“This is one of the most moving experiences of my life,” says director Blessey, about the shooting of the delivery of actress Shwetha Menon at Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai on Thursday evening. “Though I am a father of two sons (Adith, 17, and Akhil, 14), I did not see first-hand the birth of my own children.”
On Friday afternoon, a relieved Blessey was on his way to the airport in Mumbai to fly to Chennai. “It is one of God’s greatest gifts that a woman is able to give birth to a child,” he said. “We talk about man’s creativity but on Thursday I realised that one of the most stunning creations on earth is the birth of a child. I understood the magnitude of the event only when I actually saw it taking place.”
Blessey was shooting these scenes as part of a film on motherhood called ‘Kalimannu’. When Shwetha became pregnant, he asked her whether she could be part of the project. Later, Shwetha and husband Sreevalsan Menon, gave permission to shoot the delivery. But Blessey and his team had to ensure that everything went smoothly. “A film-maker can re-shoot a scene many times,” says the director. “He can edit it in the editing room. But during the delivery, if you blink your eyes you will miss the actual moment of birth. There are no second chances or rehearsals,” he said.
Blessey had camped in the hospital for a week, spending days and nights. And there was a reason for this. “The doctor told us that Shwetha could deliver at any time during the two weeks before the delivery date,” says Blessey. In fact, the birth of the baby girl took place ten days earlier than scheduled.
The team also spent two days in the labour room, to ensure that they placed the three cameras in the right place and the lighting was perfect. “The doctor will not move his position to suit the cameras. He is concentrating on ensuring a safe delivery” says Blessey.
In the labour room there is an anaesthetist, a paediatrician, a gynaecologist and a couple of nurses. Apart from them, there was Blessey and his four-member crew. “Yes, it was quite crowded. But, in the end, everything turned out fine, he said.” The shooting of the film will continue, once Shwetha is ready to face the cameras. “I have not spoken to her about when this will happen,” says Blessey. “I am sure father and mother are enjoying the precious moments with their new-born.”