Location Diaries: A skill learned, a scene chopped
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film
Andrea was naturally quite thrilled to be part of National Award-winning director Vetrimaaran's Vada Chennai. What she didn't bargain for though was getting involved in a rather ‘fishy’ activity that the filmmaker had in store for her!
The film was shot in the North Madras area, and Andrea, who plays Chandra, had to get into character for her role. This was not merely about getting into the character's head. She also had to prepare for the role in ways she didn’t expect: "As part of the homework for my role, I had to learn how to clean fish!" she says with a laugh. The area is well known for its fishing hamlets, varieties of fish and fish curries, and so the actor had to be adept at the technique of cleaning fish as she is an inhabitant of the area in the film. And Vetrimaaran, a known stickler for perfection, wanted her shot to look authentic.
So after pack-up, when everybody went off to relax, Andrea had to go meet the local fisherfolk, to learn the art of fish cleaning. Every day, she learnt the technique bit by bit. Though she eventually mastered the art, it wasn't an easy process, or for that matter, pain-free. "I cut my finger badly one day while cleaning the fish with a sharp knife. But the deep cut wasn't caused by the knife; it was caused by the sharp scales on the fish. Who knew fish scales were so sharp!"
All that effort, sadly, was in vain. "In the final edit, that scene was removed from the film," says Andrea. “However, I have a newfound respect for fisherfolk.”