Direction Dreams: Never say cut for your first takes

This weekly column brings to you a promising assistant director, and their aspirations and this week it is Tushar Ramakrishnan
 Direction Dreams: Never say cut for your first takes

Interview with Tushar Ramakrishnan

Directors worked with:  Selvaraghavan, Mithran Jawahar, Kunal Shivdasani 

Roles & responsibilities assumed: Editing, sound effects, and post-production 

Films worked/ working on: Pudhupettai, Mayakkam Enna, Irandam Ulagam, Hijack, Utthamaputhiran 

Why filmmaking? 

I wanted to be a photographer. One day, I watched Anbe Sivam and fell in love with the film. I decided to be a cinematographer. I took up a course in Visual Communications in Loyola. Subsequently, I got an opportunity to work with Selvaraghavan, which I couldn't say no to. That’s how my journey started and I have never looked back since then.

What do you like about the director(s) you have worked with?

Selvaraghavan is a brilliant writer. His writing captures the human emotions in a way no one can possibly imagine. 

Jawahar knows the art of letting you know your weaknesses, without sounding harsh.

Kunal is confident about his choices and stands by them till the end. 

What have you learned about films from them?

Selvaraghavan's approach when it comes to breaking down a shot. This is where the magic actually happens. I follow this till date.

Mithran Jawahar's instruction never to cut the first take of a shot. Let the camera roll. There is so much going on and it’s your chance to capture everything including the unscripted moments. These can be used later. 

Kunal's art of editing. And how to have a clear picture of the entire process from shoot to screen in mind. 

What’s the most memorable thing you’ve done as an AD?

I met many stars who were extremely supportive of my hard work. This has been the best takeaway from my journey as an AD. Also, I fell in love with a wonderful woman, whom I ended up marrying on the sets of Irandam Ulagam.

What do you think you can bring to Tamil cinema if given an opportunity to direct?

 A set system with a clear focus on pre-production, which ensures that all the tasks prior to the shoot are strictly adhered to.  

Who’s a director you wish you could work with?

Mani Ratnam, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Vishnuvardhan.

Which is the best film you’ve worked on so far, and what were your contributions in that?

Pudhupettai. It was my first film. I had no clue at that time that it will become the turning point in my career. I feel privileged to have been under the tutelage of someone like Selvaraghavan during the entire period of the shoot.

Often, it is said that when you start working on your passion, the passion goes out of your work. What about for you?

Regardless of your passion, it's natural to get frustrated when things don’t go as planned. But the trick is to not let the exasperation catch up with your efforts. 

If filmmaking doesn’t work out, what then?

Web-series and digital media films, I guess. I had earlier directed Batman From Chennai and What if the Avengers were from South India, both for Put Chutney channel.

What do you want to change about Tamil cinema? 

I wish there's a structured set up which ensures the release of films on the dates they are originally scheduled for

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