I strongly believe in good casting
main specialty of Ko is its strong story line
which writers SuBa and I have worked together
on. A story should be fresh and at the same
time should not be alien to the audience who
should be able to relate to it. I wanted the
premise also to be different.
The general image of a journalist in the minds
of people is a pathetic, emaciated man with a faded
kurta, thick rimmed spectacles, a dirty sling bag
and two day old stubble who is struggling with his
editor to publish his article. But this is not the
I wanted to portray a corporate atmosphere with
a salary on par with IT industry, filled with young
brains working for the right cause and a very supportive
editor who will stand up to his staff at all times.
For this reason we researched many newspaper offices,
their culture, the relationship between the editor
and the assistant editor, the working of photo department,
sub editors, meeting of deadlines and their working
during crisis times. We have worked taking all these
aspects into consideration.
I strongly believe in good casting and feel that
if a face can endorse the character being played
in the film, the performance of the artists will
go to the next level. And Jiiva, Karthika, Piaa,
Ajmal, Prakash Raj and Kota Sreenivasa Rao have
all acted out their characters very well.
Cast of Ko
There is a big star cast by way of Jiiva, Karthika,
Piaa, Ajmal, Prakash Raj Kota Sreenivasa Rao and
Jagan. They have all done well and I am happy about
will be special about cinematography in Ko?
believe a good visual is one which conveys
the emotions without dialogues and not something
that shows a scenic location or a beautiful
flower at close-up. Lighting and composition
should simplify certain aspects and make the
audience understand what is being conveyed.
This is what I believe and in Ko, Richard
Nathan who had worked with me as an Associate
Cameraman in Sivaji and also the DoP in Angadi
Theru, is the cinematographer. I liked his
realistic approach and called him to wield
the camera in Ko and I am satisfied with his
work. He understands me well. It is being
said that a director and a cameraman are like
husband and wife and a cameraman should quickly
understand the needs of the director even
with a slightest hint and that’s how
I have always worked with many directors.
All the discussions would be before we reach
the spot and not at the spot. Richard also
worked with me like that. He brought the right
kind of look in all the scenes like how I
had envisioned. There were different kinds
of moods in Ko but Richard’s work linked
all of them and converged them to a point.
Director and cameraman are
like husband and wife
Phantom Flex camera used in Ko
You can shoot up to 2500 frames in HD format using
Phantom Flex. It was a new model in July 2010 and
the manufacturers had kept this as a demo piece.
When Sterovision Harish informed me about this,
I thought why not I try this here. We have shot
the climax using this. Phantom Flex has not been
used in any film till now except in a test run in
a Hollywood film. The camera was useful in extending
and enhancing the content in the climax.
Harris is a perfectionist
is my very good friend. I have worked with
him in Ayan and knew him from Chellamae days.
What I like most about Harris is his complete
involvement in a project. Harris is a perfectionist.
I am happy that all the songs in Ko have become
a hit. I took him to Harbin in Northern China
for composing the song ‘Ven Paniye’
where ice festival is held every year. There
are many ice constructions there. They put
bricks in the river
with a thread when the river is running which later
becomes ice blocks when the water freezes. Using these
blocks of ice, they conduct ice festival in January.
I wanted a very soft and a melodious tune for a situation.
I took Harris to Harbin and we roamed the city and
got back to the hotel. Immediately, he went to his
keyboard and looking at the ice festival from the
glass windows of the room, he composed the tune for
Ven Paniye with his hands shivering from the -27 degree
C outside. Harris generally hands over the tune only
after he is completely satisfied and Ven Paniye was
one such tune which happened very fast. The visuals
have also come out very well and this is my favorite
number from the film.
Your quest about
It is easier to shoot in foreign locales these days
and there would come a time when audiences would be
familiar with every street in Switzerland, Malaysia
and Australia. I don’t want this to happen in
my films. When I feel something new in a particular
place, I would like to present that to the audience.
That’s why I went to Africa for Ayan and now
I have shot in Norway and China for Ko.
About the song
that features many stars
A get together party at the newspaper office with
VIP guests as invitees had to be filmed in Ko and
I called my friends for the Aganaga number and they
actually did the direction bug bite you?
have worked in 13 films as a cinematographer
under established directors like P C Sreeram,
Priyadarshan, Shankar, Mansoor Khan, Rajkumar
Santoshi, Vasanth, Chellame Gandhi Krishna
and Susi Ganesan. The thread that connects
all these directors is they all work for the
script and not for the heroes. The films I
worked for them had bound script with which
we went to the shooting spot. Shankar starts
his schedule only after he completes the script.
Shankar starts his schedule only
after he completes the script
A director’s first assistant is the
first assistant is the cameraman and he works
only for a limited period with technicians
like music director or art director or script
writer but works for an extended period of
time only with the cinematographer. My association
with these directors is almost like an assistant
director and I have learnt a lot in this process
and also understood what not to do. Having
gained such experience I readied the script
of Kana Kandein with SuBa. To cut a long story
short, it is all fate. That’s about
association with SuBa (Suresh and Bala) goes
a long way from 1986 during Kalki days when
I was a photographer and they were reporters.
When they were working on crime novels, I
had photographed cover designs for them. Later
when I went to cinematography, they used to
appreciate my work and also point out my mistakes.
I like the fast pace in their novels.
Ko is closer to my heart
When I started my direction stint (Kana Kandein),
I approached them for the story. I suggested the theme
for Ayan, sat together and conceived the screen play.
We talked to immigration personnel and understood
various aspects of smuggling and fine-tuned the script.
As regards Ko, they have worked as reporters and I
have worked as a photographer and this helped us much.
And so Ko is closer to my heart than my other films.
Ko is a better script than Ayan
the success of Ayan pressurize you when you
I did not have such pressure. Firstly our
work should satisfy us. I enjoy my discussion
times and the thrill and suspense factor in
the film to such an extent that I dream about
them in my sleep. I will be pressured that
things should shape up well but not pressured
due to the success of Ayan. According to me
Ko is a better script than Ayan and it has
given me more satisfaction than Ayan, not
only to me but also to my producer, editor
Anthony, cameraman Richard, music director
Harris Jeyaraj and to everyone involved. Whoever
saw the film, they only have this to say-
Ko is a better film than Ayan.
I had told the one line to Suriya immediately after
Ayan and we were to start that project then. As Suriya
was doing Murugadoss’s project, I started work
on Ko as its script was also ready then. Maatraan
is at a very nascent stage and I have nothing to say
about it now.
kind of films do you like to watch?
I like all types of films and can enjoy them. When
we see a film, I believe we should try to see what
the director and the team have to say and not put
our views into it. I can appreciate Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s
work and also Mrinal Sen’s films. I am very
fond of Kannathil Muthamittal. I also like Naataamai
and I enjoy Shankar’s films.
My favorite director is Krzysztof Kieslowski and Three
Colors Blue is my all time favorite film. Cinematography
wise, I like Citizen Kane in which Gregg Toland had
done an excellent work just with available light 70
Films you liked
in the recent times
I liked Yudham Sei and Easan and the content affected
me very strongly. I went with my family and enjoyed
Boss Engira Bhaskaran. I can enjoy all types of films.
Would you again
work as a cinematographer for a director?
Surely! Since I had the script of Maatraan ready,
I will be into direction again. However whenever I
get free time, I will surely do camerawork and I have
no preferences for any particular director. If the
script is good and if I am convinced that the director
can execute the project, I will certainly work as
How should a
film like Nadunisi Naaygal be viewed?
An artist presents his work or idea and he or she
has every right to present it. As an audience, we
also have every right to accept or reject it. The
director is responsible for the plus and the minus
in the film.
Silambarasan opted out of Ko?
is normal to approach many actors to star
in a film. Likewise I had approached actors
like Ajith, Karthi and Silambarasan. News
comes out when we are at the discussion stage
itself. When, for some reasons, an actor is
unable to work in a project, that also becomes
I had approached Ajith for Ko