Cinema

The travelling showman

Prabhu Solomon  

He travelled over 10,000 km while writing Mynaa. And for shooting one song for Kayal, he went to 80 locations across the country. If there’s one thing Prabhu Solomon does for his films, it is travel. His creations are aimed at taking us out of our cocooned existence and to faraway, unknown places. “Once the curtains go up, I want the audience to be transported to vast spaces. That’s why I prefer wide shots,” says Prabhu.

He talks about how most filmmakers sit in an office in Chennai and write screenplays about rural life in Tamil Nadu. “But once I’m inspired by an idea, I travel with it to places around the country. Somewhere along the way, the story unravels itself, one character at a time and it organically evolves into a movie.” For Kumki, Vikram Prabhu and Thambi Ramaiah stayed in Thiruvalla for 15 days to observe mahouts.

So where did Prabhu travel for Kayal, his soon-to-be-released love story set around the 2004 tsunami? He went on a recce to Nagapattinam. “There, I met Gayathri. Her daughter had been born after five years of marriage and much prayer. When her daughter went missing in the tsunami, she never lost faith. She told herself that God wouldn’t take back what he had given. After weeks, she managed to find her daughter in a relief camp. I weaved this episode into Kayal,” he says. It’s this reality that he tries to capture all the time. Kayal was shot in knee-deep water for several days. “By the end of the shoot, we would all feel weightless because we had spent close to 10 hours underwater to get the perfect shot. Even such efforts can come only so close to your original vision,” he says.

Prabhu loves capturing the rural milieu. A thousand shades of green… lakes, rivers, hills… these are the scenes that shine though. People ask him why he opts for melodic tracks and not loud, fast-paced music in his village movies. “But most people living there listen to Ilaiyaraaja melodies all day long. I decided to give them those rhythms in Kumki and they loved it. When I sat down with the lyricist, I told him we must think like mahouts. I described a scene where a mahout casts his first glance on the girl of his dreams, and is at a loss for words. He cannot come up with poetry like a lyricist and hence the song, ‘ Onnum Puriyala Solla Theriyala, Kannu Muzhiiyila Kanda Azhagula, Aasai Kooduthae.’”

Prabhu’s earliest travel escapades began as a kid cycling in the rain to the mines of Neyveli. In Kayal, the protagonists go to work only to fund their travel, mirroring his philosophy to the extent where he no longer knows if he travels for filmmaking or it’s the other way round. “I feel most of us are stuck in a routine for the sake of comfort and a future. Finally, when we retire, it’s not our bank balance or our wealth that’s going to add meaning to our lives. It’s only our memories that matter and travel is the best way to create them,” he says.


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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 11:29:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/interview-with-prabhu-solomon/article6602904.ece

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