– Rinku Gupta

After Cycling, Did You Hear About Arya's Jungle Marathon?

Kadamban ARYA‘s chiseled frame and menacing tribal look is setting the internet on fire. Playing a forest dweller out to safeguard his terrain he had to shoot amidst thick jungles for this film. In a conversation with him, we discover why the film is special despite his tryst with snakes, elephants and rough terrain.

I play a tribal who stays in the forest amongst natural surroundings. So we had to shoot almost entirely in a jungle,” begins Arya. We ask him how tough it was. “The entire unit had to undergo difficulties. There is no easy road access and place for caravans etc! We had to walk 5 kms to reach the shooting spot deep inside carrying generators, lights etc and bringing it all back at night every day.” The crew shot only for 5 days in the city and for over 100 days inside forests. Talking about the experience he recalls, In the forest, Snakes were as common as flies are to city dwellers! Slowly, we got used to it. Apart from that there were leopards , tigers, deer and elephants. As normal tourists one would never be able to see a novel experience amidst Nature so I was quite thrilled!” But shooting there was quite a task. “I had to climb a 100 ft tall tree with limited help of ropes. Normal stunt sequences have full safety but in forests, you never know what is going to happen. So it was very challenging for fight master Subbarayan. His first priority was to keep me safe but it was a tough task due to the uneven terrain and thick bushes which restricted movement.

The wild run with elephants

After Cycling, Did You Hear About Arya's Jungle Marathon?

Apart from forests in South India in Wagamon, Challakudy, Talakonam, Thandikody and Kodaikanal, the unit travelled to Thailand to the Chiang Mai elephant reserve where they shot extensively. Running between 50 elephants was another tough task. “We never know how the animals will react to humans amidst them since the sounds and so many people is new for them. But I think the elephants at Chiang Mai got used to us! There were 50 of us running through their legs or around them, trying to enact stunts. The sound and people could have got any adverse reaction so it required careful handling. But we are lucky they were very friendly and got used to us and we to them” He underwent a training period before the shoot to get familiar with the elephants. “They made me even sit on their trunk and made us familiar with each other,” he recalls.

So why did he choose a film shot in such tough conditions when he could have done a rom com or action flick in comfortable city surroundings? Says he, “The script attracted me. I have done city subjects and this was new. It has romance, comedy and a social message on a topic which is the need of the hour. It has an inherent heroism in the script. Such a script made it all worthwhile.