The production of Looter series is very interesting.

Lootere: Disney Plus is currently streaming the web series Lootere on Hotstar. The story of this series is based on Somali pirates. Three episodes have aired so far. So, the rest of the episodes will be aired one by one every Thursday on a weekly basis. The showrunner of this web series is famous producer director Hansal Mehta. His son Jai Mehta is making his directorial debut with the series, while Vivek Gombar, Sneha Khanwilkar and Rajit Kapoor are important faces in the series. This article by Urmila Kori on the making of the show and its challenges.

The series is inspired by YouTuber Paramveer's videos and Somali documentaries.

This is a story of piracy and bad guys in Somalia. This is the first time such content is related to the story of a web series. Showrunner Hansal Mehta says that the story of the serial is completely fictional. It's not like anything you've seen before, but it's inspired by many true events. The research work of this series is very realistic. Pravasi Paramveer is a YouTuber. He has been to Somalia and seen, met and talked to many people. We were inspired by his video and tried to understand what was happening in Mogadishu, Somalia. When the writer of the series Supan Verma wrote this story, he also watched many documentaries. When I read the script of this series, my first question was if this really happens, he showed me a documentary that was true. He showed me an Oscar-winning short film made in Somalia by a Somali filmmaker. Research work is reality, so this fiction also mirrors society.

Vasan Bala was the first director of this film

Hansal Mehta, the show runner of this serial, while giving information said that when Supan Verma was writing the story of this serial. It was then decided that Vasan Bala would direct the series, but when the script was completed. At that time Vasan was busy with his film Monica O My Darling. After that the producer Shailesh R Singh came to me. A year and a half after finishing the script, I realized that I have to do this work. At that time I was busy with Scoop. Meanwhile, Jay's name came forward. I said Jay should decide this. If he likes the story of the serial, he can direct it. He was very excited about the script of this serial. Although this is Jay's first project as a director, he has been working with me for the past 12 years. He has played various roles in post production in many of my projects.

Vivek Gomber's audition lasted for six months

Along with the serial Lootere, the casting of Hansal Mehta's web series Scam 2 also started at that time. Two actors were selected for the role of Vikrant Gandhi in this serial. Giving this information, Hansal Mehta says that Scam 2's Gagan Dev Rayer was also shortlisted along with Vivek Gomber, but casting director Mukesh Chhabra said that Gagan Dev would be more perfect for the role of Telgi. Vivek was then called for a look test. Recalling the process of joining the project, Vivek adds, “I am grateful to have had such an opportunity.” I am lucky that I got this role. My role in the film Sir was highly appreciated and was a different character. Here I have a lot of freedom to explore myself. My casting lasted six months. I gave my first audition in January, then we did four more auditions. Finally we did a look test in July, I was signed. I was very nervous about how the audience would accept me. Hope he likes my work.

The story is from Somalia but the shooting is in South Africa

The story of the series is based in Somalia but the shooting is not done in Somalia. While giving information, the film's director Jai Mehta says that it was not possible to shoot in Somalia. We have shot the film in Cape Town, South Africa. We had seen many places before. We also went to Ukraine, but there was a war going on so it was difficult to shoot there. Besides, shooting with a ship is very difficult. Ships are expensive even when docked. They have to be maintained and the crew has to be paid. We also went to Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, Egypt for water cruises. Meanwhile, we hear that a ship has been docked in Cape Town for two months, after which it was decided that Cape Town would be perfect. We completed our project after seven months of continuous work. We couldn't afford to go back again because it would increase the show's budget. A team of 20 went from India and 20 from South Africa.

Shooting at sea was not easy
The sea is also an important character in the story of this series. Calling this the most important challenge of the shoot, the film's director Jai Mehta says that shooting in the sea was not easy as the boats were not stable. We had a big ship and it wouldn't stay still. It seemed like anything would ever happen.
I used to shoot this big ship from a small boat but the waves played havoc, nothing could be shot steadily. While sitting in a small boat, it was often not possible to talk on a walkie-talkie even within a distance of five minutes. Actually, the walkies were not working there because of the strong wind. Along with the sea, the issue of weather also arose. Sometimes it is very hot. Sometimes it started raining. Sometimes the temperature drops too low. This caused almost the entire cast and crew to get sick at least once. Well, it's not all bad. During shooting, I see dolphins and whales at least once a day. Besides, our hotel's swimming pool was frequented by sea lions and otters, as the hotel was close to the sea.

The crew's truck was looted during the shoot
The only female actor in this serial is actress Amrita Khanwilkar. She says that she had only one audition and was selected in one day, but shooting for the film and waiting for its release was very difficult for her. Amrita says that the serial has been shot in South Africa but apart from the shooting we have not been able to explore anything else. Actually, the economy there at the time was pretty badly damaged by the Omnicron. People had no work and no money. Our truck was also robbed once while we were shooting, with food in it. The owner of the bungalow where we were shooting was killed. The economic condition of people has worsened due to Corona. It was a very difficult situation. I was told to keep the vanity van door closed at all times. I was afraid of being kidnapped. We shot in very difficult conditions. It was also difficult to wait for the release of the serial after the shooting. Work on this series has been going on for almost four years. I would appreciate director Jai for sticking with this project for so long. We artists were also busy with other works, so there was a long wait for this serial to release.

Somali actor Armaan is a fan of Akshay Kumar
Talking about the casting of this show based on Somali background, foreign actors are also important faces in this series. But not all actors are Somali, says director Jai Mehta. One was from Durban, one was from Cape Town, only one Somali actor was in the series. Akshay Kumar's name is in the talking series. His name is Armaan, he is from Somalia. He is a crazy type fan of Akshay Kumar. He knows every song of Akshay Kumar. He remembers every interaction by heart. He has seen all Akshay Kumar movies.

Lootere OTT release: Hansal Mehta's web series 'Lootere' released on OTT


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