Location Diaries: Priyamani for Quotation Gang-When Action speaks louder than words
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week, it is from Quotation Gang
When shooting for director Vivek K's Quotation Gang, actor Priyamani had several interesting experiences. Initially, the film shoot began before covid. But due to the lockdown, the shooting had to be postponed and restarted only when it was safe outside. "Once we reassembled after a long gap, we re-shot several scenes. But that interim gap had actually given us more time to work on details about our character traits and looks. For instance, I suggested adding tattoos as a part of the make-up. Director Vivek agreed and added tribal tattoos on my neck and hand, he also applied the same for Akshaya and Sunny Leone as well."
Priyamani then talks about working on the mannerisms of her character Shakuntala, a contract killer. "My character doesn't speak much, and when she does, it's to the point. So, Vivek and I discuss her state of mind and her characteristics, we add little changes to her body language accordingly. Only when he was completely convinced would we go for the take. Even during dubbing, we had to work on her voice. Vivek was right there with me and would help me out with where to stress in a sentence and how to enunciate certain words.
Playing a contract killer also meant she had several stunt sequences in the film. "The first action block was planned as a single-shot fight sequence. It began at 12 noon and took 3 hours to shoot. I have done many stunts before in my films. But this experience was new for me, as it was my first single-shot action block and the stunts were very raw. We had to really shoot carefully, planning each move in detail and then rehearsing it all before the actual shoot. It was challenging for everyone because if there is any slip-up, the whole scene had to be shot from the beginning. Even the cameraman had a tough time as it was not easy to run with the heavy camera on his shoulders, as the scene was shot in the rain and the terrain was slushy and slippery all around us."
For some of the stunts, she had to use knives. "We got a briefing about how to hold the knives during the action sequences in a way that would make it easy for us to use them and at the same time avoid getting hurt."
There was another pre-climax fight sequence which was a night shoot lasting two nights. "There were chases and fights and at one point I had to roll on the ground for one segment. The stunt master was sweet enough to keep a body double ready for me. She was a boxer from Chennai. But I insisted on doing everything myself."
At one point in the chase, Priyamani ended up actually hitting one of the stuntmen by mistake. "I apologised profusely but they were all very sweet about it." All the chasing and action left her feeling quite drained and sore over the next few days. But all the experiences made for one memorable shoot indeed.