For actors, different shooting ]locations have different levels of impact, affecting their reel as well as real lives. And such was the case with Rakshit Shetty and Shruti Hariharan after they spent four days shooting at an old-age home for their upcoming film Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu.
The film directed by Hemanth Rao has Rakshit playing an investment banker, while Shruti is a psychiatrist. Veteran actor Anant Nag also has a prominent role in the film. Shruti, who joined the team a week ago, told us that since Godhi Banna was all about nostalgia and memories, they needed to shoot at an old-age home. Thus the crew visited a place called Nightingales at Kasturinagar and the experience was quite heart-wrenching for everyone. Nightingales is home to people who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related ailments and have also been abandoned by their family members.
“I met people who had completely lost their independence. They didn’t have any control over their lives as they had no memories. Watching them, we realized the value of memories and other aspects of our body that we take for granted. There was one old lady who could only make sounds and she would repeat the same sound at least a 100 times through the day. Then there was one old man who recited shlokas. There was a beautiful couple where the lady only remembered her husband and had forgotten everything else about her life,” says Shruti who was clearly affected by the experience. “The most important thing I learnt while shooting here was the fact that we are all meant to die at a particular time and I hope that happens while I am still active. I don’t want to grow old and reach a stage where I don’t remember my past or am unable to do the basic things in life. The cycle of life is so weird as these old people come back to a second childhood and don’t remember anything of their past. I was moved by their plight and I even visited and spoke to the doctors here who are extremely sensitive and caring,” she says.
For Rakshit shooting at this old-age home was an insight into a whole new way of life where even basic survival is hard. “I saw people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and living with other degenerative situations. Alzheimer’s patients are physically fine but in their head they are all mixed up. I was very curious as to what must be going in their minds without the constant weight of memories that we carry. In the past I have visited small old age homes where they take care of 10 to 12 people. Here this was like a full-fledged institution with 50 to 60 people. They play games, entertain themselves with music and sit in front of TV irrespective of whether they want to watch something or not. I never got bored being with them and in fact between breaks, I wanted to hang out with them and see what they were upto,” he says.