Mumbai: The production designer Rakesh Yadav, who is responsible for bringing the sets of web series ‘Kaala Paani’ to life, shared insights into the process, and opened up about creating a set in the Andamans.
The show features Mona Singh and Ashutosh Gowariker in the lead.
The web series, created by Sameer Saxena, skilfully weaves urgent themes into a gripping narrative set against the backdrop of a deadly epidemic.
The intricate world created by the production design has left an impression on the audience.
Talking about the same, Rakesh shared, “I have worked on challenging films before, like ‘Tumbbad’, and when came the opportunity to design sets for a series like ‘Kaala Paani’, which presented an entirely different world, I was prepared to take this challenge head-on.”
“I had a unique advantage in that I had previously stayed in Andaman for a different project, so I was well-acquainted with the local culture, traditions, and landscapes. In fact, I felt such a strong connection to the place that I ended up living there for two years. During this time, I got to know the traditions, culture, and even the various tribes and their rituals, which was a significant asset,” he shared.
Rakesh has worked on a multitude of projects, including ‘Tumbbad’, ‘Laal Kaptaan’, ‘Serious Men’, and ‘Ship of Theseus’.
He continued, “Andaman is a place where a mix of different ethnicities coexist, and when the opportunity to work on this series arose, I was well-prepared to select locations.”
“In ‘Kaala Paani’, we had to re-create the interior of the hospital, which posed a challenge for a location like Andaman because the architectural design and aesthetics of Andaman is unlike anything we find in the other parts of India,” said Rakesh.
He further shared: “However, my familiarity with the place and the techniques I had acquired over time helped me overcome these challenges. The series focuses on a disease called LHF27, which is as dangerous as Covid-19, though it is a different disease with a distinct source. The common thread is that people are trapped in one place, much like what we have experienced with Covid-19.”
Talking about the challenges he faced during the shoot, Rakesh said: “Transportation in Andaman is a significant challenge due to the limited island connectivity, with boats being the primary means of getting around.”
“My prior experience in the region made things somewhat more convenient for me. Nonetheless, shooting in Andaman, even in the city of Port Blair, presented its own set of challenges. The necessary properties, items, and equipment were not readily available, and we often had to transport them from Bombay. We had to rely on resourcefulness to manage these logistical difficulties,” he shared.
Speaking about the key to a successful production design, he emphasised that viewers should not consciously notice the sets.
“From a production design perspective, our goal is for viewers not to consciously notice the sets. If viewers do start noticing the sets, it means the subtlety and authenticity we aim for are missing. We want them to connect with elements that appear real and natural, which is what makes our efforts truly effective,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, his upcoming project is actress Kangana Ranaut’s ‘The Emergency’.
‘Kaala Paani’ is a survival drame written by Biswapati Sarkar, Nimisha Misra, Sandeep Saket, Amit Golani for Netflix.
It features Mona Singh, Ashutosh Gowariker, Amey Wagh, Vikas Kumar, Chinmay Mandlekar, Sukant Goel, Arushi Sharma, Radhika Mehrotra, Poornima Indrajith in the lead roles.
The web series is streaming on Netflix.