Location Diaries: Hareesh Peradi recounts his shooting experiences
Hareesh Peradi talks about his experiences in the films, Sir CP and Mersal, and the television serial, Guruvayurappan
Falling into a deep lake
It was noon at the Marthandam Kayal, Alappuzha. Actor Hareesh Peradi was standing atop a boat. The shoot was for the film Sir CP (2015) directed by Shajoon Kariyal. Dressed in a brown kurta, he was playing a villain. Jayaram as the hero was supposed to violently push him away. And Hareesh had to fall backwards into the water.
“This could not be done through a stunt-man since there was a close-up of my face,” says Hareesh. “So the crew located an area where it was shallow so that when I fell into the water, I would be able to come up quickly.”
It took some time to set up the shoot. Then Jayaram pushed Hareesh and he fell. And that was when he got a shock. Hareesh went right down. It was not a shallow area at all. “Even though I knew how to swim, I panicked, because there was a strong undercurrent,” says Hareesh.
Somehow, he managed to stop the downward movement. Slowly, he moved up. And then suddenly, he saw a rope, which was dangling from the boat. He grabbed at it and pulled himself up and reached the surface, where he was rescued by the crew members.
They were all puzzled by what had happened till locals told them that the delay in shooting resulted in the boat moving ever so slightly from its designated place, thanks to the moving waters and a strong wind. “Nobody had noticed this,” says Hareesh.
Lessons from Mersal
In the recent Tamil blockbuster, Mersal, starring Vijay, Hareesh plays a villainous doctor by the name of Arjun Zachariah. In a flashback, he is at a new hospital in a small village near Madurai. A patient, played by Nithya Menon, is about to give birth. And Hareesh had to act as a gynaecologist.
“I knew that the stomach was an artificial one, and it had been made by the art director,” says Hareesh. “I also knew that the baby was fake.” Nevertheless, he had to cut open the stomach and take the baby out. “Then I had to upturn the baby, and hit its buttocks a couple of times so that it starts crying,” says Hareesh.
In the past, the actor had been present outside the labour room for the birth of his two children, Vishnu and Vaidi. But, he had no idea about what took place inside. It was only when acting in Mersal that he realised that giving birth is such a difficult thing. “My respect for my wife and all women increased tremendously,” says Hareesh. “I must thank Mersal for that.”
Turning believer thanks to a crow
Hareesh is also thankful for the extraordinary experience in the TV serial Guruvayurappan. He played the character of Kimvadhan, another version of Lord Shiva.
There was a scene when he arrives at a house, and the family gives him food to eat. He sits on the steps and a crow is supposed to come up. Then he had to tell the family, “Do you know who this is?”
When they plead ignorance, Hareesh says, “This is not an ordinary crow. This crow has seen seven Rama-Ravana fights, as well as nine Mahabaratha battles.”
The shoot was at 7 pm at Thiruvananthapuram. There was no chance for a crow to be spotted at so late an hour. “What we were planning to do was that I would say my dialogues, look up as if to see a crow, and then we would shoot a crow the next day,” says Hareesh.
When the shoot began, through the corner of his eye, Hareesh saw a crow flying onto the branch of a tree nearby. Soon, it flew down right next to Hareesh. The crew was stunned. Then when Hareesh said the dialogues, the crow ate quietly and flew away. After its departure, all the crew members shouted loudly, as one, “Krishna, Guruvayurappa.”
Hareesh says it was an experience he'll never forget. “Before this event, I was an atheist. But thereafter, I have become a firm believer in God.”