Finding locations that could resemble gambling dens, bombarding them with dirt and grime, painting gruesome graffiti...Teen Patti production designer Ayesha Punvani says creating setups for the film was a crazy experience.
"It was the craziest idea to create gambling dens in Teen Patti since the gambling addas (dens) that exist in real are very hard to approach, gambling being illegal in India. You will never be allowed to just walk in casually. You will have to go through some contact and with all of us being women, it was tougher," Punvani told IANS in an interview.
Punvani, with her team, created gambling dens in places like abandoned train yards, dockyards, abandoned factories, mills that have been shut down and an ice factory, since "all these locations give an amazing backdrop".
Directed by Leena Yadav, Teen Patti, slated to release Feb 26, revolves around a mathematician, played by megastar Amitabh Bachchan, trying to write a thesis on probability by relating it to the Indian card game of Teen Patti.
"There were bigger tasks on hand - finding dilapidated furniture, aging it even further, bombarding the location with dirt and grime, building a fake toilet, painting gruesome graffiti, creating dramatic lighting elements and designing the betting and gambling setups."
Produced by Ambika Hinduja under the banners Hinduja Ventures and Serendipity Films, Teen Patti also stars Hollywood veteran Ben Kingsley along with R. Madhavan, Raima Sen and Shraddha Kapoor.
"The entire film is shot in India except for a few parts that we shot in England. We had to shoot at 12 locations in Dubai, but we ended up creating all those in India," added Punvani, who has earlier worked on films like Khosla Ka Ghosla, Bluffmaster and Monsoon Wedding among others.
"On the whole, we had put up 80 different setups around the country. We never thought we would have to erect so many sets. "Sometimes we ended up losing some locations because when people would come to know we were setting up a gambling den, they would ask us to leave. They didn't want their location to be related to gambling or anything that in actuality is against the law," said Punvani.
"Our location manager hooked us up with people who could help show places that operate illegally. We saw a bunch of places, but not during working hours. He managed to get us photos of some of these places during their working hours and also got nearly beaten up and thrown out in the process because these places are not only underground but under wraps," she said.