Location Diaries: Sleepless for cinema
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Thambi
Jeethu Joseph's Thambi was the first time Karthi completed an entire film in just one schedule. He didn't realise how strenuous it would be, how many sleepless nights he would have to go through. First and foremost, it was difficult to co-ordinate with the large star cast and assemble them together for the duration of the schedule. So whenever they came to sets on certain dates to shoot, Karthi would be required to complete his portions with them. For the last 10 days of the shoot, he worked continuously with barely any time for sleep. During this trying period, they had to shoot for lengthy stunt scenes as well.
He explains, "I would finish my portions with the available set of actors, and then, we would shoot few action blocks in the night. Then I would move on to complete shoot with the next set of available actors or stuntmen. At one time, I shot for three different stunt scenes continuously through day and night! I was completely exhausted. Even Kaithi did not leave me so fatigued; there, I could shoot by nighLocatit and sleep in the day!" Moreover, the heat in the Palakkad forests was unbearable in May, he adds. "I saw unit members faint suddenly due to the heat!"
Working with Jeethu Joseph for the first time, he got taste of a different working method. "Usually directors explain scenes to each actor separately. But Jeethu Joseph does things differently. Every morning, before shooting, he would assemble the cast and hold a discussion. He would ask all of us to dissect the scenes we were going to shoot and give our inputs. Whatever he found useful, he would use for the scenes. I've never worked with a director who did this! It was a totally novel and refreshing experience."
The most surreal part of the shoot for Karthi was working with his anni, Jyotika. "Being my anni who plays my sister, shooting with her was surreal. I never imagined I would get to work with her one day! We used to discuss work at home, before shooting. On the sets, both of us being professionals, we just slipped into our roles. The ease of working with someone familiar in the role of my akka, added to the performance. I was floored by her dedication. For one horse-riding scene, she spent a month learning how to ride. Being a 'relationship film', it gave us both lots of warm moments to cherish forever. "