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Shutdown Stories: Aditya Sarpotdar is catching up on all the films and TV series he couldn't watch earlier

Filmmaker Sarpotdar also speaks about how he is trying to spend time with his children and worries that the 21-day countrywide lockdown might be extended.

Suyog Zore

The countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has forced the entertainment industry to a standstill. Shooting for films, TV shows and web-series has been halted for an indefinite period.

As people are trying to manage at least some of their work from home, filmmaker Aditya Sarpotdar is doing the same. "This has been a difficult time for all of us," Sarpotdar told Cinestaan.com. "First we thought it would be over by 31 March, now it has been pushed to 14 April."

Sarpotdar had just completed his maiden Hindi web-series The Raikar Case, starring Atul Kulkarni, Ashwini Bhave and Lalit Prabhakar, for the online streaming platform Voot and started pre-production work on multiple projects. But the shutdown has slowed him down. "Now we are trying to make last-minute adjustments and plan how to handle this crisis," the director said. "Every day I'm doing a video-conference call with various people associated with the projects and trying to come up with backup plans to keep the work going."

But his biggest worry now is whether the lockdown will be lifted on 14 April or will be extended further. "We are not sure whether this lockdown will be lifted on 14 April," he said. "So we are not sure when the government will give permission for shooting. Everything depends on the number of [COVID-19] cases. So pre-production, scripting, writing down various ideas, all that we can do from home I'm doing right now. Once the lockdown is lifted I can start working on these ideas."

Despite these misgivings, Sarpotdar, director of hit films like Uladhaal (2008), Classmates (2015) and Faster Fene (2017), also feels the lockdown has come as a blessing in disguise for him. "I have been extremely busy in the past couple of years with various projects, so this sudden and one might say forced break has helped me to relax a bit," he admitted.

Besides keeping his work plans ready, Sarpotdar is using the break to catch up on all the films and TV series he had missed out on in recent months on account of his busy schedule. "I'm always preoccupied with my work, but because of this lockdown, I'm catching up with a lot of pending films and TV series which were on my watchlist," he said. The director is currently exploring Indian content. "I just watched Swwapnil Joshi's Samantar and another Hindi web show Asur."

Sarpotdar loves to watch Tamil and Malayalam films in the theatre, but he is now catching up with all those films that he missed in the theatres. "I normally like to watch films in the theatre," the director said, "but now I'm watching all those films on OTT platforms which I had missed out on due to work."

Aditya Sarpotdar is also making sure he does not relax too much. "I don't want to get too caught up in all these because once it becomes part of your daily routine, you become dependent on such things, and then it becomes excruciatingly difficult to come out of this cycle," he said. "Who knows, we might even face an internet shutdown in the future, so I don't want to be overdependent on such outside factors for my entertainment. So I'm also giving much deserved time to my family."

Father of two children, a seven-year-old daughter and four-year-old son, Sarpotdar is trying to spend as much time as he can with them. "I like to play board games with them," he said. "Sometimes, I also teach them various games I used to play in my childhood. We did not have internet nor cable TV when we were young, so we had to innovate games to keep ourselves entertained."

Despite the time on hand, Sarpotdar has limited his TV viewing to three hours a day and is also trying to control his urge to constantly check his social media apps. But he thinks it is a paradoxical situation. "I'm trying to limit my social-media usage," he said, "but then you also want to be updated about what is happening around the globe regarding corona. Has the number [of patients] increased? What is our government doing to prevent further casualties? Have scientists found a cure yet? So, inevitably you end up checking your social-media and news feeds!"

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