While most directors prefer to shoot in Mumbai, there are a handful who love to come to Delhi on a special shoot. It is difficult to get the required permission and the budget is quite high but these producers manage to capture the Capital’s flavour nevertheless. The cast and crew of Hum Ne Li Hai Shapath recently shot their upcoming episode Super Cops v/s Super Villains at the Qutab Minar.Sangeeta Yadav attended the do to bring you a spot report
Actor Aman Verma suddenly sprang up and started running after a person near the Qutab Minar in New Delhi. A fight ensued and Verma pulled out his gun pointing straight at the man’s head. “Bataa, mujhe bataa, kitne log mile huye hain…” he bellowed. The man looked for a chance to get away but that was not to be. Verma punched him hard. Blood spewed out of his mouth. Just as he was going to utter something, the director said ‘cut’.
Akshay Singh, director of Hum Ne Li Hai Shapath, next signalled to his cast and crew to re-assemble at the Qutab Minar. The team was in the Capital to shoot an upcoming episode Super Cops v/s Super Villains with Aman Verma playing ACP Diler. Around 1,000 people were chanting his name as Verma took out his cool sunglasses — he said it’s a cool gadget that can read minds. Return of X-Men? Verma insisted his powers are greater and more real.
In the backdrop of the Qutab Minar, ACP Diler led his team of cops in an encounter with super villains, a series that is to go on air from April 20, 2013 onwards on Life OK.
According to Shailender Kaushik, line producer of Sastha Productions, (they handle TV and movie productions in North India), Delhi has become one of the most sought-after destinations for TV shoots.
“There is a certain charm in the Capital. Thanks to its historical monuments and its hatke locations, producers are making a beeline to shoot here,” he says.
Shows like Adalat, 12/24 Karol Bagh, Hitler Didi, Ram Milaye Jodi, Sasural Genda Phool, Rishton Se Badi Pratha, Apno Ke Liye Geeta Ka Dharmyudh and CIDhave triggered a trend of shooting in Delhi.
Kaushik tells you that in an attempt to get up-close and personal with Delhi, several producers have been coming to the Capital to collect snapshots of its skyline and receiving spots. They are tweaking the storyline of serials to include Delhi in the plot. The director of Shapath has done the same.
Although he could manage only a day’s permission from the Archaeological Survey of India to shoot in the Qutab Minar premises, Singh made sure he had all the shots completed in time.
“Everything needs to be completed in the given time frame and in the area allowed for the shoot. It is impossible to steal a shot with all the security and cops in tow. But it’s good to have them as their presence ensures that they are there to ensure everything flows smoothly,” Kaushik says.
Tarun Jain, producer controller of Sastha Production who has arranged for the shoots of serials like 12/24 Karol Bagh, Hitler Didi and movies like Zindagi Rocks and Yeh Saali Zindagi, points out how difficult it is to get permission for shooting on the streets of Delhi as also at places under the ASI.
“To get permission to shoot for a show takes a lot of time, especially in areas like CP, Purani Dilli and other historical sites. To shoot this sequence in Qutab Minar, we had to pursue officers in the ASI for a week before and still could manage only a day’s nod. As for CP, it is impossible to get permission to shoot there. It takes 20 days for even a revert on a shoot at India Gate,” Jain says.
Though directors prefer to hire local crew to cut costs, it’s the line production team that takes cares of logistics and setting up of sets.
“We have vendors who look after TV and movies’ production. Whenever a shoot is planned for Delhi, these vendors are contacted. From transporting equipment to setting it up — it’s their job. For this shoot, we hired Subhash Generators for vanity vans, generators and lights,” Jain says.
Apart from the time required and the permission issues, there is also the budget factor to take care of. Because it is expensive to shoot elsewhere, production houses prefer Mumbai.
“For outstation shoots, the lead starcast and the main crew like cameramen are flown in. Rest is taken care of by local crew. The minimum it costs for a day’s shoot in Delhi is Rs4 lakh which includes local vendors, food and accommodation,” Kaushik tells you.
Among the problems of shooting in Delhi is the major one of crowd management.
“If we shoot in Delhi, a huge crowd gathers and creates havoc. Even if a Government body gives us the permission, residents of the area may complain about the noise and disturbance. In Mumbai, shooting has become so commonplace that not much trouble happens,” Kaushik says.
But there is always a way out if you are looking for one. “
If the show is Jaipur or Delhi-centric, the director shoots for a few days to get the main shot right. Then he just repeats the clips and snapshots,” Shiju Nair, production controller of Fireworks Production which produced Aahat and CID, tells you.
During the shoot of Diya Aur Bati Hum, an unexpected crowd gathered and the situation went out of control.
“We had hired 2,000 security men and bodyguards. But we were not prepared for 20,000 people,” Kaushik says.
Aman ki asha
- What is this scene about?
It’s an action sequence wherein we are trying to catch a terrorist. I’m playing ACP Diler who has super powers in his shades. Through them, he can read the mind of the other person.
- This is the first time you play a cop. How did you prepare for the role?
I’m just trying to be little rude and not care about people. That’s what the perception of a normal cop is. I’m trying my best to fit into the role and do justice to it. My father was in the Army. So I have tried to incorporate his mannerisms into my character.
- How was your experience of shooting in Delhi?
Delhiites are nice and warm people. Shooting at the Qutab Minar is better than shooting on the streets of the city.
- What was happening with you before Shapath?
I played Ravan in Life Ok’s Ramlila which was hosted by Ajay Devgn. Then the show Welcome happened. This is my third show with this channel. I did a Punjabi movie titled Teri Meri Ek Jindari and the Hindi filmBadlapur Boys. I didn’t want to pick up something on TV which had no meaning.
(The article was published in The Pioneer Newspaper – http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/sunday-pioneer/small-screen/aman-takes-shapath.html).