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Shankar Marthand: ‘Expiry Date’ is a story of relationships

Madhu Shalini, Tony Luke and Sneha Ullal in the web series  

A new Hindi-Telugu web series starring Sneha Ullal, Tony Luke, Madhu Shalini and Ali Reza, which will stream on Zee5 from October 2, is titled Expiry Date. The series director Shankar Marthand explains that while the ingredients in a product determine its shelf life, the qualities and follies of an individual metaphorically have a bearing on his/her life.

Shankar had intended Expiry Date as a feature film but later developed it into a 10-episode web series. “It’s a story of relationships. The content had scope to be more than a two-hour film. The story traces the lives of two couples and how an incident changes the course of things for them,” says the director.

With the support of producer Sharrath Marar, Shankar pitched the story to Zee5 and it was first approved for Telugu and subsequently for Hindi. “We thought Sneha, Tony and Madhu are known in both Telugu and Hindi and this can be an ideal comeback vehicle for Sneha,” says Shankar.

Sneha Ullal and Shankar Marthand

Sneha Ullal and Shankar Marthand  

Sneha had appeared in Telugu films until 2014 and then had taken a break. Shankar met her in Mumbai to narrate Expiry Date: “She liked the story and agreed. It’s an advantage when you get actors like her and Madhu who can converse in both languages. Incidentally, both Sharrath and I spotted Tony Luke in Badla and felt he would be apt to play the protagonist,” Shankar explains.

Writing the web series, Shankar says he wove in twists and turns to keep the audience hooked with suspense: “I enjoy watching thrillers and liked the process of writing this series. It developed into a suspense drama that we hope will sustain audience interest.”

Shankar Marthand

Shankar Marthand  

Expiry Date went on floors in January 2020, soon after Sankranti, and paused during the lockdown. They resumed filming in May, with a scaled-down crew. Also, some of the locations changed and a few scenes had to be re-written: “During the pandemic, we couldn’t risk shooting scenes that involved a crowd. Some scenes had to be reworked, taking care not to miss the flavour of the story,” says Shankar.

The unit filmed the remaining portions in Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad where there would be no interaction between the cast and crew and outsiders: “We took utmost care so that nobody gets infected. Everyone went through COVID-19 tests and PPE kits were ordered for some members of the crew. We also shot a few scenes at an aluminium factory in Gachibowli,” Shankar adds.

Shankar affirms that there’s a possibility of season 2 of Expiry Date, depending on the response from the viewers.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 7:17:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/expiry-date-is-a-story-of-relationships/article32729655.ece

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