COLUMN: LOCATION DIARY
Cinematographer S. Kumar talks about his experiences in the films, Punnaaram Chollicholi', 'Kadathanaadan Ambaadi' and 'Nirnayam'
Photo of S. Kumar by Kaviyoor Santhosh
During the shoot of 'Punnaaram Chollicholi', at the Ambalapuzha temple, director Priyadarshan told cinematographer S. Kumar to take shots of a caprisioned elephant for the song, ‘Arayarayo Kinginiyoarra’ which starred Rahman and Zarina Wahab. So, Kumar told the mahout, Mani (name changed) to make the elephant shake its head.
When this happened, the assistant mahout, a youngster named Ramesh, managed to get on top of the elephant by climbing from the back. “Mani was running around the perimeter of the temple pond in order to ensure that the attention of the elephant remained on him and not towards the devotees,” says Kumar.
Just near 6 p.m., the elephant was lured next to the broken chain that remained on the ground. “Somehow, they managed to link this chain with the one on the neck and the moment, they put the lock on it, the temple bells began ringing,” says Kumar. “But the elephant remained very violent. Ramesh could not get down.”
Anoop crashed through the glass and fell inside. The elephant then gored the bonnet with its tusks and tried to lift the car. Only the rear side went up. Anoop managed to climb to the back seat, opened the door and ran away. “But the car was a total wreck,” says Kumar. “Sajan had to spend a lot of money to repair it.”
Usually, to prepare for a shot like this, mattresses and cardboard boxes are placed on the ground, in case the rope, which is tied around the actor’s body, breaks. In this instance, veteran fight master Thyagarajan forgot to arrange it. But he assured Kumar that the rope was brand-new. Nevertheless, Kumar told Charlie that, in case the rope broke, he should be mentally prepared.
“Thereafter, I have always told my crew that we should take precautions. Anything can happen at any time.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)