Location Diaries: Atharvaa has a near-death experience
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Semma Botha Agathey
It may sound like the sort of melodrama actors are often known for, but Atharvaa really almost ended up falling off a mountain while shooting for his home production, Semma Botha Agathey (SBA). The scene was a car chase on a narrow, steep road on the hills near Mangalore. The director and his team were out of visual range and were in touch with Atharvaa via walkie-talkies. The drop on one side of the road was at least 4,000 feet, Atharvaa says. “At one point, the slope was so steep that the Duster I was driving just wouldn’t climb,” he says, recalling the incident with horror. “Before we knew it, it began sliding backwards and then completely overturned!”
Atharvaa, like in a scene from an action film, reacted quickly by jumping out of the vehicle, and clambered to safety. “Luckily, the abyss was to the left, and so, I could get out without being worried about getting crushed. The car remained upside down on the edge, with a tree root somehow preventing it from falling.”
The crew didn’t realise what was happening till about ten minutes later. When the director and team rushed to the spot, they saw Atharvaa, along with some others, trying to pull the car back up. “I am the producer also, you see! There was no way I was letting the car fall,” he laughs.
The team remained unfazed by the experience though. On the slopes near Chikmagalur, the team went on to shoot at least two more stunt sequences. The cast and crew would trudge up the hill for three hours, carrying all the equipment, and shoot the stunt scene. “By about 11 am when the light weakened, we would have to climb down to shoot another sequence. All the climbing up and down was exhausting, but hey, at least, we didn’t have to worry about falling into an abyss.”