Anyone who watched 1-Nenokkadine has to bow to the visual brilliance of the film. And the only man who deserves the credit is Mr. Rathnavelu – the proud cinematographer of the film.
Ratnavelu is a cinematographer with a different edge over visuals in South Indian Cinema. The way he uses light and texture to elevate a scene or a stunt sequence has become trademark thanks to his work for Surya s/o Krishnan and Shankar’s Robo as well. Here is an iQlik exclusive chit chat with the talented cinematographer.
Hello Mr. Rathnavelu! How are you enjoying the accolades for 1-Nenokkadine?
I am really happy that all our work is being appreciated all over. It is really a great feeling when our efforts pay off in the right way.
How are you into a tough field like cinematography?
Well! I did my bachelors of science in Physics initially. With unfaltering interest in visuals, I did D.F.Tech (Diploma in Film Technology) in Adyar Film Institute, Chennai.
What was the much needed break for you in Cinematography?
It must be undoubtedly working with Rajiv Menon sir (a renowned Cinematographer) as an assistant. In Bombay, I worked for almost fifty ad films along with him and learnt a lot during this tenure. So, I think I had enough experience before joining mainstream cinema.
What is the most important aspect for you in picking a project?
For me, story is the main aspect. I can accept a film only when I genuinely like the story. I wouldn’t mind going anywhere to meet the director for listening to the story! But, story matters than anything else.
It is heard that you did a trial shoot for Superstar Rajnikanth also?
Ya… I insisted upon having a trial shoot for Superstar Rajnikanth for Robo. Yes…everybody wondered why but I personally wanted to make sure how different Rajni sir can be portrayed for the role on screen. It was a part and parcel of my preparation and that is my nature of working.
How was it working for 1-Nenokkadine?
It was indeed quite challenging for me because Mahesh Babu is a handsome actor with great acting caliber. My biggest challenge was to show him even more handsome and at the same time, capture his style of acting and make the audience feel the emotion of the scene.
Any favorite scenes from the film?
Undoubtedly it is the fight sequence in London Bank cellar in the second half. There was no external lighting used throughout the scene. The only source of light was the bike headlights. We shot that sequence in a parking lot spread over 2 acres and it came out really well. When Mahesh Babu saw the output he appreciated the work and I still consider it to be my most memorable compliment.
How did you find working with director Sukumar?
I share a great rapport with Sukumar as I already worked with him for Arya and Jagadam. We share a similar wavelength and fortunately I can understand him well and what he really wanted to show visually. He gave me ample liberty for ‘1’ and that is why, I could deliver my best. We have used Red Epic camera for this film and I think this is the first time Mahesh Babu worked for entirely digital film equipment.
How do you stay in tune with technology?
I make it a point to read at least one hour per day in order to upgrade myself with the current world and I enjoy doing it.
What keeps you ticking and work afresh as a cinematographer?
I have been in this industry for nearly 18 years. It is my passion for the field which drove me all this while and will keep me going for years to come!
Well… Thank you and wish you the best for future projects!