After playing a rich, city girl in Vallinam and a small town girl in Marumunai, actor Mrudhula Baskar is now going rural with Thilagar. And looks like she’s fed herself on a staple diet of YouTube videos of old Tamil films to get into the skin of the character.
The Bengaluru-based Tamil ponnu, decided to do her homework before the shoot. “In Vallinam, director Arivazhagan stressed on the importance of right body language. So I used that advice here too. Since I play a spunky and bold village girl, I began watching YouTube clips of Sripriya ma’am’s films,” recalls Mrudhula.
“She has done many similar roles. So I watched her gait, voice modulation, dialogue delivery and how she handled those village costumes. Then I used to practise that in front of a mirror to get into my character. So, when we started shooting, I had only the emoting and dialogues to take care of.”
Thilagar is set in the 90s, and shot in Tirunelveli. Newbie Dhruv plays hero in his home production while Kishore and Anumol make up the cast.
Shooting around the rural parts near Tirunelveli was a novel experience. The locations, which were carefully chosen by director Perumal Pillai bowled her over completely.
“We needed virgin locales with no signs of contemporary modernity, since the film is in the 90s.
When we reached the agricultural areas and shot in villages with green and blue houses, thennai roofs, pottikadais and quaint post boxes, I was delighted. It was as if time had stood still here. I never imagined such places existed even now.”
The highlight of her village experience was shooting a bathing scene in the Thamirabarani River. “While shooting Vallinam I fell into the sea water due to high tides, and got hurt many times during the Nakula song. It took me several months to recover from those injuries. But I love swimming so I was ok with the river bathing scene in Thilagar.”
The shoot was tough, with Mrudhula battling strong currents as she stayed in the river for the whole day. She was rewarded with unique company, when a herd of buffaloes began crossing the river near her. “Cameraman Rajesh Yadav captured all that as a candid shot,” she signs off.