Location Diaries: Play acting
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Kanaa
When Aishwarya Rajesh signed up to play a cricketer in Sivakarthikeyan Productions’ Kanaa, she didn’t know anything about the game. But she took up the challenge and learnt the game, going for practice diligently everyday. She even lost weight to look the part.
Her perseverance was rewarded one day at the shoot. The unit, under the direction of Arunraja Kamaraj, was shooting at a cricket ground in Visakhapatnam. The sequence being filmed was a cricket match. Aishwarya was part of the team, which consisted of real cricketers from across the country. Several onlookers gathered, curious to see women cricketers playing. “It was then that I overheard people talking among themselves. They were asking each other who the heroine was in the bunch of cricketers. It was only after the shoot was over and someone pointed to me, that they realised I was the heroine. All along they had mistaken me for a cricket player in the team. I took that as a compliment because that meant that I looked and played the part completely,” says Aishwarya.
But there was a flip side too. The actor was injured several times during the course of filming. At a shoot in Dindigul, she had to leap and catch a ball. When doing so, she fell on the ground with the ball and cut her lip deeply. “The blood started flowing out and everyone panicked. Arunraja immediately rushed me to a hospital. There they prepared me for stitches to stop the flow. When I saw the big needle coming near me, I panicked too and insisted that they give me anaesthesia first. I had to have several stitches to quell the flow.” Everyone thought that she would take the day off. “But I knew how important it was to complete the shoot because the cricketers, who had come from all over, had to go home in 10 days. It would be difficult to assemble them all again. And it was impossible to shoot without me. So I went back and continued to shoot.”
Another time she was hit by a speeding ball from an Australian player, right on her leg. “She was supposed to hit a sixer but since I bowled so well, it came back as a straight ball and hit me right in the leg. It started bleeding and was swollen. The Australian player was mortified and they all ran to me in shock at what had happened. But I know such injuries are very common in sports and this movie is worth every bit of the pain.”