Location Diaries: Vanam-Back to College
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week, it is Vanam
Shooting for Vanam resulted in several takeaways for actor Vetri. A stunt scene demanded that he shoot for two nights in an indoor set filled with props like statues and art collectibles. “Four of us, Anu Sitara, Azhagan Perumal sir, Vela Ramamoorthy and I, had to fight in a cramped space and we had to be really cautious about not damaging the props,” says Vetri, adding that action choreographer Sudheesh Master refrained from using body doubles. "We were required to break glasses, fall, and land punches. Considering I was shooting with senior artists, I had to be extra careful about the timing to ensure I did not hurt them by mistake."
Furthermore, the camera was in a constant movement close to the actors, adding another challenge. "We also had to ensure we didn't bump into the camera team by mistake," says Vetri. With no air conditioning in the closed set, the team was "sweating heavily after shooting for fight scenes," Vetri shares. "So, between shots, we would periodically take breaks to cool down."
The unit shot in a real college campus to capture scenes set in a hostel and the returning to the campus took Vetri on a nostalgic trip, he says. "Shooting there reminded me of my college days. We shot there mostly at night. During the day, we got to interact with college students, and it was a trip down memory lane. It also served as a reminder of how much college life has changed since my days as a student." While canning a montage song in the campus, the team had planned a rain sequence, and Vetri says, "To our utter surprise and delight, it actually started to rain just as we were preparing to shoot! Everyone ran to protect the camera set-up as we performed in real rain."
During one other schedule, the team procured special permission to shoot in the Government Fine Arts college campus in Chennai. "It was a huge and fascinating campus, and I discovered many things about art that I didn't know before. Only after visiting there did I come to know that art is not just about painting, but a lot more. From clay modeling to live portraits and sculpting, seeing the students at work made me realise how vast art is. The students cleared many of my doubts. Seeing people patiently posing for the artist to create their models for hours, was an eye-opening experience."