His second film Thalakonam released last week. And for actor Jithesh, who debuted with Chikki Mukki last year, it’s been an unforgettable experience. Shooting for the thriller at Thalakonam Reserve forest, one of the densest jungles in the country, has left an indelible mark on him.
“I had never seen a hyena till I shot for Thalakonam,” says Jithesh, recounting the experience. “I’ve seen monkeys before, but none as wild as the ones in the deep forest where we stayed. It was challenging to shoot, staying in the forest guest house for around 45 days. There was no cellphone signal available and one had to be careful not to wander alone and lose the way,” he adds.
He recalls an incident, “Once, a band of three monkeys descended on our unit while we were having lunch. Seeing their ferocity, we all got scared, got on our feet and ran. From far, we noticed that the monkeys calmly grabbed our food from the vessels and left.”
Thalakonam revolves around a kidnap, and how the lead pair lands up in a naxal territory. Kota Srinivas Rao plays a tough politician in the movie.
The unit had to make sure that no one got lost in the dense jungles, and also make way for snakes. “When we spotted snakes near our shooting spot, we had no other choice but to leave the place and move to another part,” he says. At the same time, the forest rangers kept a watchful eye on the unit to see that they didn’t wander away from the permitted areas of shoot.
Jithesh is an aeronautical student with a pilot’s licence and enjoys flying. But looks like the skill didn’t help him when he and Riya, who plays the female lead, got lost enroute to Tirupati, when the cab driver lost his way. “It was a tension-filled ride. But thankfully, we reached Tirupati four hours later in the night after somehow finding our way back,” he says.
Jithesh has acted in a short film Arima, which might be made into a full-length feature film soon.