With the government announcing Unlock 3.0, the film industry is gearing up to start more shoots in the weeks to come. The makers of the John Abraham-starrer, Mumbai Saga, had talked about their plans to go back on the floors soon. In conversation with BT, the actor spoke about what he feels about returning to a set after a long spell, and the lessons learnt during the lockdown. Excerpts...
Several TV shows have gone back on floors and film units are also planning to resume shoots gradually. Your film, Mumbai Saga, has a few days of work left. What are your thoughts about going back on a set after so many months?
Various industry associations have come together and laid down detailed guidelines for sanitisation, health and safety. The problem is implementing those on a long-term basis, that is what the concern is. Things have changed drastically, and there will be a new normal now. Will everything get back to exactly how it was before? Even if it does, it will take a long, long time. We will get back to work full steam, but by then, who knows how much time we may have lost. Talking about Mumbai Saga, it requires four days of work from me. We were half-way done with Attack; we had a crew from London and South Africa working on it, so perhaps, we will have to wait to get our forces back together on that one.
While we are unlocking in phases, did the last few months give you time to introspect?
I have realised that self-introspection and being able to live with yourself is what you need to do. We don’t want to face a lot of things in life and that is why we constantly try to stay busy. This situation has taught us that we have no option, but to deal with uncomfortable realities. We have all learnt to work from home. I hope people become more considerate and cleaner than before. I hope that we return to cleaner sets and a cleaner environment. It took a pandemic to make India a cleaner place. I always focus on the good things that will come out of this.
Did you use the time to cultivate new hobbies or learn something new? Also, in these months of lockdown, we saw a lot of actors being active on social media. We didn’t see much of you out there…
I can’t suddenly start cultivating new hobbies and putting it all out on social media. I am sorry, but I enjoy the space I am in. I am not a social media slave, though I think that it’s a fantastic space to convey messages at the right time. But, I can’t go beyond that. I’d rather belong to the stone age than allow myself to go down that route.
So, what kept you engaged all these months?
I’ve been reading a lot, as I enjoy it. Pre and post lockdown, I am the same person, nothing has changed for me. Even before all this happened, I hardly went out and have always relished home food. That part about me hasn’t changed. On the work front, we have used the time to build our content bank. We have to understand where we are heading, and my team and I are focussed on doing that. It takes up a lot of my time.