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Location Diaries: A walk through fire

Express News Service

Actor Jeevan had many challenging and interesting moments while shooting for his fantasy thriller Pambattam, as the film marks his first dual role and has intense stunt sequences. Being a period film, the unit shot an extensive fight portion shot in a massive dungeon set erected at Binny Mills in Chennai. For a particular shot, Jeevan had to lie on his stomach and slide backwards on the ground for several metres. “Usually the actor is made to lie on a movable board for such stunts. The board will be pulled backwards with ropes during the shot,” explains Jeevan.

To give a vintage touch to the film, the crew used giant fire torches for lighting and they were affixed on either side of the narrow passage. When Jeevan started gliding down the passage the unforeseen happened. “Several fire torches fell on me and stinged my back and shoulders badly. It was so sudden and I didn’t even realise it until I felt a burning sensation on my back. The stuntmen nearby rushed to me with blankets and quickly doused the fire and applied first aid creams,” he shares.

Though he got medical attention without any delay, his skin was burnt and the pain lasted for several days. He also had to face another ordeal in the form of smoke. “Since fire torches were a large part of the shoot, the diesel fuelling them let out a lot of thick black smoke. Inhaling it for hours every day in closed spaces made me cough a lot,” says Jeevan.

During another stunt by Super Subbrayan master, Jeevan had to roll sideways on the ground. Though beds were strategically placed all along to avoid injuries, some of them moved away due to momentum. “While I was rolling, my arms hit the ground through the gaps between the beds and got twisted. I quickly finished the shot despite the sharp pain.”

He was immediately rushed to the hospital where he was treated for a hairline muscle tear.  “My bicep was completely swollen. But since I had to finish the stunt the next day, Subbrayan master was very understanding and made changes that didn’t require exertion of my injured arm.”

Jeevan had to tackle a different obstacle while shooting stunts inside a very small house in Guindy. “As I am tall, I had to bend really low to get in and out of the small rooms. I had to shoot with nine fighters and there was hardly any space to move. Moreover, when gunshots were fired in the cramped area, the sound was deafening.”

Apart from the stunts, he had a challenging time prepping for his first dual role. “The make-up and hairdo took several hours for each look, as they also had to match the period setting.” When he had to shoot with both looks on the same day, things just got tougher.  “After several hours of make-up, I would give my shots as one character, then rework the look for another few hours for the second character and act in the same scene. Alternating roles like this was totally new to me. It was indeed an interesting learning experience!”

Source: The New Indian Express