COLUMN: LOCATION DIARY
Captain Raju talks about his experiences in the films, 'Raktam', 'Aana' and Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha'
Photos: Capt. Raju with his wife Premila. Photo by TP Sooraj. MT Vasudevan Nair (left) with Capt. Raju
When the actor went near, Prem Nazir said, “Captain, look carefully at the wood. There are numerous nails sticking out. I understand your anxiety to do well. This is your first film. But you have to be careful. If you fall and a nail enters you, especially if it is your face, then what will happen? Director Joshy will say, ‘Pack up’. Then you will have to be taken to the hospital to be given a tetanus injection because the nails are rusted. And your career might come to a stop before it has started.”
However, owing to the compulsions of shooting, Capt. Raju did take some risks. In ‘Aana’ (1983), directed by P. Chandrakumar, the shoot took place in a forest at Koothatukulam. The ‘Aana’ was an elephant from Uttar Pradesh, who would only listen to instructions in Hindi. In one scene, the elephant chases a forest officer played by Capt. Raju.
As the captain started running, he came in front of a tall tree which had a long creeper hanging from it. “Chandrakumar Sir shouted at me to grab the creeper and climb up,” says Capt. Raju. “Since I had done rock climbing during my military training, I had strong biceps and triceps. So I went up swiftly and reached a height of 40 feet.”
Capt. Raju had another life-enhancing moment. This was during the shoot of 'Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha' (1989), which was based on a script by Jnanpith Award winner MT Vasudevan Nair. Capt. Raju plays kalarippayattu master Aringodar who has a fight with Aromal, played by Suresh Gopi. After the encounter, Aringodar sits on a chair, places his right leg on top of his left knee, and drinks a green coconut. Then Aromal says, “You fought in the wrong way.”
Aringodar stopped drinking, threw the coconut behind him, and said, “There is a lack of knowledge on your part. That is all that I have to say.”