Location Diaries: Riding on the beach
Actor Aparna Balamurali talks about her experiences in the films Sunday Holiday, Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, and Maheshinte Prathikaaram
Aparna Balamurali looked worried as she stood on the Muzhappilangad beach in Thalasserry. Director Jis Joy, of Sunday Holiday, had told her she would have sit to behind hero Asif Ali on a Yamaha RX 100 bike and ride through the waves. “I had never ridden on a bike before, let alone, through the waves,” she says. This was for the song Mazha Paadum, which was sung by Aparna herself and Arvind Venugopal.
What increased her nervousness was when Asif told her it was risky. “We should be careful,” said a sombre-looking Asif. Anyway, Aparna got behind Asif and the latter began slowly. “But then Asif suddenly turned up the accelerator and I started screaming.” says Aparna. “I was so scared that I would fall off.”
Asif increased the scare quotient when he suddenly stood up, at high speed, and began laughing. “It was absolutely crazy,” says the 21-year-old. “But after a few minutes, I got over my fears and began to enjoy the thrill of it.”
On days when she did not have any shooting, Aparna would assist cinematographer Alex J Pulickal, by holding up an umbrella or the thermocole shades. In the film, Shruti Ramachandran also has a role.
Asif would say, “Shruti, be careful, Aparna is trying to make you look dark. Tell the truth, Aparna, you want to make Shruti look less beautiful, is it not?” Both Shruthi and Aparna would laugh out aloud. “Shruthi and I are very good friends,” says Aparna.
During the shoot, Asif came to know that Aparna was a foodie. “Soon, if there was paratha and curry for breakfast, he would say, ‘It is all right if you don’t give me, but please ensure that Aparna gets her fill’.”
Nevertheless, Asif would ply her with all types of food. “Because of Asif, I ate mutton ghee roast and neer dosa for the first time,” says Aparna. “At the end of the shoot I had put on a lot of weight.”
However, for the shoot of the upcoming film, Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Aparna lost weight because she had to do a lot of running. In the film, Pradeep, a bus conductor, harassed a neighbour of Aparna. So, one day, Aparna took a hockey stick and gave chase.
The scene was shot in a bus terminus at Thirssur. Soon, Pradeep ran into the gent’s toilet. Aparna followed. Inside, Pradeep accidentally pushed against a washbasin and lost his balance. The basin fell and landed on the edge of Aparna’s feet. She started bleeding. The shoot was stopped and her leg was bandaged.
Soon, the shooting resumed. When it was over, Aparna was taken to the hospital. “It was a deep wound,” says Aparna. “The doctor said I needed stitches. I got a shock.” Today, there is a small scar on the second toe of Aparna’s right feet. “This is a film which has left a permanent mark on me,” she says, with a smile. “I hope it does for my career, too.”
But Aparna had already made her mark with her debut, Maheshinte Prathikaaram, though her initial shots caused nervous moments for her. The cinematographer Shyju Khalid had placed a hen along a path to create an ambience. Aparna was supposed to jump from a height onto the road and land next to the hen.
“In the first take, it was not clear there was a hen in the shot,” says Aparna. “In the next shot, when I jumped, the hen got scared and jumped towards me. I got really scared. So the shot had to be taken again. Thereafter, the hen did not move in the next few shots. So we had to take it with an unmoving hen. It was a bit disappointing.”