How Tamil cinema’s technicians survived this lockdown


Whereas Kollywood waits for a clearer image earlier than restarting filming, the group bands collectively to seek out inventive methods to outlive the yr

“Prepared, prepared, motion.”

Amidst a cacophony of voices, we hear stunt grasp ‘Siruthai’ Ganesh uttering the three golden phrases to his crew, giving us a sense that the movie business is slowly getting again to the grind. However no.

He’s not taking pictures for a movie, however for a video for his YouTube channel that may doc the lives of senior stunt masters, in a collection of first-person interviews. “Although the Authorities has given permission to shoot for TV serials, we nonetheless haven’t obtained any instruction concerning movie shoots,” says Ganesh over cellphone. He was toying with the thought of beginning his personal YouTube Channel — Maga Aasan — in the course of the lockdown. The channel will go dwell subsequent month.

Ganesh was choreographing the stunt sequences for a Vemal movie and was supposed to begin work on a Pa Vijay movie earlier than he was slowed down by the uncertainty of the pandemic.

He barely managed to soldier by way of the nationwide lockdown in March. Then, points started to creep in — each professionally and personally — when the lockdown was subsequently prolonged.

Although the South Indian Cine Stunt Administrators and Stunt Artistes Union was serving to artistes with monetary assist and necessities, it in the end boiled right down to senior masters like Ganesh, who has been supporting his core group of 10 fighters.

Whereas some technicians sought refuge in Zoom calls and executed shoots nearly, it was not an possibility for Ganesh, on condition that his line of labor includes bodily contact.

Discussing shoots within the new regular, he says, “Have you ever accepted this as our actuality?If actors are licensed Corona-free by medical professionals on the set, why ought to we fear? That is only a passing cloud.”

Ganesh was within the strategy of buying a chunk of land and had a couple of commitments that had been quashed within the wake of COVID-19. However he states that day by day wagers had been the worst affected, a few of whom sought various routes for employment. “A jimmy jib operator began promoting fruits. Among the stuntmen I knew ventured into vegetable enterprise and drove auto rickshaws. They wanted the cash for survival.”

For veteran wig maker B Natesan too, it was a query of survival. Regardless of the monetary help offered by South India Cine and TV Make-up Artistes Union, he needed to pawn his spouse’s jewels, to pay hire and preserve his enterprise afloat.

The wig maker additionally made information for developing with an revolutionary ‘Corona’ wig, in an effort to create consciousness. “The Corona wig is lengthy and messy. It’s sported by actors who play arakans (demon) in dramas.”

Natesan sources hair from Tirupati, Tiruttani and Velankani. He says that the demand for hair has not dropped regardless of the pandemic.

He has reopened his store, located adjoining to Kodambakkam bridge, though there was a noticeable dip within the variety of clients, who, he says, are principally most cancers sufferers referred to by medical doctors.

“As soon as public transportation turns into operational, I’m assured that clients will flock, as they used to earlier than,” says Natesan, including that he offered over 30 wigs on a median, which has come right down to a most of 5 in the present day.

The best way again

Foley artistes S Babu and TP Purushothaman haven’t benefited from the comfort both. They resumed work final month when the lockdown was additional eased, and wrapped up the pending patch work for Gamanam (Telugu) and Robert (Kannada).

The duo was left with little to no initiatives when the Authorities issued permission to renew post-production work. “We normally have a decent schedule all by way of the yr. However this has been a testing interval; a few of us have left for our hometowns,” says Babu from Tindivanam. They’re commissioned for work by audio put up manufacturing corporations like Sync Cinema, Oli Sound Labs and LV Prasad Institute (for Telugu).

“I haven’t paid faculty charges for my daughter who’s in Class XII. On-line courses have began they usually have been insisting that we pay no less than half the charge,” says Purushothaman, who would make about ₹40,000-50,000 a month whereas Babu earned wherever between ₹25,000-30,000, beneath regular circumstances.

For many technicians, the scenario will solely enhance when theatres begin functioning, since a cluster of films remains to be caught in a limbo. “How can producers pay our dues when their cash is caught? There’s a lot that must be accomplished when theatres reopen.”

That is the fifth in a seven-part collection on Chennai and its individuals, in lockdown, celebrating 381 years of resilience.


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