Pranayameenukalude Kadal will be a visual treat: Vishnu Panicker
The cinematographer of director Kamal's upcoming film Pranayameenukalude Kadal opens up about his experience working on the project
From his multiple mentions of Ravi Varman’s name in our conversation, it’s evident that Vishnu Panicker is extremely proud of being the ace cinematographer’s student. Before making his debut as a cinematographer with Mikhael, Vishnu assisted Ravi Varman on the films Tamasha, Sanju, Kaatru Veliyidai, and a Hollywood musical, Heartbeats.
Having worked on director Kamal’s upcoming Pranayameenukalude Kadal, he shared with us some details about his experience on the film. The recently released stunning 30-second footage from the film—featuring Vinayakan’s shark-hunter—has got many film buffs talking. “It’s only a small taste of what is yet to come,” he says.
Also starring Dileesh Pothan, Saiju Kurup, and Sudeesh, the film was shot mostly in Lakshadweep. Its main highlights, he reveals, include Vinayakan’s intro, a fight sequence, and the finale. “We had shot lots of underwater footage, which took around 14 days to film. It was difficult, but enjoyable nevertheless,” he adds.
On working with Vinayakan, Vishnu says, “I’ve not worked with such a talented actor like him before. He learned to swim within a day or two. Gabri Jose (male lead) already knew swimming but Ridhi Kumar (female lead) didn’t. So, a team was brought in from Mumbai to train her. Though everyone ‘drank’ a lot of water, it all turned out well,” he laughs.
The two sequences featuring a shark were achieved through a combination of minor VFX and robotics. “We had originally considered doing the whole thing in CGI but later decided to use 3D only for the close-ups —the eye and mouth movements—and robotics for the wide shots.
Barring the logistical challenges, shooting in Lakshadweep was an invigorating experience for Vishnu. “I used to reach the location after 6.30 am and start filming after 9 am in bright sunlight and continue until the hard light got weaker later in the day. The clear water and the beautiful colour patterns on it were a sight to behold,” he recalls fondly.
Pranayameenukalude Kadal, which was scripted jointly by Kamal and John Paul, has completed filming and is currently in the post-production phase. Shameer Muhammed is handling the editing while Shaan Rahman is working on the music. John Vattakuzhi and Deepak John are bankrolling the film.