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Location Diaries: Magic through the snow- Cinema express

Location Diaries: Magic through the snow

This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week, it is from Nitham Oru Vaanam

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Published: 18th October 2022

Filming for Nitham Oru Vaanam gave Ashok Selvan an opportunity to travel to Rohtang La in the Himalayas.

As an avid biker, Ashok Selvan had travelled to Rohtang La in the past. But shooting there for a film was a tough yet magical experience. "On the first day, director Ra Karthik wanted to shoot in the snow. Imagine our surprise when  we were told that we had arrived too early and that the snowfall season would begin only after 25 days," says Ashok.

Despite the collective disappointment among the team, director  Karthik decided to commence the shoot with the idea to add the snow in post-production. "For my first shot, I had to walk  towards the camera. Once Karthik said 'action' in the mic,  I began walking. All of a sudden, I saw snow fall all around me! In five minutes, it started snowing heavily and leaving the ground completely covered in snow within 30 minutes! We were all ecstatic," Ashok recalls the "unbelievable" experience. "Even the local manager was shocked. He told us an early snowfall hadn't happened in over 20 years. At that moment, I felt that when you strongly yearn for something, the universe conspires to make it happen. Though I had gone on biking trips to Rohtang La twice before, this was my first time in the snow there. All we seek  in our lives is to make beautiful memories. This is one magical moment that I will cherish forever."

As the shoot progressed in Rohtang La, Ashok had to lie down near a flowing stream late in the evening. "It was freezing cold at minus 10 degrees and unfortunately, I couldn't cover my hands and ears to ensure continuity. As I lied there, frozen in the cold, it felt like something inside my body was breaking!" Once the shot was over, Ashok ran to the car nearby and sat inside, warming himself up, literally. "It was the toughest day of shooting in my entire career," says Ashok, adding that eventually found some comfort. "My favourite Nepalese dish, Thukpa, hot noodles and chai brought us relief. The food was something to look forward to."

The team stayed in Manali and would travel to Rohtang La daily for the shoot. "Back in 2018, a bike ride from Manali to Rohtang La took 4 to 5 hours. This time, however, we had a fantastic experience, thanks to the newly built 10 km long Atal Tunnel, which cut down the travel time to just 45 minutes!"

Another reason that made the shooting experience memorable for Ashok is the recognition he got from the people in the North. The actor reveals that they came forward to click selfies between shots. "I was thrilled when they said they had come from Punjab and recognised me after seeing Oh My Kadavule! To hear that my film had reached audiences so far away was truly a special experience!"

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