For the Santhanam-starrer Dikkiloona, actor Shirin Kanchwala had to shoot a family wedding dance sequence in a grand set in Chennai. “This was my first dance number with almost the entire cast and additionally, dozens of background dancers as well. In previous films, I had to dance only with the hero and the coordination was far easier to accomplish,” says Shirin.
“When I saw so many people on the set, I got nervous. Moreover, I had to dance, wearing heavy traditional wedding attire, including all the heavy jewellery and high heels. I was worried I would delay the shoot due to mistakes.” To make things easy, she sought the help of an assistant choreographer. “I pulled her aside and asked for help with the steps and the body language. That impromptu rehearsal was helpful as my nervousness vanished, and when we began filming, my newfound confidence showed in my body language and lively expressions. I was relieved to see the satisfaction of my director and cinematographer.”
This time-travel film stars Santhanam in a triple role for the first time and that apparently demanded a lot of prep from co-actors as well. “An assistant director would brief us all in advance on the details of which timeline the upcoming scene would belong to,” says Shirin. She recalls many fun moments with Santhanam on the sets. “I learned a lot of new Tamil words from him, and for his part, he picked up some Hindi vocabulary from me. It was a hilarious exchange. I am just happy to get to know so many actors from the industry.”
Another aspect of the shoot that left a lasting impression on her was the preparation and planning of debut director Karthik Yogi. “Even during the story narration stage, I was amazed by his attention to detail. At his office, he had a whiteboard and marker ready. During the narration, he started drawing out the various time periods the film travels through and where each character fits in. By the end of it, I had total clarity about the story and my role. He also filmed everything exactly as he had narrated it. It was truly impressive,” she concludes.