Movies

Through the eyes of a lensman

Cinematographer Soundararajan is busy shooting his next project, a Telugu film with director Sampath Nandi — who he worked with two years ago for the Ravi Teja-starrer Bengal Tiger.

His latest bit of work was for the much-anticipated Bogan which released on Thursday after much delay (owing to clashes with Bairavaa and Si-3). “We were confident that the film is going to do very well,” he says.

Soundararajan, as main Director of Photography (DoP), is now 15 films old. His first big project was Sukran back in 2005, which came to him after years of assisting K.V. Anand, whom he considers his mentor. He recounts Maattrraan (2012) as one of his most challenging projects with the veteran director. A sci-fi thriller featuring Suriya as conjoined twins, Soundararajan reveals that the crew used up to five different techniques to get the desired illusion on screen. “One (technique) was ‘head replacement’, where we shot with a body double, masked his head and then matched it with Suriya’s in the studio. Usually, it’s done with a motion capture camera, but we pulled it off without that.”

Scripts are handed over at least two to three months in advance, he says, for test shoots and to decide on styles of shots. “But then, organically, you change the camera and angles according to the actors’ performances. You have to anticipate what they are thinking. As DoPs, we also perform like an extra character.”

For Bogan, Soundararajan says he has used character-specific camera movements. There is a marked difference in the way Arvind Swamy’s and Jayam Ravi’s characters are portrayed. “But there is no similarity with Thani Oruvan,” he says. “Which is why we’ve consciously changed the look and feel of the actors here.”

Soundararajan is also full of praise for the lead actors. He calls Jayam Ravi as the “sweetest hero one can work with; he’s very humble, hard-working and very dedicated. In Bogan, he has equalled Arvind Swamy as an actor.”

As for Swami, he calls him a technician’s delight. “He understands the craft. Most of his best performances come in the first take. When we started with Bogan, we knew it was a complicated script. Once Arvind Swamy joined the shoot, it felt like it became bigger than what it was just from his presence.”

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 1:06:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/Through-the-eyes-of-a-lensman/article17192888.ece

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