Location Diaries: A tryst with death
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week, it is Cadaver
The Amala Paul-starrer Cadaver's shooting took actor Harish Uthaman to Vagamon, Kerala where a car chase scene shot on a hilly road turned out to be a frightening experience. “We were in a car, driven by Amala, on a narrow, steep road, and on both the sides of the road were valleys. The skies were filled with dark clouds and there was a drizzle in the air,” says the actor, who adds that there was barely any visibility. “For the scene, another car was in hot pursuit and would hit our vehicle from the back, stopping our car. If the impact did not go according to plan, we knew that our car could topple into the valley, and so, we were all really nervous.”
As a precautionary measure, the car was placed on a metal track to stop it from veering off course. But despite measures, things went wrong. "The rear wheel of our car hit the side of the narrow road and got stuck. We had to quickly jump out of the vehicle in the rain and run for our lives on the slippery slope, towards safety. It was an unforgettable moment, a close shave," says Harish.
If that weren’t enough, Harish had to shoot another challenging scene in the unforgiving weather of Vagamon. "It was a night shoot, and the temperature was around 6 degrees. I had no winter-wear and I was shivering. Furthermore, the scene was of a fight that was to take place in the rain. Being drenched in cold water in that bitter cold was sheer agony," says Harish. "For fight sequences, the body needs to be warm and energetic. I had to put in every ounce of my energy to pull off that fight sequence!"
For another scene, the team went to a graveyard where they shot for four nights. Cinematographer Aravinnd Singh and director Anoop Panicker apparently held several rehearsals. "We had to be, again, careful, as the uneven ground could cause us to fall and get injured. Even the markers we normally use for movements could not be used there, as the top angles would expose them. The rehearsals came in handy as we were familiar with the terrain and the placements of the tombstones.”
In keeping with the film's name, Harish also learnt a lot about dead bodies during the shoot. "Director Anoop showed me newspaper clippings and explained several details about cadavers which turned out to be a huge learning experience for me. The subject matter of this film was a real eye-opener for me. Thanks to all these reasons and also being able to witness how Amala Paul transforms into her character, Cadaver has become an unforgettable film for me," concludes Harish.