Directed by Sajeev Khan AR, 10th Day is based on his family’s experience recovering from the disease at a first-line treatment centre
Last month, short filmmaker Sajeev Khan AR and family tested positive for Covid-19. “Out of 18 members in our extended family, 17 had the virus,” he says. Needing assistance, all of them opted to see out the phase at a Covid-19 First-Line Treatment centre set up at a government school near their place at Kadinamkulam in Thiruvananthapuram. His short film 10th Day, shot at the treatment centre and featuring real-life people in quarantine, is based on Sajeev’s experience there.
“All of those involved — both behind and before the camera — were Covid positive at the time of shooting. We had the go-ahead from medical officers for the short film. The idea was to see through the perspective of a Covid patient,” he says. Through the story of a mother-son duo, 10th Day highlights the importance of caring for others, especially during a crisis.
Sajeev says he was quite concerned about health initially when he entered the treatment centre and thought about a film later. “Once we all got used to the situation, I worked on the storyboard. I had my camera sent through a cousin of mine. The equipment was sanitised with the help of health volunteers. The film was shot in two days and I started the editing at the centre itself. Thankfully, I was healthy enough to work,” he adds. His brother Sameer Khan plays the protagonist in the short, while the cinematography was by another sibling, Safer Khan.
Sajeev says it was challenging to convince others recuperating at the centre to play their part. “Most of them never faced a camera before and were a bit apprehensive initially. However, gradually, a camaraderie developed among us as all of us were essentially staying together. It felt like a community,” he says, adding that all members of his family have recovered since.