Barricades stop us from entering Rose Garden on East Coast Road, a kilometre before Muttukaadu. We could see caravans and unit vans parked on the lane towards the seashore. After obtaining the necessary permission, there are no handshakes, instead the production managers of Sundar C’s Avni Movies, Vishwa, and Raja meet us with a thermometer. “Okay, its normal and you can now enter,” they say and spray sanitiser on our hands. The yet-untitled film directed by Badri has Prasanna, Shaam, Ashwin Kakumanu, Yogi Babu, Rittika Sen, and Shruti Marathe in lead roles. “Today we have Ashwin, Yogi Babu and Rittika Sen shooting for their portions,” say Raja and Vishwa as Ashwin walks in. He greets us and gets his temperature checked before talking to us. “This is a film I signed during the lockdown. We started off the shoot in September and will finish it off in a week. I met Sundar C sir for the first time on the sets of this film. And there is no dearth of fun on the sets when Yogi Babu is around. We are having a good time.” Ashwin also says that it feels strange to shoot in such circumstances. “Usually, we enter a film set, shaking hands and hugging each other. Now all of it is gone and this is quite weird. However, shooting for a multi-starrer film like this has been exciting. Prasanna and I discussed a lot about our careers and choices of films,” he says. Director Badri assembles his unit on the first floor of the house and ensures that everyone is masked. Yogi Babu dressed formally walks in followed by the heroine of the film Rittika. Badri explains to them the scene.
After the shot, Yogi Babu says, “Sundar C anna’s production is a home production for me. I have known him for 12 years now and will never say ‘no’ to him. As you would see, we all are maintaining the protocols and are unmasking ourselves only when we are in front of the camera. COVID has hit the film industry very hard. We had to get things moving else, the loss would be more severe. I hope things get back to normal soon.” Rittika opens up and says this is her first day on the sets. “I was initially wary of shooting but people here made me feel comfortable and now I am settled.” Director Badri approves the shot and makes time to talk to us. “It is difficult to shoot with less than 70 people in the unit. We have finished 26 days of shoot and only have four more days left. I learned this trait of finishing the film quickly while assisting Sundar sir. We haven’t titled the film yet and will make an announcement soon,” he concludes.