I see Kamal sir’s films at least 50
with P C Sreeram and Kamal
worked with PC sir in 7 films, out of which
3 are Kamal sir’s. Kamal is very vigilant
in sets and having observed me for quite some
time and after having taken the recommendations
from PC sir, he gave me his film. I feel very
proud and happy to have worked in a production
venture of Kamal sir as I am his ardent fan
and see his films at least 50 times.
After starting out on my own, I did the Hindi version
of Magalir Mattum. Unfortunately the film could
not be released for some reasons. And later I did
Vattakudi Hiraniyan, a period film, directed by
Vincent Selva, which was completely shot in my native
village in my house. This film was different from
its contemporaries and was much spoken about. I
did many films afterwards the prominent ones being
Pithamagan, M Kumaran, S/O Mahalakshmi, Thambi and
Azhagiya Thamizh Magan.
I have done 180 in digital format. Jayendra, director
of 180 is a good friend of PC sir and they are partners
in JS Advertising. I used to take up assignments
that PC sir was not able to do and during this sojourn,
had learnt many techniques from Jayendra. I have
also photographed Jayendra’s advertisements.
I was afraid to work with Jayendra but later
on enjoyed the stint. Jayendra has done around
500 to 600 ad films and he is the numero
uno in this field. Although he is experienced
in the ad world, he behaved as though he was
doing his first project while directing 180.
He gave me a lot of freedom in 180 and was
very receptive to my ideas. Initially to work
in Red camera was difficult but later I got
the hang of it and it was a challenging and
an enjoyable task. I can say that 180 has
come out very well.
I was afraid to work with
Music will be one of the major
highlights in 180
and songs in 180
will be one of the major highlights in 180.
Jayendra has conceived each song for a specific
situation. Malayalam music director Sharreth
has done an extraordinary job in 180. When
Jayendra told me that he wanted to do a song
sequence in 1500 frames, I was skeptical as
it is an uphill task to do an entire song
in 1500 frames and more so choreographing
the sequence was also difficult. Dinesh master
was roped in to do the dance movement and
he was very enthusiastic as this is something
new and challenging. The song has come out
very well and I am sure it will be liked by
the audience as well.
the stylish and different visuals of 180
The story of 180 happens in US and India.
It begins in Varanasi and moves to Chennai
and US. Hence we decided that the portion
in US will have stylish visuals and the ones
in India will have a raw appeal. We wanted
them to be strikingly different. The main
reason for 180 to have the specific look is
Jayendra who never interfered with my work.
Kevin Shah who is an expert in Red camera
and has an experience of more than 30 years
on the grading side has done the color correction.
He was also much open to my ideas and cooperated
very well. It was very useful as Kevin did
whatever I wanted. Kevin Shah is a major plus
Kevin Shah is a huge plus for
Another best thing that happened to 180 is Siddharth
who comes to Tamil after Ayudha Ezhuthu. His performance
is simply mind blowing. Siddharth can switch on and
switch off emotions at the drop of a hat. Nithya Menon
and Priya Anand are also in the cast who have done
a good job in 180.
What is technically
different in 180?
We have worked in Red in 180. Generally people avoid
using Red camera. Highlights will not have the quality
of film format and outdoor shooting is difficult in
Red. But you will find many outdoor scenes that dispel
these notions in 180. Of course, it is difficult to
shift from film to digital but when tried, it can
give good results.
We have gone in for pastel
shades and soft lighting in 180
180 your best work?
my cinematographic career, Pithamagan was
different for its story, Azhagiya Thamizh
Magan and M Kumaran, S/O Mahalakshmi for its
colorful look and Thambi for its mood portrayal
and lighting. In Jayamkondan we went for real
natural colors without much enhancement but
increased the contrast level through costumes
and background selection. In 180, you will
not find such features as we have gone in
for pastel shades and soft lighting. 180 will
stand out for its unique style when compared
to other films.
Role of an editor
in enhancing cinematography
of a director in enhancing cinematography
director plays an important role in enhancing
the cinematography. Firstly there should be
adequate freedom for the cinematographer to
execute his ideas. There should be good rapport
between the two. A good director can only
bring out a good cinematographer.
A good director can only bring
out a good cinematographer
In 180, editing will be smooth and jerk free. Jayendra
is a good editor. I can recall an assignment that
Jayendra asked me to do for Sankara Eye Hospital.
He just asked me to shoot whatever I felt like and
I also followed his directions. Finally when I saw
the film, after he did the editing, I was completely
taken aback by the end product. Such are Jayendra’s
skills as an editor. For 180, Kishore who worked in
films like Aadukalam was roped in to do the editing
job. Kishore was encouraged to bring his ideas on
to the table and Jayendra fine tuned it. The transition
of one scene to the next will be seamless in 180.
How did 180 happen?
P C Sreeram was to do 180 but he could not take it
up because of his prior commitments. It was P C sir
who recommended me to Jayendra and I feel it is a
great honor when my guruji proposed my name to a project
that he was supposed to do. I did not bother when
I missed a few films due to this. The thought that
crossed my mind whenever I was setting up a frame
was that I should satisfy my guru and Jayendra sir.
I think I have justified his faith. I hope he likes
my work in 180.
Oru Kal Oru Kannadi
When I watched Rajesh’s Boss Engira Bhaskaran
in Kamala theatre, I was astonished by the audience’s
response who enjoyed the film thoroughly. Oru Kal
Oru Kannadi will have more humor than BEB. After working
in a digital format, I thought it would be a good
idea to work in film set-up and hence I agreed to
do OKOK and shooting is going on now.
from your films
Pithamagan gave me an imposing
gave me an imposing visiting card. When Bala
narrated the story, I found it very different
especially the film’s beginning in a
graveyard. Director Bala is known for his
unusual treatment of subjects and I consider
myself to be blessed to have worked in Pithamagan.
Added to this, there was the combination of
Suriya and Vikram. We shot in Theni, Bala
sir’s hometown. The entire shoot happened
in one street. We created the court there
and also the jail there. But you can never
make this out in the film. The horse chase
scene was canned in a place where there was
a dried up canal and there were houses on
the street. But the feel that you get in the
film is that of a forest. It was Bala sir
who suggested the spot for the scene where
Vikram takes a body atop a hill, burns and
sings. Along with a few light men, I went
up to the small hillock and summoned the rest
of the crew. There was no proper pathway to
climb down and it was a difficult task. But
we managed it. Vikram also was very cooperative
and was open to ideas.
I always give in my best and enjoy every shot of mine.
In Pithamagan, there was adequate source and now it
is 180. There is a hospital shot in 180 which had
to be canned with available lights as we cannot light
a hospital according to our needs. Same way, the camera
was always moving in the hospital sequence and I have
to ensure there is no reflection of light on the glass
surfaces. This was challenging for me but it has come
out very well.