Location Diaries: Trying times
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is FIR
Before shooting began for Vishnu Vishal-starrer FIR, Manjima Mohan injured her ankle in a freak accident at home when an iron gate swung and hit her. Initially, the swelling was misdiagnosed as a simple sprain. It was only later, when the pain increased, that a fragment of the gate was found embedded in her foot. As a result, her Achilles tendon was ruptured and she had to undergo surgery. "The team of FIR was very understanding and decided to wait for my foot to heal. Six weeks after the surgery, I went for the shoot. An Achilles tendon injury doesn't completely heal in that time, but I didn't want them to keep waiting any longer. There was a stitch inside my foot, which was still healing. So the muscles were not yet strong enough to bear my body weight. Hence, on the first day of the shoot, I entered the sets limping, using a walker to move about," recalls Manjima.
The unit knew of her injury but everyone was shocked to see her actual situation. For many shots, she just could not walk. After every few hours of standing, her leg would swell up and the pain would become unbearable. She could barely wear slippers, leave alone heels. So they had to use an apple box for her to stand on for certain shots. Even her costumes had to be different. "I could only wear loose salwars."
Due to the pain on the left foot, she would put her body weight on her right side. "As a result of the constant imbalance, I started getting back and neck pain as well. I underwent physiotherapy every day, but the hours of standing would bring back the pain by night."
Vishnu Vishal and director Manu were most helpful, she says, and would patiently wait for her to rest between shots. "Director Manu would watch my face for the slightest sign of pain and stop shooting instantly for a break. He even asked me if he could cut a few scenes, but I didn't want that."
One time, she was shooting inside a house at night. The swelling got so bad, she could not walk even a few steps. "My co-star Parvathy instantly came to my rescue. She put my huge, swollen foot on her lap and applied ice on it to ease my pain. It was this overwhelming care and concern from the entire unit, that got me through the most nightmarish time in my life. I am eternally grateful to them for this."