This year was a doozy – the Covid pandemic, political division, widening economic inequality… 2020 has given more to the authors of history books than it has to the writers of diaries.
And although it has been a blur of a year, The NationWide speaks to a few celebrities on how they would look back at 2020 and what they looked forward to in 2021.
I am more of a homebody so I don’t really miss going out during this pandemic. However, I do miss the shoots for the reality show I was working on. Those four-five days every month at the site for the programme was like a picnic. I also miss going to the studio for recordings, although I did learn how to record my voice, edit and send it during the lockdown, which is a huge achievement for me as I am tech-challenged. So, now, I can sing from the comforts of home.
This year has given us food for thought; we have realised the importance of family and health. I also feel that we have learnt how we tend to spend money unnecessarily.
I hope 2021 brings good health for everybody and that people will no longer need to don masks when they walk around. Several musicians have struggled financially last year so I hope 2021 gives them more opportunities for work and stages to perform. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to the release of a fantastic melody I have rendered for Rahul Raj for the movie The Priest. It’s one of the best I have done in the last few years. My daughter Shwetha and I have completed a single independent song. We hope to do the shoot for the song this year.
The year 2020 created a pause in our daily grind. It was like the universe gave a pause to the entire world and told its people to use that time to improve themselves and get back on track. However, while for some, the break was a welcome and needed, for others, like certain sections of artistes for instance, it wasn’t, as the long hiatus affected their livelihoods.
During the lockdown, I managed to catch up on my reading and have now developed a habit of jotting down whatever phrases I read that have caught my fancy for future reference. This is so I don’t have to go through the books again to find that particular phrase or sentence. I have been meaning to do an independent song for quite some time now and was able to do so with Celestium, which I released in April on music streaming platforms. Celestium had an atmospheric, almost space-like journey kind of music. I have also done a couple of more independent works which I have had to keep on a pause as of now as I have started my regular works. I will release them soon though. I am looking forward to the normal ordinary days to be back in 2021. I am also looking forward to the release of my music in Mohanlal’s Aarattu, Mammootty’s The Priest and of course Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham.
The year 2020 started off good for me as I had completed work on some really good movies such as Malik, Churuli and Mohan Kumar Fans. I was looking forward to the release of these movies in theatres when the pandemic and its subsequent lockdown occurred. And although I was planning to take a short break in April after having completed work on all those films, the break turned out longer than I expected. I was out of job for nearly eight months and joined a set only last month with Kanakam Kamini Kalaham.
A thing the pandemic has taught us is to keep oneself economically sound. I lead a regular middle class lifestyle. Some of my contemporaries who had indulged in luxuries like luxury cars, for instance, found it tough to pay the monthly loans on their indulgences during the period. I am a bit of a homebody and prefer staying at home with my family whenever I get a break. I have rarely taken any trips with them which I regret now heavily. The pandemic taught me that one’s life can end at any moment and that one should live in the moment. I have started travelling with my family when the lockdown restriction was lifted. We went to Athirapally, Marayur, Kanthallur, Munnar… we also visited family and friends.
I built my house two and half years ago and have a vast balcony that offers a glimpse of the sea. It was however, during the lockdown that I first set foot on the balcony. My wife, Soumya, and I would head up there in the evenings with tea and snacks while my son, Vihaan. would play. I invested in an iPhone 11 Pro and clicked quite a few photos on the balcony with them. Soumya and I watched quite a few old, feel good Malayalam movies at home. I also joined an online acting course organised by a friend of mine.
With 2021 I hope that the Covid vaccine reaches everyone and life returns to normal. I also look forward to the release of my films in theatres and to travelling with my family more extensively.
Terming 2020 as the worst year ever would be too soon as a new strain of the Coronavirus has been discovered, we don’t know what this new year will hold for us. If there is anything 2020 has taught us, it is to value things that we generally take for granted, be it family, work or even simple things like going out for dinner.
When the lockdown started, I thought I would be finally be able to work on my own projects; would finally be able to sit and compose. But then a month later I realised that the studio was where I worked best and is my creative space. However, I was able to update myself in the latest in musical technology. I also attended some high end courses online, which I never thought was possible at my otherwise busy schedule. I am passionate about photography and managed to brush up my skills during this period.
My daughters, Devika and Pallavi, were delighted that I was at home and was always available for them. Both of them compose and sing and I would help them with the recording. I taught them music production, recording et al. I also shot the videos for their songs and would edit it for them. We have a piano at home which I seldom used as I was rarely at home. The piano was explored mostly by my daughters. But then from March onwards, my daughters enjoyed me being at home playing the piano. They would sing and I would accompany them on the piano. Even though they have a dad who was a music producer and programmer, they had seldom got him for their own creative works and had to rely on various online platforms for getting a backing track for their songs.
The pandemic has affected the livelihood of many a musician. I was fortunate that I was and am still a part of a very successful reality show. Movie works have now started taking off with an uncertainty on the release of course, but yes, at least the take off is a good sign for the industry.
In 2021, I look forward to a world that is peaceful, free from this pandemic. I consider myself blessed to be busy and in the best of lime light amidst all the chaos prevailing around the globe. I hope people learn to appreciate life and count their blessings. I feel the pandemic has increased the brotherly relations between people from the creative community. All of us have tried to look out for the other during the pandemic.
Life is extremely unpredictable. The year 2020 has been a tough year for all of us but I think we have learned to go through the ups and down the year has given us. I hope everyone comes out stronger from their experiences during the last year. As health is wealth, I hope that 2021 grants everyone just that.
Although I am a cinematographer, at heart, I am still a photographer. People have this misconception that photography is all about just aiming and clicking; I want to break that down. One can tell a story, spread a message through an image. While I have started doing so with my project of transforming Aasman, a Rajasthani street vendor into a model for instance this year, I hope to do more of such shoots that tell a story or have a message to spread. I also hope that things return to normal soon.
The first two weeks of the lockdown was a depressing phase not just for me but for many others as well. I, however, soon snapped out of it and began reading all those unread books piled high on my shelf. I also watched a lot of movies and spent time with my family. A thing the year 2020 has taught me is the importance of family as they are the ones who are with you through thick and thin. One should create memories with them. I also managed to complete a few scripts during the period. As for 2021, I hope my dream of becoming a director turns true.
The year 2020 has taught mankind that the adversity we face and the resilience we respond with has the power to shape our lives. While a small virus like the Coronavirus has proved that it could not only destroy a human being but an entire world as well, man however, has proved that they will overcome whatever comes their way, be it staying at home, physically distancing from others, adjusting to a new way of life…. The year also taught us the importance of leading a simple life and that just 20 people is enough to make a wedding memorable.
I love to read and am grateful that I was able to catch up on my reading this year. I also found the time to write. Apart from penning several scripts, I contributed to newspaper columns and penned more Facebook posts. Catching up with family and friends over the phone was an added advantage.
For 2021, few projects are under discussion. There is one with director VK Prakash, another with Kiran Anil Kumar and one with director Saji Surendran. The shoot of my projects will start once movie theatres reopen.