Editor Nagooran: I watched Rocky more than 100 times
The technician speaks about his experience while working on Arun Matheswaran's Rocky, his upcoming Sivakarthikeyan-starrer Don, and more
Conceiving a non-linear, meditative film like Rocky isn't a regular affair for most film technicians. Imagine putting together long single-takes, closely-cut montage shots, and high-octane violent sequences, all for one film. Editor Nagooran knew that Rocky would be a unique experience right from the moment he read the script. "It was so detailed. I realised that the experience would be drastically different from other films. Since I also played a role in the film, that of the dates seller, I knew how they shot the film," he says.
The editor adds that Rocky was an experience he liked indulging so much that he watched the output every time he felt blue. "While editing, there was a certain drive that kept pushing me. I loved how the film took its shape and I never felt bored. In fact, I have watched Rocky more than 100 times before the release," he adds.
Though he knew the cards he was supposed to play with, it was Nagooran's rapport with director Arun Matheswaran that seems to have played a pivotal role. "Arun gave me a lot of freedom. He will let us give our inputs yet get what he wants out of it. Further, we also worked in Saani Kaayidham, so we have an understanding between us." That and Arun's clarity with how the film should look helped, adds the editor. "As I had an idea of the input I will be getting, I was able to apply a lot of theories that I had learnt from my days at the Film Institute. I had even created a shorter montage version of the long walking sequences you see in the film." Apart from this, the dream sequence and 'Kaalam Oru Dhrogi' song became a major talking point of Rocky, and Nagooran agrees that they were as difficult to edit as it seems. "It should not only tell a story, but it should also connect with the audience. That was the difficult part," shares Nagooran.
In the film, the narrative keeps shifting non-linearly, with flashbacks shot in black and white. "That was Arun's call. It was necessary because we needed to convey the shift of the narrative." When it comes to the metaphors, such as the watch that Rocky inherits from his father or the shot of a chest wound cutting to a bonfire, both Arun and Nagooran have jointly taken these calls. "Once again, I had that freedom. If I can communicate something without affecting the writer's vision, it is all good," he says. With so many people talking about the Old Boy-ish corridor fight sequence, it is obvious to wonder if there were other cinematic inspirations in mind. "Not at all. In fact, the way the corridor sequence wasn't pre-planned. We were supposed to shoot it at a different location, but when we went to this place, Arun thought he can conceive it in this way as a tribute to Old Boy."
After Rocky and the yet-to-be-released Saani Kaayidham, Nagooran is taking up a film that appears quite contrasting to the above two: Sivakarthikeyan's Don. "It is drastically different. It is a family entertainer with a big star at the centre of it. I am sure a lot of us will be able to recall and connect to many aspects of our college life," shares the editor.