THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Award-winning cinematographer Ashok Kumar Agarwal, who passed away on Wednesday, was not a technician who dealt with just the technical aspects of a film, but was a great artist with good aesthetic sense, recalls noted filmmaker Fazil.
“He was the cinematographer in my first film ‘Manjil Virinja Pookal.’ It was by accident that he became the cinematographer of my first film venture. In fact it was one of my friends who suggested Ashok’s name to me while I was preparing for that film,” Fazil told ‘Express’. “When I entered the film industry there were three cinematographers who had amazed me. They were Balu Mahendra, Marcus Bartley and A Vincent. Actually after I started working with Ashok, I realised that he is the apt person who could be comparable to the above three,” Fazil said. It was a great experience to work with Ashok. “He was a very pleasing personality with whom I was able to work easily. We used to discuss matters in English during the making of Manjil Virinja Pookkal,” says Fazil. Fazil said that Ashok was the first film celebrity who introduced the ‘boxer’ type garment to the Malayalam film industry.
Later we worked in two more films - ‘Ente Mamattikkuttiyammakku’ and ‘ Nokkethadhoorathu Kannum Nattu’. It was Ashok Kumar who taught me certain camera techniques and lighting include ‘backlight’, Fazil said.
“He was a perfect cinematographer who had aesthetic sense along with good technical capabilities. It was while filming a hospital scene for ‘Nokkethadhoorathu Kannum Nattu’ that a problem suddenly cropped up.
The shoot was planned at Alappuzha Medical College and we had booked an original ward for conducting the shoot. But the problem was that the ward room was a small one with merely four fixed lights.
There was no space for any lighting adjustments and I became confused about how to give correct look as I planned while preparing the script. However, Ashok said that he will take care of the lighting, but I was still tense. But I was amazed while watching the rushes. He was such a wonderful technician who really knows world of film,” says Fazil.
But after that movie, I could not work with him as he became busy in other languages. Later, he slowly faded into the shawdows and his death is a big loss to all in the film industry, said Fazil.