One thing to always expect in India is the unexpected. For things to change last minute and to realise that your finely tuned plans mean squat all to the Indian ‘Desi’ method of operation. If you fail to prepare for this disregard of preparation, you and all that you seek to do will quickly become loose, like the insufficiently bolted wheels of a Punjabi bus.
We found out today that our lead actress is flying away to Singapore and arrives two days into the shooting schedule, effectively making all of our current plans redundant. The consequences could have potentially meant a delay to shooting, but some rescheduling will hopefully sort this out. Easier said than done however, as it means a complete readjustment of all daily schedules and scenes and affects every member of the cast, crew and locations. Just one person has this much impact on the production and it wouldn’t be foolish to expect more similar disruptions along the way. Sure, we have ample, similar problems when shooting in the UK and no production is exempt from unforeseen problems, but like the vehicle horns on Punjabi roads, the disruptions here are amplified.
Perhaps this sporadic nature of functioning is what makes the country great in some ways (for the temporary resident such as myself). That despite the regular setbacks, changes, cancellations, disruptions and total 180 degree turnarounds of plans – goals are eventually achieved. There is an underlying resilience in every layer of the flakey pastry that is India. Like every system, there are huge flaws, but it is a system nonetheless. The road networks, with various modes of transport snaking in and out of one another, still function better than you would expect. The absence of regular electricity still doesn’t halt social ecosystem as much as you would expect it to and the tough grind of daily life in testing environments doesn’t bring human endeavour and the will to progress to a standstill. Progression is in the very fabric of India. Be it slow, be it often in reverse, but it exists. People are on the move (sometimes even when they shouldn’t be!).
So the approach to our production is to expect setbacks instead of being surprised by them. Today was also meant to be a day for location finalisation, but that too has been delayed till tomorrow. Final briefing with the cast leads were completed today, along with costume and theming finalisation. There remain many mountains yet to climb, but sometimes you reach the peak before you know it.
Interesting range of conflicting merchandise at a Jalandhar ornaments store
To the untrained lazy eye, India looks like a restrictive mess. All one can see is the problems. But once you look beyond that and realise that problems are the catalyst for development and progression, it becomes easier to achieve great things here.
As the shooting begins, this blog will become more content rich with images and video material from behind the scenes and possibly interviews with key figures of production.
For now, lets enjoy the calm before the storm…..