Singeetam reveals secret behind Kamal’s dwarf role

Film director Singeetam Srinivasa Rao speaking at an interactive session in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.

Film director Singeetam Srinivasa Rao speaking at an interactive session in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.  

Special Correspondent

Interacts with members of Vizag Film Society

VISAKHAPATNAM: The make-up for Kamal Hassan as a dwarf in ‘Apoorva Sahodarulu’ has floored the people and they have no clue as to how he could make it even several years after the film is released.

But, the film’s director Singeetam Srinivasa Rao not only revealed the secret but also felt that an interactive session with members of a film society and others was the right venue and best occasion to do so.

At the session organised by the Vizag Film Society, Mr. Srinivasa Rao said that the credit goes to Mr. Kamal Hassan, who worked very hard for the role, photography director P.C. Sriram and a set boy who is called by his nickname ‘Japan’.

Special shoes

The dwarf look, rather the limbs to be shown short, was done in different angles and innovative ideas had been adopted for each angle. A pair of special shoes was prepared to be attached to the folded knees of the actor and it was okay for the straight angle shots. The legs had been taken care of and the mannerism adopted by Mr. Kamal Hassan by holding his arms in a particular way jelled with his “dwarf” legs.

For the side angle shots, a trench was dug up just to cover up the actor’s legs from the feet to knees, with special shoes attached at the knee level. Japan took all the care in ensuring the correct depth of the trench and level for the camera. Mr. Kamal Hassan practiced for 15 days to make sure that his walk in the trench really looked normal “at the ground level.” When the actor had to be static, a pit was dug instead of a trench and this also helped the director to go for crane shots.

Tense moments

But the tensest moments were experienced during the scene when the actor came face-to-face with a real tiger released from its cage. “It was totally a silent shot as we did not want to get the animal excited about the sounds. I was waving my commands and every one was quiet,” Mr. Srinivasa Rao said.

Then it was decided that the dwarf role must be given more authenticity and an artificial leg was prepared with strings attached to it. This was used when the actor was sitting on a chair or dancing. An engineer Vasudevan prepared the leg and Mr. Srinivasa Rao’s nephew Poorna operated the strings. A few other techniques like mask technique were also used. An 18-inch high platform was created to shoot side angle shots at places where the earth could not be dug up.

VFS secretary Narava Prakasa Rao, director of AU Academic Staff College K. Ravi and others were present.

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