As I try to smile incessantly in the scorching sun, for a toothpaste brand that I endorse, I wonder whether viewers really realise what it takes sometimes to get a particular shot! I remember at the shoot of my very first film Andaaz, I got a pretty clear idea of what was required to get the perfect shot.
As my co-star Akshay Kumar and I balanced ourselves on a rocky ledge, some fifty feet into the Atlantic ocean, with fifteen foot waves breaking over us, trying to capture about three seconds of romance for a song, a thought did flash across my mind that I must be stark raving mad!
Considering that I couldn’t swim at that time, was wearing suede, and could hardly get three words of the line of the song out before swallowing about five liters of brine, I would say we were extremely brave or extremely foolhardy! As luck would have it, we did get swept out to sea, I got rescued by my reel-life hero and ended up with hypothermia. When I look at the shot in the song, I wonder if it was worth it. The only take we got is of my looking up passionately at my hero, being hit by the mother of all waves, swallowing half of it, gurgling out the lyrics and crashing into the sea!
This also brings back fond memories of filming in the Austrian Alps for an action film that required my co-star and me to spend long hours on a racing bike, speeding up and down ice covered roads, dressed in blue jeans and a cotton shirt. That doesn’t sound too tough, sounds actually pretty exciting, until you consider that we were filming in November! A brutally cold November where in the mountains the temperature had dropped to minus twelve degrees! At one point of time both my co-actor and me had to be literally pried off the bike by our unit members because we had frozen in place.
A famous image from Indian movies is the hero romancing his lady love atop a frozen peak. Oh how we love our chiffon saree clad heroines, pallu blowing in the wind, writhing in ecstasy at her heroes sweet nothings! Has anyone ever wondered how these moments are captured on celluloid? Let me explain. Normally the boots, woolen pants, thermal underwear, cashmere jacket clad hero and the flimsy chiffon saree clad leading lady are airlifted by a helicopter and are transported to the top of a snow covered cliff top.
The helicopter then abandons them there alone with no staff to offer any jackets or appropriate cover-ups (since the couple need to be isolated in their reverie, and therefore no other human can be seen for miles around), and then heads off to circle them while a cameraman who is half hanging out of this flying machine, captures the moment.
The fact that the helicopter is now blowing gale force winds around the top of this peak and whipping the heroine’s saree and hair around her, reducing her to a frozen banshee, has not quite registered in anyone’s mind. The woman too is so mind- numbingly cold by then that nothing really matters anymore!