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Milind Rau’s ‘The Village’: Love in the time of leeches

Express News Service

When shooting for director Milind Rau’s web series, The Village, actor John Kokken had to shoot for several days in the thick forests of Vagamon. Filming action scenes in the dense jungle area, that too at night at the height of the rainy season proved quite tough for the actors. “Visibility was very poor at night. We had to run on uneven terrain, and many actors would suddenly fall due to the slippery wet surfaces. Apart from the injuries, it also meant more retakes,” says John.

To add to their woes, they also faced the problem of leeches. “Every day, someone or the other got bitten by leeches on the ear, stomach, shoulder, you name it! As actors we had to not only focus on the scene but also be mindful of avoiding mishaps in the dark, and uneven jungle terrain.”

The Village also stars actor Pooja Ramachandran, who is also John’s wife in real life. “When Pooja landed the role of a mercenary, she was thrilled about playing an action-packed role, which was a dream come true for her. 

Incidentally, Pooja discovered she was pregnant just before the third Vagamon schedule. Since I was also part of the schedule, it became easier for me to keep a close eye on her safety in that terrain. Even as I did my scenes, my focus was also on Pooja.”

John also credits director Milind and stunt choregrapher Dhilip Subbrayan for the extra measures they took to ensure her safety during stunt sequences.

“The daily journey to the location was rocky and didn’t have proper roads. Milind ensured our stay was in a resort closer to the location to avoid the rocky journey,” says John, harking back to the problem of leeches, adding, “Pooja always kept a lookout for leeches to ensure everyone’s safety. But on the last day of the shoot, a leech bit her itself, and it took a long time to heal.”

While the actor has often played roles that are physically taxing, he admits filming The Village did take a toll on him. “One day I did a 20-hour shoot with no sleep and short breaks.

After a while, we all felt zoned out. But we knew the difficulties of coordinating so many actors and shooting in the tough terrains, and extended our cooperation. We pushed ourselves to our limits. I definitely enjoyed shooting for The Village, but it was certainly one of the toughest shoots I’ve done.”

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Source: The New Indian Express