Location Diaries: Being Savitri
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Keerthy Suresh sharing his expriences while shooting for Nadigaiyar Thilagam
Keerthy Suresh, who’s reprising the role of iconic yesteryear actor Savithri in the upcoming Nadigaiyar Thilagam, seems to have thoroughly relished the opportunity of slipping into a different era. The make-up and costumes department, naturally, had their work cut out. “We did so much research and I really felt like I had travelled into a different era. Any doubts I had were dispelled once we did the look test.” Keerthy has reportedly worn over 120 costumes for this film, including a wide range of saris and gowns. “Even for some small scenes, I had to change into different costumes. Every day, I changed costumes at least thrice.”
The saris Keerthy wore for the film were apparently very special and needed to be handled with extreme care. “Many of them were almost 50 years old, and wafer-thin almost like gossamer. They belonged to the personal collection of director Nag’s mother and the producer’s mother. They were difficult to handle and could tear easily. So I had to be very cautious not to damage them while doing the scenes.” Many saris were also made to order for the film, keeping in mind the designs and fabrics of the period of the biopic. “At the end of the shoot, the producer gifted me my favourite sari from the shoot,” she says.
Keerthy also remembers wearing prosthetics for one portion, so she could look like she’s put on weight. She apparently had to undergo as many as six look tests before they zeroed in on the right look. “The prosthetic make-up took almost four hours each time. I had to come early and keep everyone waiting, while getting ready. Normally, when prosthetics are used, actors typically shoot only for about three hours at a time. But as we were pressed for time, we shot for seven to eight hours each day! I survived on liquid food to not disturb the make-up.” In addition, she had to wear padding across her body. “Using the restroom was an elaborate exercise. It was all quite stressful. Each time I removed it all after pack-up, I felt a surge of great relief.”