Location Diaries: One with the crowd
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film
Venkat Prabhu’s production RK Nagar was primarily shot in the RK Nagar area in Chennai. Hero Vaibhav had to shoot there for around 28 days, out of which 12 days were night shoots. Though they were strapped for space, the actor says he and the team had a good time shooting there.
"The area is quite crowded, and we shot mostly on the roads and inside a few houses as well. Since we had many cameras and unit members, things got quite cramped. Getting permission to shoot there itself was not easy due to these factors. But when we started shooting, though the crowds would turn up to watch us, they were most helpful and friendly," he adds.
They couldn't get caravans into the the area because the streets were narrow. So there was no place for changing clothes between shots. "Between shots and during breaks, we would all sit around on the roads. If we needed to change our costumes, the locals were very hospitable and we would change inside one of the houses offered to us. One of our friends, Balaji, helped us a lot in getting such things organised."
Driving into the area was not easy so Vaibhav would leave his car on the nearest main road. Then a unit hand would come and fetch him on a motorcycle to reach the shooting spot located in one of the narrow streets each day. "Director Saravanan Rajan had arranged around five bikes just to fetch us actors each day. I sometimes also took an auto to reach the spot. When shifting location from one street to another, we would all just walk a few streets."
Shooting action sequences in the narrow and crowded lanes was quite tricky. Same went for the song shoots. "Sana Altaf (the heroine) and I had to shoot a montage song on the streets. While the crowds were co-operative, a few drunks would pass funny comments once in a while. Since the space was cramped we couldn't help but hear them. But it was all part of the job and we took it in our stride and continued with our work."
One part Vaibhav enjoyed the most was the dinner during the night shoots. "We would order the delicious Burmese Atho noodles which were available near Royapuram and gorge on it. The locals, too, brought us food from their homes. Overall the mood in the area was full of camaraderie and we enjoyed it."