Location Diaries: Love for a camel
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Bakrid
Vikranth got the opportunity to shoot with camels for his upcoming film, Bakrid. For the film, three camels were flown in from Rajasthan by director Jagadeesan Subu. Before the due permissions could be granted, however, details of the shoot had to be shared with the officials. “Special lorries full of food were arranged so the camels could be comfortable. There were also regular checkups done during their travel. Also, since we didn’t want the young camels to get lonely, their mother was also brought in,” says Vikranth.
They were all kept at Tenali village that’s close to Chennai. To prepare for the shoot, Vikranth spent more than a month with the camels, getting familiar with them. “I would feed them at 7am and in the evenings,” he shares. “I also took them out for walks, and after a few days, was able to do this without the help of the trainer.”
Camels, he says, take time to forge a bond. “They are timid animals,” the actor says. “However, if you get too close, they kick or bite, instinctively. I got a few kicks initially.” He laughs and continues. “But soon, we began bonding, and I was allowed to get close to their face. I was allowed to rest their heads on my lap. These were signs that they had accepted me.”
The trainer had requested him not to use a perfume as it was important that the camel get familiar with his smell. “I learned quite a lot about the animal. For instance, if camels chew in your presence, it means that they are relaxed. If they become still though, it means they are anxious,” says Vikranth, a self-confessed animal lover who raises dogs, cats and ducks at home.
“The film is about our bond and I was happy this happened naturally. When I left them in Jaisalmer after the film, I felt really sad. I still remain in touch with their trainer and keep myself updated about them."