'Avane Srimannarayana' feels the heat
A large set was constructed in Bengaluru for Avane Srimannarayana where hero Rakshit Shetty had to shoot for around one month. Given the film’s setting, the only lighting used came from 80 mashaals (fire-lit torches). “We didn’t realise that the fire would emit black, carbon fumes and in the enclosed sets, it could get quite unbearable. By the end of each day, our nostrils would be lined with fine black soot. While the unit members wore masks all day, we actors couldn’t do that. Even during breaks, we couldn’t use masks since the make-up would come off. We had no option but to continue the shoot, breathing in that carbon from morning till evening,” says Rakshit. While the other actors shot for a few days and left, Rakshit was the most affected since he had to shoot there continuously for the whole month. “Despite the masks, many unit hands got coughing bouts and fell ill. It was one tough shoot for everyone.”
Another difficult phase was shooting in a set in Bijapur, when the temperature soared to 44 degrees. Here too, the mashaals were all over the set, adding to the heat. And again, Rakshit was the worst affected. “For the entire shoot of several weeks, I had to wear a thick sweater over my shirt in every scene. I was sweating profusely as the combined heat from the weather, the mashaals, and the sweater was unbearable! I felt weak and dehydrated, and had to constantly sip water between shots.” The only respite was cooling off in an air-conditioned vanity van for a few minutes, before returning to shoot again in the heat.
Rakshit also fell ill after one particular shooting sequence, but didn’t realise the reason till later. “I had to smoke a cigar for three scenes. Though I’ve smoked a cigarette on screen earlier, I had no experience with cigars. Both director Sachin and me are non-smokers so we didn’t know the difference, and I smoked the cigar just like a cigarette. I didn’t know I had to only inhale cigar smoke into the mouth and exhale immediately. I ended up inhaling the cigar smoke into my lungs before exhaling every time, and as a result felt very ill. It was only when a friend explained my mistake that I finally understood the reason for my illness!”