"I edited 2.0 wearing 3D glasses"
...says editor Anthony, as he discusses his work in the latest release, 2.0
Directors Shankar, KV Anand, Vijay, Linguswamy and Gautham Menon are all connected by their regular association with editor Anthony Gonsalvez. The man, who began his career with Kaakha Kaakha in 2003, has since gone on to work with all the top actors and directors. Fast forwarding to 2018, Anthony continues to remain on top of his game, having added 2.0 to his impressive repertoire.
Interestingly, 2.0 is the first Rajinikanth film to have no song sequences. On the difficulty of accommodating Endhira Logathu Sundariye in the story, Anthonys says, "Even at the scripting stage, Shankar sir planned not to have any song sequences. The final decision of placing it after the climax was taken in consultation with the entire team."
Shankar’s latest extravaganza demanded that Anthony put in thrice as much time as he would in any other film. The film, he says, needed to be re-edited in different stages like pre-visualisation, post-shooting, and post-VFX. Of all these, it was the post-shooting that was the most demanding. "We had roughly animated sketches in the pre-visualisation stage and the complete version in the final version, so editing those portions wasn’t hard. The post-shoot footage was a different beast entirely, as the film involves heavy VFX and most of the shot videos would lack a major visual element or in many cases, an entire character," he says. "So I had to imagine a lot, keeping in mind the storyboard. However, I must say that my job was not as tough as the VFX team’s."
Fascinatingly, Anthony had to wear 3D glasses while editing this film, and had to take regular breaks to avoid headaches. "It was incredibly hard to edit the film while wearing 3D glasses. I also had to make sure that the shots with 3D-rich elements stayed longer, so they would have more impact on the audience," he says.
Director Shankar was one of the few filmmakers to release the deleted scenes of his film way back in 2007, when he shared those featuring Rajinikanth and Vivekh. So, I ask if there’s any plan to release portions of 2.0 after release. "Since the film was made on a mammoth budget, the team went to the shooting spot only after multiple levels of planning; so hardly any footage was wasted. But yes, the audience can expect one or two deleted scenes to be released."
Editing is often a thankless job, with film editors rarely getting plaudits for their work, but that’s never stopped Anthony from feeling motivated. "I’ve never felt that because I believe an editor's job should be invisible. Editor panna vela theriyama irundha dhaan, gethu! All that matters to me is my contribution to the film," he says. His fifteen-year experience, he says, has given him the ability to predict audience responses. "Even while editing the footage at my desk, I know which particular dialogue or set piece will fetch applause. So, I leave some breathing space on screen for the audience to settle down. For 2.0, I felt that certain mannerisms and gimmicks of Rajini sir would get celebrated by the audience, so I highlighted those with jump and repeat cuts."
A look at Anthony’s filmography shows how he has worked both on biggies like 2.0 and Enthiran, and small-budget films like Pencil and Vaaimai. "Whether the budget is small or big, a film is a film. Every work of mine is important to me. All that matters is the story. I am even willing to work with a debutant if the one-liner is good."
Anthony also had his outing as a director in 2015’s Oru Naal Iravil, a remake of the Malayalam film, Shutter. He is now waiting for the ‘right moment’ to make his second. "If I zero down a film that can be made with a small budget in less than 25 days, I will begin shooting for it, provided, of course, I’m motivated by the story. It's a passion I want to pursue every once in a while," he says.