Mumbai, Sep 16 (IANS) First it was a snake in Lara Dutta's room and then torrential rains - the shooting for Priyadarshan's forthcoming 'Billo Barber' in Tamil Nadu was indeed chaotic, says actor Irrfan Khan.
He recounts how a poisonous snake entered Lara's room at night while the cast was filming in Pollachi in Coimbatore district. But Lara didn't panic at all.
'To her credit, Lara handled the situation very sensibly and bravely, probably because she didn't know how poisonous the snake was. If it had bitten her it would've been disastrous,' Irrfan told IANS.
The actor, who plays the barber's role in the film that also stars Shah Rukh Khan, can't stop praising Lara.
'I've realised that facing the camera with her was as challenging as co-starring with Tabu or Dimple Kapadia. Lara is the most underrated actress I've worked with.'
Lara was also a little tense as her mom had apparently taken ill.
'I could sense she was tense and dealing with a situation on the phone. But she never let it affect her work,' Irrfan said.
Apart from snakes, the heavy rains also gave the unit a tough time. But they had to continue shooting as Shah Rukh Khan had to get back to Mumbai.
Said Irrfan: 'Pollachi is one of the most peaceful spots in the world. Though prone to the monsoon vagaries at this time of the year, never did we imagine that the weather could act so unpredictable.
'Suddenly during the last two days the weather acted up more than all of us who were facing the camera ... ha ha. We were in a panic. Because there was no way Shah Rukh could delay his departure. Priyan had to wrap up his work at any cost. So we had no choice but to shoot through the rain ... which was harrowing.'
And when the King Khan wrapped up and left the shoot, the whole unit missed him terribly.
'Shah Rukh is as entertaining off camera as he's on screen. We all bonded big time. Now that he's no longer with us in Pollachi we find that spark is gone out of the unit. Seldom have I missed a co-star after shooting with him or her,' said Irrfan.
The actor, who has acted in films like 'The Namesake', 'Life In A Metro' and 'Maqbool', said that he had brought his family to Pollachi.
'I always take my wife and two sons to as many outdoors as possible, even if it means making my kids skip school. It's the only way we have of finding time together. In fact I'm out of Mumbai shooting till the end of the year. And I'll try to get them to come with me whenever possible.'