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Updated: January 22, 2011 17:05 IST

Grill Mill: Ilavarasu

S. R. Ashok Kumar
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You started as a cinematographer and then became an actor.

I started as an assistant to cameraman Kannan who was working on Bharathiraja's films. My first film as a full-fledged cameraman was Panchalankuruchi (1996), directed by Seeman. I went on to do 13 films and got the best cinematographer award from the Tamil Nadu Government for Manam Virumbuthey Unnai, directed by Sivachandran. In Pasumponn, director Bharathiraja asked me to don the greasepaint. So far, I have done 50 films.

Do you want to confine yourself to acting?

One must like his profession to do justice to one's work. I like acting and continue to be an actor. Likewise, when I was a cinematographer, I was happy and won accolades. It was Thavasi which established me as a full-time actor.

So, do you mean to say you won't return to cinematography?

Who said so? I am willing to be a cinematographer if offers come my way. But people perceive me only as an actor and not as a cinematographer.

Are you familiar with the latest trends in photography?

If you know to drive a car, at any given point of time you will be able to drive it without any problem. The same is the case with cinematography. Recently, cameraman M. S. Prabhu asked me to shoot Sura. I shot the whole Vadivelu sequence in four days and people were happy about it. One can keep abreast of the latest developments through the Internet and other means of communication.

Have you ever regretted playing only father roles?

I acted as the father of a 20-year-old girl, Yuvarani, in Pasumpon. I was only 30 then. So I am not averse to playing any role whatever be the age of the character.

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