When Chandran left a cushy marketing job to pursue his passion for cinema, little he would have imagined the travails involved. But after months of shooting in rigorous conditions for Prabhu Solomon’s magnum opus Kayal, Chandran is ecstatic about the results. From running barefoot in sugarcane fields to staying in slushy water for 12 hours each day, Chandran tells CE it’s been well worth it.
You can feel the thrill in his voice as he fondly recalls, “It’s been one really cherished adventure shooting for Kayal. The best part was director Prabhu sir’s down-to-earth approach. My first day at shoot was under four feet of water, for the tsunami scenes. He came right down into the water and started explaining the shot. I was amazed he got into the slush with us, instead of giving instructions from a chair. But he believes in re-living every experience of the actor, to bring out the best.”
For the tsunami-based love story, a giant water tank was built on eight grounds of land in Ponneri. The water was slushy, filled with floating debris to give the tsunami aftermath effect. From 6 am to 6 pm for about a month, Chandran and the crew would get into the tank and shoot. He recalls, “Within one hour my feet became soft and fragile due to the water. So, when I touched moving objects, my feet would cut open immediately and bleed. By the third day most of us had fungal disease and would keep scratching from head to toe.” To give the tsunami waves effect, eight powerful motors spewed water jets on Chandran all day long. “The force of the water would throw me off balance. I had to stay afloat, concentrate on the director’s instructions, emote, and be careful not to swallow any slushy water, all at the same time,” recalls Chandran. To look all red-eyed, glycerine was poured into his eyes everyday. But after the third day, even a whole bottle wouldn’t bring tears!
The film has been shot across the country from Rajasthan to the North East. Chandran has done it all, from running barefoot in thorny sugarcane fields to trekking in tropical forests. The best compliments came from his friends after the audio launch, “We couldn’t see Chandran on screen, only a character we didn’t know.”