Vikram Prabhu, who plays a fireman in Neruppu Da, had quite a few close shaves during shooting. The recent five-day shoot that was held at the EVP Film City in Chennai saw him be part of a series of sequences that involved the use of fire.
Several dozen houses were constructed for this shoot. For one scene, the floor, ceiling and the walls had to be set on fire. Vikram was required to enter the house and rescue a person.
He had spent four day planning the shoot with the stunt choreographers, director and art departments. Attention had to be paid to even the smallest details. For instance, he couldn’t use a hair spray as it was flammable, and even a spark could singe his hair.
Vikram admits to being quite nervous about the shot. “The fire was raging, and while I was waiting for the director to say, ‘Action!’, I felt panic,” he says. “I’ve done many dangerous stunts but dealing with fire is a different ball game entirely. I was amazed at how burning hot it got in seconds. When the heat engulfs you, it almost feels like the fire is emanating from within you. The oxygen burns up so fast, you feel the heat in your lungs,” he says.
The director eventually prompted for the shot to begin, and Vikram pushed down a burning door and ran out, carrying the extra on his shoulder. But by that time, the floor had burned up so much that the bricks crumbled as he ran.
“It was a scary situation. I had to move fast because I didn’t know how much of the heat the ceiling and walls would withstand before they crumbled. I had to get out before they began falling around me,” he recalls. The actor has worked closely with elephants in Kumki, but found this far riskier.
“That shot inside the burning house was the longest 15 seconds of my life. My respect for firemen has increased manifold.”