Shooting Stars and Other Stories
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There is something magical about the use of light in cinema, logic plays no role here. And cinematography is like painting, which is an instinctive art. No artist comes to the drawing board with a plan; it flows from within.
I realised this very late in my career. Born in a village in Tamil Nadu, I moved to Chennai when I was 12. My first job was as a cameraman. My debut as a cinematographer was with a short Malayalam film in the late 1990s called Jalamarmaram, and my second film, Sathyam Shivam Sundaram, was made on a very small budget. My work was recognised and I started working on big commercial ventures. But almost a decade and 23 films later, when I looked back, I realised that my first two films were my favourites. That is because I had used natural light and done so instinctively.
I soon began to take interest in world cinema, still photography and painting. I would go for long walks and notice how the light was never the same even over a distance of a kilometre. Trees, flowers, sun, people, everything affects the play of light. My greatest learning came when my daughter took to art. I watch her paint with instinct, using shadows and light to enhance her subject and I realise that cinematography is no different.
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