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Location Diaries: Rakshana — Margazhi Thingal- Cinema express

Location Diaries: Rakshana — Margazhi Thingal

This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week, Rakshana talks about her experience shooting for Margazhi Thingal

Published: 09th October 2023

For the shooting of director Manoj K Bharathiraja's Margazhi Thingal, debutante Rakshana had to shoot on location in the interior of Tamilnadu. 

One part of the shoot, held on the outskirts of Palani, was quite challenging for her, "I was told that I had to jump into a well for a particular scene. Suseinthiran sir, who was acting with me in the scene, asked me if I would be okay doing the shot. I thought it would be easy since I know how to swim, so I agreed," says Rakshana. Rakshana arrived at the shooting spot in costume, wearing a half-saree. To her utter surprise, she realised that she had to jump into a giant, deep well, located in the middle of a field. 

Three assistants were already positioned inside the well to help the actor if needed. "As soon as I plunged into the waters, I immediately rose to the surface and took a deep breath. But the next instant, I found myself sinking into the water. As I panicked, the assistants positioned in the waters beforehand, swiftly swam to my aid. They told me that the waters were around 200 feet deep. It was a really scary moment."

After the initial shock wore down, Rakshana had to carefully climb back up only to be told that she would have to repeat the shot twice again. When she jumped in the next time, another shock awaited her. "Being an old well, there were several water snakes inside. Imagine my utter shock on seeing snakes slithering around next to me in the water," she said. Luckily they slithered away and she completed the shot.

Back on land, director Manoj and co-star Suseinthiran appreciated her for braving through the shot.

All through the three-day shoot there, the actor had to remain in wet clothes for continuity. "It was sweltering hot. So every hour or so, a bucket of water would be poured over me to prevent the costume from drying up. The costume grew heavier with the water, which made it all the more uncomfortable."

However, the director's team also took good care of her. "A day before the shoot in the well, they gave me an ayurvedic medicine to boost immunity. Though my clothes were wet all day, assistants were instructed to dry my hair during the breaks to prevent catching a cold. For lunch breaks, I was given a vanity van where I could change into dry clothes for a while and have a meal and some rest."

For another part of the shoot, Rakshana had to ride a bicycle. "I know how to ride a motorbike but not a cycle. So every day, I would arrive early and practice on the cycle."

But riding a cycle wearing a half-saree, was not an easy task as the skirts would get caught in the pedal. "So I improvised, adjusting the clothes with some safety pins and solved the problem. Director Manoj gave me the freedom to do what I was comfortable with. He would just check the monitors to see if the shots had come out like he wanted. Shooting for this film was an interesting learning experience," she signs off.

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