Location Diaries: Close Shave
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Venkat Prabhu sharing his expriences while shooting for Party
Director Venkat Prabhu recently flew to the Fiji Islands with his unit to shoot for his next film, Party. The team mostly held night shoots in the various small towns on the islands.
During one such night shoot, the unit was camped along a busy road around 8 pm. After obtaining necessary permissions, the road was decorated with flashy lights and made to look like it was a New Year’s Eve celebration. The shot involved a hi-octane car chase sequence. "We had an extensive multi-camera set up on various locations along the road. We also had several go-pro camera stationed at various vantage points, and a drone camera for crucial top angle shots of the chase," the filmmaker explains.
Cameraman Rajesh Yadav had stationed his assistants at various points along the stretch. "All the vehicles involved in the chase were at their positions. Strangely, we found one old car, completely covered in dust, parked near the platform. No one knew who it belonged to and we couldn’t move it since the tyres were flat. So Rajesh decided to park his main camera on the platform, a little away from this car and include it in the shot." A mini truck was supposed to come rushing towards the old car and stop just inches away from it without hitting it.
As Venkat Prabhu yelled action, the truck came at great speed towards the parked car. But instead of stopping, the stuntman accidentally hit the rusted vehicle at the last minute. So great was the impact, that the car was hurled right over the pavement and came hurtling towards Rajesh and his camera! "We were watching dumbstruck on the monitor at a distance. It all happened so fast. In a split second, Rajesh jumped to one side as he saw the car coming in his direction. His assistants grabbed the expensive camera equipment in the nick of time and jumped out of harm's way, even as the car came crashing near them."
But one person was not so lucky. "We had a young chap, operating the drone camera. He was standing right next to Rajesh, intently looking down at his iPad, watching the entire action on his screen. He only had an aerial view, so he did not see the car coming towards him! The car hit him with such an impact that he went flying in the air and landed 10 feet away." The youngster blacked out completely and was rushed to the hospital. Shooting was stopped. But luckily for the young man, apart from a few injuries he escaped unharmed.
"I was so relieved to hear he was ok! The whole incident left us numb with shock and disbelief. It was a mystery how the car without proper wheels, suddenly climbed the platform and travelled so far on its own," says Venkat. The entire accident was captured by that drone camera and Venkat is planning to use the footage during the end credits of the film.