GoldPhlake is a lockdown short, a heart-warming comedy, made during lockdown 1.0 while the actors shot in complete isolation under the guidance of the director Ashutosh Pathak.
A man (Sharib Hashmi) bored during isolation tries to do a raunchy video call and gets caught by a vigilante (Arjun in a dramatically different role than he usually plays) who threatens him and then they realize they went to the same school. They then share a secret - GoldPhlake - and find a way to bond despite the strange situation they are in.
The extremely talented actors Arjun Radhakrishnan and Sharab Hashmi, have performed in the roles that are completely opposite their personality and bring lots of earnestness in their performance. Shooting in lockdown has challenges of co-ordination and lots of responsibilities starts falling on the actor.
Arjun had the following thing the say:
"As an actor, we are only concerned with the script, our character/performance. Even our costumes are decided by someone else or procured by someone for you. However for a lockdown short- everything had to be set up and arranged by the actor.
For location recce I had to show my house from all possible angles to the director via video call.
Because this was during Lockdown 1.0 , there was no access to extra equipment. All I had were two smartphones in the house , one to record the video , and my mom's was kept in my pocket as a sound recorder.
But the biggest challenge came when I had to start recording/enacting my scene. To hold a phone in hand and record yourself, talking to the other actor who's not online with you was a very strange experience. I realised how conscious I was , which doesn't happen during normal filming where you can forget the existence of a camera.
Because I didn't have the luxury of super fast internet speed , after taking directions from the director, I would record my scenes (sort of blindly) , then transfer them to my laptop and upload it to GDrive, which would take half a day. And once I have the inputs from the director , I would reshoot bits the next day."
Dir Ashutosh Pathak writes to us that -
"In the case of Goldphlake, Arjun had shared an Instagram clip of two of his friends singing, and squabbling over the singing, which I found very endearing. Arjun himself was tired of playing the ‘nice guy’. I was watching how memories of the past became more acute during the lockdown. Then there was my own sense of becoming a little loony – in the early days of the lockdown it did feel like the world was on its way to doom.
Arjun and me went through his end of the act again and again. I have known Arjun for some time now, and he has a willingness to extend himself beyond his boundaries. And he went through the grind. Sharib was not cast still but Arjun was shaping his character and I was able to see how he was doing it. Even if the film didn’t get made, we were both learning.
The second most important aspect was casting Sharib Hashmi. I needed a guy who can sing and understands comedy. I had never met Sharib before, and did not know that he has wife and kids sharing his space. And also, unlike other people, he seemed really busy ‘doing’ things despite the lockdown.
By the time Sharib shot, we had Arjun’s run-through as a reference. It had taken Sharib almost two weeks to be able to find a date. But then Irfan Khan passed away and I felt very sad. And the same feeling of grief was palpable for all actors, this I know. Sharib too had spent a whole day in grief. I asked him if he wanted to postpone the shoot, and this is what he said – ‘Ab toh kucch karna hai bhai’
And so he shot, from 1 in the night until 5 am in the morning, the role of a naked guy in a comic genre, despite the grief in his heart. It was Ramzan. He had to shoot after midnight so as to not disturb his folks, and that too on an empty stomach! And I sat up in the corner of my house, to give him company, wondering – why are we doing this? Why are three strangers(to each other) across cities working on an obscure film no one may ever watch? I kept picturing Sharib alone in his house at night, mouthing lines to no one."
Full interview is in the IN-FOCUS section below.