Kerala

We feared if we could return at all, says Blessy

Director of Aaduvjeevitham on being stranded in Jordan because of COVID-19

For the crew of 58 in Jordan, those were difficult days. Looking at the kind of destruction SARS-CoV-2 was bringing on to the world, there were indeed times when they feared if they could return home at all.

Director Blessy, actor Prithviraj, and the others, who were in the Western Asian country to film Aadujeevitham, may have had to wait longer than they would have liked, but they were finally able to board a plane and landed in Kochi on Friday.

“When the shooting was stopped because of COVID-19 and all of us were forced to sit idle, it wasn’t easy at all,” Blessy said over the phone from Thiruvalla, where he entered home quarantine. “Many of us felt mentally down.”

Blessy, along with cinematographer K.U. Mohanan, was among the first to reach Amman on March 9. A few days later, Prithviraj arrived and the shoot of the film — an adaptation of Benyamin’s hugely popular Malayalam novel Aadujeevitham — opened.

They were forced to stop on March 24, after shooting for eight days. “But, with the help of Sanal Kumar, a native of Nemom who made it big as an entrepreneur in Jordan, we were able to resume shooting,” said Blessy. “There was not even single case of COVID-19 in the area we were shooting, at Wadi Rum.”

They resumed shooting after a gap of 32 days. “The break proved a blessing in disguise as Prithviraj’s weight came further down, which the script had demanded,” said Blessy, director of films such as Thanmathra and Kazhcha. “About 50% of the film has been shot so far; under the circumstances, that is not bad at all.”

He is hoping to return to Jordan in September or October. “Even according to the original plan, we needed another schedule in Jordan as a Hollywood actor has to join the film to portray a prominent role,” he said.

The free time was spent by the crew playing cards, Ludo, and cricket, he said about the time in Jordan. “We made bat and ball on our own,” he said.

COVID-19, of course, has forced the world to think out of the box like that. “This is a reminder to us from nature,” Blessy said. “We have to adapt ourselves to a changing world. But I am confident that cinema and other industries will bounce back.”

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 12:57:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/we-feared-if-we-could-return-at-all-says-blessy/article31653850.ece

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