Location Diaries: Work and worship
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Thanimai
Sonia Agarwal is quite satisfied with how her second innings in Tamil cinema is shaping up. Recently seen in the flashback portions of Magizh Thirumeni’s Thadam, she is now playing the lead in an upcoming film called Thanimai. But the film is special to her for another reason too.
Sonia, who plays a Sri Lankan refugee in the film, accepted the film for her ‘character’s intensity and the interesting script’. It seemed like destiny had chosen her for this project when she learned the location of the first leg of the shoot. “The director shared that we would be travelling to Rameswaram for the shoot. I immediately remembered that my nani (maternal grandmother) had forever wanted to do darshan at the Rameswaram temple!” she says.
She immediately called her grandmother who lives in Chandigarh. “She was ecstatic when I asked her to book her tickets and accompany my mother and me to Rameswaram. She's in her 70s now and has already been to all the other major shrines,” Sonia says. “She had never asked me for anything in life. But knowing that I am spiritual too, she had been asking me to do this for her. I'd always felt bad about not doing it, and now, I finally got an opportunity to fulfil her lifelong dream. I never imagined that one of my film shoots would help my nani.”
Much of the filming in Rameswaram apparently happened on its beaches. “And all the while, I couldn’t wait to take her to the temple. And finally, we got a break!” A scene in the film demanded that she take a dip in the sea and walk in the direction of the temple. “The director was understanding of my sentiment, and soon as the shot was over, I rushed into the temple with my family. We spent more than two hours inside performing all the rituals, before I returned for the shoot. I’ll never forget shooting for this film, for this reason.”