Location Diaries: A film of many firsts
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week, it is from Pistha
Shooting for director Ramesh Baarathi's comedy film Pistha left hero Metro Shirish with several new experiences. "Pistha is my first rural subject. I play the owner of several shops in a market area in Kumbakonam and to get the mannerism right, I visited a bustling marketplace to understand the atmosphere and observe the people's body language," says Shirish.
Also for the first time in his career, he had to dance for an extravagantly shot song, complete with background dancers. "I have previously trained in dance under Jayanthi Master, but in my earlier films, I only had romantic songs or montages. When I had to do my first commercial song in Pistha, I rehearsed for a whole day in advance to avoid mistakes and save time during shoot." But when he landed on sets and saw 200 dancers waiting for him, his anxiety levels rose. "The thought of actually dancing before the camera for the first time, in that huge set along so many professional dancers, made me a tad nervous. I turned to Dheena master and asked if I could perhaps shoot my portions separately, though I knew that was impossible," says Shirish, who also had something else weighing on his mind. "I had no experience of dancing while wearing a veshti-sattai and I was worried about stepping on my veshti while dancing (laughs). But when Dheena master gave me two thick belts to wear over my veshti and I got to wear accessories like gold chains and rings and got onto a bullet bike for the song, it helped me get into the character. The song shoot was perfect."
For the first time, Shirish also shot with several comedians in a film which, even though was fun, was not easy. "I had many combo scenes with Yogi Babu and Sathish. I realised that laughing at their jokes in the theatres is very different from actually shooting with them. Watching them perform live before me, had me in splits; I would forget my lines," says the actor. "Moreover, they are so talented that they would improvise on the spot and come up with witty counters and one-liners. That left me stumped as I was not expecting the new lines and I didn't know how to respond. But soon, they understood and started giving me my cues. It took two days for me to get into sync with their way of working."