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April 20, 2002
Puneet Rajakumar beats the heat
The shoot takes place on the banks of Sankey Tank, Bangalore. In spite of the sweltering afternoon heat, Puneet wears a thick, full-sleeved, turtleneck sweater over his black jeans. But this does not bother him.
Son of Kannada superstar Rajakumar, Puneet makes his debut with Appu. Incidentally, his pet name is also Appu.
The female lead, Shwetha, (she has been renamed Rakshita for the film) who also debuts with Appu is dressed in a black spaghetti top, a transparent netted pink shirt and blue jeans. Shwetha is the daughter of Kannada film industry's renowned cameraman, C Gowrishankar. Her mother, Mamatha, a former actress, sits nearby.
"Akka (elder sister), come for the shot," a unit hand yells. Shwetha, chatting with a friend, does not react, until someone calls out her name. "Akka!" she exclaims in good humour, "I am not anyone's elder sister here!"
She sprints over to where Puneet is standing. Director Poori Jagannath explains the shot to them. He wants Shwetha to swat Puneet lightly on his hand and stomach in jest.
Shwetha does the needful, whacking Puneet on the hand during the rehearsal and then backhanding him across his stomach on film. The scene is shot for a song that will play in the background.
Surprisingly, each shot is over in just a brief take. The actors rehearse once or twice off camera, and when the film rolls, they play their scenes confidently and easily. Three scenes are canned in less than an hour!
Shwetha returns to her chair, while Puneet shares a light moment with the light boys and assistant cameramen. This behaviour runs in the family, as Shivaraj Kumar (Rajakumar's eldest son) had once stated, "Appaji (Father) has always told us that we must not be aloof on the sets. We must have a rapport with the unit hands and technicians."
Jagannath beckons the actors for the next shot.
Meanwhile, the crowd throngs around the shooting area to get a glimpse of the goings-on.
Puneet and Shwetha continue their rehearsal, as they hold hands and sprint down a pathway beside some bamboo clumps. Just then, a shrill voice shrieks Mama.
It is Puneet's favourite six-year-old niece Dhanyashree. She tears up the pathway towards her uncle, avoiding the cables and lights nimbly, reminding one that her father Ramkumar is also a popular Kannada film actor. Her mother Poornima is Puneet's older sister. Incidentally, a single photograph of Puneet hugging his neice adorns his desk in his office.
Family reunion over, Puneet shoos Dhanyashree away.
After the next shot, Jagannath instructs the stars to change their clothes. Shwetha disappears into her van. Puneet soon emerges from behind a bamboo clump sporting a full-sleeved lime green shirt, over his black jeans.
The next shot requires him to walk past a newly constructed shack pensively. The shot is canned in a few minutes. And the unit moves onto another spot.
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