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Absloutely 'live'!

tv Updated: May 18, 2009 20:10 IST
Rachana Dubey
Rachana Dubey
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The studio, which belongs to Sagar Arts, is an expansive patch of land.. where nearly 10 shows could be shot at one go.
As we entered the sets, ‘live’ folk music welcomed us. While walking the ‘red carpet’, women in mythological dresses, showered marigold flowers from both sides.

At the door, itra was sprinkled and a chandan teeka was put to everyone. Enquiries reveal that this is the kind of welcome all the ‘guests’ received at the studio. Impressive!

On one of the floors, Vikram and Betaal were busy rehearsing their mock scene, which they were expected to perform for the press party. Meanwhile, one of the stories, which Betaal would relate to Vikram, was being shot outside the make-up room with newbie artistes.

Badru Islam, an NSD graduate who taught at the premier acting school for five years, was carefully combing his white long hair (a wig, of course) and getting his red lipstick right. Vikram, on the other hand, was adjusting his hair extensions and practicing his entry with the sword.

It’s time for action
In the make-up room, one of the newbie artistes, in mythological attire and a military cap, was seen catching up with sleep. Meanwhile, another middle-aged actor, with a bandage on his left arm, strolled in, removed his pagdi and went off to sleep. Later, spot dada walked in with a make-up artist and some more actors, one of whom had injured his left ankle.
Meanwhile Vikram and Betaal were ready. The temperature outside the floor was verging on 36 degrees, it must have been at least 40 degrees inside.

The furnace-like place (looking smoky) resembled an old deserted cave with dried up trees standing all across and artificial skeletons hanging from their branches. All these arrangements to make the floor look like pretatma Betaal’s residence.

The director called, “Lights, camera, rolling.. action.” Betaal stopped combing his hair and got into character and hid behind a tree. From a cavity, Vikram entered the cave and called out for Betaal. Then the standard lines, “Main tere haath aanewala nahin hoon.”

Betaal, after much deliberation, appeared and a cat and mouse chase began between him and Vikram. Betaal ran around the tree, even climbed a branch with amazing ease as if he were a squirrel.
Finally, he was caught. Before moving, he placed his conditions.. one by one (not how it was in the promo and the original show).

Vikram carried him on his back. He told Vikram a short story, which ended with a message: the tongue is the only thing, which is sweet and bitter simultaneously.

With that reply, Betaal again climbed on one of the shoots of the trees and the mock episode was called off.