‘The rhythm of the film is established on the editing table’
...says editor Praveen Prabhakar, who worked with director Anjali Menon on Koode and Bangalore Days
Now that Koode has been accepted wholeheartedly by audiences, the film's technical team is on cloud nine. Cinema Express got an opportunity to chat with editor Praveen Prabhakar, whose collaboration with director Anjali Menon began with Usthad Hotel, his debut film, which was written by Anjali. Praveen also edited Anjali's Bangalore Days and has worked on Amal Neerad's Comrade in America and Iyobinte Pusthakam. He is currently working on Anwar Rasheed's Trance.
What, according to you, is the quality of a good editor?
The ability to visualise a scene well. There are different ways to show the same scene. They must have a clear idea of the point of view the story is told from, which character is more important, things like that. Sometimes you can show it from the point of view of the secondary character. I try different options with a given scene. Depending on which option works out more, I show it to the director and then proceed.
What are the usual challenges for an editor?
We can't really tell which option is going to work out during filming. Also, what's on paper may not really work on screen. It's only during the editing process that we figure out the way to go about it. The rhythm of the film is established on the editing table. Sometimes, you may have to visit the location once again and sit down with the director and find a way to shoot the same scene differently. Sometimes the weather can be a challenge, like on Koode, where we had to brave cold temperatures (laughs).
Has digital filmmaking changed the way you edit?
I always edit the footage parallely, after each day's shoot. I don't prefer spot editing. The editing process requires a calm place and needs to be done in a correct manner. In the olden days, they would pick a particular angle and use just that. Digital filmmaking affords filmmakers the opportunity to use multiple cameras and shoot plenty of footage, with multiple angles. Obviously, this can be challenging for an editor. But the positive thing about it is that there are multiple options to choose from and there is the possibility of getting a better shot later. Digital filmmaking has both pros and cons. One simply has to simply get used to it.
Tell us about your editing process in Koode. Was the footage cut to music?
Initially, they send a basic music track and we cut the footage according to the tune. After that, we send it to Raghu Dixit (composer) and once he makes adjustments to the score, he sends it back and the process is repeated until we get it right. We did every scene, song and montage this way.
How important is the equation between an editor and a director?
There must be a sync between the editor and the director. It's the most important thing. An editor has to know what the director is thinking. With Anjali Menon, I know exactly what she wants; and she knows what I'm capable of, and is ready to accept suggestions. So there is an understanding between us. A film's success depends on the effort of the team. For example, while working on Anwar Rasheed's Usthad Hotel, everyone was very supportive. They didn't treat me like a newcomer. Anwar gave me all the freedom I needed to try out different things.
Do you think film technicians in India get the respect they deserve today?
Yes. I think technicians are getting more noticed these days. Now that reviews mention editing and other departments, it's a big deal. All the information is now available on the internet -- who directed it, who wrote it, who edited it, etc. People are slowly becoming curious about the members who worked behind the scenes.