Pollution is an ever growing problem all around us with each of us contributing to the increase of this alarming problem. The film and TV industry is no different. With carbon emanation on the rise, there is a pressing need for all industries to understand and work towards saving the environment. Siddharth Nakai, a young filmmaker is working hard to promote the ‘Go Green’ initiative amongst the film and TV fraternity. In an intense conversation with Pandolin Siddharth discusses his experience, initiatives, and the objectives he wishes to achieve through his company, G.A.M.E.

Siddharth Nakai (In Purple) on the sets of TV show Gangaa

Siddharth Nakai (In Purple) on the sets of TV show Gangaa

What provoked you to embrace the go green concept?

Filmmaking is something I am extremely passionate about, for which, I had enrolled in a film production class. We had to make short films as our project there. During a shoot for which I was the AD, we ventured into the forest close to our campus. While shooting, the cinematographer was setting up the shot and the director happened to see the frame through the viewfinder. He was not happy with the frame and instructed that a portion of the branch, that was taking a certain part of the frame, be chopped. This stuck with me in a disturbing way and I felt that some action needs to be taken in this area. There are no laws pertaining to the environment that are specific to the film and entertainment industry. There are laws for every other industry, but not for this one. Therefore, I thought that something can be done to initiate improvement that would be beneficial for both the environment and the film and entertainment industry.

Can you tell us something about your organization G.A.M.E (Greening Advertising Media & Entertainment)?

The organization G.A.M.E (Greening Advertising Media & Entertainment) was primarily started with the vision of making the advertisement and entertainment sectors more environment-friendly. The main objective is to help content creators produce content more sustainably. Thousands of ads are being produced, there are numerous feature films and many production houses create plenty of television series simultaneously for all channels. For this reason, a concrete plan can be drawn that benefits all the content creators from an environmental perspective also. For the last five months we have been consulting Zee Entertainment and they have already started this initiative by incorporating the green concept in five to six shows.


Do you think that the film industry is open to the green concept?

I have been going to all the major production houses in the last two years, trying to spread the awareness about the concept through my research. My primary research included going to movie sets where I measured the per day carbon emanation. I had covered a television production and a feature film, based on which I had done readings that were really scary. They were scary in terms of the amount of emanation the media and entertainment industry produced. I presented this paper in international conferences. And with this perspective, I went to all major productions too. The idea of undertaking something like this appealed to everyone but they were hesitant in terms of how the equation would work and if it might obstruct the normal flow of working. There are various things to be considered since they already have time restrictions. Therefore to add another element like this wasn’t something that they were keen on, but Zee Entertainment was very forthcoming.

Waste Seg bins installed on set

Waste Seg bins installed on set

Can you share something about your recent project?

Recently, we have been working on the sets of Gangaa that is an &TV production. For television, you usually end up working with multiple production houses. Since, Zee Entertainment has given them the mandate to follow certain guidelines, which requires them to work with respective to what I am doing and am planning to do. They were forthcoming in terms of instituting all the changes. We have put water coolers on the set. Initially, people were reluctant to use the cooler and were skeptical about the purity of the water. To eradicate this doubt I tested the Bisleri and cooler water, and it turned out that the water from the cooler was purer than the Bisleri water. I put that up on the set and individually went and spoke to the actors to make them aware of the concept. Eventually, everyone started taking water from the cooler and that in itself is amounting to savings and at the same time cutting the cost of transporting the bottles to and fro from the set.

Small things like using rechargeable batteries for sound recording can benefit. Usually, every day around 36 batteries were being used whereas rechargeable batteries last for around 3-4 years. Otherwise, 36 batteries were thrown away at the end of the day. All these things help them to cut cost and they are also saving from the environmental point of view. Waste management is also extremely crucial on set. For that reason, we have three color-coded dustbins on the sets. One is for dry waste, the second is for wet waste, and the last one is for other waste. The waste is properly segregated to convert to manure and plastic is taken for recycling.

But do you think that major production houses like Yash Raj, for example, will be open to the idea?

I had approached them initially but conversations could not go ahead. Similarly, I approached other big productions like UTV and others. They really liked the idea and were keen on implementing it, but they had their own constraints. They were a little skeptical in terms of execution and if the normal functioning of the work would be affected because they have stringent timelines and plus they shoot on multiple locations. Therefore, adding an extra-dimensional was something they were hesitant about. For television productions, the set is more or less constant, so the implementation and execution can be done in a permanent way. If a particular show is canned then another show will take its place. The measures that they have taken in a particular place like installing water coolers can be benefited by other television productions also. Film productions will be a little difficult but I definitely want to approach major productions again.

You are a filmmaker. Do you have plans to make a movie incorporating the Green concept?

Yes definitely. That is my dream, in fact, that was the dream I started off with. I want to produce a movie that completely incorporates this concept. There have been movies in Hollywood, which have gone carbon neutral, for instance, Day After Tomorrow was the first carbon neutral movie. They measured carbon emission throughout the movie and based on that Fox planted one lakh trees. In this way, whatever emission that was created during the course of the movie was neutralized by planting trees. My dream is to make such a movie and then hopefully look at other production houses as well.