What began as regular comedy shoot for “Nepali Pranksters” took serious turn as massive earthquake hit

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WARNING: The video you’ll see below is chaotic and scary and shows the aftermath of a major earthquake. It may not be appropriate for all audiences.

(CNN) — A video shoot in Nepal for an Internet comedy series turned into a chaotic montage of scenes from a disaster unfolding as an earthquake ravaged the country.

The Nepali Pranksters make hidden camera videos showing people’s reactions to various “pranks” that challenge cultural norms. One video shows the pranksters walking up to strangers and taking their hands for a long, awkward, handshake; another shows them complimenting men and women on their clothes and appearance, with mixed results.

What began as a regular shoot on Saturday took a serious turn as the earth began rumbling. The three-person team kept the camera rolling as they moved through the crowded streets, surveying destruction to homes and historic sites and capturing scenes of heroism and chaos as rescue teams pulled survivors from the rubble.

Nepali Pranksters Ashish Prasai and Akash Sedai were in Jawalakhel, a popular destination in Lalitpur District that’s home to Nepal’s famed Central Zoo. They were in town to make a video raising awareness of Nepal’s ban on plastic bags, Sedai said in an email to CNN.

The camera was rolling when they felt the ground shaking around 11:55 a.m. People started screaming and crying and vehicles came to a standstill as a building collapsed.

But earthquakes are a fact of life in Nepal, and “we were still thinking it was a just a simple earthquake,” Sedai said.

They kept the camera rolling for 18 minutes as they traversed the streets full of crying and shouting people. They found homes destroyed, where people were pulling survivors out from piles of rubble. They stopped and talked to motorists, urging them to keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles, Sedai said.

They continued filming as they made their way to to the historic Dharahara tower and Basantapur Durbar Square, a UNESCO world heritage site, where people crawled among the ruins.

By then, they realized their country was in a “very bad condition,” Sedai said.

The Nepali Pranksters made it through the first day of the earthquake, as did their families, Sedai said.

But with aftershocks and crumbling infrastructure still posing threats, safety is a temporary state of mind right now in Nepal.

“We are scared.  Earthquakes waves are occurring now,” he said. “Hope we will be alive and the problem will get solved soon.”