Banking on good company
This weekly column details the fascinating encounters that often take place on the sets of a film
When shooting for director H Vinoth’s Thunivu, actor Prem Kumar had a memorable experience working for 15 days with Ajith Kumar.
“I had met Ajith sir before on two occasions. But this was the first time I got an opportunity to work with him,” says Prem Kumar. “I got a call one evening from H Vinoth asking me to fly down to Hyderabad for the ongoing shoot the next morning. When I landed at the location straight from the airport, they took my measurements for costumes. The next minute, I was taken directly to the sets to begin shooting where the first person I met was Ajith sir! He welcomed me warmly and we began filming. It all happened so fast, it felt totally surreal!”
Having observed Ajith from close quarters during the shoot of Thunivu, Prem Kumar was able to notice the many qualities of the star. “He always ensured everyone was comfortable. He is extremely jovial, which puts you at ease when talking to him. When he arrived on sets, he would just sit with the cast and start conversing.
One could talk to him about anything under the sun. I learnt that he is a voracious reader.” Between shots, if Prem was spotted sitting alone, Ajith would often ask him to come to join him for a chat.
Recalling his friendly nature, Prem says, “When Ajith sir came to know my wife had flown to Hyderabad, he invited her to come on sets and meet everyone. But the next day, unexpectedly, his shoot got over several hours earlier. However, to my utter amazement, having given his word, he actually stayed back on sets, met my wife, and spent time chatting with her.”
Prem recollects a rather tense moment that happened on the sets. “Ajith sir and I were discussing something between shots. We slowly started walking as we talked. Just a few minutes later, we heard a loud bang behind us. As we turned around, we saw that a large chandelier had just come crashing down on the very spot both of us had been standing! Everyone was shell-shocked, and we thanked God that no one had been hurt!”
About working with H Vinoth, Prem says, “He has a distinct style of working. He doesn’t compromise on any changes to the dialogue. If I made a change he would request for one more take, then show me both the takes on the monitor. This method gave me perfect clarity to understand why he insisted on retaining the original dialogue. He is also a total workaholic. Even after pack-up, he would continue discussing work at dinner time. I never saw him relax. His dedication is amazing.”