Location Diaries: Troubled waters
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 Echo
For director Nawin Ghanesh's Echo, Srikanth had to shoot for a song in Pondicherry. "I had just shot for another film in Ooty. It was unusually cold there. Immediately after that 15-day schedule, I landed in Pondicherry, where the temperature was soaring. The sudden transition of weather was unbearable. All the more, since we were shooting directly under the sun on the beach," says Srikanth.
To film the romantic number, the unit had put up a giant set at a beach resort. This set included a bed, with trees and lights placed around it. The resort guests were curious about what was going on and became a live audience. "For them, it would have been like watching a movie on a 70 mm screen live!" laughs Srikanth.
For one part of the song, heroine Pooja Jhaveri and Srikanth had to emerge dripping wet from the ocean, in their swimming costumes. "Since it was an intimate song, it made us quite self-conscious. We were uncomfortable not just because of the audience, but also because of their phone cameras which kept popping up!"
Shooting in the waters with Pooja was difficult for Srikanth for another reason as well. "Pooja revealed she had a huge phobia of water. I had to carry her deeper into the water for a shot and she became extremely panicky." His reassurances were not enough and to assuage her fears, choreographer Shanthi arranged two assistants to stand on either side of the lead pair, to handle any emergency.
"After entering the waters, I had to dramatically turn around, and carry her back towards the shore. It was a very simple, momentary shot, which would look very romantic on screen. But, turning 180 degrees, carrying a person, with heavy currents pulling in the opposite direction, made the balancing very difficult. Moreover, we had to repeat it for various camera angles. And since mobile phones were capturing our movements, I wanted to make sure not to fall or falter. We didn't want to end up in a viral social media clip on the net!"
Since his vanity van was far away, Srikanth asked for a makeshift tent on the beach for quick costume changes. While Pooja went to her vanity van for costume and make-up changes, Srikanth used that extra time to rest. "It was so hot that I felt totally drained. I would just lie down on the beach sand, which actually was very relaxing."
But all that exposure to the hot sun for three days led to another problem. "I tan easily and my tan led to continuity issues for certain scenes later. But luckily our cameraman Gopinath resolved that issue by using the right lens and light."