The Malayalis on board Kamal Hassan’s Vishwaroopam talk about the experience

Kamal Hassan’s Vishwaroopam, a bilingual spy thriller believed to be made at a whopping budget of over Rs.150 crores, has been creating waves of excitement much before its release. The crew and cast are tight-lipped about the story and the characters. Four Malayalis, two of them from Thiruvananthapuram, are part of the crew that worked behind the scene on the film that has been written, directed and co-produced by Kamal who also plays the lead role. The four are Mahesh Narayanan (editor), N.G.Roshan (make-up), Sanu John Varghese (cinematographer) and Mahadevan Thampi (still photographer). The bunch, though mum about the narrative, share with MetroPlus their experience of working on the mega production.

MAHESH NARAYANAN

Mahesh Narayanan, a graduate in who wanted to become a cinematographer, could get a seat for editing from Adyar Film Institute, is He didn't let the chance go by and today is one of the busiest in the business, editors out there, with works such as Rathrimazha, Pokkiri Raja, Makaramanju, Gulumaal, Three Kings, Karyasthan, Seniors, Traffic, Casanovva, Beautiful and Mallu Singh to his credit. Up for release are Mr. Marumagan, Trivandrum Lodge and Edavappathi.

Kamal sir was involved in the Tamil remake of Traffic initially and wanted to retain me as the editor. Although, later, he opted out of the project (but Mahesh is still part of it), he made me a part of Vishwaroopam. I was not very confident about working in the movie because I’ve never worked on such a large canvas. When I shared with him my apprehensions, his reply was: ‘It is good. You can’t grow without getting scared.’ The challenging part was that I was actually working on two movies at a time (Vishwaroopam is shot in Tamil and Hindi, with two different versions). There is a dubbed version in Telugu as well. Kamal sir is very sharp as a director and clearly knows what he wants.

N.G.ROSHAN

All facets of cinema attract N.G. Roshan. Eventually that passion made him a make-up artiste. That passion eventually ended up in make-up and His name appears in the credits of now has tthe He worked his magic in the magnum opus Pazhassi Raja and Dileep’s ‘heroine act’ in Mayamohini. to his credit. Trained at the Greasepaint School of Film Makeup, London, he is a faculty member of the National School of Drama. Roshan received the award for the best makeup at this year’s Sunset Film Festival in Los Angeles. The award was for Unni Vijayan’s Lessons In Forgetting, which is based on Anita Nair’s novel. His forthcoming Malayalam projects are Ivan Megharoopan and Poppins.

Kamal Hassan had done the narration for Pazhassi Raja when it was dubbed in Tamil. After watching it, he took me on board Vishwaroopam. The exciting part of working in the movie is that I could put to use what I had learnt abroad. You might not come across any other Indian movie that had a full-fledged make-up studio on the sets. The movie is shot on a different scale, especially the special effects. Being a perfectionist, Kamal Hassan expected us to give the best result.

SANU JOHN VARGHESE

An alumni of College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram, Sanu wanted to be a photo journalist like Mohamed Amin (Kenyan photojournalist whose coverage of the 1984 Ethiopian famine brought international attention to the crisis). Though he didn’t become one, he is now busy shooting television commercials. His first film as a cinematographer was Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon (2003). But “Bollywood didn’t enthuse” him. A reason why he hasn’t worked in many Hindi films. His previous works are Karthik Calling Karthik (Tamil) and Malayalam film, Electra (Malayalam). His television commercials include the ones for Coke, Cadburys, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Airtel and Tata, to name a few.

“I might do just 10 films, but I shouldn’t feel bad about doing them,” he says.

Marmayogi has been Kamal Hassan’s ambitious project and we were to work together in it. But that didn’t take off. Then came Vishwaroopam. It has been my best collaboration with a director. It has been a learning experience, for there was this man with 50 years of experience in cinema. I’m many years younger to him, but couldn’t match his energy and zeal.

MAHADEVAN THAMPI

He was just 19 when he got his first independent work as a still photographer. for What got him going was the refreshingly different promotional stills of Ivar Vivahitharaayal. He followed it up with 30 films in the last eight years. It includes movies such as Ivar Vivaahitharayaal, Pokkiri Raja, Happy Husbands, Three Kings, and Four Friends. Now he is all set to make his first film.

I met Kamal sir just for a day, when we did the photoshoot for Four Friends. And one-and-half years later, when I got the offer for Vishwaroopam, I thought it was a prank. He allowed me and my friend Sijo Abraham to cover the making of the movie as well. This is one movie which has used the best of technology, with regard to sound, camera and special effects. Kamal sir is a brilliant technician, who knows the right shots and frames. When I make my movie, I will certainly draw on what I learnt from Kamal sir.