To shoot for Oh My Dog, Mahima Nambiar travelled to the hill station of Ooty. Director Sarov Shanmugam planned to shoot an important sequence early in the morning to capture the golden hour sunlight and mist in a scenic locale. “When I arrived on location, it was colder than usual because we were out in the open so early on. My costume designer had foreseen the climatic conditions and gave me thermal clothing to wear beneath my cotton, chikankari kurta. But it was not enough and soon I began shivering. My feet too were clad in open footwear, while the crew around me, wore layered clothing, sweaters, socks, and shoes. It was so freezing that I began trembling while delivering my lines. I also had to emote and cry, and it was really hard to keep it going while dealing with the chilling weather,” says Mahima.
Noticing her travails, the crew would often rush to her aid between takes. “They used to immediately cover me in a warm blanket and gave me a hot water bottle to warm me up for a few minutes before I went for the next take. I was really grateful as they really helped me get through the shots,” Mahima says, adding that compromising was never an option. “It was a crucial scene, and my costume was colour-coded to suit the mood and lighting of the visual. So I didn’t ask for any changes as it would mean compromising the director’s vision.”
The cold winds and dry weather in Ooty were an added challenge as the shoot progressed for the next 10 days. “I have sensitive skin, which dries up quickly in cold weather. This would render my make-up patchy, reflecting poorly on camera. So, throughout that shoot, my make-up team had to work doubly hard to avoid a patchy look, which would have added to the cameraman’s woes.”
The extra makeup also aggravated another skin condition she has: dermatographia. “It’s a disorder where even the slightest pressure causes red streaks on my skin on touching. The red marks disappear only after a while,” Mahima says. Naturally, she had to keep covering the red marks with make up whenever they appeared to prevent them from being caught on camera. “The cold weather, heat from the lighting equipment and all the chemicals in the extra make-up collectively triggered an allergic reaction. I drank lots of water to keep my skin hydrated. It was a tough shoot, but for an actor, above everything, the show must always go on!”