‘Selva and I have both matured a lot’
... says cinematographer Arvind Krishna, who has become busy in Tamil cinema again
Arvind Krishna is returning to Tamil cinema with two biggies, Nenjam Marappathillai and Nibunan. Excerpts from a quick conversation with the ace cinematographer:
What does it feel like to work with Selvaraghavan again?
I have worked with him on several films including his first two, Kaadhal Kondein and 7G Rainbow Colony. And now, I see that our chemistry has actually got better. We have both matured.
How does Arvind Krishna like to plan his shoot?
I do most of it on the location. Of course, there are some cases where I plan the whole day well in advance, including what equipment I want to use. For particularly challenging scenes, I like to take a day off with the team, so we can all rehearse. For the stunt sequences of Nenjam Marappathillai, that’s what we did. The actors were all given training for at least a couple of days before we proceeded with the shot.
In Pudhupettai, especially, some of the shots were exquisite. But what if the tone of a scene goes against the tone of a film?
The priority is always the mood of the film. And if in keeping with it, the mood of the scene. And then of course, we try to delineate the shades of the character if we can. If a film is dark, like, say, Pudhupettai, it would be against the philosophy of the film if we went and shot a colourful song in Europe.
You’ve never been against experimentation. For instance, there has been a lot of talk about an underwater sequence in Nenjam Marappathillai.
We used GoPro cameras and managed it. Else, we would have had to worry about arranging tanks, making sure the water is clean enough, and all this can get quite expensive. If we decide to shoot in a swimming pool, we have to make sure that there are enough lights to light up the shot.
While on lights, Arun Vaidyanathan, the director of Nibunan, was full of appreciation for how you used a headlight as a light source for one of the scenes?
(Laughs) Necessity is the mother of invention. It was an instinctive choice to do that. I felt it would add a certain edge to the mood of the film. Also, we were facing a lot of constraints and the idea to do this just came to me. The shot has come out really well.
What are these constraints you speak of?
As it was a bilingual, we had to shoot every scene twice, and the difficulty lay in making sure every aspect of the shot remained the same. I have tried to stay away from the usual techniques: the fast cuts, close-ups and the shaky camera technique. It’s a very unique thriller, and I’m quite excited about its release.