Some time ago, while shooting for Raavana, a particular scene required to show a pregnant white cow delivering the calf. The perfectionist that he is, filmmaker Mani Ratnam got together 20 pregnant white cows to shoot a real birth.
In the scene, Abhishek Bachchan, who plays the title role of Raavana, goes to meet someone in a cowshed and sees the birth of a calf.
A source from the unit says, “Mani sir arranged for 20 pregnant cows, all due for delivery in the next fortnight. We were shooting in Orccha in Madhya Pradesh where a shed had been built for these cows. For two weeks, the cows stayed there. As soon as we got a go ahead from the vet regarding which one of them was due to deliver the first, we set the camera and waited for the action to begin.”
On D-day, the camera was kept ready from sunrise. The source adds, “All of us were present on the sets as early as 6am. The camera was ready to roll by 6.30am. The entire crew was lounging around waiting for the cow to deliver. It’s rare that one gets to relax on the sets of Mani sir’s film, but this scene was unique.
Finally, after almost ten hours, the calf was out. Abhishek was the first to react, clapping and announcing, ‘we have a baby on our sets’. Everyone started clapping and cheering. Mani sir finally got his shot and was very happy with the outcome. It was a shoot that all of us will remember for a long, long time.”
Despite repeated attempts, Mani Ratnam remained unavailable for comment.