Location Diaries: Cop chronicles
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Sivappu Manjal Pachai
Siddharth, who plays a traffic cop in director Sasi's Sivappu Manjal Pachai, immersed himself in a lot of research in order to be able to play the character. “This film will be the first in Tamil cinema to show a detailed, complex portrayal of a traffic policeman. This is why it was important that I get all the minute details right,” says the actor.
To this end, he met several ‘traffic consultants’ who engage every day with traffic police. “I learned about how they control heavy traffic, how they deal with the public in stressful situations, how they engage with senior and junior policemen…” he says. “It was also interesting to learn how they deal with suspects and criminals. I also watched many traffic-related videos, and observed policemen at work on the roads.”
The preparation was not just about internalising the character; he also had to look the part, and so had to gain weight and add muscle mass. “Sasi sir wanted me to grow a moustache, but due to potential continuity issues with three other films I am part of, I could not do this,” he says. “However, I decided to ready myself physically for the part. On the first day of my shoot, I had to shoot a traffic scene. I waited eagerly for Sasi sir's reaction to my performance. I got my reward when he said that he didn't even notice the lack of a moustache!"
Siddharth and GV Prakash play arch-rivals in this film. “Due to space constraints, we had to share the same vanity van,” says Siddharth, who apparently struck up a strong rapport with the actor-composer. “We discussed music and movies, and the shoot helped foster a deep friendship between us."