Express news service
When cinematographer Sreeraj Raveendran told us last year about the existence of a small project he co-wrote called Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam, we had no idea it would be a cracker of ‘a film that would exceed all expectations.
The tremendous reception that followed its screening at IFFK last year was an indicator of its exceptional quality, which was finally here for everyone, when it premiered on SonyLIV last Friday. The behind-the-scenes story, told by Sreeraj, is as compelling as that of any great visual effects-laden film.
When Sreeraj and director Senna Hegde set out to make the film, the goal was to make a âfun and relatable commercial artistâ who was both sane and expressed his politics without being judgmental. âWe envisioned a dramatic comedy with a vintage flavor told through a modern lens,â says Sreeraj, who, with his camera, behaved like a viewer observing things from afar, then coming closer as things grew. more and more intense. Senna and Sreeraj are both on the same page when it comes to the visual style of the film. The first wanted the camera to be in motion, even when it remains in the same position.
âHe didn’t want dead frames and lots of clippings. Instead, we were focusing on the choreography of the actors’ movements and making sure that the continuity of the background and foreground activities was well coordinated,â Sreeraj continues. , adding that they hadn’t been using drones or tracking shots, as they feared those were also potential distractions.
The team initially envisioned traditional actors, but Senna’s intuition steered them in a relatively subversive direction that ultimately worked in their favor. âInitially there was concern that this approach would make everyone feel like a ‘festival film’, but I gained confidence after seeing the actors up to two days before the filming, ârecalls Sreeraj.
âThe biggest advantage of casting new faces is that the audience wouldn’t be able to predict how the characters will react in a given situation when, with familiar actors, people have preconceptions,â adds he does.
Were the dialogues originally written in the Kanhagad dialect? “No,” he replies. âWe just wrote the content we wanted and asked the actors to do it in their dialect as they normally would. We didn’t give the script to anyone. Having Rajesh Madhavan, our creative director, also helped because he was from that area. And shooting it in sync was helpful because it gives the actors a lot of freedom. Also, Senna doesn’t believe in dubbing. He thinks that if an actor gave 90-95% on set and more late when he doubled for the same performance, he becomes 85 percent.
The main photograph lasted 23 days in a house in an elevated location in Kanhagad. The team looked for one with steps that no vehicle can reach except a two-wheeler, a choice made during the writing phase. âIt made more sense considering the few conflicts that crop up later in the movie. But there was a slight catch. This house looked good from the outside, but its limited interior space posed a challenge. is a pragmatic guy; he is blunt when expressing his point of view. We finally figured out how to shoot in the same house, âsays Sreeraj, who suggested using the interior of another house, but Senna didn’t wasn’t the type to encourage him.
One of the smart decisions made was the use of anamorphic lenses which cover more space. âThere were two reasons to use them. 1) To avoid congestion, and 2) To make the film look slightly vintage. We used Hawk anamorphics to create this effect. It has its drawbacks like distortions and other aberrations. , but we used them to our advantage because old movies had them too. But one thing we didn’t want were the flares which we did our best to avoid. Flares work well in a thriller, not in something like that, âhe says.
As for lighting this limited space, Sreeraj used around 40 smart bulbs (controlled via a smartphone) inside the Chinese balls at the top to achieve uniform and necessary visibility. âNormally it takes 30 to 45 minutes to light up a scene, but these bulbs have helped us move faster. There are no complications with this setup. The characters can move around without limits. ‘To instruct assistants on the setup and adjustments needed when a character moves from one room to another, âhe explains.
Sreeraj also takes pride in maintaining a consistent color palette throughout the film, a rarity in filmmaking. âWe put a lot of effort into making sure the costumes and backgrounds worked seamlessly from start to finish. We followed the color psychology in some places. I couldn’t even compromise on the color of the panthal because if I did not understand this color detail, it would have complicated things “, he laughs.
Sreeraj has a favorite moment in the movie. That’s when the character of Vimala, played by newbie Mini Shine, becomes the cause of much chaos when she brings up secrets from the past in the film’s penultimate scene. âI got goosebumps in that scene. It was so surreal to see the actors play a real brawl, with minor cuts and scratches and everything. It’s the privilege of being a director of photography – unlike a director or any other crew member, you can see the magic up close, âhe says.