
It is also for myself, as I am consistently writing everyday. I started writing these ‘micros’ only after the lockdown was announced. It allows me to be continuously creative in these times and motivates me to flex my writing muscles every day. This also gives me an opportunity to tap into a philosophical, reflective portion of my thoughts that I don't engage much with, usually. Right now, everyone is in a space where they are willing to listen and open up. Our reality is in question and that has led to much introspection. We are asking the big questions. It seemed like the best time to share such thoughts.
A lot of people have been forthcoming with their art. This includes everyone from meme creators who have made us laugh, to writers, musicians, and filmmakers. I believe art and spirituality will be crucial in helping us get back to normal, or to even process the change, once all this is over.”
Barath Neelakantan, director
“Usually, with kids in school and wife at work, I binge watch series as I am mostly home alone. But considering they are all home now, there's no way to do that now (laughs). I spend time rewriting my drafts, bouncing my script with friends online... What's new now is an Instagram session I am doing, as part of which I do conference video calls with film personalities and go live to clarify doubts on filmmaking.
Just before the lockdown, I posted a picture of me scripting in social media and someone I knew asked me what software I was using for writing. Another associate director friend of mine also spoke with me for an hour on writing. That's when I decided that an online session would be helpful. I figured it would be better to bring in other directors to weigh in as well. I have brought in those like Madhumita (KD), Ashwin Saravanan (Game Over), Ashwath Marimuthu (Oh My Kadavule), Ranga (Auto Shankar), Gantumoote director Roopa Rao... Aspiring filmmakers have thanked me for this initiative, and I feel like I have done something worthy. Considering it takes almost half a day to plan these videos, it makes me feel that I have spent the lockdown time purposefully so far.
Arjun Chidambaram, actor
“I'm learning to play different songs on the guitar, and trying to upload cover videos. I am also using this time to learn how to play the keyboard. Watching a movie a day with my parents has also become a regular habit. This lockdown has given me the time to binge-watch Money Heist and I'm trying my hand at a couple of online games too like Zynga Poker. I tried PUBG, but found it to be too difficult. I also try and make sure I spread awareness about the disease and also, through my social media accounts, spread positivity.”
"I always love to spend time with my family. Sneha and I watch a lot of shows together. We are binging on a lot including on films we have missed out on. We just finished Special Ops, and earlier, we were watching She. Also, since I have a gym at home, I work out twice a day. I was following this routine even before the lockdown but I agree that having a target for this period helps as it keeps one focused during this stressful time. We are also planning to cook. I am also glad that I am able to spend more time with my pets.
I had plans to start a production house earlier but now, I don't know how the economy will be, after the pandemic ends."
Janani Iyer, Actor
“My birthday fell during the lockdown period on March 31. While I usually celebrate my birthdays with friends by cutting a cake at midnight, this time, due to the lockdown and social distancing, none of this was possible. Instead, my mom made gulab jamuns at home and I cut it with my family, which, I guess, made my birthday very memorable.
Many compare life in Bigg Boss with the current lockdown. Having been at the Bigg Boss house during season 2, I can say it’s very different. More things happen in the Bigg Boss house; I find lockdown at home to be very boring.
I’m looking forward to the release of my next film, Vezham, with Ashok Selvan, after the lockdown ends. Meanwhile, I have also been working out and selecting clothes for my online store, Hazel Avenue, to keep myself engaged. What began as fun workouts to keep boredom away have now become more intense. My sister also gives me company.”
Sakshi Agarwal, actor
“I am not stepping out of my house at all. I am trying my best to do creative things to keep myself busy. I have started something called #21DayChallenge on Instagram, where I am sharing pictures of various creative things people are up to. I am trying to take the best of whatever people are doing and sharing it with the rest of the world. This is just for the purpose of giving some positivity and hope for my fellow countrymen.
In addition, I am doing a lot of workouts at home. I am finally cleaning up my make-up kits, and organising my wardrobe. I am learning a lot of cooking from my mom. Also, I have started spending more time on indoor gardening. I am doing a lot of reading, and deep thinking. I have also found the time to dive deep into Netflix. I personally feel this is the perfect time for healing and self-contemplation. Once you get busy with your daily lives, it's difficult to get such productive ‘me-time’. So, maybe, this is nature's way of pressing the pause bottom, and making us go back to our creative roots.”