Location Diaries: Close encounters of the spooky kind
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is Sundar C's Aranmanai 3
As a huge fan of horror films, Raashi Khanna was thrilled to join the unit of the upcoming horror film Aranmanai 3. But she was in for quite the surprise.
Raashi's first spooky scene was shot at night at an old haveli in Rajasthan, and the instruction was simple. She had to confront an actor dressed as a ghost and scream. The room was shrouded in semi-darkness, and the evening was chilly. A cold wind blowing in through the large windows added to the eerie atmosphere. As Raashi stepped into the room, she saw a woman dressed in white, sitting in the centre of the room with her back to the door. Raashi could only see her long hair flowing in the breeze. The camera team was stationed between her and this actor, catching every expression on Raashi's face.
"All I had to do was to approach her and place my hands on her shoulder, at which point she would turn towards me and I had to scream in fear," says Raashi. As she gingerly crossed the room, reached the 'ghost', the actor turned towards Raashi. "The second I saw her face, I got the fright of my life. In that split second, I forgot all about the shoot, the camera, and what I had to do. I screamed loudly in total fear. I thought I had seen an actual ghost! I stepped back and ran screaming from the spot, and took shelter outside the door."
Just then, director Sundar C's voice reached her ears. "Everyone was clapping and telling me that I had given an excellent performance. Nobody knew that I was actually scared and my expressions were actually real."
It took her several moments to calm down. "I was totally surprised by my own reaction. I am usually fearless and watch horror films with my eyes wide open. So I never imagined that I would actually get terrified when shooting a horror scene. The make-up on the actor was so good. Also, someone had mentioned that the place was haunted. I guess all these factors caught me off guard."
So petrified was she, that for the next few nights Raashi could only sleep in her large hotel room with the lights on. "It took several days of meditation and yoga to calm me down. That scary face kept haunting my dreams!"
But after those initial days, she was soon back to normal and got back to watching horror films with the same old enthusiasm. "My first horror film turned out to be extremely memorable after all," she laughs.