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Interview Team : Sudharshan; Venkat

Having been in the industry for over two decades, production manager, Antony comes forward to share his experience and his thoughts on the industry with Sudharshan Giridhar, correspondent Read on…


Nature of work…

From casting to taking the crew to location hunting to assembling everything for production, we coordinate and make sure the shooting goes smooth. As a production manager, it is also my duty to not let the project exceed its budget. We keep a meticulous track of the current cost and benefits of everything associated with cinema- from actors to equipments.


The biggest projects you’ve been a part of until now…

Billa, Villu, Vettaikaran, Thirupathi, Naan Mahan Alla, Siruthai, Alex Pandian, Biriyani, Saguni, Gemini and it goes on…


The challenges you face during production…

To make sure the shootings that happen in public places proceed without any trouble, is one of our major daily challenges. Crowd control, getting police protections during the presence of major stars are some of the very important jobs we take care of on daily basis. 


The most difficult project you’ve been a part of…

Prathap Pothen’s Aathma… As difficult as it was, Aathma was also one of the most memorable movies I’ve been a part of.

It’s no easy task to shoot in a forest. We had to look for a suitable spot in a forest, which by itself is not a very friendly place to camp and then erect the necessary set, before going for the shoot. It is also our duty to keep the stars and the crew safe.

In fact we built a temporary shelter for the whole team in the forest and laid road ourselves for transporting the large equipments. Even then it wasn’t easy. We shot round the clock and sometimes, we’d be out of supplies late at night. We’d have to travel 40 KMs into the city to get those and we’ll have to again cross multiple check-posts before making it to our sets. In case the officers handling the check posts decide to take a night off, we’d be stranded in the middle of the road, until they return to reopen the gates in the morning. 

By the time we wrapped up the film, we were literally worn out. 


The stars you love working with…

I’ll have to go with everyone – Vijay, Ajith, Karthi, Vikram. I’m very comfortable with every one of them. They are all very accommodating and professional. They do not fuss if there is a problem during the schedule. 


The biggest logistic issue that you had to face…

It was during Vettaikaran when a set turned to ashes. The challenge was to put the fire down and protect the team. We had to halt the shoot and erect a new set as quickly as possible, to avoid further production cost. 


How difficult is it to get shooting permission in Chennai?

Don’t even get me started on that! It’s a very elaborate process. We only get to shoot at night in the city nowadays. Be it the most remote area or the most happening spot, it is equally difficult to secure permission.

First we spot the right location, then approach the Tourism department and leave a formal request. The hard part is to convince them to give us permission to shoot during the day. 


Which countries welcome us gladly to shoot in their country?

Many countries used to extend invitations to promote tourism. But they don’t do it anymore.  Everyone has become more money-minded now.

Our industry prefers to shoot in Switzerland and Bangkok. It’s easier to get permissions there. We have contacts in each country, but the process is simpler in places like Swiss and Bangkok. 


How many projects do you take up at a time?

It depends on the magnitude of the project. But generally, I work on 2 or 3 projects simultaneously.