Location Diaries: Crowd frenzy
his weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Pattas
Working in the Dhanush-starrer Pattas opened up a plethora of new experiences for heroine Mehreen Pirzada. "Dhanush and I play a slum-dwellers in Pattas, so we had to shoot several portions in a slum. It was my first such shoot and a totally new experience," says Mehreen.
Her very first day involved a shot opposite Dhanush, in the slum. "I was already quite nervous, because I was working with an actor of Dhanush's calibre. Moreover, huge crowds had gathered to see him. This added to my anxiety as I am not as fluent in Tamil as I am in Telugu and I had a very long dialogue to deliver. So I was anxious to get my lines right and emote opposite him at the same time." But Dhanush put her at ease. "He told me he understood, since having worked in Hindi films, he knew how challenging it was to act in a different language. That helped me relax and give that first shot."
The crowds, it turned out, were not there only for Dhanush. Mehreen continues, "To my surprise, I heard voices calling out 'Honey, Honey' to me from the crowds. This was my character's name from F2. I learnt that the crowds were mainly Telugu-speaking there and so they were familiar with my Telugu films. I felt a bit more relaxed as I could converse with them in Telugu in the breaks."
Pattas has several comical portions, especially during the Jigidi Killady song, and Mehreen feels that Dhanush's off-screen humorous side helped break the ice and translate into good screen chemistry with her. She narrates an incident when Dhanush had to drive an Audi car on a deserted road in Pondicherry. Suddenly the choreographer asked Mehreen to take the wheel. "I hadn't driven a Scooty leave alone a car in a very long time, though I knew how to drive. So I was quite rusty at the wheels. When I told Dhanush this, he started pulling my leg. He pretended to move towards the edge of the seat, nearer the door in case he had to jump out. He told me he was extremely nervous and had a lot more to achieve in life. 'My life is in your hands,' he quipped. I laughingly replied that I had not achieved anything as yet, so I had every intention of driving carefully. We had a good laugh."
Mehreen also saw the hospitable side of her co-star. "When we shot in Chennai, Dhanush arranged a sumptuous home-cooked lunch in his vanity van, for our cameraman Om Prakash sir, director Durai Senthilkumar, Sneha ma'am, and me."