He added the zing to amazing with his meticulous and detailed camera work, and took visual narrative to an all new level. Be it textured sets, dressed-up props or natural lighting, Jomon T John’s arrangements have rendered a new glow to visual art in Mollywood.
You have an envious line of projects in hand. It was also said that you are planning to direct a movie.
Yes, I do plan to direct a movie, and two scripts have already been selected. It would be a period drama, so research is going on, along with my other works. I need to finish all my commitments this year, so it would, most likely, commence next year. The cast will comprise familiar actors, but that’s all I can say for now!
Enai Noki Paayum Thota is one among the exciting projects you’re doing. How was it working with Gautham Vasudev Menon?
I’m comfortable working with Gautham Menon. He allows immense creative freedom to all his technicians. We’ve set a comfortable pace for the work, where he knows exactly what he is looking for and gets it without even spelling it out to me. I’ll be working with him on his next project, Dhruva Nakshatram, with Vikram, as well. We just started its work in New York, and the teaser will be out very soon.
And, is Dhanush as jaunty in real life as well?
Dhanush is professional to the core, but he’s a bit reserved and quiet. He doesn’t get close to someone until he gets familiar with the person. We do technical rehearsals for actors which is customary, but with Dhanush and Gautham, it’s not even necessary, for he (Dhanush) gives a pitch-perfect shot in the first take.
The buzz about your Bollywood debut after a song in Rock On 2, is quite strong. Any film in the offing?
I have been offered Rohit Shetty’s next directorial effort which has Ajay Devgn and Parineeti Chopra in the lead. The shoot will commence in February. Rock On 2 was a nostalgic experience; the first part of the movie was released when I was in film school. We used to watch the songs on a loop, and the energy was infectious. Filming a song for the second edition was a great experience, with Farhan Akhtar doing the song live for about 50 times.
Among the current cinematographers, you’re among the lead players. Who has been your inspiration?
I grew up watching Priyan [Priyadarshan] sir’s movies - Kilukkam and the others. The love for camera actually started in those days. It was only after I joined film school that I started to watch International films, and got to observe the styles of master cinematographers. It’s unfair to pick from the Malayalam industry because I admire a lot of people. Internationally, I love the works of Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant, Birdman, Gravity) and the English cinematographer Roger Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption, Skyfall).
You had earlier criticised the quality of certain theatres in the city. Now with the ongoing strike, what is your take?
I’d like to emphasize one point: I don’t think anyone has the right to deny people their desire to see movies during the festival season. It’s a sad state of affairs. Also, before raising the stakes, the service provided by most of the theatres needs to improve
You were quoted as saying that you are trying to line up awards next to wife Ann Augustine’s. Are you close to a tally now?
(Laughs) That was just a joke! My friends were chiding me about the fact that I hadn’t won the state award while she had won the same. However, now, we have one each and mine sits right next to hers!