Creativity is a key for innovative cinema – Ravi K Chandranby Opinion Express November 1, 2017 0 comments
Ace cinematographer reflects on his 26-year journey in film world
Indian cinematographer and director, Ravi K. Chandran has worked on Tamil, Malayalam, and Hindi movies. He has won the Film- fare Award for Best Cinematographer for movies such as Virasat, and Black, and the Filmfare Award for Best Cinematographer – South for Kannathil Muthamittal. His best known works in Bollywood are VIRASAT (1997), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), yuva (2004), Paheli (2004), Black (2005), Fanaa (2006), and Saawariya (2007). Ravi has won two Filmfare Awards and one Southern Filmfare Award
Ms Nithya Ramesh Model, Actor and film critic interacted with Mr Ravi K Chandran for Opinion Express Magazine.
Do you have a favorite experience in your work as a Director of Photography? What film are you most proud of?
There’s nothing like a favorite film experience because every film is by itself an experience, I have been shooting since 26 years, still everyday when you are on the set there is always a new challenge like light may not be correct or rain during shooting, some actors have to leave by certain time so in the morning we will be shooting the night scene or in the night we will be shooting a day scene according to the script all these issues happen. Everyday it’s an exciting shoot only if you don’t see your work as a problem then it’s not a problem. When you start seeing your work as a problem then it is a problem.
My favorite films are ‘Dil chahta hai’, ‘Black’, ‘Kannathil Muthamital’, ‘Ghajini’ and ‘Saawariya’. ‘Virasat is an important film in my career. each film has got a plus and minus but every film is part of life. you spend almost a year in a film. So if I do 20 films then 20 years of my life is gone. That is very crucial period of life. you have to leave your youth, family and go and travel, you end up eating food on roads, rains. Basically it is very important journey in every film and every film is an important film in life or career. So that’s how it is. I’m very proud of ‘Virasat’, ‘Kandu Kondain Kandukondain’, ‘Black’, ‘Kan- Nathil Muthamital’, ‘Minsara Kanavu’ and ‘Saawariya’.
What type of film would you love to work on that you haven’t worked on yet?
See I haven’t worked on a periodic film like ‘bahubali’ with a lot of special effects and action film. I like that kind of film and it would be very exciting to do those kind of films.
What do you look for when hiring your main team?
I normally work with the team who are with me for 2 or 3 years. When recruiting new team we generally ask for what kind of interest they have. I talk to them, I get to know what kind of interest they have in cinematography, what they actually want to become and what they really mean by they are interested in cinematography. Some people come and say that they like cinematography a lot and love it but if I ask them tell me a good cinematographer in India or internationally, they don’t know. They wouldn’t have watched any of those films of great cinematographers but they have all the updates about new film of their favorite actor or actresses. They know where to get good food but they don’t know about the job they want to do. It is like I love music but I don’t who is Illairaja or A R Rahman. If you were interested then you would know or find out about your interest. This generation has access to the best of internet, make use of it and seek for the information where your interest lies. Why I have to say this is because I come from a village, I used to come to Chennai to read about America’s cinematographer and then to become that I came and got registered myself for the American library. So every week I used to go and read and that is the kind of interest one should have. If you are interested in that subject then you should know much about it in depth. If I want to know the top 10 cinematographers in the world then I google it and watch their films. If I want to know about the lenses in the market then I buy it and test it. I grow with the technology.
For upcoming cinematographers I would like to say it is an evolving process. If you want to learn cinematography then you should learn the basics, composition, structure, colors and art of cinematography. Also there are many books available on the internet buy them online or borrow books and read them. The main thing is that you should read and get to know what you are dealing with.
Where do you see the future of camera/lighting technology in film?
It’s growing every day. There’s no limitation. It is like a cocoon, you don’t know what it is. It just keeps growing. I would say technology is growing so much that you can shoot a small movie or video with 4K resolution on phone. New technology like virtual cameras, 360 degree camera and others are doing great in the market. Technology will never stop and will only keep growing.
What film, besides the ones you’ve worked on, have you seen the most times in your life?
I have never watched my films again and again. If I do then I would want to redo the entire film again (….. laughs…..)
What according to you is film making all about?
I would say that the film making is a privilege and not everybody can get a chance to do a film that was the case earlier because you had to rent cameras, equipment’s, processing till editing the footage. Now everything can be done on phone. If you want to be a film maker, you can shoot everything on your phone and see whether you can tell a story effectively. editing, sound design can be done on phone and computer and these are the two things that you will be requiring to make a film.
How can one be a successful director?
If you want to be a director just make one Short film and see whether you can tell a story and if you are successful at that then try and tell more stories and upload them. Stories come from life and not from anywhere else. So you should look around for stories in life. Take personal stories that always translate into something else otherwise it will never works. If it is about thriller then there are thousands of movies made on that genre all over the world. If you think you are doing it for the first time, they have done it all. you name a subject they have done it all, unless you say something unique about your story in personal voice only then people look up to it and notice.
Say ‘Dil chahta hai’ is a personal story and was told brilliantly on screen and that’s what inspires me. It is difficult to direct without knowing the environment, body language. People think it’s very easy and it is not at all easy trust me
How do measure an achievement in the film world?
I would like to say that there are no shortcuts for achievements. you have to get in depth and study about what your interest lies in because for every achievement you will be judged. For example there is a difference between a taxi driver and a professional race driver. To be a professional driver you need to learn the art, then practice, and then go on the tracks. you will have a coach to train you and he will judge you if you are eligible to race. And at the race you will be judged to win. So you will be judged everywhere and at every step. (….signs off….)
OE News Bureau ( Mumbai )