Location Diaries: Vikram Prabhu on the run
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Asura Guru
Shooting for Asura Guru was an unforgettable experience for Vikram Prabhu. An important segment — an action sequence — is set on top of a train. Giant train sets, nearly 300 feet in length and with six compartments, were constructed at Ramoji Film Studio for this sequence. Vikram Prabhu was told that he had to run, not inside, but on top of the train.
Two cameras were placed on either end of the train and a third, on a jimmy jib, followed his every move. Using ropes was not practical due to the framing of the scene, so the actor decided to do the stunts himself.
The shooting atop the train at Ramoji Film City was held over several nights, and Vikram Prabhu quickly discovered that doing stunts, even on a dummy train, was no easy task. "It was very windy and the assistants were told to shake the compartments as we ran on top to give the appearance of a moving train. The train top was also curved slightly. And so, while running fast over those cabins, I had to really concentrate to ensure I did not slip. There was a steep fall of 15 feet on either side," the actor recalls.
However, just running was not enough. He also had to do another risky shot. "I had to run at full speed and then jump across the gap of 7.5 feet between each compartment. I had to do this for the entire length of the train, across all six compartments. It was quite scary. The speed gave me an adrenalin rush, but added to the height I was at and the wind, it also disoriented me."
So how did he do it? "Each time the huge gap came up, I took a really long run up of nearly 15 feet, and then took the leap. It required every ounce of concentration and total mind body synchronisation, since a fall could have injured me badly. Even a slight misstep could have twisted my leg. I guess all the training during my days as an athlete in school came in handy. I have done dangerous stunts and even been injured before, but that chase in Asura Guru is easily among the most unforgettable and risky action sequences in my career."