C. K. Muraleedharan
Attar Singh Saini
Issue 2, 2010
Full Steam Ahead
Veteran filmmaker and industry leader Yash
Chopra, in a rare interview with Deepa Gahlot.
Throw Out The Rulebook
Deepa Deosthalee talks to hotshot DOP
C.K. Muraleedharan about his ad work.
Keeping Up With The Times
DOP R. Giri talks to R.G. Vijayasarathy.
Painting With Light
Pradip Chakraborty tells Malabi Sen that he
does not let problems affect the quality of
“The DOP should be like a
K B Venu met Amal Neerad at Kochi.
A Finger in Every Pie
Ravi Yadav talks to Manju Latha Kalanidhi
about his dreams and ambitions.
Shades of Dreams
Divya K goes into creative details with DOP
Second Time Lucky
Anil Nair shares the ups and downs in his
career with K.B. Venu.
Hard Work Pays
Raja Phadtare tells Johnson Thomas that he
considers the industry as his true home.
Success is a State of Mind
Attar Singh Saini tells Deepa Deosthalee that
he is not disheartened by the fate of some of
Rahul Jadhav shares his career plans with
Young Guns - Bright Spark
Divya K meets aspiring cinematographer
Archana Borhade in Chennai.
Young Guns - Child Prodigy
R.G.Vijayasarathy tracks the achievements
of Master Kishan.
Documenting A Legend
M. Venkatesan talks about the making of his
biopic on Gemini Ganesan.
Managing Editor: Suresh Iyer
Editor: Deepa Gahlot
Issue 2, 2010
The first few months of the year have been difficult for the film industry, what with
competition from cricket and off-screen glamour. In spite of all this ,one must admit, we
did see a lot of movies being released.
Industry leader Yash Chopra, in a rare and candid interview, foresees tough times ahead.
Though the Hindi film industry is growing at a rapid pace and spreading its wings
overseas, there is also serious competition for local films from big-budget Hollywood
extravaganzas. Proceed with caution is his advice.
Images goes around the country, taking a look at behind-the-scenes of filmmaking in
every region, and continues the series on Young Guns..
Wishing you enjoyable summer vacations and happy reading...
Suresh S Iyer
Country Business Manager
Design and layout: Roopak Graphics, Mumbai
Printing: Amruta Print Arts, Mumbai
Printed and Published by: Suresh Iyer on behalf of Kodak India Private Limited, at Mumbai.
Do write in with ideas, suggestions, comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an independent magazine.
Views expressed in the articles are those of authors alone.
Volume 7, Issue 2, 2010
Cover Credit: Yash Chopra
Courtesy: Yash Raj Films
Veteran filmmaker and industry leader
Yash Chopra, in a rare interview with
Deepa Gahlot talks of Bollywood and its
place in the world
On what works:
The Mumbai film industry has already gone global, but there are
different yardsticks for different films. For instance, Karan Johar's latest
film My Name is Khan was distributed by Fox, it was screened at Berlin, it
had a red carpet premiere at Abu Dhabi. It had a wide release and
entered some territories where Hindi films are not normally released.
Because of Fox, it did very well overseas. On the other hand 3 Idiots was
not taken up by any global distributor and it was the biggest hit in India,
and also did very good business overseas.
On why dubbing is a harmful trend:
Avatar was a great film and is a great threat to Indian films. Dubbing of
Hollywood films into Indian languages is eating into the domestic film
business in a big way. For such big special effects films, with 300-400
million dollar budgets, dubbing costs peanuts. We should see how to
fight this threat. We have to safeguard our industry. Maybe dubbing of
Hollywood films should not be allowed.
A lot of co-productions happened in the last two years, but I don’t think
it has been a very happy experience for the overseas people; it may have
been happy for the Indian producers. When a film does not do well, it
hurts the person who spends money and takes it up.
Co-productions with big studios can be done as far as money is
concerned… otherwise, we are poles apart culturally.
After so many years and much advancement there are certain things our
audiences will never accept. True, there are taboo subjects that people
are making in India and some audiences are accepting them too—those
‘Hindish’ (Hindi-English) films without songs, which young people are
accepting. Films like LSD and Dev D have also done well, but by and
large, I don’t think we can make films, that can please both
audiences—here and abroad.
“We are losing a lot of things in our culture.
In our music, the soul is gone…
the Indian melody is gone.”
On promoting films:
My Name Is Khan and 3 Idiots were good films, I don’t think just
promotion can make a film successful. In India, now everyone is
promoting films in a big way, with all kinds of gimmicks, but all that
doesn’t translate into success, if the film is bad. It’s unthinkable, the
money that it spent on promotion, and after all that if the film does not
do well, it pinches.
All these years not more than seven or eight percent films were
successful; and I am talking success-failure in terms of money only.
Those days of jubilees are gone. Today, lakhs is nothing, everything is in
crores and how much comes back? Business is not more than two
weeks, and of this 70 percent is in the first week. If you miss the first
week for some reason, you miss the business completely.
On new revenue models:
There are other avenues of business… but now, the physical format of
music is almost finished. Money is spent on the promotion of music, but
it is not recovered. Other forms like internet and mobile downloads have
appeared, but they are not making as much as we used to make with
only music sales. Now, I am told, even mobile downloads are decreasing.
Globalization actually started when we started shooting abroad.
Because of terrorism in Kashmir, I started going to Switzerland, where
the locations were beautiful. Now almost every country is trying to woo
India to come and shoot on their locations. They earn foreign exchange,
even if 10 percent of the people who see the films visit their countries.
There are lots of deals going on, subsidies offered, as a result it is
cheaper to shoot in Switzerland than in India. Rakesh Roshan and
Singapore had big deals when he shot Krissh there. There is comfort of
shooting, fantastic locations, but I don’t think just because you shoot
abroad, the film will be successful.
We did a co-production with Disney on the animation film Roadside
Romeo. They were surprised by our animators and the film won awards
internationally. We are doing good work, but when you see Avatar, you
know we have a long way to go.
Ta Ra Rum Pum
Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic
Everyday the world is becoming smaller—co-productions can be done,
technically and financially. The difference in exchange rates goes a long
way. Fifty crores are a few million dollars, why won’t they gamble? But
nobody can make a crossover film; if it is good, it will cross over. In 10
years, a lot of deals have been done at FICCI Frames, ultimately global
interaction will benefit us.
On Bollywood and the world:
Bollywood has become a big name, the whole world wants it in one way
or the other. Indian entertainment, cinema, theatre, costumes,
food—everything. It’s a big craze and it has never happened before. We
were in Paris at the Ritz Hotel, and Tom Cruise was also there. When he
went out of the hotel, there were a few fans, but when Shah Rukh Khan
came out, it became difficult to control the crowds. The security people
requested us to travel in a bus and not separate cars, because they could
not handle it. It’s happening at every level. Our stars are very big… in
Egypt, Amitabh Bachchan is god! India is going global.
On the downside of going global:
We are losing a lot of things in our culture. In our music, the soul is
gone… the Indian melody is gone. They say that the market is dictated
by the youth and get away with anything. China and Japan have not lost
Dil Bole Hadippa!
Chak De! India
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
“All these years not more than seven or eight
percent films were successful; and I am talking
success-failure in terms of money only.
Those days of jubilees are gone.”
The advantage of going global is that people are rejecting formula films.
They are patronizing new kinds of cinema. The disadvantage is loss of
identity. You hardly see Indian costumes in out films anymore, or hear
Indian melody. You hardly get to hear powerful dialogues in our films. In
the old days there used to be special dialogue writers with a knowledge
of the language, who wrote those dialogues that people still remember.
Maybe now people want simple, colloquial dialogue, but you don’t hear
audiences clapping any more, or crying in emotional scenes. Dialogue ka
zamana chala gaya.
On directing again:
I am trying to make my kind of film… romantic, human, emotional, so it’s
taking time to finalize. I can’t make just any film, and I can’t make a fool
of myself… but I have promised myself, that this year I will direct a film.
Deepa Deosthalee talks to hotshot DOP C.K. Muraleedharan
about his ad work.
C.K.Muraleedharan believes that a cinematographer should do something new with each film and
never settle into a style. And that everything must come from the script. Which is why he’s very
selective of the films he does, both in cinema and in advertising. His impressive body of work
includes films like Lage Raho Munnabhai, Johnny Gaddaar and 3 Idiots and commercials for a wide
range of products from Cadbury’s and Surf Excel to Tata Sky and Airtel. Muraleedharan believes
advertising is going through an interesting phase where innovation is the keyword and the rulebook
has gone out of the window.
He’s the man who shot the highest-grossing Hindi film of all time, 3 Idiots. But for Muraleedharan,
it’s never been about the money. Unlike a lot of other cinematographers who dream of making it big
in Bollywood, he shied away from feature films for a long time because he didn’t connect with the
cinema of the ’70s and ’80s and focussed on documentaries and television mini-series instead. His
career in advertising too has run a similar course. “I’ve been in and out of advertising. I assisted
Barun Mukherjee 30 years ago when I first came to Mumbai. There was a time when I practically
lived at Famous Studios and did plenty of leftover stuff on different ad films. That was before the
digital era, when every effect had to be created manually,” he recalls.
“The audience is now used to seeing all kinds of images on
television and the internet. So they won’t believe anything
you show them unless you’re sure about
where you want to lead them.”
A physics graduate from Kerala, Muraleedharan believes his academic
background actually helped him a lot in his advertising work. He worked
with directors like Prahlad Kakkar, Ram Madhvani and Sumantra Ghoshal in
the 1990s. But somewhere along the way, he lost interest and consciously
moved away from shooting ad films. “Those days the look of ad films was
standardised – soft, polished and mushy. Beyond a point I got bored with
this set format and moved on to feature films instead. It wasn’t exciting to
spend 12 hours lighting up a teacup or a steel jar.”
But in recent years, he’s back on the circuit after what he describes as a
“change in the patterns and mood of ad films… From happy, peppy, smiley
images, we are now dealing with material that’s gritty, dark and realistic.
Over the past few years, both internationally and locally, the language of
expression in ad films has changed. Last year I did a commercial for Surf
Excel where a little boy is rolling in the mud to cheer up his teacher whose
pet dog has just died. I’m not into flowery images and prefer playing with
contrasts and silhouettes.”
It was Muraleedharan who shot the first Airtel commercial with Madhavan
and Vidya Balan that was directed by Vinil Mathew, one of his favourite
directors. “We didn’t know how well that film would work when we shot it. But
when we saw the result, I was confident it would strike a chord and it did.”
While Muraleedharan has shot dozens of commercials over the past few
years with a variety of ad filmmakers, his commitment to feature films
doesn’t leave him with too much time for advertising. “Generally I do ad
films in between feature films because I spend a lot of time on pre-
production for feature films and it’s difficult to shuffle between the two.
And I don’t do too many ads. Feature films are more strenuous and the
responsibility is much more.”
But ad films offer him a great deal of variety in terms of creative
challenge. “Recently I shot a commercial for Eno outside shady
restaurants in Byculla with minimal lighting. It has a very different
ambience. Today, every script can be innovative so things don’t get
repetitive. Also, the audience is now used to seeing all kinds of images
on television and the internet. So they won’t believe anything you show
them unless you’re sure about where you want to lead them. And you
can’t copy or repeat things because you’ll get caught out very easily.”
He has also worked with international directors shooting commercials in
India and often their perception of India as exotica has a role to play in
the kind of films they make. “I shot an ad for HSBC which required the
ambience of a dance shoot with a fort façade as the backdrop. They
wanted 200 dancers and elephants and a grand feel to the images. It
was fun doing that too.”
But he continues to be selective about his scripts and directors. “I work
with directors like Prakash Verma, Vinil Mathew, Rajesh Krishnan, who
wait for good scripts and shoot on their own terms. I’ve also shot ads
with Raju (Rajkumar) Hirani and we’ve worked on two feature films
together. It’s nice working with the same directors again because the
tuning is set and it becomes that much easier.”
Muraleedharan is now preparing to shoot Agent Vinod for Shriram
Raghavan and once he immerses himself in the film it’ll be goodbye to
advertising for some time, yet again. “My ad film directors are used to
my ways now. They know that I’m only available if there’s no feature film
underway. I can’t do both things simultaneously.”
In this interaction with R.G. Vijayasarathy, DOP R. Giri talks about his career
and the changing trends in the cinematography today.
He is always cool and composed. Being a veteran director of cine-
matography in the Kannada film industry, R.Giri can command a lot
of attention, but he is always a low profile man, just concentrating
on his work. But his work speaks for him. Recently he made news by
working on a film, Sugreeva, which was shot in just 18 hours creating
a record of sorts in the Kannada film industry.
He has worked for several big projects including the hugely success-
ful films like Budhdhivantha, Anna Thangi, Tavarige Baa Thangi,
Maharaja, Veerappa Nayaka and many others. His other films
include Raavana, Devaru Kotta Thangi, Bhagyadha Balegaara, Mohini,
Shubham, Thipparalli Tharlegalu and Bindaas Hudugi. Giri has really
made an impact with his craft and innovative shot takings. He
believes that discipline and hard work are the most important fac-
tors for progress in the career of cinematographer.
D e s p i t e w o r k i n g i n m a n y
Kannada films and with all the
big directors and superstars you
remain aloof from the limelight.
Why do you remain low profile
I normally shun all film parties
and also the pre-release press
meets of films. What is the use
in talking about our own work
before the release of any film? I
think the cinematographer’s job
has to be analyzed by the people
and the film fraternity after the
release of the film. Our work
should speak for us and I believe
that any amount of trumpeting
your achievements in press
meets will not bring in laurels,
though it may boost your ego a
bit. The appreciation your work
receives in media and also by
fans after watching the film is
more important than media
coverage. I respect the reviews
more than what my colleagues
working with me in films would
tell me about my work. I will
normally disassociate myself
f r o m a n y p r e - p u b l i c i t y
campaigns mainly because my
job is to just translate the vision
of a director on screen and the
film is just a reflection of a
But every artiste and technician
thinks he is a commodity in
today’s competitive world and
wants to promote himself?
Don’t you feel isolated in this
I don’t think the people who are
so conscious about films will
accept whatever is said in press
meets. Louis Armstrong, one of
the greatest exponents of Jazz,
is believed to have said, “If you
cannot blow your own trumpet,
who else will?” But I think
Armstrong, being a genius, must
have said it in jest. Even his
achievements were appreciated
by music lovers and were not
analyzed in the background of
the statements made by him. I
don’t think I have been isolated
in this industry as every film
personality knows that I am
greatly skilled and I have my
work in films to prove that I can
Your recent film Sugreeva was shot in just
18 hours and is discussed for its planning,
execution and detailed homework. How was
this hard task accomplished?
I think Sugreeva will be a memorable film for
all the people who were associated with it
including the spot boys who had worked for it.
It was a victory for team work and the
artistes, technicians and workers in the
Kannada film industry showed that they can
plan and execute well to make a reasonably
good film, which can be interesting for the
audience for more than two hours. Sugreeva
had 10 film directors and 10 cinemato-
graphers working in tandem. I had worked
with film director Pramod Chakravarthy with
whom I share a good rapport. I had earlier
worked under his direction in a comedy film
called Golmaal which is yet to be released. I
had also worked as cinematographer in many
films produced by his brother Sheshu
Chakravarthy. We had nearly 18 sequences to
be shot in the main hall of Raja Rajeshwari
Hospital where the entire film was shot. We
started shooting for the film at six a.m. on
October 11, 2009 and finished our shooting
just 10 minutes before 12.00 p.m. on the same
day. Clearly it was a big achievement!
Can you briefly tell us about your background
and how you were drafted into films?
Frankly I am not that well educated and was
not trained in any film institute. I just worked
under cameraman-director Dinesh Babu in
my younger days. I learnt all the basics
working under him and his then assistant
P.K.H. Doss, who is himself an accomplished
cinematographer now. Working with Babu sir
was more than attending a training workshop.
He would use available equipments and also
shoot in existing light to get the best frames.
And he would also work with greater speed.
Both Babu and Doss were perfect in choosing
the lighting pattern for a particular sequence. I
think cinematographers can make a great
impact by using very ordinary equipment if
they can perfectly do the lighting work. Then I
got the first break to work as an independent
cinematographer in the film Nighatha which
was directed by my brother-in-law S.Narayan
who had also become a film producer with
that film. The film was shot in hilly areas and
also in some inaccessible terrain. We used to
go to the interiors with all the equipment and
shoot the film. It was a good experience. Later
on I worked with S.Narayan in many films,
after which I was drafted to work by other film
directors. Now, I am working again with my
brother-in-law for the big budget film Veera
Parampare which will have two big artistes like
Sudeep and Ambareesh.
Devaru Kotta Thangi
“I think Kodak is the most
trusted brand for any film
What were some of the big challenges you had
faced during your career?
A film like Shubham was really a challenge. In
Lava Kusha which had two superstars like
Shivaraj Kumar and Upendra working for it, I
had to shoot some of the action sequences in
a limited time frame. The stunt choreographer
had done his homework and was ready with
his shots, but I had to make arrangements for
the lighting at a brisk speed. I was able to get
things right and the action sequences in the
film were much appreciated. Budhdhivantha
was another film which was memorable
because we had to shoot the songs in China
and also in Himalayas in extremely difficult
situations. Frankly there are many of them,
but I can not recount those things
As a cinematographer you must have seen
many changes in filmmaking trends… what is
your take on these recent changes in the
In a way I think every film is a challenge in
these days when explosion of talent is seen in
today’s films. Also new innovations and new
type of cameras and equipments are hitting
the market. And well-educated trained talents
are being introduced in the camera
department. Cinematographers of today need
to learn more about all the new inventions,
equipments and even the new trends that are
seen in films today. We are seeing today how
digital cameras are entering the fray and we
can find even established film directors like
Kamal Haasan using Red cameras. There are
many Kannada filmmakers who are using the
other forms of digital cameras. I think the new
technology is spreading its wings very fast
and cinematographers should know the
contemporary trends in the industry.
You are normally using the Kodak negatives..
why this particular brand?
I think Kodak is the most trusted brand for
any film cinematographer today.
Painting Pradip Chakraborty tells Malabi Sen
How did the journey into movies take off?
Towards the end of 1975 I worked under V. Balasaheb as an assistant, and then under Dilipranjan
Mukherjee. I assisted Manmohan Singh also. In 1986 my father died and I shifted to Kolkata. My
work as independent cinematographer started in 1988, with Dr. Swapan Saha working in his film,
Chandrabati Katha. I worked with Ratan Adhikary in his films Shakti, Jibantrishna, Parichay, Anurag,
Apan Halo Par; Premee directed by Bikash Banerjee. I also worked with Salilmoy Ghosh in his film
Ekti Meye Tamasi. Now I am shooting Pranab Choudhury’s film Ekti Musolmanir Galpo, based on
Rabindranath Tagore’s story.
Did you come across the demarcation between art or parallel cinema?
There can only be a good, well-made film and a badly made film. No other line of demarcation
exists, if I may say so. In this context, I can recall, we were shooting a film Aanchal starring Amol
Palekar in Mumbai, he was also saying he does not believe in art film per se, a film can be either
good or bad. Technically all films are the same where the actual job of filmmaking is concerned. In
art cinema you get less intercutting, the emphasis is on storytelling, it is much less jerky to the
eyes. For commercial movies, the ‘commerce’ part is much more important, getting the money back
that is invested in making the film remains all important to the producer rather than thinking in
terms of quality. The money counting starts even before shooting commences. I still remember
with affection a film of mine that was left incomplete, called Jibanjapan directed by Sauren Basu.
Only three or five days of shooting was left when work got stalled due to unavoidable
circumstances. In that film my work was compared to one of my gurus, Saumendu Roy, I felt very
elated then, but the film has been left incomplete all these years.
Sauren had stressed at every point the mood of the scene, the visual treatment when a guy goes
out for work in the morning and the afternoon when the womenfolk staying at home are taking a bit
of nap has an altogether different treatment visually, lighting-wise or whichever way you look at it.
Sauren stressed not only mood, but also the colour temperature to be used of the raw stock. In the
afternoon just before sunset we used 2000K, the orange tone of light we get, then Sauren tried to
visualize it. A thousand pities this film could not be completed. It is my bad luck as a
cinematographer. For a director a film is like a child unborn, in its process of making.
that he does not let problems
affect the quality of his work.
Pradip Chakraborty wanted to become
an artist and get admitted into the
Government Art College in Kolkata.
But the paucity of funds held him back.
So, he decided to do a three-year still
photography course at the Jadavpur Insti-
tute of Printing Technology.
On completing this course he left for
Mumbai, and with the help of famous art
director, Sudhendu Roy, found a place at
Natraj Studios as an observer under great
cinematographer V.K. Murthy and others
like G. Singh, A.G. Prabhakar,
Alok Dasgupta and Bipin Gajjar.
is the platform,
is the look and eye
of the film.”
Do you get the equipment and stock you
We suffer a lot. Availability of good lenses to a
good quality camera harangues us always.
The lens is the eye of the camera, the lens is
prime. What we get here is for me a third
hand camera, not even second hand!
Supposing we could get Panavision cameras,
it would have been great. Some Arri 4s have
come into the market, but the lenses are still
old. Getting a good lab is also a problem. The
standard of Kodak Image Lab out there in
Mumbai is a dream for us, we cannot afford to
do our processing there due to stiff budgetary
constraints. Bengali films suffer due to budget
as the market is only regional and hence
limited. If you have a good director with
excellent technical concepts, the results are
bound to be good. But that is, a bit rare, I
might say. Here mostly the production
manager takes up all the responsibilities, and
force us to work not exactly up to the mark.
Supposing you have a three-storey house, the
light cannot be thrown up to the second
storey even. Equipments are a major problem
for me. Once I asked for a 16 mm camera, but
it gave me soft focus. 16 mm is more difficult
than 35 mm, when blown up to 35 mm the
focus goes out. Photography is the platform,
cinematography is the look and eye of the
For me 100ASA-EXR or Extended Range is a
favourite, I use 5219 500T — very good
contrast film with excellent latitude, I can use
differing filters in this Kodak stock both for
indoors and outdoors. I use mostly Tungsten
films, I am yet to use Daylight stocks, they are
a bit risky for indoors, I must use a blue filter
which would decrease the speed, conversion
“I insist on using
Kodak stock for its
rich, golden tone.
It brings out
magnificently the skin
tones of an actor,
I can freely play
with light and shade
with Kodak stock ”
I insist on using Kodak stock for its rich, golden tone. It brings out magnificently the skin tones of an
actor, I can freely play with light and shade with Kodak stock. In one case, I was shooting using
cinemascope, which creates problems with lenses as it is. But since I was using Kodak stock I could
work very smoothly, that way Kodak has no parallel.
About Day for Night I am yet to use it — lot of lights would be needed which is a waste in our
shoestring budget here. Many mathematical problems would have to be worked out, the night sky
we see is deep, one has to look out for the exposure, the sky can have 8, the face of the actor 4,
then sky must be done one stop under.
Normally after 4 p.m. daylight keeps decreasing fast, reflected light decreases with it. I try to finish
within 4 p.m. Some directors draw the shooting after 4 or 5 p.m. even, no sky glare is there. I do not
like working in this kind of time. Artificial lights do not match with daylight and the mismatch can
For me, mood lighting is all important, in Ratan Adhikary’s film there was a night-scene, I enquired
about the time, he said about 2 to 2.30 p.m. at night. Then inside the room may be only the night
lamp would remain as source, outside spill light from streetlights in a verandah outside. Many
directors discuss all this in detail with me.
In a film called Khannan there were white-washed walls to be shot. I made the art director Samir
Kundu make four different whites on the walls, on which I did the lighting, each using a different
pattern. Inside the room cross lighting is essential to avert reflected light coming from the white
walls. 5219 500T is my favourite stock.
Is Cube projection an answer to bad projection?
Cube loses all details in long-throw long shots or even panoramic views. Mid or close shot is okay.
Due to monetary problems my answer is analog which I prefer most. I can control the shot
compositions etc. all in the final print. Dilipranjan Mukherjee used to say it is better to be abused by
one inside the sets than be abused by lakhs on screen. He insisted on quality camerawork.
What about low-key shots?
For low-key, the negative thins out, I prefer mid-key.
And the actors' skin tones?
When I was working with make-up artistes like Debi Haldar, I used to tell them to give an orange
touch to fair skins, on blackish skin no make-up at all. I have seen artistes of the stature of Shashi
Kapoor and Jeetendra or Rakesh Roshan or Rajendra Kumar not using much make-up at all.
Where Black and White is concerned, I did only one documentary by Bibek Banerjee called
Kidnapped, it was very tough controlling the grey scales. People, after using Black and White once,
feel they have to learn lots more.
DOP should be
Amal Neerad was preparing for the shoot
of his third feature, Anwar,
when K B Venu met him at Kochi.
like a meek wife ”
Amal Neerad carved his niche as a stylish cinematographer and filmmaker, armed with his excellent academic background as an alumnus of
the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute and an unflinching commitment to mainstream cinema. Amal’s diploma film won the national
award for best cinematographer in the short feature section. Later he stayed in Berlin for two years as part of an exchange programme and
made a short film called Fourth World. Before starting his career as a filmmaker Amal had his stint as cinematographer with the Varma Corpora-
tion. Both the Malayalam feature films he directed were commercial hits and had attracted the young audience in the State.
How did your passion for films begin
Right from high school days my dream was to
join for direction course at the FTII. The year I
graduated from Maharaja’s College,
Ernakulam, was a zero admission year at FTII.
So I started doing my post graduation. Again,
the next year also was a zero year in the
Institute. At that time, the Satyajit Ray Film
and Television Institute had started
functioning in Kolkata and I joined its first
batch as a student of cinematography.
W h y d i d y o u j o i n a s a s t u d e n t o f
I had in fact applied for the direction course.
At that time, the film institutes in the country
had insisted that students of cinematography
and editing should possess a degree in
science. History was my subject for
graduation. But a science degree was optional
according to the SRFTI rules. I had a stint as a
still photographer during my college days and
won several accolades in youth festivals for
photography. I had some stills with me when I
appeared for the interview. The board,
comprising of stalwarts of the Satyajit Ray era
were impressed by those stills. They advised
me to opt for cinematography and I agreed.
Perhaps I am the first ever cinematography
student in the country without a science
degree, to study in a national film institute. I
had won a National Award for best
cinematographer for my diploma film, Meena
Jha, in the short feature section. At that time,
there was a German exchange programme
going on. As part of the programme, I went to
Berlin along with a direction student in the
SRFTI. We spent two years there and did a
short film called Fourth World. I wrote the
script and wielded camera for the film. It was
shot in 35 mm format and was shown in
several film festivals across the country.
Why did you go to Bollywood before entering
the Malayalam industry?
My decision was to work in Malayalam films.
In fact I was determined not to migrate to
Bollywood. Most of the students passing out
from national film institutes chose to work in
other languages, especially Hindi. They went
to Mumbai either from Pune or from Kolkata. I
had some regional spirits when I passed out
from the Institute. I spent two years in Kerala,
waiting for chances to work in Malayalam
films. Though I had two short films to my
credit, one a National Award winner and the
other made in Berlin, nobody showed any
interest in me. Many directors appreciated my
showreel but there was no space for me in
their films. They said the producers were not
interested in experimenting with a new
cinematographer. But since I was active in
making advertisement films, I had no financial
problems. By October 2003, I got a call from a
director belonging to the Varma Corporation
who had watched my diploma film. I sent him
the showreel. Since Ram Gopal Varma was
the producer of the film, the next day itself I
got the flight ticket. I went to Mumbai and did
the film James with them. Then came the
Malayalam film Black, directed by Ranjith. I
came to Kerala almost like a cinematographer
belonging to the Bollywood, did the film and
went back. I worked two more films for Varma
Corporation—Darna Zaroori Hain and Shiva.
Then came your directorial debut, Big B…
It was because of Mammootty who was doing
the lead role in Black that I could do my first
film. While I was shooting for Black, I was not
aware of the norms of the Malayalam film
industry and was not very close to the hero.
However, after this film, it was Mammootty
himself who expressed willingness to listen to
a script if I had one to narrate. At that time
Varma Corporation had asked me to direct a
film for them. But I chose to work this project
with Mammootty because I wanted to do my
debut film in that kind of a space. Mammootty
is the only star in Malayalam who provides a
comfortable working space for a debutant
director. The entire crew comprise fresh
hands — the director, scriptwriter,
cinematographer, editor, costume designer,
poster designer… almost everyone in the
technical crew were debutants. We all got this
opportunity because Mammootty was willing
to work with such a team.
Stills from Anwar
Your films belong to the mainstream category and exhibit offbeat
trends. What were your influences as a student of cinema?
I used to watch all kinds of movies right from my school days. A
mainstream Tamil movie and Antichrist by Lars von Trier can impart
equal amount of excitement to me. I was a member of the Cochin Film
Society, which screened a number of classic movies. And, there was a
video library called Video House in Ernakulam which had almost all
volumes of Bergman, Visconti, Godard and Bunuel. That way I was an
avid film watcher right from the VHS era. Even after joining the Institute,
I used to go out to the theatres every second or third day though there
were regular screening on the campus and the school had a vast video
So you do not differentiate between the genres?
I had always tried to escape from being branded as an intellectual
filmmaker. That is how mainstream cinema and public usually consider
film institute products. That cap will become a handicap when they
enter the mainstream industry. I believe in the power and brilliance of
mainstream cinema. I will tell you an example. Any other director can
plan a different film with the subject of the next film I am making. I
mean, the same theme can be converted into an art house type movie. I
have seen the kind of crowd in Nandan theatre in Kolkota. I will not be
excited if my film is received by that kind of an audience only. I don’t
want to entertain those people. I can very well sit with them and talk
about great films. I want to be part of popular cinema and communicate
to the masses.
What is your new film Anwar all about?
Anwar is different from my previous films. My first two films had their
thrust in cinematic elements. They were cinematic from the very first
shot. Anwar is going to deal with a more realistic and contemporary
issue. At the same time, I have no plan and intention to preach anything
to the masses. I want to prove that many “rights” and many “wrongs”
exist in our world. The concept of right and wrong is never the same for
different people. The main characters in my movie belong to different
realities and have separate concepts of truth. Anwar is all about the
evolution of these characters. And, I want it to be an absolutely
You are a trained cinematographer. But you employ others to wield
camera for your films. Is it because you believe more in donning the
mantle of director?
That may be my way of taking revenge. (Laughs) After coming from
SRFTI I had spent two years here with the hope of becoming a
cinematographer in Malayalam movies. I have grown up watching
Stills from Anwar
excellent cinematographers like Venu and Santosh Sivan.
Cinematographers from Kerala still have that legacy. In Mumbai,
Malayali cinematographers have a place of their own. It is almost like
bearing an ISI mark. I still remember Bharathan’s Thazhvaram and
Padmarajan’s Innale, both cinematographed by Venu, released almost
simultaneously in my city. According to me that is the ultimate
versatility in cinematography. Those films were different from each
other. I do not believe that the cinematographer should have his
signature in cinema. That is the reason why I like Innale and
Thazhvaram. You will never say that these films were cinematographed
by the same person. The cinematographer must behave like a meek and
obedient wife who can help in the progress of materializing the director’s
vision of the film.
A number of film school educated Malayali technicians, mostly
cinematographers, go to Bollywood and other filmmaking lands after
trying their luck in Malayalam cinema. That had caused deterioration in
the quality of cinematography in Malayalam at a particular period. I will
be very happy if ten new cinematographers come up in Malayalam
because of my films. The historic significance of my first film, Big B, is
that it had an altogether fresh crew. Usually when a director makes his
debut, the technical crew will consist of experienced hands. But it was
the vision of a handful of newcomers that made all the difference in Big
B. Like any other part of the country, there are fresh cinematic talents in
Kerala too. Given hope, care, space and technical assistance these
youngsters too can work as excellently as the technicians we import
from other industries providing luxurious facilities. For me, a first time
cinematographer who is willing to do anything for his maiden venture is
more acceptable than some one who is established in the industry. Even
I don’t want to be a professional cinematographer. It is like doing any
other ordinary job. Satheesh Kurup, the cinematographer of my new
venture, spent an entire month for location hunt. I won’t get a
professional cinematographer to do this job for me.
How do you view the advent of state of the art gadgets and devices in
I believe in the strength of celluloid despite the advent of digital
technology in different formats. My first film was shot in super 16. The
next one was shot in Super 35 mm. But in Anwar, I am using a mix of four
formats. As for the stock, I have used only Kodak. I am a hundred per
cent orthodox Kodak believer right from the film school days. I propose
to use their Vision 3 for Anwar. Even for the advertisement films I shoot, I
use Kodak. It gives the satisfaction of portraying Indian skin tones to
near perfection. I am a cinematographer who insists on printing in Kodak
Ravi Yadav has certainly
created a record. His direc-
torial debut Maro Charitra is
the first movie in the Telugu
industry to have director who
is also the cinematographer.
“A Finger in
What is your current movie
Maro Charitra about?
Every movie buff in India must
have heard and seen Ek Duuje Ke
Liye. Maro Charitra of 1978 is the
original Telugu movie, directed
by veteran K. Balachander which
was made later made as Ek
Duuje Ke Liye. It was one of the
biggest hits of Telugu cinema
and is among the best romantic
movies of all times.
As I was passing through Times
Square in New York a few years
ago, I suddenly had a brainwave:
What if we could shoot an
emotional scene or song about
two Indian lovers here? That
thought became a fire and I
decided to debut as a director
with this great love story. That is
why I chose Maro Charitra as the
base and developed a similar
story. Only this time, the lovers
are based in the US and it is a
‘now’ generation movie.
I h a v e a l s o d o n e t h e
cinematography for the movie. It
was an astounding experience
to be the director and drive the
movie ahead and also be the
cinematographer and give my
thoughts a vision. It was all so
Normally, any other director
would have asked me why I
chose to shoot from a particular
angle or direction. I would have
to explain, even defend, and
perhaps give up on it, even if I am
convinced it works out great for
the movie. This time, I just went
ahead and tried a lot of shots
that I have always wanted to.
As a cinematographer, can you
tell us a few technical aspects
about Maro Charitra?
I shot the entire movie in super
35 format using subdued,
minimal and almost nil lighting
throughout the movie. I shot the
entire movie only one stock –
Kodak 200 ASA 5217 stocks. I
used an Arri Master Prime lens
with three perforations. I have
used so less lighting in some
shots that even those in the
industry will be zapped. I have
never used even a single direct
light; but opted for soft, diffused
light – atmospheric, mood
lighting to bring out the
emotions. We shot for 90 days
across four countries.
I personally liked the scene
where we shot a 360 degree
scene around a house in Dubai.
The house did not have space
Even after having worked as a
cinematographer for Hindi,
Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and
M a l a y a l a m , e v e n a n
occasional English movie,
Yadav is still not content. He
Ravi Yadav talks to Manju Latha Kalanidhi about his dreams and ambitions.
“I know that
around it for camera navigation,
but it was crucial that we run
the camera around the house. It
was very dark and we could not
place lights because of lack of
space. I used the shadows of the
dark light to bring out the scene.
I also love the opening shot of
the movie where we used a
helicopter about 200 ft above
the ground for a grand shot. The
shot at Niagara Falls also is
among my favourites.
Since we were working on a low
budget and a super small crew,
it was important to keep costs
low while still making the
product rich and on a bigger
canvas. Perhaps, being a
cinematographer really helped
me as I could choose my
l o c a t i o n s w i t h o u t m u c h
difficulty. I chose New York for
its sheer vibrancy which
translates equally vibrantly on
screen, Las Vegas for its glitz
and Dubai for its profundity. By
showing good wisdom in the
choice of places, we could easily
c u t c o s t s o n l a v i s h a n d
Is it true that the crew was less
“Kodak’s versatility gives me the freedom
to shoot the scene at my own pace.”
Yes, we are a crew of 17 and that
is certainly a record. Typically,
most Telugu movies of this
budget have about 100 or so.
Surprisingly, it was not just me
who doubled up as a DOP and a
director, but everybody took on
e x t ra ro l e s . Th e c a m e ra
assistant willing became a
camera operator and so on. The
chief assistant director Arun
Prasad did everything from
running around to impromptu
improvisations. So did the co-
director Nirmal Roy.
How do you keep yourself
updated in your profession?
I visit a lot of trade shows
abroad. I recently went for a
show in Amsterdam. Such
shows display the latest
equipment and techniques and I
get to meet experts in the field. I
also pore over the literature and
research extensively on the Net
about my equipment. I am
theory-first-practice-next guy. I
do my homework before every
What was Kodak’s role in your
movie making experiment?
Kodak’s versatility gives me the
freedom to shoot the scene at
my own pace. Whether I
underexpose or overexpose, I
know that Kodak reproduces my
vision impeccably. I have worked
on Kodak on 24 of my 25
Tell us about your background
and your entry into movies.
I am a Telugu who spent a major
part of my growing up years at
Chennai. My passion for movies
made me discontinue my
Bachelors degree in Science at
t h e p r e s t i g i o u s M a d r a s
Christian College and enroll
myself at the Madras Film
I did not seriously assist
anybody after my filmmaking
course. I hung around the sets of
Chembarti and after a few
months of being with Rajeev
Menon, I got my first break with
Pudiya Vanam in 1987. I have
done about 25 movies so far in
H i n d i , Tam i l , M a l aya l a m ,
Kannada and even in English. I
enjoyed working for big ticket
cinemas such as Race, 36 China
Town, Socha Na Tha and Aitraaz.
In Telugu, I worked for the award
winning movie Show. I have shot
over 100 ad films including the
Hyundai Verna ad. Now, I wanted
to get a little deeper into
moviemaking and have decided
to direct a movie. Eventually, I
want to write scripts, do the
screenplay, work behind the
camera and direct it. I want my
finger in every pie.
What is your next project?
I am working for the Akshay
Kumar starrer titled Thank You
and directed by Anees Bazmee.
Manoj Paramahamsa may be just three
films old but the industry can’t stop raving
about this young DOP’s work. From creat-
ing a world of dark grey tones for the
thriller Eeram, to shifting to a complete
contrast of white for Vinnai Thandi
Varuvaya, he has succeeded in establish-
ing himself as a force to reckon with.
“My entry into the film industry was
scheduled; my father Babu is a director and
decided that, but I got to choose which area I
would enter. I accompanied him on shootings
ever since I was in the seventh standard and
at that time, cameras were a big mystery. Dad
worked with big cinematographers who also
happened to be his classmates, they were
very close to me. B. Kannan had done a lot for
Dad and as I watched with interest, they
decided I would be a cameraman.
“I was never interested in writing and
preferred the technical side. I joined the Film
Institute at Chennai and everything I thought
about cinema changed. I wanted to go to
Mumbai, but did not want me to struggle the
way he did when he entered the industry. It
was then I got an opportunity to work with
DOP Saravanan with whom I worked from
2001 to 2007 on nearly 15 films and almost
all were hard core commercial films.
“One day I received a call from Manikantan,
my friend and director Gautham Menon’s
associate. He had recommended me for a film
and I was asked to shoot a scene for
Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikaalam. A fairly simple
shot with wet roads on which four youngsters
“The shutter was kept fully
were walking. The first take was as usual but
in the second take I tilted the camera down
and captured the action of their feet stepping
over wet stones. When I said “Cut,” Gautham
was very excited because I had canned
something he never asked me to do, yet suited
the concept and he appreciated me a lot.”
Director Arivazhagan of Eeram along with
Manikantan had been his room mate. They
had spent a lot of time together and discussed
films and they knew about Manoj’s talent.
Arivazhagan was working with director
Shankar. He wanted to do a scratch film for
Eeram and Manoj shot a trailer on a handicam
and showed it to Shankar who was impressed
open and we used eye
adjustment and simply trusted
Kodak. Kodak gave us
the eerie effect
Divya K goes into
“We prepared everything for the film six
months ahead of shooting including the
complete script and full storyboard,” he
recalls. “We spent a long time finding a grey
apartment for the film as it plays a key role.
We were given permission for just 12 hours to
shoot the entire night sequence and we used
just one light. I used 5219 for the night and
climax and 5217 for the rest of the film.
“When I started Eeram, there were two things
I wanted to be very sure about, one was stock
because of the black and where it was going
to be processed. I wanted Rama Naidu Lab, a
Kodak certified lab who could reproduce the
black I wanted. They recommended 5217 and
they gave me tips on handling that. The
shutter was kept fully open and we used eye
adjustment and simply trusted Kodak.
Whether the look was bright or deep, we
knew that Kodak’s latitude would support us,
even up to five stops underexposure, we knew
the details would be there. Kodak gave us the
eerie effect and consistency.
Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya
“In Eeram, we have used HDRI imaging,
something that has not been done so far in
Indian graphics. When I heard the script, I
decided the CG effects needs and wanted the
water movement to be in our control. Normally,
the reason CG portions do not look authentic is
that they cannot match the contrast ratio on the
shooting floor. We gave Indian Artists, our CG
team, a very good reference. A highly reflective
silver ball was placed wherever the CG was to
appear and was underexposed 10 stops and
also overexposed 10 stops. This gave us the
maximum highlight and maximum shadow and
we gave this reference to our CG artists. The
water simulation took six to seven months.
“We needed motion control but the budget
would not permit us to hire rigs for this so we
made our own solution. After taking a shot,
we would record on Nagra. Then we would
make markers and then take the next shot in
sync. That way, whenever high end equipment
was needed and we could not afford it, we
made our own creative solutions.
“The DI processed songs in
Kodak Labs which gave me
consistency and even grain
“The director did not want to see sunlight
anywhere in the film so we canned master
shots before sunrise. We also used a heavy
frost diffuser which we had specially
imported. And when we happened to shoot in
sunlight, it gave us an overcast feel and evenly
diffused shadows which would have been lost
in a normal diffuser.
“Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya was a complete
contrast to Eeram. I was surprised that
Gautham Menon wanted whites and this was
challenging. He said it’s a conversational love
story but not colourful as its an authentic
story and I don’t want it cinematic. He gave
me a lot freedom and lot of time for lighting.
“We mostly shot in a white house upstairs and
downstairs where the hero and heroine lived
respectively. We also shot a 450-year-old
church in Alleppey. The major songs were shot
in Malta where the houses are all off white.
The costumes were also white in the film.
“If you diffuse white with white it gets pale so
we used sunlight for 80 per cent of the film
and you can feel it. When we lost ambient
light we used a heavy light to simulate
sunlight. The sun was kept in the camera and
shot from the opposite angle which brought in
plenty of overexposure, we have captured the
brightest spot to the shadows in one shot. We
also used a lot of cut lights and shadows
within frame contrast.
“I used a lot of 5205 and then Kodak launched
5207, an enhancement and this really helped
achieve what I wanted to. We desaturated the
colours in DI, this enhanced the whites and
removed 50 per cent of the colours. Since the
locations are glossy many do not realize this. I
had no tones in the film and instead kept it
had neutral as I wanted it to feel real with a
breezy look. The DI processed songs in Kodak
Labs which gave me consistency and even
“On of the most challenging shots was when
the hero goes to see the heroine in the middle
of the night at a place set against the
backwaters. There was no light source.. and
we had to place the helium light in the water
and this was our main source light, the rest
were tiny serial lights. The wind was heavy,
yet we had to ensure that it would not move.
It cost around Rs 2.5- 3 lakhs just for this light
per day and this is probably the first time it
has been used in Tamil cinema.
“The hero Simbu looks different because his
hairstyle and less makeup make him look
fresh. Normally, the hero is given enhanced
lighting, but here we did not do special for
him. There is one shot where the hero and
heroine are lighted just with the headlamp of
a car complete with red tint. It was five stops
underexposed and it’s a Kodak shot! The film
was shot in Telugu too and titled Ne Mayu
Chesthaney. It was similar to the Tamil version
except for certain locations. We improved the
“I am currently working in an untitled film
with Gautham Menon starring Sameera
Reddy. I want to do good cinema. I would like
to move to Bollywood and then world
Stills from Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya
Anil Nair is enjoying his second innings in films. Starting his career in movies as an assis-
tant with Ravi K. Chandran, Nair became an independent cinematographer and worked for
couple of films. Then he turned to the television medium and became a prominent DOP in
teleserials. After spending a decade as a television cameraman, he came back to films with
two successful hits, Ivar Vivahitharayal and Happy Husbands. Now he has completed his
latest work with Joshi, one of the most prominent directors in Malayalam industry.
How did you start your career as a
I was a still photographer covering marriage
f u n c t i o n s b e f o r e v e n t u r i n g a s a
cinematographer. While doing my graduation
in mathematics I used to cover functions in
the college. After completing my graduation, I
became a full-time still photographer. Then I
became an assistant of Rameshkumar,
cameraman in the Chitranjali Studio at
Thiruvananthapuram. He was involved mainly
in shooting documentary films. After that,
when I had a desire to work in movies director
Priyadarshan recommended me to Ravi K.
Chandran and I became his assistant. Kabhi
Na Kabhi was my first film with him.
Anil Nair shares
the ups and downs
in his career
with K.B. Venu.
at the box-office.
Priyadarshan’s Virasat and Shaji Kailas’ The
King were the important films on which I
worked with him. I spent two years with
Chandran. Then Sree Shanker, when he
became an independent cinematographer,
invited me to join him as an associate. I
worked on about 15 films with him. In 1999,
after working for four years as an associate, I
became an independent cinematographer
with the film My Dear Karadi, directed by
Sandhya Mohan. But that film was not a
success at the box-office. I did two more films
and they too met with the same fate. Then
Baiju Devaraj, a serial director, invited me to
work with him. The serial, Sthreejanmam, was
a mega hit and I got the Film Critics’ Award
for the work. I was in television serials for the
next seven years. All were mega serials on
leading television channels. I became friends
with Saji Surendran when he directed the
serial Alippazham. Then we worked together
for six more serials. In the meanwhile, director
Jose Thomas invited me for the film Youth
Festival. I did the film and it too was a failure
Why didn’t you try your luck in films again
immediately after that?
I preferred to stay with the television industry
then. Once again I went back to the world of
serials. While shooting the serial Ammakkayi,
our team consisting of Saji Surendran and
Krishna Poojappura resolved to take up a film
project. That was how the film Ivar
Vivahitharayal directed by Saji Surendran
happened. Krishna Poojappura was the
scriptwriter. The film was a success and my
work as a cinematographer caught the
attention of the public and the industry. Then I
got the opportunity to be part of Kerala Café,
a collection of ten short films by different
directors under the leadership of Ranjith. I
worked with Padmakumar who directed the
first segment in the film. Then came Happy
Husbands, directed by Saji and written by
Krishna. While engaged in the grading of this
film, I got a call from director Joshi. That is
how I happened to do his latest movie,
Christian Brothers, starring Mohan Lal.
Your training as a cinematographer was on
the job. You were not trained in any film
notable movies because of this. I didn’t go
asking for breaks. In fact I was identified
better in television serials. I got six awards in a
row as the best teleserial cinematographer.
Eventually I began to approach my work in a
serious way. I was not that serious with my
earlier film projects. I did things according to
my conviction. I began to experiment with
lighting patterns and other ingredients in
teleserial shooting. That was how I managed
to become prominent as a television serial
DOP. My experience in television serials for
almost a decade imparted confidence in me,
when I started my second innings in films with
You started your apprenticeship under Ravi K,
Chandran and still you couldn’t excel in your
I believe that a cinematographer alone cannot
produce excellent results. He must get
support from various corners. The director’s
involvement is the most important factor. The
director must be a person with a fair
knowledge about the different aspects of
c i n e m a t o g r a p h y . O n l y t h e n t h e
cinematographer can work effectively. It is
also important to have fine equipment and
comfortable working atmosphere. All the
films in the first phase of my career were
completed in shoestring budgets. I got only
2C camera and never used a fine stock like
Kodak. I couldn’t work properly and the
subjects were not treated well. As a result,
those films flopped in all aspects and my work
When did you actually start using Kodak?
I started using Kodak in my second innings in
films. When we planned to do Ivar
Vivahitharayal, the very first thing I had
insisted on was using Kodak. The producer,
who was a relative of the screenplay writer,
never interfered in our work. He was
concerned only about the quality of the
movie. The process of making that film had
the spirit of teamwork.
What is the advantage you find in working
Kodak is a reliable stock. Watching my latest
work, Happy Husbands, director Viji Thampi
telephoned Saji Surendran and asked whether
we had done DI on the whole film.
That is definitely an appreciation and
acknowledgment for my work. I was afraid of
the bad results in projection because there are
UFO and Cube projections too. But the film
covered all the shortcomings in the exhibition
system and gave good results in theaters. I
think the stock had a major role to play in this
achieving this excellent result.
A majority of the cinematographers here
complain about the inferior quality of theatres
and projection system. How do you evaluate
Our theatres are not maintained properly. To
ensure high quality of the print, the
cinematographer, director and producer
should work well in advance. We got the first
print of Happy Husbands one week before the
release of the movie. I got enough time to
correct the print. For UFO, I made correction
in the negative itself, shot by shot. Many
theaters here do not follow the rules and
maintain the conditions required for UFO
projection. As a result, the spectators get
imperfect images on the screen. This system
must be standardized as early as possible.
The organizations working in the field must
take initiatives in executing this.
In short, you believe in taking care of your
work until the print is out.
Of course, yes. The cinematographer, director
and the producer should watch the first print
of the film in a theater and ensure its quality.
There are people who complain of poor
projection in theaters even after ensuring
excellent result in the laboratory. That is really
a sad situation. This can be avoided only if the
makers of the film take some precaution.
To what extent can the quality of the print and
projection be improved?
We will not be able to do anything once the
p r i n t s r e a c h t h e t h e a t e r s . T h e
cinematographer can sit along when the print
is transferred into the digital format. I saw the
print of Happy Husbands before release and
was satisfied about its quality. Problems arise
when some theaters hesitate to provide the
required facilities for exhibition. This can be
corrected only by the interference of
How was the experience of working with a
veteran like Joshi?
Joshi’s school is entirely different from others.
I could learn a lot from him. I was fortunate to
have worked with him at this stage of my
career. Joshi had seen the latest film I had
worked. He said his only concern was whether
I would be able to zoom the camera in the
proper manner. After three days of shooting,
he was convinced of my capability in that
area. He was the person who taught me how
to work professionally at a fast pace.
What are your future plans? Since you have
been doing all sorts of popular films, do you
have any plan to change your style?
I have no such ambitions as of now. I don’t
want to be a very busy cameraman. I want to
work with different subjects that allow me to
experiment with camera and lighting.
Hard Work PAYS
Raja Phadtare tells Johnson Thomas
that he considers the industry as his true home.
So how did you make your first entry into film?
When I was studying for my graduation I was already fascinated by the
camera and the images it could create. I found myself more engrossed in
the imagery on the screen than in the story or performances. I was
curious to know what went into the making of those images and this led
me to inquiring about cinematography. My family was totally against my
entering this line so I had to run away and come to Mumbai to pursue
my dreams. I joined Kirti College to complete my education and soon
after I was lucky enough to get a break in 1998 with the great Ashok
Mehta on his film Moksh as the twelfth assistant to the DOP. It wasn’t
paid position but I was eager to learn, and learn from him I did!
From his initial days as a struggler in Mumbai to his present status as a recognized DOP in the regional
language (Marathi) circuit, Raja Phadtare has come long way. Cinema was always his passion. He
used to steal away from home to watch films in the single theater close to His village. Since a new film
was exhibited every week, he used to be there every week and some days when he was not busy with
studies, he used to watch the same film over and over again. He believe this gave him great perspective.
Wasn’t it tough for you in those days?
Yes it was tough but I was willing to work hard and struggle through to
my big break. While in college I undertook course in still photography
which gave me solid base. Thereafter I was working in theatre, doing the
light designing for plays, before I met Ashok Mehta, who was kind
enough to take me on as an assistant on his project. Initially I was just
doing the menial tasks but I paid attention to what was happening on the
camera side and that helped improve my knowledge and gave me the
confidence to approach others for work. The first year I was just an
interested observer on the sets. It’s only after the first year that Ashokji
let me handle the camera. I spent over two years under Mehtaji’s
tutelage and I must say that those two years taught me most of the skill I
put to use today. Ashok Mehta is the master of lighting and through keen
observation and hard work I have been able to use what knowledge I
obtained from him in the work I have done so far.
What did you do next? Were you
able to get other positions as
Those days it was quite tough
for me. I had no money and my
parents were not supporting me
with any finance and so I had to
find my own solutions. For the
next three years I worked in
television. There was plenty of
work there and serials were a
big fad. But I could not take it for
longer than three years as my
goals were different. I wanted to
establish my career in films and
therefore moved back to
filmmaking. I went South and
worked as Rajiv Ravi’s assistant
in three Tamil films there.
Thereafter I worked with
another DOP, Rajkumar on two
films and in 2007 I came back
to Mumbai to work on my first
project Gal Gale Nighale, a
Marathi film produced by Kedar
Shinde, as independent DOP.
Are you satisfied working in the
Marathi film Industry?
I look on it as a challenge. The
budgets are well short of a crore
and though we use good
equipment and cameras (like
the Ari 435) , we do not have as
much at our disposal as that on
a Hindi film set. So we are
always cutting corners and
trying to achieve better results
despite the obvious handicaps.
It has been a satisfactory
experience so far and I have
been able to learn much more
than if I had started in Hindi
cinema. But now I do feel it is
time for me to give Hindi cinema
Have you been using Kodak in all
Once you get used to getting the
kind of results you get on Kodak
then it’s hard to go back to
a n o t h e r p r o d u c t . I a m
completely satisfied by the
results that Kodak gives me. I
usually use Vision 3 . It gives me
unbelievable results. Canvas was
the first film I shot on Kodak
Vision 3 and I used it for exterior
shoots as well as interior shoots.
The saturation levels were
f a n t a s t i c . I w a s a b l e t o
experiment a lot with the film
and it all came good. My work
on Canvas was appreciated by
most people from the industry.
Producers and directors began
to recognize my worth after
that. For Partner I used 500T
and when I checked it out on the
telecine, again the results were
just as I desired. The colour
saturation levels are great and
there are no grains despite the
film being shot on Super 16. For
Babu Band Baja, I am using 500T
for the exterior shots and 250D
for the interiors.
How do make your decision on
the stock you need to use for a
The story is the deciding factor
for me. Depending on the story I
take a call on the stock. I read
the script, do the requisite test
shoot and only then do I finalize
what I would need as raw stock.
When I was shooting Canvas in
which there were a series of
murders to shoot, I had to
specifically test 500T stock to
see whether the night shots
would appear consistent or not.
Kodak brings consistency to my
work and DI helps when there is
a need to bring in new elements.
I am in fact looking forward to
using Kodak’s new Vision3 stock
which I am told is the best you
Attar Singh Saini’s life could have taken a
different turn if he had done Karan Johar’s
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, a film he was first offered.
But what’s commendable about his
achievements as a cameraman is that his
work has received praise even though the
films he has shot haven’t fared well. From
Chocolate to Radio, Saini has tried to make his
visuals as life-like as possible and make
optimum use of location light and ambience.
He wants to be part of a successful film and
hopes that a good script will lead the way.
Success is a State of Mind
Attar Singh Saini tells Deepa Deosthalee that he is not disheartened by the fate of some of his films.
Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal
It’s been a long journey for Attar Singh Saini
from a small village in Haryana to the
glamorous world of Hindi cinema. The shy
cinematographer had no interest in films
through his growing years, but knew he
wanted to do something different. “My
brother couldn’t fulfill his dream of going to
the FTII and so he asked me to apply. I learnt
that there were just six seats in each
department and knew I couldn’t get in without
some filmi connection. Yet I applied and
forgot about it,” he remembers. But he did get
a call for the interview and orientation course
and once he got through, it was a short step
to getting hooked. “Luckily, it didn’t matter
what you already knew when you entered the
“Success is important. If your
visuals are good, but the film
Institute. All they see is how much interest
you have in the subject. And for me it was an
eye-opener because I didn’t know this kind of
cinema exists. When I saw films like Bicycle
Thieves, 8 ½, Knife in the Water and the films of
Andrei Tarkovsky, images from these films
were imprinted on my mind.”
Saini recalls how his teachers encouraged him
to learn from nature and recreate reality.
Gradually he learnt to observe things closely
and study light conditions in every situation.
“Now it’s become second nature.” Fresh from
the Institute, he assisted Surinder Saini on
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na. “I spent several years
doing television shows for MTV, single-
episode series and serials like Baat Ban Jaye
and Ye Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum. The amount of
hard work I put into television was akin to
working on a feature film. I didn’t give up on
the medium because it is a flat image. My
reference point was always cinema.”
fails, you don’t get work.”
Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal
Till one day, Karan Johar approached him for
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. “I showed him my work
and he liked it and said I was on. I told him I
was going away for a month to get married
and by the time I got back, things had
changed and they had hired another
cameraman because they wanted someone
with experience. I think very few people, like
Ram Gopal Varma, have the knack to nurture
new talent.” Eventually, Saini made his debut
with a small film called 7 ½ Phere directed by
Ishan Trivedi. But he got noticed for the stylish
look he gave to Vivek Agnihotri’s 2005 film
Chocolate, which was inspired by the
Hollywood cult film The Usual Suspects. “It is
my endeavour to simulate naturalistic
patterns. In Chocolate I tried to make optimum
use of the ambience of the London locations
where we shot. I usually try to use the light
conditions available on location instead of
injecting lighting which doesn’t match the
scene. I believe simplicity is more difficult to
achieve than hamming.”
While Chocolate didn’t succeed commercially,
his work was widely appreciated and the
visuals were used as reference material for
commercials and films. “Success is important.
If your visuals are good, but the film fails, you
don’t get work. Failure has hampered my
progress, by my work has helped me pull
along. After a point it is disappointing to find
that your work doesn’t get noticed.” And that
seems to have been the story of his career.
Though the moderate success of Dhan Dhana
Dhan Goal may have helped. “Goal has been
my most challenging film so far because being
a sports subject, one was dealing with difficult
situations. Firstly I had to get used to the
rhythm of the game of football, then we had
heavy tele shots and multiple characters and
locations.” Saini’s recent film Radio too didn’t
f a r e w e l l , a l t h o u g h h i s w o r k a s
cinematographer was widely appreciated.
Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai
Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai
“The amount of hard work
I put into television was akin
to working on a feature film.
I didn’t give up on the medium
because it is a flat image.
My reference point was
Next he is working on Milap Zaveri’s Jaane
Kahan Se Aayi Hai. “It has elements of science
fiction and is the story of a girl from outer
space who comes to our world looking for
love.” He also intersperses his film work with
commercials and has shot for innumerable
brands and products including Hyundai
Santro, Sunfeast Biscuits, Rexona deo, Surf
Excel, Pepsodent etc. “Today ad films are
getting more realistic and you can create the
same kind of mood that you do for feature
films. Which is why ad filmmakers prefer
working with feature film DOPs. Advertising
comes with its own satisfaction. You finish
your work in two-three days and because the
scripts are short, in a way, complete
perfection can be achieved.”
Saini who likes to play with the tone of an
image and explore darker areas swears by
Kodak stock. “It gives me the realistic feel I
want. Also the consistency of stock from
batch to batch is unmatched. I like the new
Vision 3 stock – it’s really life-like in terms of
highlight and details.”
Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal
“I like the
new Vision 3 stock –
it’s really life like
in terms of
highlight and details.”
Rahul Jadhav shares his career plans with Deepa Deosthalee
Young cinematographer Rahul Jadhav is trying to make the transition from Marathi to Hindi
cinema and from being a DOP to making his own film. A veteran in television and well-known in
Marathi cinema for films like Aga Bai Arechya and Zenda, he hopes to direct his first film in the near
Jadhav would have had a bureaucratic career if his newfound love for cinema didn’t pulled him in a
different direction. With his middle-class Maharashtrian background, it was obvious his family
preferred he took a good government job instead of roughing it out in the unpredictable world of
film. Fortunately, his father, a still photographer himself, encouraged him, and he became an
assistant to Rakesh Sarang instead. “My father was doing stills for the serial Shriman Shrimati. One
day he couldn’t go to work and I stood in for him. Sarang saw me at work and asked if I’d like to join
him,” he remembers.
He spent nearly five years with the senior DOP before taking off on his own, first in television and
then films. “I shot 700 episodes of Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka and over 300 of Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin. The
latter was very exciting because I approached it like a feature film and experimented a lot with the
look, particularly when we shot her make-over.”
Before long, he was DOP on the sets of Kedar Shinde’s Aga Bai Arechya, loosely inspired by What
Women Want. “I walked into that film with absolutely no experience of working on film. Along with
my partner Raja Satankar (they work together as a team), we split the job between us, made
storyboards and just rid on our confidence to see through the project.” It’s unusual to see a
cinematographer duo. How do they divide the tasks between them? “Sometimes we shoot
independently, or if we’re involved with the same film, one of us operates the camera while the
other handles the lighting etc.” Jadhav has shot a dozen films so far, most of them in Marathi,
though his last release was Tabu-Sharman Joshi starrer Toh Baat Pakki. “Working on Marathi films
can be challenging because often producers don’t have the resources to give the DOP his choice of
locations. You have to make compromises due to budget constraints. When we did Aga Bai Arechya,
it was the costliest Marathi film ever at Rs. 1.5 crore.”
Stills from Aga Bai Arechya
“Kodak film is so good,
it realizes my vision
the way I see it.”
Given that the market for Marathi cinema is
relatively small and yet, the competition is
with the much glossier world of Bollywood,
there’s always an element of uncertainty.
Jadhav’s last Marathi film Avadhoot Gupte’s
Zenda, for instance, didn’t get the kind of pre-
release push it needed and instead, landed up
in a controversy, thereby spoiling its chances
of box-office success. “We had expected
some sort of political backlash to the film
because of its theme, but it came from
unexpected quarters. By the time it released,
pirated prints were already in circulation all
over the state.” Zenda is about the split in a
political party, the feud between two warring
cousins and the ordinary grassroots level
workers whose lives get affected by these
upheavals. The film isn’t flattering to the
political fraternity and allusions to at least
three prominent Marathi leaders are obvious.
“We’d expected Raj Thackeray to react, but he
was surprisingly sporting about the film and
instead, we faced resistance from a group
we’d never heard of, called Swabhiman
(formed by Maharashtra revenue minister
Narayan Rane’s son Nitesh).”
For Jadhav, Zenda was a turning point since
apart from being the DOP, he was also the
film’s Associate Director. “I set my role as
DOP aside for this film because it was so
strongly driven by characterisation that the
camerawork had to be unobtrusive. It also
gave me the opportunity to think from the
director’s point-of-view.” And that’s his next
target — to direct a film of his own. Jadhav is
working on two scripts simultaneously, a
comedy and an offbeat subject against the
backdrop of the Naxalites and farmer suicides
in Vidarbha. “When I approach producers,
some of them like my scripts, but want me to
give them a guarantee that the film will
recover its cost. That’s something no director
But whenever his debut film rolls, he’s sure
he’ll shoot it on Kodak, because “I’ve never
worked with any other stock. I don’t even
know what other stock -- Kodak film is so
good, it realizes my vision and captures
everything exactly the way I see it.”
Divya K meets aspiring cinematographer
Archana Borhade in Chennai.
Archana Borhade is like a bright spark of energy in the film industry. An
engineering graduate, she worked with Wipro Technologies as a
software consultant for a while before turning to where her heart truly
lead her — cinematography. She is currently working as an associate
cinematographer on the Hindi film Joker.
Archana says, “To me, cinematography is to film what soul is to the
body. Whether it is good or bad, stunning or lousy, pretty or gritty it’s
what makes a film and its story visible to us. When you are a
cinematographer and you are looking through the eyepiece of the
camera at the movie unfolding within the frame that you set, with the
lighting that you arranged and you see it happen a millionth of a second
earlier than the rest of the crew crowded around the monitor, there’s a
certain high it gives you and I want to live for that. That’s why its
cinematography for me.
“My interest in cinema started during my childhood when I was the
preferred storyteller of the class. Years later, before my third engineering
term exams, when I was bedridden in the hospital and introspecting
about my life and career choices, childhood memories came flooding
back and I realized that cinema was my calling; I had to tell stories, I had
to make movies because that’s the only way I could be truly happy.
“I took the Mindscreen Film Institute’s six-month associate
cinematographer programme and was the first female student to be
admitted there. We learnt about different cameras, lensing, camera
angles, screen grammar and cinema appreciation accompanied by
practical classes for different types of lighting, composition, camera
movement besides sessions for story boarding, architecture, painting
and field trips. We shot a 20-minute short film called Aasai Mugam
Marandhu Poche, a teenage love story with a tragic twist. This gave us
first hand experience with script work and shot breakdown, telecine and
DI, even the background score. The script included a wide range of
lighting setups and moods.
“Rajiv Menon and I shared a great student-teacher rapport. His sense of
music and rhythm is inspiring and he has an immaculate taste in colors
and textures. It all reflects in the work he does, each of which is
“I have worked as an assistant on Ghajini, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and as an
associate on Drohi (Tamil). I also did second unit work on Drohi and Peter
Gaya Kaam Se (yet to be released). All the films that I have worked on
were shot on Kodak and all the stocks whether it’d be 250D or 50D or
500T have been impeccable in performance.
“The Kodak 5219 500T stock is one of the most brilliant stocks ever. Its
latitude on the highlight side is just spellbinding. So many times during
an outdoor shoot, we took a reflected reading of the sky and thought
‘Oh, this is going to bleach out for sure’ but then when we went back to
the DI suite and saw the details in the clouds, it just blew us away.
Whether it is for outdoors or indoors, it is just the perfect stock to me
but I still have a huge crush over the Kodak 5201 50D for the kind of rich
blacks that it brings out. It’s just beautiful.
“I also have learnt a lot during my visits to the Kodak labs, Mumbai
talking to the qualified professionals such as Mr. Suresh Iyer, Mr.
Solomon and Mr. Amudhavanan who are always so encouraging.
“I have worked with Mr. Ravi K. Chandran and he’s a perfectionist who
brings extraordinary levels of discipline and creativity to his work. It is
just fascinating how much you can learn by just watching him at work.
“I also worked with Mr. Santosh Sivan on one of his short films and it
was an experience of a lifetime. He’s daring, impulsive, a creative genius
and an absolute master of visual storytelling. Mr. Alphonse is a great
teacher and brings a high level of professionalism and articulateness to
“My dream is to become a good cinematographer; to be able to bring
stories to life on the screen and make moments memorable and
evocative, to make the characters relatable and be instrumental in
making cinema that lets the audience have the great movie experience.”
He is just 14, but is already regarded as an accomplished filmmaker. At
the age of nine he had directed his first feature film titled Care of
Footpath featuring many well-known artistes like Jackie Shroff, Sudeep,
B.Jayshree, Saurabh Shukla and others. Before his first venture as a film
director which surprised many, Master Kishan was already a successful
child artiste in the Kannada film industry, having won several awards.
Kishan was born to a family of film enthusiasts and his parents had a
creative bent of mind. His father B.R.Srikanth was working in Central
Government and was associated with many film personalities and even
assisted in the story and music departments. His mother Shylaja
Srikanth had worked as a music director for many films.
His father says, "From his young age, Kishan showed enormous interest
in learning the process of filmmaking. He showed talent in
understanding computer graphics, Photoshop and had even shocked
many computer hardware experts with his knowledge of computers. He
was also a voracious reader of film related books and was browsing the
internet to know many things about films. Since he was academically
brilliant, we did not oppose his eagerness to learn many things. He had
started to act in Kannada films at the age of three and was responding
very quickly to the instructions received from the film directors and his
actor colleagues. He had won many awards as a child artiste in films.
But when he first told us that he wants to direct a film and had a script
ready, we were really astonished. He was not even eight, when we heard
him talking about directing a film. But he had convinced of his abilities
before we decided to encourage and back him in his endeavour."
When Master Kishan announced that he would direct a film, many
people did not believe it. During the launch of the film, a team of
journalists and filmmakers questioned him about various aspects of
filmmaking and were astonished at the way Kishan cleared their doubts.
He was able to speak authoritatively on the achievements of Steven
Spielberg, Guru Datt, James Cameron, Mani Ratnam, Shankar and many
others. He was able to analyze lighting patterns and camera angles in
some sequences of top films. Jackie Shroff, who had acted in a special
role in his film Care of Foot Path, said that he had accepted the offer to
act in a nine-year-old boy’s film mainly because he was convinced that
the young director was a genius and was up to something which was
certain to be critically appreciated and win the hearts of the people.
Shroff addressed a press conference after finishing his work in this
historic film to hail Master Kishan as the most focussed director who
had a firm grip on his script and the team.
Kishan says that he was inspired to write the script of the film after
closely watching the rag pickers in the street. “I wanted to send a
positive message through this film. I just wanted to say what I strong
believed in, that hard work will certainly pay dividends and any child
who is brought up in poor surroundings can make it big if he is
determined to achieve something."
Master Kishan’s first directorial venture Care of Footpath won the Swarna
Kamal (Golden Lotus) Award for the Best Children’s film in the year
2006-07. The film also won many prestigious awards from the
Karnataka Government including the Best Children's Film award and the
Best Child Actor for Kishan. His achievement was recognized by the
Guinness Book of World Records; Kishan was the World's Youngest
Director of a professionally made feature length film at the age of nine.
He replaced Sydney Ling who was just 13 in 1973 when he had directed
the Dutch film Lex the Wonderdog.
A year ago, Master Kishan received the National Award for Exceptional
Achievement by the Union Government’s Ministry of Women and Child
Development. The film also ran successfully for more than 100 days in
its theatrical release.
the achievements of Master Kishan,
officially the youngest filmnmaker
in the world
M. Venkatesan is a qualified
ad filmmaker from Chennai, who
has worked extensively in the
area of advertising, having
produced and directed more
than 40 projects — ad films,
s h o r t f i l m s , p r o m o s ,
documentaries, internet video
ads and music videos.
He is a film school graduate,
who specialized and obtained a
D.F.Tech in Film Direction from
the L.V.Prasad Film and TV
Academy. Since then, he has
done ads and popular films and
handled corporate brands like
Preethi Mixes, Federal Bank, City
Developers, Grundfos Pumps,
C B a z a a r , A i r b e e , S r i
Ve n k a t e s w a r a N e t r a l a y a
H o s p i t a l s a n d S u r i e n
In 2007 his short film, Kshama,
based on the early life of
Mahatma Gandhi was screened
at the IIFF- Indian International
Film Festival ’07 at Chennai, and
in the same year was the official
Indian entry for the Gandhian
Panorama Film Festival and was
awarded the Jury Prize. It also
won the Best Film Prize at
Auteurs Short Film Festival
organized by St.Thomas College,
DOCUMENTING A LEGEND
In 2009 he scripted and directed Kadhal Mannan - (The King of a lot of contributions of the
M. Venkatesan talks
about the making
of his biopic on
In 2007 he produced and
d i re c t e d a d o c u m e n t a r y,
Madurai Jallikathu – Bull Fighting
in India, for the New York Times,
which was well received on the
international television and
Romance) for Dr. Kamala Selvaraj under her banner Alamelu Creations.
This was South India’s first biographical film, in Tamil, Telugu and
English. The decision to make a biopic on Gemini Ganesan, one of the
legends of Tamil cinema, was not easy as many of the places, landmarks
and other things present in Tamil Nadu and rest of the South India had
changed; most of his contemporizes were no longer alive, and the small
set that was still around, was above the age group of 80.
The never-ending discussions about production and logistics took place
at all levels, since a filmmaker doing a period film starting in British Era
India demanded that the visuals speak of the time and feel of early 20th
century Tamil Nadu — Pudhukottai, in particular — and the recreation of
the film studios of Madras of the 1940s was a challenge.
Says the director, “The first and only option in my mind was film, although
the lure of digital camera and digital formats was there from all the fronts,
none of them was about the quality or feel, but only in the domain of
complex tricky economics. Super 35mm Film was the format finalized and
shot using Arricam LT at 3 Perf, to save on the precious little moments
which can be brought to life without cutting in between a difficult shot of
a child artiste in the drama part, or interrupting a renowned speaker at a
time when he is making a crucial point in the documentary part of the
film. Although this is a not a commercial film, the kind of production
values is very important, not just because it is Tamil cinema’s first
biographical film on a film actor, but also for the need to represent the
culture, heritage and prosperity of Tamil Nadu worldwide.
“Since It was a three-language output in Tamil, Telugu and English, with
lots of period portions in the Brahminical village of Pudhukottai (1920s),
Madras City of the 1940s and Gemini Studios representing the film
industry of the post-Independence era (1945-48), the concept
discussed with the art and production departments was not to put a
sepia tone in the post production nor shoot in black and white, but to
recreate the era using a specific but authentic color palate just as how
the Tamil language and the slang of that era was researched and brought
out. Since it was a more than two language output in the docu-drama
genre involving a drama part which runs for the first 50 minutes and a
docu part which runs for 60 min, the need to have a strong origination to
have an effective DI was very essential. Although a lot of digital formats
are available with a variety of combinations for post tweaking, film is the
only format which is time proven as far as archiving of content is
concerned. As a qualified filmmaker I feel the need for making a
biographical film is not just for commercial reasons, but to tell
tomorrows generation what was prevalent yesterday not just in the
world alone but also in the field of film. Although cinema is a modern art,
older masters has not been
documented and this is one
such attempt to recreate the
screen magic of late acting
legend Gemini Ganesan.
“Film is the most portable and
efficient format to work for
documenting people and places,
not just because it is cable free
unlike the so called high-end HD
cameras which promise near
point and shoot cinematography,
but for the reason that lensing
and recreation of a certain
cinematic feel and an emotional
look is possible with a magic
ingredient of film.
“Kaadhal Mannan was shot on
Kodak stocks, with an Arricam
LT, 3 –Perf, with live sound with
Cooke S4i Lenses– Kodak
5207–250D 500T for indoors
involving sets of period houses
and recreating of film sets of
1946 Tamil film Chandralekha,
and also for celebrity interviews,
and 5219 – 500T for outdoor
shoots in harsh conditions like
semi-vegetative villages, lakes
and shoots with elephants and
other animals etc.
“Globally even on advanced HD
Broadcasting TVs, more than 60
percent of the prime time
content is shot on Film. TV
series like The Shield and Sex and
the City and low-budget films
like Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
were shot on 16mm film, and yet
the quality and visual appeal of
it remains timeless.”
Tel No: 91-22-66416762 / 66
Fax No: 91-22-66416769
Tel No: 91-22-67026600 / 02
Fax No: 91-22-67026666
Tel No: 91-44-2362 3086 / 9840333350
Fax No: 91-44-2362 2522
From document imaging in the copier industry to motion picture imaging in the entertainment
industry — the journey has been simply exhilarating. I have been working for two years in the EI
department at Kodak, handling sales of ECN in the Hindi feature film segment and also marketing
activities in film institutes and it has been a thorough learning experience. Dealing with new
products, new markets, interacting with creative minds and students has been my main focus area.
Oodles of energy, creativity and passion drive this industry and working with Kodak, puts me in the
limelight. For me, it's All Work, No Compromise!
Movies for me have always been a way to spend a lazy weekend. However, associating with Kodak
has changed my perception completely. Today, I not only enjoy movies for their content, but also
appreciate the finer nuances of filmmaking, especially cinematography. My other interests include
experimenting with new cuisines, solving puzzles, listening to music, reading and travelling.
Tel No: 91-44-2362 3086 / 9840489900
Fax No: 91-44-2362 2522
Ananth A. Padmanabha
Tel No: 91-98860 08642
Tel No: 91-33-30286254
Fax No: 91-33-30286270
Motion Picture Film
Tel No: 91-9849015950
Fax No: 91-40-2381 6181
Tel No: 91-9885823238
Fax No: 91-40-2381 6181
Tel No: 91-484-2366230 / 36
Fax No: 91-484-2363211
For more information; visit www.kodak.co.in/go/motion
R A F E Y M E H M O O D
Filmmaking for me is like a great coming together of
ideas and people.
I grew up in Allahabad. When visitors would come over,
we, along with them and their cameras, would be taken
for boat rides to see the Sangam. Since midstream, it
would be difficult to spot the actual confluence of Ganga
and Jamuna, we watched out for the slight difference in
the colour of the two waters. The mythical third river
Saraswati, flowed below and was invisible. We as kids
just dipped our hands in the water to try and touch it.
Filmmaking is a bit like the boat ride: it carries the
possibility of the spectacle of the two great rivers
meeting; the nuances of the subtle waters, both are
buoyed by some kind of deep underlying faith.
I passed out of FTII in 1989. When I shot the climax of
Haasil on the banks of the Triveni Sangam it was as if
many things had come together.
In 2007, a crew from 12 different countries assembled to
shoot the Haj for the Imax film Journey to Mecca..In
footsteps of Ibn e Batuta. On the third afternoon of the
Haj, we perched ourselves on top of a minaret of the
Kaaba to take a long computer-driven time-lapse shot on
this spectacular format. As the evening fell we saw a
million pilgrims perform their sacred circling of the
Kaaba called “Tawaaf”. It was staggering to think how
this event would unfold in subtle shifts of light over
possibly a five-storey high screen.
While units come together and part, my association with
Kodak is a continuous one. I have always found myself
testing the new stocks they develop. I am a great fan of
their researchers who have provided uniform standards
for this visual art, which spreads across the globe.
I think of Kodak as an institution… they preserve and
bring together many ways of seeing.
I know all cinematographers work with a spirit of
inventiveness and endurance. The erstwhile DOPs and
my seniors stand like luminaries on the path of
Cinematography. In a sense they have already thrown
much light to mark the path of our journey.
(Rafey Mahmood’s DOP credits for features include
Mithya, Haasil, Mixed Doubles and the Imax film —
Journey to Mecca in Footsteps of Ibn e Batuta.
He shoots commercials and is a filmmaking teacher.
He has also won a National Award for Cinematography.)