Location Diaries: The long night
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Magamuni
For director Shanthkumar's Magamuni, hero Arya shot in the hills near Pollachi for nearly a week. To reach this remote location, he had to trek up a hill every day. If it was hard for him, it was harder for the technical team, which had to carry heavy camera and lighting equipment, including a jimmy jib.
While they managed it a few times, it became impossible to repeat the feat every day. “We then hit upon an idea and decided to leave the equipment on the hill,” says Arya. “The crew put up a tent and took turns to stay there every night after shoot. It was tough, given the remoteness of the location and how cold the hilly area was.” This idea apparently saved them a lot of time and energy. “We moved to different hills, and each time, repeated this exercice several times!”
Logistics management played a crucial role in another segment of the shoot as well. For an important sequence, Arya and Indhuja had to travel to a location around three hours from Chennai. “The shoot was to occur in a tiny 100 square feet house. It was so small that even a small camera crew could barely fit inside. We felt quite claustrophobic about being there,” says Arya. “But that was exactly why Shanthakumar chose that house. We did a few performance-oriented scenes and the claustrophobia actually helped us perform better.”
In fact, Arya and Indhuja realised the importance of the cramped house so much that they decided not to step out for a break. “When it was time to pack up, we concluded that breaking the scene would destroy the claustrophobic, tired feeling important for those scenes. Instead of travelling to Chennai and returning the next day, we shot for 28 hours continuously and completed all the scenes on the same day. It was extremely tiring, but we are happy with the outcome.”