Directors worked with: Mysskin, B Unnikrishnan, Leena Manimekalai
Films worked on: Thupparivalan, Villain, untitled Mysskin film with Udhayanidhi Stalin
Main responsibilities: Continuity and managing the art department
Why filmmaking? How did it all begin?
I was fond of writing short stories right from high school and subsequently tried to convert these into short films. Eventually, a short film of mine got released, gained positive response and was also recognised at various film festivals. I took up a software job and made short films with my income. I was then robbed of my savings by someone who made me an offer to act in their film. But thanks to the support of my family, I kept submitting my portfolio to many directors. Finally, my application got accepted by Mysskin, and an interview followed. Four months passed, and I was just about to take up a job at Domino’s Pizza, when Mysskin called me and asked me to join him.
What do you like about Mysskin?
More than guiding us about filmmaking styles and techniques, he guides us about how to handle and learn from experiences. His emphasis often has been on constructing remarkable stories around episodes from a person’s life. Also, he treats us like family; he has been more like a father to me.
What have you learned about films from your directors?
How to appreciate art. How to draft sequences and stories that are driven by morality and conflicts that arise out of morality. Mysskin has a visual style of storytelling that is pure poetry in motion. Someday, I hope my films too carry such a distinct style stamp.
What’s one area of filmmaking that you were having a tough time with, but are better at now?
Lensing. But while working with Mysskin, I learnt the thought process behind every lensing decision.
Have you ever been star-struck?
I was star-struck by Mohanlal. I grew up watching a lot of his films. I was a dialogue writer for Villain (2017) and I had penned the line — “We finally meet. After all this while”. When I quoted this line to him, it seemed like such an apt line for the occassion too.
What’s the oddest or most memorable thing you have seen or done as an AD?
For the climax fight sequence of Thupparivalan, we shot at the mangrove forests in Pichavaram, near Chidambaram. It was during the shoot of this portion that the Fefsi strike was announced. Technicians from almost department were absent for this schedule, but the release date was nearby and we didn’t want to postpone the release. The assistant directors took the responsibilities of all departments and wrapped up the schedule in just eight days. While I have learnt a lot under Mysskin, these experiences are downright precious.