Location Diaries: Jungle Book
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Vijay Antony sharing his expriences while shooting for Kaali
For Vijay Antony’s next film Kaali, by Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi, the crew recently shot in the dense forests of Thalakonam. I know what you’re thinking. The actor must have had a tough time in the harsh conditions, right? No. Vijay Antony turns deeply philosophical as he reflects on his time shooting there.
Every day, he says he had to travel a few kilometres into the forest, from the nearby village he was staying in. "I would see the villagers going about their daily routine, as they would nonchalantly walk on rough, hot terrain. Occasionally, a forest animal would stray into the area too," he says.
Vijay’s convinced his team spotted a leopard once. “My assistant told me he saw it for a second before it dashed into the shrubbery. The idea of being so close to such wild animals was quite intimidating for all of us. I realised how brave villagers are, and how they live in constant danger."
Observing the locals each day apparently made him quite introspective. "In the hustle and bustle of urban lives, we have lost touch with nature. The days spent on that location made me realise how we are living in our cocoons in the name of civilisation. We constantly complain about the quality of our lives despite having every facility available to us,” says Vijay. “But in reality, it’s the villagers who face hardship, like the vagaries of nature, having to negotiate mountains, rivers and jungles to earn their living, and dealing with wild animals. We may be living in concrete jungles, but they are the ones who are truly living in a jungle where survival is a real task. I would love to live like that, but it’s a dream. I’m glad I could get the opportunity to see their lives up close."
Vijay also used the peace and quiet of the location to work on his music. "I sat in the verandah during the evenings and completed the music and editing of my film, Annadurai, on my laptop. The solitude in that jungle was quite inspiring, and I’ll always cherish the memory.”