Location Diaries: Too hot to handle
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Oru Pakka Kadhai
The cast of director Balaji Tharaneetharan’s next is Oru Pakka Kadhai, starring Kalidas Jairam and Megha Akash, apparently had quite a tough time shooting in the heat of Kumbakonam. But it wasn’t just hot winds that were bothering them. The team was there to shoot scenes in the famous temples there. As footwear is not allowed within temple precincts, the entire unit had to work bare-footed during the six-day shoot. Being the month of May, at the height of summer, the stone surface of the temple floors would become unbearably hot. The crew tied pieces of cloth around their feet or wore socks. But, despite that, the heat would penetrate and reach the skin. While the crew could take breaks and go and sit when possible, the actors, including Kalidas and Megha, had a tougher time. "Being in front of the camera, they could not even show their discomfort and couldn’t wear socks either. But they were very professional and gave their shots without a grimace, even though the hot stones were scalding their feet,” says the director Balaji who tried to help them by shouting cut several times between the shot, so that they could go, rest their feet and then get back to work again.
Another time, the unit was shooting inside a house at Adayar in Chennai. The scene required a large crowd of around 150 junior artistes to gather on the road outside a house, in which the heroine was stationed, and protest. The cinematographer entered from the end of the road with a hand-held camera, to capture the proceedings in a candid manner. Since nobody could see the camera and there was no film lighting, passersby who noticed the large crowd began to get curious. They thought something was actually happening inside the house. “Before we knew it, cars started slowing down, riders on motorbikes and pedestrians, all joined the crowd of junior artistes. They began clamouring to know what was going on inside," says Balaji. Before they knew it, the crowd swelled. "Our camera captured the entire scene. We never expected this! But since it added to the scene, and made it even more natural, I let the camera keep rolling,” he adds. It was only when Balaji suddenly yelled ‘cut’ and the junior artistes began dispersing, that the crowd realized it was a film shoot. “Most of the real crowd who had stopped out of curiosity were surprised to know it was only a shooting and disappointed that nothing was really happening inside the house. Our shooting was enhanced by their presence and we included the footage in the film,” he says.