Remaking magic with his camera
The cinematographer of Sibiraj-starrer Sathya talks to CE about his experiences about working on the film
Arunmani Palaniappan, the cinematographer of Sibiraj-starrer Sathya, which released earlier this month, says it was a big challenge for him to work on a film with such a tight budget. “But luckily, I had the advantage of having the original film (Telugu hit Kshanam) at hand for reference,” adds Arunmani, who is glad to have played a part in the success of the remake.
When asked if he doesn’t feel the rapid cuts used in the film distracted from his camerawork, Arunmani disagrees. “It was a deliberate ploy to use the cuts to quicken the pace of the film. The idea was to not give the audience time to think,” he says, adding that the audience’s reaction in the theatres proved that they made the right choice.
Though the film’s story takes place in Australia, it was actually shot in Malaysia. Arunmani says using minimal lights in the night shoots was the key to pulling this off.
“I had a great time shooting in Malaysia. We used a lot of different cameras to get the right effects. For instance, for the long shots in Kuala Lumpur, we used the Epic Dragon camera to get a picture-perfect backdrop.”
Though he’d watched Kshanam to get a feel of how the original was shot, Arunmani says he had clear instructions from director Pradeep Krishnamurthy to not compromise on his style and originality. “I’m glad to have been able to leave my own signature behind.”
Arunmani, who did a two-year stint at Chapman University (Orange County) in the US, made his debut in Tamil cinema with Anandhapurathu Veedu, which came out in 2010. Sathya is only his second feature film. Why the long delay between the two? Arunmani says that was the phase when he moved back to work in television. “Having proved my mettle in the first ever 3D television serials, Para Padama and Mayavi, I took a break from television to work on my first film. So, when it was done, I went back to work on television, ad films and corporate films, all of which kept me busy.”
Now with Sathya added to his resume, Arunmani is focussed on the film offers coming his way, and appears to be here to stay.