COLUMN: LOCATION DIARY
The shoot was going along fine when suddenly, one man on the set irritated an elephant. The animal roared and began chasing the man, who fled, at high speed. The elephant then rushed to a nearby coconut grove and began ripping off the trees one by one. “Everybody was shocked,” says Zarina. “The cameraman, the director and all the actors moved away and watched the destruction from afar.” It took a mahout a long time to bring the elephant under control. Not surprisingly, the shoot was cancelled for the day.
Zarina had another encounter with an animal. In 'Agar', (1977), director Ismail Shroff told Zarina she had to ride a horse because she, along with the hero, played by Amal Palekar, were on their honeymoon in Kashmir. “I was very scared of horses,” says Zarina. “Ismail wanted the horse to go fast, so I put my foot down. Ismail was deeply upset.”
But Zarina felt good on the sets of 'Naayattu' (1980), a remake of the Hindi film, 'Zanjeer', where she acted opposite Prem Nazir. “He was such a big star, but what impressed me was how warm, kind and down-to-earth he was,” says Zarina. “I would always sit behind him. Whenever the shot was ready he would go and act, without any fuss.”
One day Zarina introduced her friend to MGR at Gemini Studios in Chennai.
The shoot was in a jungle at Mysore. So, there were no make-up rooms. Instead, the crew made a small hut where everyone would do their make-up and change their clothes. One morning, at 7 a.m., Zarina went inside the hut and did her make-up. Since nobody called her, she remained inside for the next three hours.
A smiling Zarina says, “Amitabh was a superstar, but he did not suffer from a superiority complex. In fact, he is a very nice man.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)