Location Diaries: Vijay Sethupathi, the real hero
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film
Among the films Sayyeshaa has been shooting for during the last few months is Junga, with co-star Vijay Sethupathi. She recently travelled to Azerbaijan to shoot an action sequence, and there, she says she saw a side to Vijay Sethupathi she didn’t know existed.
The action sequence involved a high-speed car chase. “Vijay had to drive a car with me in the passenger seat,” says Sayyeshaa. “The director had instructed that the cars were all to brake and skid dangerously throughout the chase.” The car with Sayyeshaa and Vijay Sethupathi had cameras fitted around. The actual camera team was quite far away and wasn’t in a position to help immediately, should something untoward occur. “It was a risky situation, especially when in a foreign land. Also, Vijay had to drive a left-hand drive vehicle, something we are not used to. The team suggested using a dupe, but Vijay Sethupathi refused,” she says.
The chase began and the hero’s car picked up speed within seconds. “I was frightened and held on to the seat for dear life. What you’ll see in the film isn’t me acting, just looking truly scared,” she says. “As we had been instructed, our car skidded from time to time, with the tyres screeching loudly.”
At one point, Sayyeshaa turned at Vijay Sethupathi to see him look totally unruffled and in total control of the vehicle. “I could then notice that he was a really good driver. He had great reflexes and showed control, while keeping track of the cars coming at us from behind. That’s when I knew I could relax a bit.” The sequence took as many as five days to complete, but Sayyeshaa says she was able to manage, thanks to “Vijay’s driving ability”.