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Documentary film on COVID warriors shot during lockdown to air on Nat Geo on May 22

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

From heathcare workers to police personnel and government officials to journalists, the heroic efforts of COVID-19 warriors in India has been captured in a new documentary that was innovatively filmed during the ongoing lockdown.

The film'Lockdown: India Fights Coronavirus', produced by National Geographic, is slated to premiere on May 22 at 9.00 pm on the network, officials said on Tuesday.

"This is a special film that brings alive the unique and inspiring stories and tireless efforts of some incredible Indians that we all will owe our future to. It features doctors and other medical personnel, police personnel, government leaders, journalists and other heroes born out of the crisis,"Anuradha Aggarwal, Head - Infotainment, English and Kids, Star India, told PTI.

The unique 'made-at-home' documentary was shot keeping all the safety protocols and government guidelines in mind.

"It has been virtually directed and produced without a single member of the crew stepping out of their houses. It covers citieslike Delhi, Mumbai, Sangli, Bengaluru, Chennai and some parts of Kerala," she said.

The project also features officials from health departments, state commissioners, officials from COVID-19 war rooms and other medical personnel who are at the frontline of this war against this pandemic that has wrecked havoc globally.

The number of coronavirus cases crossed the one lakh-mark in India on Tuesday, while the death toll due to the infection touched 3,163, according to the union health ministry.

"From their rigorous regimens, to dedicated service to humanity and a combatant spirit, the documentary is an attempt to acknowledge and showcase the heroic endeavours of the COVID warriors,"Aggarwal said.

The project entailed remotely conducted interviews via video-conference and footage shot by the protagonists themselves, the network's official said, when asked about the challenges faced by the team.

These team stitched together self-shot sequences and archival footage from the protagonists themselves to showcase an unseen and moving narrative of their daily battles, she added.

Asked when was the project conceptualised, Aggarwal said, while the team had been closely monitoring the situation around the novel coronavirus since early this year, "we started conceptualising the project when the disease was rapidly transmitting to other parts of the world with only a handful cases identified in India".

The project and its concept evolved with time, especially after the lockdown was announced in India and the pandemic started spreading, she said.

"In line with the government of India's guidelines on the lockdown, we decided to make National Geographic India's first-ever 'made-at-home' documentary," Aggrawal said.

Asked if the film also talks about lockdown in other countries, she said, while the documentary does address the issues and life during the lockdown generally and captures all the struggles, emotions and battle against COVID-19, it predominantly focuses on operations carried out by frontline warriors in India.

On the challenges faced by the crew, she said, "We have made this film without any of our team members stepping out of their homes for a shoot, strictly adhering to social distancing norms and the lockdown guidelines issued by the government of India and the relevant state governments from time-to-time."

Other challenges included transforming various formats of videos such as horizontal, vertical to make it suitable for television viewing, low internet bandwidth, remote coordination and adherence and yet maintain the high standards of quality that National Geographic is known for, the official said.

"We also had to adapt our storyline and narrative to suit the dynamic situation.

"While we are safely locked in, they are out there, India's brave men and women, leading from the front in this battle for humanity's future. This film is our homage to their valiance," she said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 19 2020. 18:42 IST