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The many colours of Radhe Shyam- Cinema express

The many colours of Radhe Shyam

Team Radhe Shyam speaks to us about the stunning visuals of the film and how they were envisioned and executed

Published: 17th March 2022
A still of Prabhas and Pooja

The story of a palmist and doctor falling in love in the backdrop of stunning Italy is the crux of Radhe Shyam, the new film starring Prabhas and Pooja Hegde. Since its release, the film has received mixed reviews but almost everyone has been unanimous in appreciation for the film's cinematography. Prabhas, Pooja, and cinematographer Manoj Paramahamsa, speak of how the team came together to deliver a visually stunning period drama.
Pooja begins by sharing that she has left a part of herself in her character, Prerna. “She is a layered and complex character. She is stubborn, but she also loves. She is also someone who would go all in. It has been fun playing her.” Pooja also says that her heart continues to be with the film as she has travelled long with it and her character.

Prabhas, on the other hand, was initially not convinced with the role of a palmist as he is not a believer in astrology. However, he expresses that the second half of the film changed his mind about playing the role of Vikramaditya.
Prabhas and Pooja also feel that the way scenes were sketched helped them develop chemistry between their characters. The direction by Radha Krishna Kumar, music by Justin Prabhakaran, and cinematography by Manoj played pivotal roles, and a grateful Prabhas notes, “Everyone said that the chemistry is beautiful.”

Speaking of romance and chemistry, Pooja cites the curtain shot in the hospital in the first act and exclaims, “That’s romance! It’s easier for us to act as actors when the director, the DOP, and everyone is in line to help you create this beautiful painting. It is in this little corner in the hospital. So, I think every single thing has helped us achieve this chemistry.”

Prerna and Vikramaditya’s meet-cute in Radhe Shyam is set in a train that travels through the scenic landscapes of Italy. In addition to the stunning views, the entire setup is straight out of fantasy. The sharp spring colours, Prerna’s need for an adrenaline rush, and Vikramaditya falling for her at first sight —  not to mention the still water that reflects all of this — it is all a vibrant canvas brought to life by cinematographer Manoj.

The idea behind the glossy treatment stems from the ambition to make fresh visuals. The film may be set in the 1970s, but that did not necessarily mean that the visuals needed to be defined by vintage colors. So, Manoj, along with director Radha Krishna, decided to go with an overall bright colour scheme. “If this film had been released in the 70s, what would it look like?” asks Manoj rhetorically, to assert that a period film does not always need to look dull and dirty.
Manoj also explains that the onscreen colour revolution took place originally in the 70s. He cites the examples of European cinema which came out during the period as an example of how vibrant films were. He also reveals that they attempted an anamorphic format in this film.

Several rules were broken and among them were outfits sported by the lead actors in the film, particularly of Pooja Hegde. She expresses how her initial views about being a part of a period film changed after a conversation with director Radha Krishna. She had assumed that she would have to look “simple” to denote the time that the film was set in. Radha Krishna, however, did not agree as his expectation for the film was more along the lines of fantasy.

“Radha sir said that the frame ought to be beautiful, as she is living her life. This is all achieved with the cinematography,” says Pooja and adds, “I am glad this is the case because as Indians, we are so used to period films featuring the likes of lehengas and cholis. What is amazing though is that our team has given a European period film and made it glossy as their films are. It is something new for audiences here.”

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