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It’s like being on a space station: Aftab Shivdasani on shooting amid coronavirus pandemic

Aftab Shivdasani believes it’s time we made peace with the new normal as the “virus is not going away anytime soon, and we need to learn how to live with it for a bit.”

Written by Komal RJ Panchal | Mumbai |
Updated: July 5, 2020 8:23:36 am
aftab shivdasani, poison 2, aftab shivdasani web series shhot Aftab Shivdasani on the set of Poison 2. (Photo: PR)

Actor Aftab Shivdasani recently started shooting for web series, Poison 2. In an interview with, he shared his experience of resuming work amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He believes it’s time we made peace with the new normal as the “virus is not going away anytime soon, and we need to learn how to live with it for a bit.” He remarked, “It felt good to be back on sets, doing what I love. Every one of us will have to get back to work to sustain ourselves. We better get used to the new normal. The set had all safety measures in place, and we would regularly wash and sanitise our hands.”

Wearing a mask has become second nature now, admits Aftab Shivdasani, emphasising on the need to safeguard oneself from the virus. “Since we have been practising social distancing for more than 90 days now, wearing a mask and following precautions has become automatic.” The actor shared a fun anecdote from the set when, after returning from a coffee break, he had forgotten to take off his mask. When the director said ‘action’, he had to pause as Shivdasani still hadn’t removed his mask for the take. He commented, “It looked like we were shooting on a space station and not a film set.”

The Maharashtra government on May 31 had announced that film and television shoots could resume in non-containment zones from June, as part of the relaxation process in the state. It also issued a 16-page set of guidelines, which include maintaining 33 per cent crew (not including the main cast) on set, all staff members to carry identification cards and Aarogya Setu app downloaded on their compatible devices etc.

The Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA) introduced an added clause, where before starting work all unit members proposing to work in the shoot should submit negative COVID-19 reports.

Aftab Shivdasani commented, “Things are strict, only once we got our negative reports, were we allowed to come for the shoot. Before we enter the set, in the morning, our body temperature is checked. We are sanitised. I think it is a healthy trend to make sure we stay safe and healthy on and off the sets.”

While maintaining social distancing between actors during shots is impossible, filmmakers and writers are working around it. According to the actor, “There have been changes in some scenes to make sure that we can maintain some sort of distance and aren’t very close to each other.”

Much of the set construction work, too, takes place one day before the actors and technicians arrive for the shoot so that both teams avoid coming in contact. The shoots follow strict shift timings to ensure all teams can work seamlessly and without any schedules colliding with each other. “Everybody reaches the set on time. We shoot in shifts allocated to us, pack up between 6 pm to 6.30 pm to make sure everybody reaches home before 9 pm, to observe the night curfew. People in general seem to have become more understanding and working on the set feels good,” Aftab Shivdasani concluded.

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