Students use fake sickles, make-up, for short film project; scared residents call cops

Residents of Vyasarpadi had a bit of a shock on Friday, when they witnessed a gang chasing an injured, bleeding man, on East Avenue Road, Sathyamurthy Nagar.

The area being notorious for gang-related violence, panic quickly spread in the neighbourhood, and the police were summoned.

Turns out, the chase sequence was part of a film being shot by final-year visual communication students from a city college.

Around 11 a.m., police said, a seven-member team of students arrived in Postal and Telegraph Colony, with two cameras. They then began shooting a scene, where one student was chased by two others, who were carrying fake sickles. The student was then mock-assaulted in front of a house. The student being chased was made to look like he was bleeding. As the students were dressed in dark clothes and the ‘gang’ was shouting ‘kill him…kill him’, local residents and passers-by who witnessed the scene, panicked and called the police.

“I was scared when I saw a man being chased by two others. How would we know it was a film shooting in a locality where such real crimes are common? Film students should be more responsible when they are shooting violent scenes,” said S. Venketasan, a local resident.

A special team led by additional deputy commissioner of police S. Jayakumar soon arrived, and interrogated the students.

Since the team was already nearby investigating the case of a bank official assaulted on Thursday, they initially assumed the students were part of the gang that committed the assault.

However, when the students showed the police their college identity cards and a letter from the principal of the institution, the police gave them a stern warning about following rules with regard to film shooting within city limits, and let them off.

“A scene such as this would make residents panicky and invite unnecessary trouble. The students did not realise this,” said K. Shankar, police inspector, Vyasarpadi.

Police said that five of the students were in their final year and the other two were in their second year at a college in Koyambedu and were shooting a short film as part of their curriculum. As one of the students lived in Thiru Vi. Ka. Nagar in Perambur and was familiar with nearby areas, he had suggested the site for the shooting.

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