Nivetha Pethuraj, who’s always been scared of heights, had to shoot for a scene that has her falling off a hillock for her upcoming sci-fi film, Tik Tik Tik. Choreographed by Miracle Michael master in the hilly areas of Munnar, Nivetha had to do a rappelling shot, with a rope tied around her waist. “It was at the height of a ten-storey building, and below was a dense jungle. I was totally petrified. In fact, I even told my assistant to inform my family should anything untoward happen to me,” says Nivetha.
The only reason she agreed to do the scene, she says, was because “my co-star Jayam Ravi did it, so bravely. I thought I should give it a try too.” And so, Nivetha and Ravi were slowly descending down the mountain, with their bodies parallel to the ground. The actor was wearing regular footwear and not trekking shoes that are normally used for such activities, and then, things took a turn for the worse.
“Rappelling demands that while your one hand holds the rope above you, the other loses the rope around your hips to help you descend. I was doing this when suddenly, I lost my footing. I panicked. Ravi saw me slipping, and he asked me not to look down, as he knew I’d get more terrified. But that’s exactly what I did anyway!”
A drone camera was circling the duo, but the team was too far away to help. “That’s when I heard master’s voice from above, telling me to carry on calmly. I had, however, began panicking and yelled at him to shut up, out of sheer fear.” Making her problems worse was the jagged surface, which caused her quite a few bruises.
And then, she realised she could hold on no more. “I shouted to Ravi that I was going to fall, and he caught me as I fell, saving me. Otherwise who knows what may have happened that day! Ramesh Tilak and Arjunan, who were below, began applauding. I thanked Ravi and later apologised to Michael master for yelling at him.”
But that wasn’t the end of it. The shot had to be done all over again as it hadn’t gone as expected.
So, did Nivetha let the body double take over the second time? She surprises us by saying, “No. I decided to do the retake myself. My co-stars and team members had shown so much confidence in me that I was inspired to look my fear in the face, again.”