Direction Dreams: 'Cinema should create mindsets not heroes'
This weekly column brings to you a promising assistant director, and their aspirations with this week it is Parthiban Ravi, who is assisting director Gautham Vasudev Menon
Parthiban Ravi is the assistant director of Gautham Vasudev Menon and he has worked with the director in Dhruva Natchathiram and Enai Noki Paayum Thota. His responsibilities have grown from working with the art department previously to casting and costumes now.
Why filmmaking? How did your journey commence?
Until Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa happened I did not seriously consider pursuing filmmaking. But after watching that film at the theatres, I decided that's what I wanted to do. I never imagined even in my wildest dreams that I would work as assistant director under the one who inspired me!
What’s the oddest thing you have done as an assistant director?
Once at a shooting spot, I was consciously putting in efforts to ensure that no part of the filming got recorded on mobile phones. But I was fooled by a few members of the crowd, who made me believe that it was being recorded, and I had to run back and forth. I was embarrassed when I came to know the truth.
What do you like about Gautham Vasudev Menon school of filmmaking?
His spontaneity. He runs multiple versions of certain sequences from the script, as a film in his mind.
What did you learn from Gautham Vasudev Menon?
His ability to extract the best from everyone without forceful exertion is the one lesson that I am trying to learn from him. Also, he respects the learning process that every AD undergoes. He doesn’t yell or shout when we make mistakes. He is extremely patient and has never mistreated anyone.The best example of his influence is the fact you will not see one AD of his without the metal bracelet. The style of the heroes that you see in his movies are just a reflection of his style. He is damn stylish.
What do you want to change about Tamil cinema?
The appeal that films with unnecessary mass elements have. I mean they still attract a lot of audience even if they are aware that the mass elements are forced. I think the focus should be on giving the commercial elements a natural, subtle and gentle touch. Cinema should create mindsets not heroes.
Which is the best film you’ve worked on so far?
Dhruva Natchathiram. The experience of working in it has been immense and it's provided me with many memorable moments and good lessons.
Who’s a director you wish you could work with?
No second thoughts. Anurag Kashyap.
What are your future and upcoming projects?
I am working on a crime comedy script.
Debut films are often the result of compromises. What’s one area you will never be willing to compromise on? And what’s one area you don’t mind compromising on?
No compromise on what the essence of the original script demands. But I wouldn't mind compromising on the casting.
Who’s the dream cast of your debut film?
Vijay Sethupathi. I think he will bring an unique dimension to my movie and infuse sensibilities that no one else can.
What’s the one thing that you would like to bring to Tamil Cinema?
I want to introduce the concept of cine series. Where a movie series follows the system of season wise release. Franchise is different as it takes years for the next part to come out and it is not necessary that continuity is there between the first and the subsequent parts.
If filmmaking doesn’t work out, what then?
I would love to take up ad filmmaking full time apart from filmmaking. I don’t think of it as a backup, but as another passion of mine.
Have you ever been star struck?
I am not the type of person who gets star struck often. Only once, and that was when I saw Rajinikanth.