How 12 superstars got under one virtual roof for this uplifting COVID-19 film

The director of the film FAMILY & founder of Corcoise Films, Prasoon Pandey explains the rationale behind the piece, the concerted efforts behind it and how it took them only 6 days to pull it off

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Apr 8, 2020 3:06 PM

It starts with Amitabh Bachchan sitting on a couch as he calls out to someone: “Mera kaala chasma kahan hain?” A frantic search for the black sunglasses ensues. In the next four minutes, we see many famous faces – Diljith Dosanj, Ranbir Kapoor, Mammooty, Rajnikant, Chiranjeevi, Alia Bhatt, Sonalee Kulkarni, Shiva Rajkumar, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Mohanlal and Priyanka Chopra – who are all tenants of the same multi-lingual household.

We are talking about FAMILY – a unique four and a half minute film by Kalyan Jewelers and Sony Pictures Network India, featuring some of the most well-known names from the film fraternity. The deft execution of the film belies the fact that none of its actors left the confines of his or her home to shoot it.

The man who called the shots is Prasoon Pandey. He conceptualised and virtually directed the film with 12 superstars with diverse linguistic backgrounds and that too during the lockdown. 

“The idea grew organically when I heard PM Modi on 24 March that there is a 21day lockdown. I thought it would be rather interesting if we could all sit at our respective houses and still would be able to create a piece of drama, which is different from people sending in clips,” shared Pandey, founder, Corcoise Films. 

He said, “As soon as I narrated this to Amitabh Bachan he got super excited and took it to the next level, he said, “Prasoon let's make it much bigger, why only share a message with them but collect funds for these daily wage earners.” 

 Apart from driving home the messages of ‘Stay at Home’, or ‘Wash your Hands’, the film also represents a greater cause. The film also brings to our attention the plight of the daily wage earners.

 While most of us in the country have been working from home, the daily wage earners have been stripped of their livelihood due to the lockdown.

 In an initiative undertaken by Amitabh Bachchan, ‘We are one’ has been supported by Sony Pictures Networks India and Kalyan Jewellers, through which the monthly ration of 1,00,000 households across the country will be funded. Through a commercial tie-up with a leading chain of hypermarkets and grocery stores in India, digitally barcoded coupons have been distributed to a verified list of workers from the All India Film Employees Confederation. Furthermore, monetary help has also been extended to those in need.

Speaking about the making of the film, Pandey shared that he wanted a piece of drama which has substantial humour, people are interacting with each other which could be an uplifting piece which could be posted on television and social media to give positive messaging.

It shows us all that staying at home, staying safe, maintaining hygiene, working from home and maintaining social distancing can be productive and should be taken in one’s stride.

Pandey shared that after narrating to Amitabh Bachan, he spoke to Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. “We become a gang of four and discussed the ideas with each other. Every evening around 7.30, we used to do video chats and till 1 April we discussed how to expand this and who we should include. Alia and Ranbir suggested that we also include the South and East industry.”

 On asking what was the challenge to bring all the big stars together in a film, Pandey shared, “Who can say no when Amitabh ji talks?”

 Bringing all the big stars and shooting with them at different locations and cities virtually was not a cakewalk. On 1 April, Pandey shot a video at his home, where he played all the characters and they edited it together and on 2 April sent it to everyone so that they get an idea of camera placement and about each frame.

  Pandey said that in such short notice they willingly did the video. “Some of the shots were not exactly what I wanted. These big stars were willing to go back and re-shoot,” he explained.

 The film was shot on 3 April and it was out on 6 April. 

Speaking on the association with Sony Pictures Network India and Kalyan Jewellers, Pandey said that it was fixed by Amitabh Bachan. “We wanted like-minded sponsors and SPNI and Kalyan Jewellers said it was a great cause and we wanted to be part of it. Credit goes to Amitabh Ji for roping in like-minded people and he did that,” he emphasised.  

 “This was just one way of doing this. It would be great if every industry comes up with ideas and helps the daily wage earners of their own industry by sitting at home. If each industry does that then more than half the battle is done. We want to look after our own people,” shared Pandey. 



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