Location Diaries: A muddy Serbian adventure
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film, and this week it's Chekka Chivantha Vaanam
Model-turned-actor Dayana Erappa, the latest find of director Mani Ratnam, was excited to get to be part of his Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. However, her initial shoot in Serbia turned out to be more eventful than she anticipated. The actor was shooting with co-star Simbu in the biting cold one day, towards the end of the schedule, with a small crew and a jeep. Suddenly, heavy rains came down, creating large puddles of water in the muddy area they were in. The shoot had to be abandoned. The crew, which included Dayana, Simbu, Mani Ratnam, Santhosh Sivan, Shaad Ali and Sivakumar, climbed into the jeep in order to leave the area.
“As we started up the vehicle, we noticed to our utter dismay that it had got stuck in a big, slushy mud puddle. Several attempts to rev the engine and get it out only made things worse! It got fully wedged in the mud and wouldn’t move,” recalls Dayana.
Realising then that they had no other option, all of them got down and started to walk. Making matters difficult was the steep, slippery hill they had to walk on. “With every step, my leg would get stuck in the mud as the ground was very soft and the clay textured. I had to yank my leg out of the mud after every step,” says Dayana, who shares that she fell down a couple of times too.
The troubles wouldn’t relent, with the sun beginning to set and darkness descending. “We had to deal with the rain, slush, steep hill and darkness all at once. We eventually decided to leave behind some of our equipment as it was impossible to walk up, carrying them in those slippery conditions. We stood strong, helped each other and kept walking until help arrived. Mani sir and Simbu helped me get out of the slush and keep calm. Simbu showed great concern all through and kept asking me if I was okay,” says Dayana, adding, “In retrospect, that situation would have made for a great rescue shot!”