Location Diaries: Block and tackle
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Jada
Before he began shooting for Jada, hero Kathir spent several weeks training in football. Being part of a sports film was an exciting prospect for the actor who had been a basketball player in his younger days. "In school, I was in the mini-national championships in basketball, and later represented my district for four years. I used to play football too, but needed to brush up on the finer aspects of the sport for Jada. Hence the month-long practice," he says.
However, Kathir discovered that shooting football scenes was a different ball game altogether. On one particular day, it was tougher than usual. The unit had a two camera set-up in one of the local playgrounds in Chennai. Director Kumaran narrated the scene. While tackling the ball, Kathir had to jump over a player, who would skid and fall in front of him. He then had to kick the ball over the fallen player, retrieve it quickly, manoeuvring it with his feet and go past. This was easier said than done.
"Handling the ball was tough for me, and jumping over a player and retrieving it was even tougher because it had to be done smoothly without any cuts. So timing was vital," he says.
Sometimes the ball would veer to the wrong side, while at others, controlling the ball after the fall would prove difficult. But Kathir was determined to get it right. "My competitive never-give-up streak and stamina as a sportsman really came in handy that day. 45 minutes of shooting continuously and 22 takes later, we finally captured that shot perfectly! That was among my toughest scenes in the film."
But he does have one regret. "Every time I kicked the ball over the player for a take, sand naturally flew in his face! I felt really sorry for him."