Three movies filmed by Subhash V.K. were premiered in the Marche du Film section in this year's Cannes Film Festival.

From Vypeen to Cannes, Subhash V.K. has surely come a long way. Self-trained, Subhash has had to rough it out. Starting out as a videographer of weddings and other functions, Subhash has evolved into one of the most sensitive cinematographers in the film industry.

Subhash has cranked the camera for three of Rupesh Paul's films that were premiered in the Marche du Film section in this year's Cannes Film Festival. The three films – ‘Pithavum Kanyakayum’, ‘Janthu’ and ‘Kanni’ – have won rave reviews for its candid cinematography.

Movies for thought

“The theme and treatment is something that will make you ruminate. The first one is in Malayalam and talks about a middle-aged man who spends the night with a girl who happens to be his daughter's classmate. ‘Janthu’ is in the Adiya tribal language. ‘Kanni’ is a Tamil film that I have shot using a Canon 70 still camera. I think this is the first time a full, 90-minute, feature film, has been shot using a still camera. The result has been amazing,” says Subhash who has also scripted and directed some hard-hitting micro, short and documentary films.

Armed with nothing, not even professional equipment of his own, except perhaps a will to work and oodles of confidence, Subhash has had to slog it out in a fiercely competitive field.

The turning point was finding the right ‘guru’. He joined veteran cameraman Vipin Dass as assistant and worked in some of his projects. “What I learned from him was invaluable. In between I also worked with Sunny Joseph, M.J. Radhakrishnan and others, which helped me gain a lot of experience.”

He got his first full-length commercial film – ‘Oliver Twist’. “It was a very satisfactory work but unfortunately the film has not been released yet.”

Micro films

Perhaps the most creative of his works are the micro films he has made. Four of his films were screened and won awards at various international micro film festivals. These films, of approximately three minutes each, have sharp themes that hit you like a sledge-hammer. The most striking of them is ‘Balimrugangal’, on a festival of the Nishi tribes of Arunachal Pradesh where they have a brutal ritual of killing a Mithun, a semi-domesticated animal. The killing dissolves into a collage of newspaper cuttings on genocide in our country. ‘Teacherless Classrooms’ is on the attempt of tribal students in a remote village of Jharkhand to study.

“Both these films were developed from what I shot during my travels for other projects. The other two – ‘Athirukal Illaathakunnathu' and ‘Prey and Hunter’ – shot nearer home took me a lot of time and took me to the edge of my patience.”

Before focussing on a career with the movie camera, Subhash had ventured a lot in the field of still photography, even attempting to specialise in fashion.

‘Shaan-e-Hindustan’, a music video album on Sachin Tendulkar shot in various locales and based on a song in 20 languages, and a documentary ‘Kadamakudi: The Dying Islands’ were widely lauded. He also shot the music album ‘Polu Hotu’ (Moonlight) directed by Prabhul Gopinadh in Nyshi language of Arunachal.

Recently, Subhash has worked on two important documentaries – ‘Akkitham’ a 54-minute film on eminent poet Akkitham Achuthan Namboodiri, scripted and directed by G. Prabha and ‘Making of a Maestro' on Kalamandalam Gopi. “The first one has already been screened. The second one is in its post production stage. Scripted and directed by Meena Narayan, it is essentially a docu-fiction.”

Subhash, who did not pursue studies after his pre-degree, now lectures on cinematography and multi-media in various colleges in the State, Loyola College, Chennai, and S.N. College, Coimbatore.

Among his forthcoming projects are Kasturi Raja’s Tamil film and Suresh Gopi's ‘Ring Tone’, where he has worked on the second unit. Then there is his dream project: “a film of my own. The story is ready, a rough script too. I have formed the visuals in my mind. I'm on the lookout for a producer”.

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