Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Narrow Escape


Director Vysakh talks about his experiences in the films, 'Pullimurugan', 'Mallu Singh' and 'Seniors'

Photos: Vysakh by Melton Antony; Mohanlal in 'Pulimurugan'
By Shevlin Sebastian
One day, in November, 2015, director Vysakh was watching fight choreographer Peter Hein driving a blue Maruti Esteem at high speed outside a godown near Kothamangalam. Peter braked at high speed and the car turned 360 degrees. “He was checking the efficiency of the vehicle,” says Vysakh. Thereafter, he reversed at high speed in a semi-circle.
And that was when the shock happened. Vysakh was directly in the path of the speeding vehicle. Unfortunately, Peter did not know he was standing there. At the last moment, Vysakh jumped away. “I could feel the wheels touch my shoes,” says Vysakh. “That was how close I was to a major accident, which could have even led to my death.”
Thankfully, when Vysakh was shooting 'Mallu Singh' at Naba, 54 kms from Patiala, in January, 2012, he did not get a shock, but a pleasant surprise.
One day, there was an all-India film strike. So, there was no shoot. Vysakh, along with cameraman Shaji Kumar, art director Joseph Nellikkal, and a couple of associate directors decided to go for a car ride. After travelling for a while, they reached a railway track. And there was no road after that. So they stepped out and decided to go for a walk.
Shaji was a bit ahead. He climbed up an incline, and looked ahead. Then, with bulging eyes, he beckoned the rest of the team. “It was a paradise,” says Vysakh. “Right across a vast expanse, there were flowers of numerous colours and shapes. In fact, it was a river of flowers. We had heard that this can be seen in places like Switzerland, so it was a shock to see it here. I felt an intense joy, but wanted to cry at the same time. That's because we had reached the end of the shoot and discovered the place far too late.”
When Vysakh inquired, he was told that the seeds of the flowers were being exported to Switzerland. In the end, the director extended the shooting schedule and picturised a couple of songs at that location. “So, sometimes, when we are blocked, like because of a strike, God gives us amazing moments,” he says.
Vysakh had a similar experience in 'Seniors' (2011), which stars Jayaram, Biju Menon, Manoj K Jayan and Kunchako Boban. For several scenes that had to be shot, in the beginning, middle and the climax, Vysakh was looking for a very specific location. “It had to be an open area, with a tree at one side,” he says. “Right next to it there should be some broken-down construction material, as well as some cars.”
After several futile searches, it was decided that art director Joseph would re-create it, in an open area, at the back of the Government Polytechnic College at Kalamaserry.
One night, Vysakh, as well as the producer, Vysakh Rajan, came to observe the progress of the work. After a while, they went for a walk. “It was a full moon night,” said Vysakh. “Suddenly, we spotted an area and stopped at once. It was exactly the place I was looking for.”
The producer immediately looked at Vysakh, and said, “I think we should stop the construction work.”
Vysakh nodded. “Most of the shooting was to take place at night, so, maybe, my crew could not spot this area because they had not seen it at night. Soon, we began shooting there. Once again, it was a magical gift from God. And this magic has happened many times in my career.” 

(The New Indian Express, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode) 

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