Against a poignant grey backdrop appear the warm words ‘We are all born for love. It is the principle of existence, and its the only end...’. Along with the setting rolls the titles of the film, Pranayam. As a stark contrast to the sequence, emerges the title of another movie, Nee Ko Nja Chaa. The screen turns peppy with bouncy music and flashy colours. The title sequences of both the movies are poles apart and that is exactly where the challenge of a technician of title graphics lies, says Rajeev Gopal, who is much sought-after for his wonderful ways of presentation.
Rajeev is the blue-eyed boy of Mollywood when it comes to designing title graphics. One among the busiest technicians in the industry, he has already designed the titles of more than 30 Malayalam films, starting from Kamal’s Rapakal in 2005. “I did the main title and production logo of the film.” It was followed by Lal Jose’s Classmates. But the real turning point in his career was Big B which was the first Malayalam movie to show two-and-a-half-minute full length title sequence. “A friend of music director Biji Pal introduced me to directors Amal Neerad and Aashiq Abu. A technician himself, Amal gave me immense space to experiment within the hitherto unexplored area in Big B,” he says.
No wonder, there was no turning back for the talented technician. The movies like Manjadikuru, Daddy Cool, Salt n Pepper, 22 FK, Da Thadiya, Bachelors Party, were not only noticed for their fresh and audacious themes, but for the way the films were presented to the audience, as well.
“The title sequence sets the tone of a film. It plays an essential part in a film because of the first impression that it creates in the viewers, just before the film starts,” explains Rajeev. “For each film, there is a unique way of presentation. While the graphics of the film In Ghost House Inn was fully animated to bring a sense of horror and comedy, in films like Salt n Pepper, 22FK and Orissa, the video was played to augment the tone. Usually the director gives me a rough picture of the film according to which I work,” says Rajeev.
“A title sequence includes the production logo, the film’s name and the name of the technicians. My task is to make people sit through it,” he says.
However, the work that is close to Rajeev’s heart is Daddy Cool. The film won him recognition for the cutting-edge way in which he experimented with graphics. “The film is special to me, for it was the most challenging work I have done so far,” says Rajeev.
It looks like Rajeev is a quintessential part of many a new-gen project, and quiz him on what makes him a high-flier among the young directors, he says, “The new directors are willing to shell out money for the technicalities of the film. They are fully aware that title sequences do play an integral role in a film.”
Buddy and 5 Sundarkal were his recently released movies. Right now, his hands are full with many promising projects including Kalimannu and Arikil Oraal. “I have given a murky backdrop for Kalimannu, and for Arikil Oraal, a thriller movie, I hit upon a suspense-filled setting,” says Rajeev.