Location Diaries: Beating to the punch
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Taana
Nandita Swetha gave everyone quite the surprise when shooting for the Vaibhav-starrer Taana. The comedy caper has Vaibhav playing a cop. But it was Nandita who landed a fair few punches.
The film features an action block in which Nandita beats up some baddies. "It's a scene where some goondas come to our social service nursing camp and tease me and my group. So I had to send them flying, quite literally. Ropes would then send them flying in the air after I hit them with my bare hands. Apart from hitting them, I also had to duck their attack. So it required careful planning and full concentration," says Nandita.
Director Yuvraj and the stunt team had expected that it would take two days to shoot this. What they did not know was that Nandita had been shooting action sequences in three of her current crop of films. So she knew the importance of perfect timing in action shots. "You have to be very quick to move and bend or lunge with agility. You could get badly hurt if you don't step aside at just the right moment, when at the receiving end of a punch as well. Having done several such scenes recently, I quickly grasped what had to be done."
And Nandita amazed the unit with the speed with which she managed to land the punches and avoid getting hurt at the same time. "At the end of each shot, I could hear them clapping. And seeing how neatly we finished each shot in just one take, the stunt team added a few more punches for me to do! By the end of it, I was quite exhausted. But Yuvraj was a happy man. He told me, we were expecting this scene to take a few days but you completed it in a few hours. That felt good!"
Shooting with comedian Yogi Babu added to the fun Nandita had. The unit was stationed at a playground on the outskirts of Chennai. Halfway into the shoot, it began to drizzle and filming had to be abandoned for a few hours. Yogi Babu spotted a group of local children playing cricket on the ground. "Next thing we knew, he had gone and joined their team to play cricket with them." Seeing this, Vaibhav and Nandita too joined in the novel experience of playing cricket in the rain. "Yogi Babu became the captain and though I'm not a fan of the game, I had fun playing with everyone that day. It felt like a school break as we all kept playing till sunset! Yogi Babu batted and I was amongst the fielders. We all knew how busy he was, juggling dates between various projects. So, to see him relax and have fun with us that afternoon was an unforgettable and surreal experience."