shooting locations

Like the characters in ‘3 Storeys’, the chawl in which it was shot has secrets too

Mayanagar, where the stories in Arjun Mukerjee’s debut movie are set, is aptly named.

That chawl in the movie 3 Storeys, the one that is tucked away from the world and has a neat layout and nicely appointed houses? It doesn’t exist.

Arjun Mukerjee’s debut movie, which was released on March 9, consists of three storylines that are set in the Mayanagar chawl, which appears to be somewhere in south-central Mumbai. City residents who may have reached for their phones to call their real estate brokers after watching the movie will be disappointed to learn that Mayanagar is actually a huge set that was built from scratch in northeast Mumbai, producer Priya Sreedharan revealed.

Play
3 Storeys.

“We looked for more than six months for a chawl, and we went through 130 chawls all over Bombay,” Sreedharan said. “We were looking for something that wasn’t too modern, and that had old-style features, such as wooden railings. But those chawls are nearly extinct. Arjun did a lot of research, but we could not find the chawls we wanted.”

There was one that made the grade in Matunga, near the railway station. It had wooden railings and old-style arches. But setting up a shoot that would last many days and involve the cast and crew weaving in and out of a settled establishment would have been difficult.

“We ultimately decided not to shoot there, since we needed complete access to the chawl for at least a month,” Sreedharan said. “We were willing to move the families staying in the five houses that we wanted to use to a hotel, and we looked for empty rooms, but we realised that we would not get 24x7 access to the chawl.”

The better solution, and the one that was ultimately adopted, was to build a chawl that would not restrict the director, the crew, and the ensemble cast, which included at least a dozen main actors.

“I felt that the best thing to do would be to build a chawl, and that turned out to be best decision we took,” Sreedharan said.

The Mayanagar chawl in 3 Storeys. Image credit: Open Air Films and Excel Entertainment.
The Mayanagar chawl in 3 Storeys. Image credit: Open Air Films and Excel Entertainment.

The chawl was built at Essel Studio in Trombay, a popular location for film and television commercial crews. “We needed the right environment around the chawl, since viewers would be looking through windows and corridors,” Sreedharan said. “We wanted to get the feeling that there is this chawl and a massive city around it.” The city backdrops were filled in through visual effects.

The set took about five weeks to build. “I wanted to be sure that it was very strong – strong enough for a hundred people to be walking up and down every day and carrying tonnes of equipment,” Sreedharan said. “We had to get the electricals working. We even consulted structural engineers to make sure it was safe.”

Production designer Meenal Agarwal’s efforts extended to creating a fake ground around which the chawl’s wings are arranged. Agarwal created the interiors for seven rooms. Extra rooms were built to store equipment and house the cast and crew members between takes over the duration of the 45-day shoot.

“It really came together between Arjun, Meenal, and the cinematographer, Will Humphris,” Sreedharan said. “They were very aware that it should not look fake.”

The set had to be torn down at the end of the shoot. It took four days, and it was “heartbreaking”, Sreedharan said. “We were in tears. It had been like a home for us. We had been practically living there for a month. People had their favourite corners to go and snooze after lunch.”

Play
Raasleela, 3 Storeys.
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

Play

Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.