Location Diaries: When a heroine swooned
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week it is from the floors of MGR Magan
When she landed in Theni for the shoot of MGR Magan, heroine Mirnalini Ravi was a bundle of nerves. “Though I had completed three films, this was the first time I was going to shoot continuously for 60 days in one location. I was also to be working with senior co-stars like M Sasikumar, Sathyaraj, Samuthirakani, Singampuli and Saranya. Naturally, I was extremely nervous!” she says.
She credits the relaxed attitude of director Ponram for helping ease her nerves. “The senior actors were all welcoming too. They were all so down-to-earth, and in between shots, they would even invite me to participate in their friendly banter.” Yet, she says she took care not to waste their time. “I did not want to be the reason for any delay. So, I would rehearse my lines in advance and land up early at the shoot every day.”
Actor Saranya, in particular, helped her with a lot of tips, she says. “She gave me pointers on grooming, on how to carry myself as a heroine even when I am not shooting. Another invaluable tip concerned how to be prepared for the unexpected on sets. She gave me fashion advice too—on adding small accessories like anklets, bangles, and rings, and on the importance of making sure I used the same color of nail polish on my fingernails and toenails. She dug into her experience as a heroine, and told me that sometimes, directors may suddenly decide to shoot a close-up of the feet or hands. I learned about the importance of being ready always.”
Just as things were fine and dandy, something unexpected happened. The entire cast had gathered in the courtyard for a crucial scene in the film. The day’s shoot involved long dialogues and was quite demanding. Hungry and tired, Mirnalini began to feel faint and soon, blacked out. This, she says, resulted in chaos on the sets, as everyone scrambled and looked to ensure she was all right.
Director Ponram and team rushed her to the hospital. “I was frustrated that the shoot was held up because of me! Moreover, my father had travelled to the sets on that day, and I felt horrible that this was the experience he had to see.”
Thankfully, the doctor told her that it was only due to dehydration and fatigue. “And then, each day, the other actors could ask if I had eaten properly. Sathyaraj sir even gave me a long talk about the importance of a nutritious diet for an actor. I’m all the wiser after that shoot.”