I don’t like art direction to stick
out in a film
kind of projects you would like to do?
like to work in any project that is interesting
and which has scope for art direction. I don’t
like art direction to stick out in a film.
I would like it (art direction) to be subtle
and easy to understand. That’s my kind
Who are your favorite contemporaries?
I don’t want to relate to anybody who does not
belong here. I like to watch Sabu sir’s work.
And also Thotta Tharani and Samir Chanda. From my
batch I like Muthuraj, Prabhakar, Kadir and I enjoy
Selva’s work from my juniors. I also like Milind
and Sameer’s work. Although Rambon and Anand
have not come up that well, they are doing extremely
exactly is the role of an art director in
art director’s job is basically to create
an ambience or a scenario for the scene in
which elucidation should not be required.
A scenario that explains the scene is art
direction. Art direction also is about how
creative you get and how easy you are able
to make people understand with colors and
elements around the particular scene or a
character. More to it is special effects.
And creating a good color to suit the viewer’s
eyes is equally important.
A scenario that explains the
scene is art direction
What does one do to become an art director?
One needs to have basic common sense to become an
art director. Good aesthetic sense and usage of colors
are also vital. It is how you pick up information
and now everything is easily available in the net
and in the books, in the hoardings etc. It has created
a lot of thought into an image and looking at these
things you could understand how they have placed what.
Moreover a bit of drawing skills will help to explain
to your workers what you have in mind either through
computer or hand drawn
Are their any
technical courses for art direction?
There are courses like arts and crafts, diplomas in
interiors and varied things. As such there are no
proper courses for art direction in our town. There
are many interior designing courses which people opt
and basic arts and crafts courses also come to the
What is the role
of an art director in a natural setting?
In natural setting, in some places there may not be
any flowers or leaves or grass. You might have to
shoot in such places. In all such places the scene
would be artificially created. For instance, in Vettaiyaadu
Vilayaadu most of the New York interior portions like
the hotel room, police station and the apartment were
shot in Chennai and only the exteriors were shot abroad.
How seamless you can work this out is what takes you
to the next level.
A director is the captain of the
important is the director in shaping up art
director is the captain of the ship. Everything
goes around his likes and dislikes. But it
is up to you to explain to the director what
you feel is the best for the scene. If you
are able to convince him, it is good. A director
also gives you inputs to think about the scene
and get your ideas working on it.
Some of the most comfortable directors you have worked
I have a good rapport with most of the directors that
I have worked with. And they are all very interesting
too. Some of them are my close friends. I enjoy working
with these people.
the other teams in a film unit
An art director’s job does not end with creating
sets. You contribute a lot by being with the rest
of the crew and try to understand their needs. For
instance, if a cinematographer needs something, you
either understand his needs and give him that or explain
to him why it cannot be done. It is a team work. All
of us work hand in hand to create a good visual. Everybody’s
input is important in a film.
What are the
areas of improvement in Tamil industry with regard
to art direction?
Sometime back an art director was everything in a
film because everything happened inside the studio.
There were at least 40-50 studios in Arcot Road in
Chennai then. But now we are hardly left with two
with three floors. In between, everybody went outdoors
and shot in real locations and now they are coming
back to studios. However, now, the art direction part
of film making has really picked up well. Many films
happen inside studios but still as there are not enough
spaces, people look out for godowns and big open halls
to do sets there. And in a way, it has worked also.
is it to use eco friendly products in art direction?
Using eco friendly material is possible only to an
extent. But we try to limit the use of materials that
would affect nature. However things like Plaster of
Paris which are not eco-friendly, are essential to
do sets. And we are forced to use them. I try to avoid
using them to the maximum. For instance when we were
doing a set for Ezham Arivu in Coimbatore, there were
issues about we doing a set in the lake. Actually
we did not do anything in the lake. We created sets
only in the periphery. The set that I created in the
water, I saw to it that everything was washed, precasted
and cleaned before it was put inside the water. But
still there were issues. We lost a lot of money in
it. We removed it and re-erected it elsewhere.
are the special preparations for Rana?
We have started Rana and it will be completely
shot indoors except for a few portions. Rana
is a period film set in the 17th century.
A lot of research and sketches have gone into
it. Many visual concept artists and 3D module
people have helped me in creating the designs
and sets for the film. Rana will be a mega
affair. Huge sets are to be created for Rana.
Rana will completely be shot
I am happy to do Rana
is it to be working in a Rajinikanth film?
am mega thrilled to be working with Rajni
sir. He is an icon and it is a pleasure and
fun to be working with him. I am happy to
You have been a regular in Gautham's movies. Are you
doing the Hindi VTV as well?
Except Minnale, I have done all of Gautham’s
films and by default I am in his project. And I am
working on his Hindi project with Prateik Babbar and
Amy Jackson which is yet to be titled. We will be
going for the same locations where we shot the Tamil
version (VTV) except that we placed the script in
Mumbai and Chennai. The house, the roads and everything
will be shot in Chennai.
with Gautham Menon
is very easy to work with Gautham Menon. He
does not demand. He tells his requirements
and stays back. And it is left to you to create
what is needed for the film. In that way I
have really been lucky to work with Gautham.
My ideas could extensively be used in his
work and he is happy about them. He is clear
on what he wants and rest is left to us to
decide, be it cinematography, be it editing,
This is his film and this is how it ought
to be and whatever better you can put into
it, it is left to you. There is much scope
for creativity when I work with him. Right
from the wood house in Kaakha Kaakha to the
recent Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya or the house
in Nadunisi Naaygal, everything has been how
I wanted it and which he liked. I am really
happy working with Gautham.
Gautham Menon does not
Every film is tough and every film
is easy to work with
toughest assignment so far..
Every film is tough and every film is easy
to work with also. If you look at it as a
job, it is another job. It is like going to
an office every day. That’s how I see
it. I love being an art director and I love
to do art direction and I am doing what I
love. When you love your work, it is not tough.