Location Diaries: Narrow miss in New York
Shooting for the cyber crime thriller Kee in New York, Jiiva got a taste of the fast paced life of the city, quite literally.
With bitterly cold winds and snow all around them during the Christmas season, the small crew of four shot on the streets of New York. The camera used by cameraman Abhinandan was a small one, which went quite unnoticed by the public. The director, Kalees too, would be away from Jiiva, so people didn’t know that he was actually shooting a film. "We shot in minus 16 degrees temperatures, in and around the busy Times Square. The city was abuzz with activity even after midnight. For one particular crucial shot, I had to stop, look at my phone and then stare at the billboards on Times Square. The crew was hidden so no one knew we were shooting. The roads there are full of people constantly on the move. So whenever I would stop in the middle of the crowd, people around me would get irritated as they bumped into me and had to stop and walk around me, bumping into other people. Whenever this happened, they would roll their eyes and mutter 'Tourists!' under their breath," recalls Jiiva, who got used to it after a while and continued with his job.
But for one particular scene, he had quite a close shave. This time it was not people but fast moving traffic that he had to contend with. "We were doing a stealth shoot, where the cameraman had a handheld camera at the other end of a zebra crossing on a busy street. It was around 2 am, but the traffic and people just wouldn’t stop! My shot required me to keep talking on my mobile phone and cross the road as the signal changed.” Whenever Jiiva began crossing at the green signal, the signal would turn red when he was only halfway through the crossing. So in order to get the shot right, he would then have to return to the starting point. Now this was a very dangerous thing, since the traffic would start coming at full speed once the pedestrians had crossed. No one was expecting a pedestrian to go backwards instead of forwards. This led to quite a few close shaves for Jiiva, who narrowly missed getting hit but a vehicle. Not only did people start noticing this strange behaviour, cars started honking and one truck missed hitting him by a whisker! "I must have looked quite a funny fellow to them, always going back instead of forward! But looking back, I think now, what a dangerous shot that actually was. It was plain luck that saved me," says Jiiva.