He’s just 29 years old and one of the youngest camerapersons in the industry. Now, Laxman Kumar, who began his stint behind the lens with Suseenthiran’s Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu (VKK), is taking the plunge into direction. What’s more, he’s also jointly producing his film with friend Vijay Raghavendar under the All In Movies banner.He will also be cranking the camera himself. In an exclusive chat with CE, Laxman reveals more about his debut venture titled Masala Padam and his reasons for donning multiple hats.
From camera to megaphone
After a film course at Rajiv Menon’s Mindscreen Film Institute, Laxman assisted ace cameramanRatnavelu for three years. Suseenthiran’s VKK was his debut film as cameraman, after which he shot Kulla Nari Kootam, Poda Podi, Paagan, Nil Gavani Selladhey, Puthagam and Thillu Mullu. So what gave him the confidence that he could direct? “Since a cameraman brings a director’s vision to life, he learns a lot more about the filmmaking process than even an assistant director. The cameraman is the first audience of a film as he captures action within a frame. I’ve also been learning about dubbing, editing and other aspects of filmmaking in the films I’ve worked on. Moreover, we had several papers on direction at Mindscreen. So, as a film technician, I feel capable of direction now,” he says.
About producing his own film he adds, “Masala Padam has a very different story. It’s about cinema, but not a spoof. I’m passionate about cinema, its origins and its relationship with audiences. So the story of Masala Padam is very close to my heart. I have my own visualisation. So, I decided to take my own risks and produce it.”
A multi-genre film
Ask him what the movie is about and he says, “The masala genre is unique to India. If you look up the Internet, the genre is unexplained. While several countries have their typical genres like Iranian or Korean films, India is known for its trademark ‘masala films’ with fights, songs and dances. This kind of screenplay is unique to us and has lasted successfully till this day. My film is about the power of the masala film and how it connects to audiences.” Laxman did six months of pre-production to research the genre and has made an eight-minute documentary, which will run during the start and end credits. He explains, “From the invention of the camera to Veeram and Jilla, I’ve encapsulated it all. Many leading commercial film directors will also share their views on this genre.”
He calls it a multi-genre film with three characters representing the various types of city audiences. “ It’s about how all three, with different lifestyles, connect with masala films, contributing to their lasting success.”
The masala lifestyle
Laxman has an interesting take, which will reflect in his film. “We lead a masala lifestyle and have a masala psychology. We strive to have a good masala mix of everything in our lives, from loving masala food, to being good sons, brothers and husbands. A masala film too strives to cater to every taste, thereby connecting with all types of audiences. My film is basically about how audiences and cinema connect with each other so deeply,” he adds.
Laxman has begun shooting with candid camera shots. While Laxman is the cameraman, newbie Karthik Acharya is scoring the music. Laxman has canned shots with director Perarasu and will be approaching big commercial film directors like Hari, Lingusamy, K S Ravikumar, S P Muthuraman and many others soon. The full cast will be finalised soon.