Not known to many that Bollywood actress Esha Deol Takhtani has had a fear of fire. She generally avoided scenes that involved igniting fire. While shooting for a very critical scene for her forthcoming film Cakewalk, director Ram Kamal Mukherjee wanted Esha to set flame to a cake, for which she had to pour alcohol on the cake and set it ablaze with the lighter.
A source from the set informed, “Esha ensured that head chef Neelabh Sahay from Novotel Hotel Kolkata was present at the shoot, and she in fact asked the chef to demonstrate exactly how they set fire to the cake. After Neelabh Sahay showed her the process, she wanted director Ram Kamal to enact the scene exactly the way he wanted her to perform.”
When quizzed, Ram Kamal said, “Esha is a thorough professional, and did the scene exactly the way I had visualised it. It was a hand-held camera shot, and we were shooting it at a real location. It was a close-up shot, so we had cutters and other camera equipment, which were highly inflammable. So, we assured her that she will be safe, because it required her to bring her face close to the fire. Finally she did that particular shot in one take and everyone clapped. That’s a very crucial scene in the film.”
Esha plays the role of a bakery chef Shilpa Sen who prepares a dish ‘Bombay Alaska’ (considered as one of the toughest to bake) in the film. “When Ram Kamal wanted me to do that scene, I was petrified. People think that I am a bindaas girl, but I am a big ‘fattu’ when it comes to fire. I’d rather be safe than sorry,” laughed Esha.
Eventually, when Neelabh and Ram Kamal demonstrated the scene a couple of times, Esha became confident enough to do the scene. “I liked the way cinematographer Pravatendu Mondol captured the moment. The challenge is that you have to flame the cake but ensure it shouldn’t melt the cream. I guess that’s why it’s termed as the toughest to bake,” said Esha.
Produced by Aritra Das, Shailendra Kumar and Dinesh Gupta, Cakewalk is slated for October release.