Friday, May 26, 2017

Cold And Hot

Actor Anu Sithara talks about her experiences in the film, 'Ramante Eden Thottam'
By Shevlin Sebastian
Mollywood actor Anu Sithara got up one morning at Vagamon and looked out of the window. A fierce wind was blowing and the cold was unbearable. She shivered a bit. Soon, she stepped out and the production controller led her to the top of a hill. This was for a shoot for Ranjit Shankar's 'Ramante Eden Thottam' (2017). Ranjith looked at Anu and said, “We are going to do a sequence for the song, 'Akale Oru Kaadinte' [sung by Shreya Ghoshal].” Anu replied, “Yes Sir.”
Then Anu looked around to wish good morning to her co-star Kunchacko Boban (Chackochen). But he was nowhere to be found. Till she looked skywards. And there was Chackochen standing at the top of a tall tree, which had bare branches. Anu was mystified, till Ranjith said, “The shoot will take place at that height.” That was when Anu started having heart palpitations. “I have climbed trees during my childhood at Kalpetta, but not such tall trees,” she says.
Anyway, with the help of a ladder, and crew members, Anu was able to reach where Chackochen was standing. “When I looked down, I really felt scared,” she says.
Chackochen immediately said, “Anu, there is nothing to worry. Just be normal. Have courage.” So thanks to Chackochen's constant encouragement, Anu was able to shoot the sequence without any problems. “Chackochen is a relaxed person,” says Anu. “And he was always comfortable in the chilly weather.”
And he showed it many times. During the night shoot of the song, 'Maavilakudil', it was extremely cold. “So, whenever the shot was over, we – Muthumani, the two children who acted in the movie and myself – would rush into a room nearby and huddle under the blankets,” says Anu. “But whenever we looked through the window, we would see Chackochen walking around, wearing only a shirt. The cold never affected him.”
But Anu did feel affected as she shot the other sequences. For the song, 'Akale', Anu had to drive a jeep down a road, with Kunchacko by her side. There was a steep gorge on one side, stones on the road and mud on the other side. “I felt a great tension within me,” she says. “I just knew enough driving to get a license, and nothing more.”
Again, Chackochen came to the rescue. Keeping his hand away from the camera view, he held the steering wheel steadily, so that Anu could drive straight, and without a problem. “Thankfully, the shoot went through smoothly,” says Anu.
Thereafter, it was time for Anu to perspire. Because, this time, the shoot was being held at Panampilly Nagar, Kochi. The summer heat was pressing down on her. This time, she had to drive one side of a car up a wooden plank placed at an incline, and come to a stop at a precise point. “If I went past, the car would topple over,” says Anu. This time, Chackochen was not around, as it was a solo shot.
After reaching the incline, Anu had to fall out, and say a dialogue. What added to the tension were the numerous bystanders who were standing on the road and watching the shoot. However, inside the car sat cinematographer Madhu Neelakandan who kept saying, “You are driving perfectly. Keep going.”
All this helped because the shoot was concluded without any mishap. “Many people think shooting is an easy thing to do, but, sometimes, it can be tough mentally as well as physically,” says Anu. 

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

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