The Night Manager 2: How production designer Saini S Johray worked despite time and budget constraints
In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, production designer Saini S Johray talks about working on new show The Night Manager 2.
Production designer Saini S Johray has worked on some of the most interesting web series that have come out in the past two-three years and his latest, The Night Manager 2 is set for a digital premiere on Disney+ Hotstar on June 30. In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, Saini talks about the limitations he worked with. (Also read: The Night Manager creator Sandeep Modi on how Tom Hiddleston reacted to show)
Sri Lanka's economic crisis affected the budget
Saini said that he joined the team just a week before the shoot. "It was being shot in Sri Lanka. I hadn’t prepped, did no recce…nothing at all. I straight away landed in Sri Lanka a week before the shoot. There was an enormous amount of work that needed to be done in very little time but the show director - Sandeep Modi - had a lot of faith in us.
Asked if he had any budget restraints while working on the show, Saini said, “The producers had a good budget as per the script but I came on board late and that added to the costs. Additionally, Sri Lanka's economic crisis added up too much cost for us. Because of the then ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka, the budgets were skyrocketing. Everything there was three times more expensive than the normal price. I was told to do my best in the given situation. However, director Sandeep had a huge scale on his mind. He wanted an extraordinary setup. That gave me a hard time - keeping up with budgets.”
He added that not just money but even his time was limited. “I also had a time constraint. I had a budget constraint and the director was hopeful that I could deliver something good. We worked relentlessly, for three-four days and nights at a stretch. (We got) no sleep but we just pulled it off. We were ready to shoot on the decided date. The filmmakers just couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw the sets. We pulled off something they believed was unreal.”
Anil Kapoor on Saini's designs
Talking about Anil Kapoor's reaction to the way the sets of Rungta's villa shaped up, Saini said, “We made Rungta’s villa - we converted a resort into a private villa. A lot of work went into that and Anil Kapoor Sir told me ‘Wow Saini! This is looking fab. It looks so beautiful’. He was happy to see the sets and it was good to hear that from him. Even Shobhita Dhulipala came to the sets and said ‘Oh, is it not real? Is it a set? I thought it was a real location’. Banijay's Deepak Dhar was also impressed with our work, especially because we did it within the time and budget limits.”
New projects for Saini S Johray
After The Night Manager 2, Saini has some big projects lined up for release. “After working with Kanishk Varma on Inside Edge 2 and Sanak, we reunited for Gaanth that will be out soon. I just finished work on a film by Abhishek Kapoor. I also worked with Anil Rahi Barve on GulkandaTales that is produced by Raj and DK. I am also working on Ashwatthama with Aditya Dhar. I will work on The Family Man 3, just waiting to see how and when we start work on that one,” Saini concluded.