Cinematographer Ramji on what a challenge it was to work with filmmaker Selvaraghavan for the third time

Despite the fact that his previous collaborations with Selvaraghavan (Aayirathil Oruvan and Mayakkam Enna) have neither got the critics raving nor set the cash registers ringing, cinematographer Ramji has no qualms about collaborating with the filmmaker on Irandam Ulagam. “For quite some time now, I have only been able to do a film once in two years. I don’t really care as long as the script is good,” laughs Ramji.

Ramji claims that the script of Irandam Ulagam, shot extensively in the picturesque locations of Georgia, a small eastern European country, grabbed him by the collar. “It’s a love story with fantasy thrown in. We shot in difficult conditions,” he says.

The best compliment

He is not a stranger when it comes to shooting in difficult conditions. I remind him of a few sequences in Aayirathil Oruvan and Paruthiveeran. “The best compliment I have ever received was when some of the fans told me that they felt the glare of the sun while watching Paruthiveeran,” he says.

With Irandam Ulagam's shoot stretching for 153 days, what was it about the script that made it difficult to shoot? “We shot in an 18th century house located between four mountains. The location was such that there was not even proper power supply. It was physically demanding. And…Selva is a kind of filmmaker who wants to get everything right. So it took time,” he explains.

How significant is Irandam Ulagam in his career? “I have always made sure that my cinematography doesn’t take the audience’s attention away from the film. In Mayakkam Enna, I decided to deliberately de-saturate the colours. But in Irandam Ulagam, I ran riot with colours, thanks to the fantasy genre,” he says.

Having done intense films with Ameer and Selvaraghavan, Ramji is keen on trying something light. “I have done three films with Selva and I think now is the right time to work with someone else. Not because I am tired of working with him,” he laughs, adding, “I would like to do a commercial film, I have not attempted before,” he says.

Does he mean to say he is fine with doing the song-comedy-stunt formula films? “No. I don’t mean that. I mean a more sensible kind of cinema.” Does he have any commercial filmmakers in his mind that he would like to work with? “There are many. I would love to work with Lingusamy or Vishnuvardhan. I am open to working with anyone,” he says. Even with rank newcomers? “Why not?” he asks and adds, “I watched Neram recently. I thought it was pretty neat. If new directors can come up with such scripts, I am game.”