Location Diaries: World of new experiences
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week, Premgi Amaren talks about his experience shooting for Sathya Sothanai
For his next film as lead in Suresh Sangaiah's directorial Sathya Sothanai, Premgi Amaren had several new experiences. The film was shot in locations in and around the village of Aruppukottai, near Madurai. "I play a serious, village-based character, totally different from my previous roles," says Premgi, about his character in the film.
Talking about his experience staying in Madurai, he says, "We stayed at a local lodge in the area to avoid travelling to and fro from Madurai every day. I used my time there to soak in the village atmosphere and the local dialect, which was useful for my role."
Though the role brought him out of his comfort zone of playing light-hearted characters, Premgi agreed to do the film even before the narration, being a fan of Sangaiah's first movie Oru Kidayin Karunai Manu. However, the director had to make changes to Premgi's acting style. "I usually have to do a bit of overacting, with a lot of gestures for my roles. But working in Chimbudevan's Kasadadabara helped me learn how to perform in a subtle manner. This was immensely useful when filming Sathya Sothanai."
Another new experience was learning several lengthy dialogues, that too in the local dialect, many of which he had to shoot in long single takes. "I would by-heart my lines carefully before the scenes. It reminded me of mugging up lessons during my school days," shares the actor.
Shooting under the hot sun in areas where there were no shady trees got him completely tanned. Premgi also had scary experiences spotting snakes and scorpions around the location. "During the several night shoots in the outdoors, I also spotted giant insects which I had never seen before, attracted to the lights."
While there were no fights nor dances for him, he had to mouth romantic dialogues to the heroine Swayamsiddha. "I am an extrovert while doing comedy, but shooting those romantic montages in front of so many people made me feel very self-conscious. I managed to shoot after a bit of rehearsing."
After pack-up when he retired to the lodge, he discovered there was nothing much for him to do, a first for him, " I missed having my usual gang of co-actor friends to chill out and have fun with. Also, with no wifi in the lodge and an erratic mobile network, there was only a local TV channel to watch for entertainment."
However, there was one thing he managed to do. "Wherever I shoot, I always go on temple trips, to pray at local temples in the vicinity. So, after shooting every day, armed with a map, I went to several temples, including a very ancient one which I found nearby."
Though he moved out of his comfort zone, the shoot was a memorable one, "I got to work with a big ensemble cast and many local actors, essay a different role, explore new ideas and meet new people, all thanks to Sathya Sothanai. It was an unforgettable experience," he signs off.