After the success of Pizza, young director Karthik Subbaraj is ready with his next flick Jigarthanda. Expectations are high and he’s leaving no stone unturned to give a different product from his last. With the film, a new cameraman, Gavemic U Ary, comes to K Town, after making his Bollywood debut with the Hindi flick Mastram. In a chat with CE, Gavemic tells us why both Kollywood and Jigarthanda are special for him.
He started his career assisting ace cameraman P C Sreeram. Later, the Pondicherry-born Gavemic worked with ace cinematographer Santosh Sivan in Mumbai. “Everything I know about filmmaking, I picked up from Sreeram sir and Sivan,” says Gavemic. “In fact, with Sivan, I trained as an all rounder, working on the sets and also the camera.” His big break came with Mastram, a Hindi flick directed by Akhilesh Jaiswal, which will be releasing in May. The film is about a writer of Hindi erotic literature. It was after seeing his work in the film, that he got the offer for Jigarthanda.
“Santosh Narayanan, the music director of Jigarthanda, introduced me to Subbaraj. When I heard the story, I was very eager to do this film. Not only was it a challenge, but I also wanted to work in my mother-tongue Tamil,” recalls Gavemic. “But despite initial meetings with Subbaraj, I didn’t get the green signal. I felt disappointed, but destiny willed otherwise. I was about to sign a contract for a Hindi film, when I suddenly got a call from Subbaraj, confirming me for the project. I immediately accepted. Had he called five minutes later, I would have signed the Hindi flick and lost the opportunity of working on Jigarthanda!”
Madurai is the highlight of the film and Gavemic reveals, “Subbaraj knows the city very well since he hails from there. It was his father and friends who got us permission to shoot everywhere. We have shot in almost every nook and cranny of the city. We spent three months in pre-production. Subbaraj and I would set off right in the morning and stop whenever we liked a house or a place. We would then get their permission to shoot. In several decades of Tamil cinema, Madurai has been captured from various angles in movies. In Jigarthanda, the challenge for me lay in capturing Madurai in a very different way for viewers,” says Gavemic, who has used special lighting techniques.
Not only the city, the actors also had to be showcased differently. “Subbaraj is a Tarantino fan. He wanted the same energy, raw grit and mood, since Jigarthanda is a gangster flick. He wanted me to capture the villain Simhaa as looking extremely dreadful and fierce.” In the 54-day shoot, the team went without sleep for several days. But going by the satisfied look on Gavemic’s face, the efforts seem to have been worth it.