Location Diaries: Madhampatty Rangaraj - One big family

This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week, actor Madhampatty Rangaraj talks about his experience in the sets of Miss Maggie
Madhampatty Rangaraj
Madhampatty Rangaraj

While shooting for his next film, Miss Maggie, which stars Yogi Babu in the lead, actor Madhampatty Rangaraj reveals he had a fun time on sets. He largely credits the positive experience to the camaraderie amongst the large ensemble cast.

"We shot the entire film in Chennai, and most of the scenes were set inside a large house on the ECR. It was a huge eight-bedroom house, where the film Vikram, had also been shot. Being inside the house with so many co-stars like Lollu Sabha Maaran, Cook With Comali-fame Sunita, Yogi Babu sir, Raja Rani Pandian, Jayachandran, veteran actor Sharmila ma'am and many others, made us feel like we were part of one big family. We all bonded beautifully with each other. There was never a dull moment on sets," says Rangaraj.

In fact, Rangaraj had a tough time keeping a straight face for his shots, "Watching Yogi Babu sir, Jayachandran, Sunita and Maaran perform, suddenly improvising and delivering spontaneous counters to each other during takes, I couldn't help but break down with laughter. As a result, for those segments alone, we had to go in for several retakes," he laughs.

In Miss Maggie, Yogi Babu dons a female get-up, playing the role of a grandmother in the film, "He is such a busy artist but he would wait patiently for 2 hours for his prosthetic make-up to be put on. After shooting, it took another 1 hour to take it all off. Throughout the day, he couldn't eat anything and was only on liquid foods, due to the prosthetics. The costume and prosthetics caused a lot of sweating, but he endured it all with patience. It was truly inspiring to see his dedication."

But a couple of times, when he was not in the female get-up, Yogi Babu would gather the cast to indulge in his favourite pastime, "He loves cricket and he got us together for a match in the lawn of the house a few times. He is an excellent player. In fact, we lost half a dozen balls because he hit so many sixers, right out of the compound."

For Rangaraj, this was a movie of many firsts as well. "For the first time, I had to dance for a montage song. I took a couple of rehearsals, which helped me grasp how to sync with my co-star while dancing. Aathmika, my pair in the film, was most supportive during the song sequences."

Another first for him was doing stunts on screen. Rangaraj had to fight with 10 stuntmen in hand-to-hand combat for an action sequence, "It had to look natural and at the same time the movements had to be very fast. Moreover, there were also elements of comedy in those stunts. All of this was new to me but an interesting learning experience. I took a day's training before we went in for the actual two-day shoot. Overall, these new experiences were not only enjoyable but also boosted my confidence to perform as an actor."

On the last day of the shoot, Rangaraj, who is also a renowned chef, treated the 350-member cast and crew to a grand feast. "The Miss Maggie shoot was one of my most cherished and warm experiences," he signs off.

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