Celebrated cinematographers of our times whose movies have created lasting impressions in the minds and hearts of the movie enthusiasts, R. Rathnavelu, Manoj Paramahansa and Supratim Bhol attended an In-Conversation session on ‘Nuances of Techniques in Cinematography’ at the 53rd edition of the International Film Festival of India in Goa today.
Sharing their perspectives on what it takes to be a cinematographer, the trio said in unison that hard work, updating self with the times are the key to succeed in the sector.
Cinematographers R. Rathnavelu, Manoj Paramahansa and Supratim Bhol addressing the In Conversations session on the side-lines of IFFI 53. Padma Shri awardee Bhawana Somaaya has moderated the session
While talking about his inspiring journey in the world of cinema and his version of the definition of cinematographer, R. Rathnavelu said cinematographers’ canvases the story as envisioned by the director. “We are not technicians, but creators who use our skills to create movie magic.
As the key players, who works under immense pressure, our contribution counts more. We are the unsung heroes of film industry, who are the first to reach the set and last one to leave.”
Detailing his techniques in updating his craft, Rathnavelu, who is known for creating magic with his camera for movies as Vaaranam Aayiram, Enthiran (Robot), said Cinematography is a mix of art and science, not art alone.
If one want to sustain, they need to embrace technology more. Narrating his journey so far Rathnavelu added that even after coming from a non-cinema background, he had succeeded so far in his arena. “I am going strong even after 25 years.
You don't require background, once you put your dedication and sincerity, you can grow the way you aspire to be. I constantly keep upgrading myself.”Recalling the period of transition to digital during the making of the movie Robot starring Rajinikanth in 2008, he said Robot used the potential of VFX to its maximum.
Even though the challenge was huge. I decided to do it and started going deep into technology. We need to constantly upgrade to be in the race,” he added.
Manoj Paramahansa who has worked in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam film industries said, to be a filmmaker is a never ending dream which needs constant updation. “We are the best storytellers in the world, but technically we have to improve.”
Stressing that hard work is the key to success, the acclaimed cinematographer added that people can learn themselves with technology. Everybody is a photographer, and mobiles are so good, so when we do, it has to be better than what others do.
Narrating an anecdote on the pain they undertake to fulfil the vision of directors, he said once he had to travel 200 km in freezing cold to Ladakh - China border, the only place where we get to see natural spring.
“It was like real magic for me, for one shot alone we covered that distance. We forgot the struggle when we had this immense joy with our result,” he told.To make the matter easier, as per Manoj there are free softwares like Unreal Engine which comes really handy for the cinematographer.
“It is so user friendly that all real world scenarios can be prepared before we go for the shoot,” he said. He advised youngsters who wants to sharpen their craft to spend more time on such softwares and video tutorial.
For Supratim Bhol, who is known for his movies Aparajito and Avijatrik as cinematographer one need to have some blessings to get the precise shot. “Even though we are prepared often, when we watch the film, it doesn't connect with the heart due to lack of that invisible blessing.”
Narrating how his craft is influenced by the life he is having, Supratim has this to say: “All books and poems I have read, pictures I clicked, the paintings which I did, songs I sang in my bathroom, it is an amalgamation of all that which comes live, it is your life which gets expressed in the form of cinema.”
When asked about his style of work Supratim said it is important that one should be committed to the script. “The thumb rule should be just go with your instinct. At the end of the day, we are all human beings, the more local you go, and the more global you become.”
The session was moderated by film journalist, critic and Padma Shri awardee Bhawana Somaaya.The Masterclasses and In-Conversation sessions at IFFI 53 are being jointly organized by Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), NFDC, Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and ESG.
A total of 23 sessions comprising masterclasses and in-conversations are being conducted this year to encourage the students and enthusiasts of cinema in every aspect of filmmaking.