Location Diaries: On watery ground
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Thiruttu Payale 2
The shooting of director Susi Ganesan’s Thiruttu Payale 2 was an unforgettable experience for its hero, Bobby Simhaa. The actor recently shot some end portions at a ‘floating’ resort near Phuket in Thailand. The resort, a two-hour boat ride away from the mainland, is made up of small houses that float on water, which are mounted atop gas-filled cylinders and tied to each other with ropes. Along with actors Prasanna and Amala Paul, Bobby had to can scenes on small motor boats for five days. Faced with so much water all around and not knowing how to swim was a scary prospect for him. But what he found most difficult to overcome, was the feeling of instability beneath his feet for five days and nights, thanks to the floating accomodation.
To add to his woes, he could barely eat the local cuisine. “Being an island resort, every dish in the menu was a seafood delicacy. I am allergic to seafood, so I tried to order vegetarian food. To my dismay, even the veg dishes were cooked in fish oil. So during my entire stay there, I ate only omelettes and white rice with chilly sauce. When we returned to Bangkok after the five days, I went to the nearest Indian restaurant and binged on biriyani,” says Bobby.
There were also no mobile towers, which meant that the unit was cut off from the outside world. He recalls one incident in particular that put the unit on tenterhooks. “During the last shot, Amala Paul, luckily, managed to recieve an SMS. It was from her mother telling her that her dad was in hospital. Naturally, everyone became anxious.” The actress wanted to go to the mainland and phone her mother. But after 6 pm, no boats would ply because it was thought risky. “We somehow convinced the boatman after explaining the situation and accompanied her.” But when she phoned her mom two hours later from the mainland, a surprise awaited, “Her father was not in the hospital. Since Amala had been unreachable for so long, her mother had sent a fake message of his illness in order to get Amala to phone her back. Amala then explained the details of the remote location to her mom,” says Bobby, adding that, after those few hours of tension, they all had a hearty laugh.