This film is not only an epic tale of adventure but has been an epic journey from the start. My audition at the time seemed like the impossible…being new to India my Hindi was non existent…so one can imagine how daunting a 6 page intense Hindi dialogue would seem at first glance!
My passion has always been acting and travelling, even while I was completing my Medical School studies in Physiotherapy in South Africa, I was very active in Drama and Theatre. I modelled to help pay for my Acting classes, and it was this that brought me here. I have always had a fascination and a passion for India, having Indian roots, there was a pull for me to come here. Booked directly from South Africa for Fashion Week I decided to model out here for a few more months which followed bookings for some major campaigns and I knew this is where I wanted to be…I fell in love with the food and the culture, now, just to learn the language! Being an actor is one thing but performing in a foreign language takes awakening many dormant areas of the brain…basically it’s a crazy tough challenge!
As actors we go through so many auditions and castings but there are very few scripts that tug at us, where a character feels like she was written for you. In that first film meeting I was blown away by the intensity of my Director Kamal Sadanah and Producer Abis Rizvi. The story gave me chills and all I thought was OMG this is sick…I have to be a part of this…I could feel Jhumpa!!! This was only the beginning..
When the cast finally met all I thought was damn this is a great looking task force! The casting was done brilliantly as all members where really interesting and brought a different dynamic to the group. Such support from my cast members just added to the energy of this film. This was not just a group of actors, but hungry young blood that where as passionate as me for this adventure. I'm sure the 'character' of the characters where taken into consideration as this is not a normal film production…we where going on expedition! A group of individuals, living on a boat in the middle of a salt water jungle spending every moment with each other for 6 weeks with no outside communication or internet is a greatly entertaining script in itself! Let's just say dinners under the stars where never without a song and dance!
There was rigorous training in preparation for not only the film but for location. We would be living and shooting in one of the most gruelling locations, the jungles of the Sundarbans. Besides my 6 hrs of Hindi classes a day, we all where put through training in military tactics and weapon use by one of the best Military and Tactical trainers. I am by nature a really sporty and outdoors person but I realised how intense the training was when I tore a muscle in my groin during a drill. This together with a line work workshop with action Director Allan Amin had the team ready for some kick ass action sequences!
Being a traveller and explorer by heart this was an absolute sensational experience! Even though shoot times where tough, up at 4am every morning with no hot running water, you got to have your morning coffee still looking at millions of stars as far as the eye could see! By the time the cast and crew where ready to set off for unknown dawn was just breaking into a multitude of hues in pinks and purples with washes of tangerines coming through…the most spectacular sunsets and sunrises I have ever seen! This is the first time a shoot has been attempted in the Sundarbans let alone a feature film, so it was firsts for all. The advantage was that the most epic locations where discovered by Kamal himself on prior reikis which set the never before seen backdrop for our action adventure.
I am an absolute thrill seeker and adrenalin junkie so being out there where I was diving into crocodile infested waters for a scene, had me swimming for my life literally. Everyday was physically and mentally exhausting, heavy emotional scenes after running through dense jungle, submerged in mud with wild snakes just a glance away…intense! All of this action had to be caught in the eye of the storm and that’s where Michael Watson our DOP was for every shot. Never fearing to get down and dirty to capture the moment.
I'm still pinching myself…I can’t believe we did it sometimes. What an epic adventure caught on the silver screen.