When Prasanna had to hug a stranger
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Prasanna, sharing his expriences while shooting for Kaalakoothu
Prasanna, who’s generally played urban roles, will be seen in a rural avatar in the upcoming Kaalakoothu. Naturally, a large part of the film was shot in Madurai where he had some memorable experiences. Much before the actual shoot began, the actor stayed in Madurai for many weeks to observe the body language of the locals and the dialect. “Director Nagarajan hails from Madurai and convinced me I could pull off this role. It’s a welcome change from what I’ve done so far,” he says.
Among the earliest things Prasanna noticed about the locals was their love for cinema, and a general interest in what was happening in their neighbourhood. “For instance, we were shooting a chase sequence involving seven bikers. Suddenly, we noticed that there were as many as 20 bikes following me. The locals had joined in to find out what was going on!” he says with a laugh.
Shooting in a marketplace was no easy task, complicated by the difficulties involved in placing shooting equipment amid the crowd. “But director Nagarajan and the unit hands — who are all from Madurai — struck a chord with the locals. Though they were happy to be privy to the shoot, they never once disturbed us,” he says. “After the camera got set up, they would dutifully gather behind it — never in front.”
One rather drunk fan though wasn’t as orderly. “A fan of mine, in drunken stupor, kept yelling that he wouldn’t leave the shoot till I gave him a hug and a kiss!” No amount of coaxing apparently worked. “The shoot was getting delayed and finally, I hugged and kissed him on his cheek,” Prasanna says. “After that, he quietened down, and even began helping us control the crowd.”