Location Diaries: A breathtaking shoot
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Idhaya Raja Ispade Rani
When actor Harish Kalyan was told the unit of Idhaya Rajavum Ispade Raniyum was going to travel to Ladakh for shooting, he was quite thrilled. But the experience proved to be breathtaking in ways that he hadn’t imagined.
The unit was told that they would have to be careful as the oxygen content of the air was less at that altitude. Everything seemed to be going well at first. However, things took a scary turn.
Harish recalls, “One day, we had just finished a few shots near our hotel when we heard a lot of commotion. One of the assistant directors had suddenly choked and could not breathe. There was panic all around. He was rushed to a hospital, and we all spent several tense moments till word came that he was out of danger. We learnt that his lungs had been affected by the cold. It was nearly five degrees, and the previous night at shoot, he hadn’t worn proper woollen clothing nor covered his ears. Thus, the cold had gotten to his lungs, leading to the choking the next morning. It was a close shave.”
Another day, Harish learnt that director Ranjit Jeyakodi had planned a shoot at a location beyond the Rohtang Pass, which was at a higher altitude. When the locals heard about it, they refused to accompany the unit to the location, warning them of the dangers of trekking so high up. But director Ranjith and cinematographer Kavin had already been there on a recce earlier, and they assured Harish and Shilpa Manjunath that the scenery was so picturesque that it would be perfect for the shot.
“Hearing all the warnings from the locals, I was hesitant to go up at first. It involved a two-hour trek one-way, and the unit had to carry all the equipment as well,” says Harish. But the actor drew courage from his director’s confidence. “He told me that when he could climb up at his age, I was much younger and could surely do it. The challenge and the assurance both gave me the confidence to undertake the arduous journey.”
At the end of the trek, Harish was thrilled to find that he was the first to reach the top. “The view was so breathtaking. It was just as Ranjit had promised, and we forgot all our aches and shot the scene.”