Location Diaries: Fighting fear
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and it is Deekay's Kaatteri
Shooting for director Deekay's horror-comedy Kaatteri was an unforgettable experience for Aathmika, who got to do stunts for the first time. One of the first stunts involved falling off a terrace. "Naturally, I was apprehensive. But I had full faith in Deekay and I was encouraged by the efforts of the stunt team which took all precautions," says Aathmika.
For the shot, goons had to chase her as she rushed out onto a terrace. Rushing in at full speed, they did not notice Aathmika just by the door. "They pushed the door vigorously, which hit me really hard on my leg," says Aathmika, who still managed to complete the shot after a few takes, despite her pain.
Next, she had to jump off the terrace. "Even though there was full protective gear and ropes on me, being my first time, it was still daunting. As I jumped, the rough edges of the parapet wall scraped my hip and I felt a sharp pain." But she completed the take, landing safely on the bedding below. "The whole experience gave me a small sense of achievement that day."
After chases and jumps, she next had to shoot amidst a fire inside a building. "This was the most challenging part for me. The stunt team was around me, managing the flames. They had covered me in protective gear beneath my costume. However, the sheer heat all around was both unbearable and scary."
But she had no time to even think about her fears. "I had to be very alert so my costume or hair wouldn't inadvertently catch fire while moving. So as I was delivering my dialogues, I had to simultaneously ensure to keep my gestures and movements restrained. And, while emoting and saying my lines, I had to keep what was going on in my mind out of my face!" Drenched in sweat and masking her unease, she managed to quickly give the shot satisfactorily.
As if this were not enough, there was also a high-speed chase. She had to hang out of the open door of a fast-moving van, holding onto her co-star's hand.
The fact that almost all her shoots were at night also caused issues — disrupting her sleeping and eating patterns. "But by the end, I felt exhilarated! I strongly feel that being a heroine is not just about a pretty face and cute expressions. I want to explore every facet of performance and doing such a variety of challenging stunts in Kaatteri gave me a huge sense of accomplishment."