Location Diaries: In the lap of nature
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week, Ashna Zaveri talks about her experience shooting for the web series My 3
Shooting for director M Rajesh's web series My 3, took heroine Ashna Zaveri to the scenic Kothagiri and Kodaikanal. Her maiden visit to these hill stations left a lasting impression on her.
"I just love mountains and I feel nature speaks to me! So I was quite excited to shoot in Kothagiri. Waking up every morning to a view of the mountains and tea estates from my hotel room, was just wonderful. In fact, with no gym in the hotel, I started going for a run on the pathways around the hotel and did yoga on the terrace and my balcony. The tranquil surroundings, fresh mountain air and nature in all her glory, far away from the bustle of city life, was a blissful mental detox for me!" says Ashna.
The filming involved several long night shoots from 9 pm to 4 am. "That gave me no time to explore the area. But I was so enchanted by the hills, that after my portions were completed, I extended my stay for 2 more days, to visit Ooty nearby. As I explored the place, I picked up locally made chocolates and biscuits and for my parents, visited the botanical gardens and had a great time in a famous Europe-themed cafe there."
Later, during another schedule at Kodaikanal, Ashna was thrilled to visit another the other major hill station in Tamil Nadu. She also had fun bonding with the large ensemble cast of Hansika, Janani Iyer, Shanthnu, Mugen Rao and Narayan Lucky. "Between the shots, we would all chat and make Insta reels. Nobody showed any attitude and everyone was very friendly. Hansika would crack jokes and we would all pull each other's legs. It led to a lasting friendship amongst all of us."
She also got to learn a lot from them. "Shooting with such a talent pool gave us the opportunity to observe and learn from each other. I picked up tips on how my co-stars performed under stress."
Ashna claims to be in awe of the vision of director Rajesh, "He had full clarity about what he wanted and the shoot went on smoothly. Even when things were out of his control, like disruptions due to rains, he would remain super calm!"
Shooting at night in the cold weather was not easy. "One time, we were shooting a party scene outdoors. The temperature dropped at night. The guys were well-protected in suits and blazers. But I had to wear a party dress and was shivering due to the cold. As soon as a cut was announced, I would run to the bonfire nearby to warm myself. My team was ready with a coat, muffler and gloves along with hot soup or tea, all of which kept me going."
Thankfully, her prep for the shoot came in handy, "Before any outdoor shoot, I always enquire about weather conditions by calling up the crew beforehand. So, envisaging temperature changes, I had packed in some warm clothes for this shoot."
During another night shoot, the friendly bonding the actors shared helped them through a delay. "Due to technical reasons like lighting and camera, Hansika, Mugen, Nararayan and I had to keep doing several retakes. By 3 am, we were exhausted and just waiting for the pack-up. It was only our camaraderie and sense of humour that kept us refreshed. The My 3 shoot, will always be special to me. I got to work with director Rajesh for the first time, made my web-series debut, got new friends and spent some glorious days in the lap of Mother Nature," shares Ashna with a wide smile.