Location Diaries: Preethi Asrani — When in Rome

This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film and this week, actor Preethi Asrani talks about her experience shooting for Vijay Kumar's Election
Location Diaries: Preethi Asrani — When in Rome

For her upcoming film Election, which has Vijay Kumar playing the lead, actor Preethi Asrani travelled to Ambur for the shoot. 

"We shot there for around two months at a stretch. I've travelled to a lot of places but this was my first time shooting in a small town in Tamilnadu. I loved the welcoming nature of the people there who showered us with their love and support all through the shoot. In fact, each day, we would be eager to go to shoot and then interact with everyone afterwards. The place felt like home because of the people and the heartwarming ambience," says Preethi Asrani.

During breaks, Preethi spent time with the kids and old women who would gather around and chat with her. "They would ask me about the film and what we were shooting. Talking to them in Tamil, I picked up the local dialect and lots of vocabulary, which was very helpful."

Preethi would learn her dialogues well in advance of her scenes. "But a few times, when I arrived on sets, director Tamizh and Vijay Kumar would feel it was necessary to change the lines to induce more of the local flavour in the dialogue. For a particularly emotional scene, when they changed the lines at the last minute, I somehow managed to learn the lines in ten minutes because I had become familiar with the language by then. Speaking to everyone in Tamil all the time helped me start thinking in Tamil and become more fluent. So, even when there were sudden improvisations during the take, I was able to fill the gap with a spontaneous response. I think the shoot helped me transform and become a better version of myself as an actor."

There were many night shoots on the outskirts of the town and on the streets, "One time, around midnight, we had to shoot a chase scene. Since we didn't want to disturb the residents, the director gave us instructions in low tones, avoiding  saying 'action' loudly, in case it woke up anyone."  But a few curious residents would come out on their balconies to watch, since everyone had been informed beforehand about the shoot. "But they were very cooperative. If we told them they were within the frame, they would quickly go behind a pillar or move away."

Preethi got to explore the town, visited several temples and even sampled the local Biriyani at a renowned eatery. "I enjoyed the experience. After a few initial selfies, the people were polite enough to leave me to enjoy the food and soak in the ambience."

Preethi also enjoyed going for early morning shoots, "The fresh, unpolluted air was heavenly. The view of lush greenery and the cool climate was really enjoyable. I even enjoyed a solo bike ride one time," shares Preethi.

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