Shooting for Ramkumar’s psychological thriller Raatchasan changed Vishnu Vishal’s temperament. The actor plays an assistant director who later becomes a cop. For about twelve days, he had to shoot in a small room measuring around 100 sq ft. The cramped room had just a bed and a table to portray the financial constraints of the character. But all across the walls, everywhere the eye could see, there were cuttings of gruesome murders carried out by psycho killers. Director Ramkumar has reportedly done extensive homework and collected cuttings of case studies of sociopaths from across the world. All these graphic visuals of blood and gore were plastered across the walls, and this, Vishnu says, had a terrible impact on him.
“For this film, I did triple call sheets sometimes, which meant that I spent practically days and nights in that small room. Even in between shots, I would be sitting on the cot in the room. Regardless of whether I was lying down, standing or sitting up, everywhere I looked, I had no other option but to be confronted with those cuttings. I could only see gruesome photos of heads cut open, throats slit, dismembered bodies in pools of blood... There was absolutely no escape for me! I also read the gory details in those clippings. This visual overload in that cramped environment, started weighing me down. I started feeling totally different and stopped being the cheerful person I generally am. I felt I had turned into somebody else.”
He says he underwent radical behavioural changes. “I had mood swings, became irritable, and even impatient and petty for no particular reason,” he says. Apparently, even when he went home, he simply kept to himself or got angry for no real reason. “All I wanted to do was hang out with my close friends. I couldn’t even spend time and relax with my son because of the late hours I was keeping. Seeing so many cuttings of people tortured and killed, I began to feel that life had no purpose if it could just be taken away like this. It was a nightmarish experience which took me a very long time to overcome. I’d even say it has changed me completely as a person.”