Twenty four-year-old Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran, son of ace cinematographer Ravi K Chandran, is like his father in many ways. For one, he’s a cinematographer too. For another, he looks set to be working across industries too. Having made his debut in Malayalam cinema with Two Countries (2015), this is the year in which he will set foot into the Tamil and Telugu industries with NOTA, directed by Anand Shankar of Iru Mugan fame. This bilingual political drama, produced by Studio Green, also marks the entry of Arjun Reddy-fame Vijay Deverakonda into Tamil cinema.
Santhana Krishnan has been toying with cameras from when he was a child. After completing class 12, he opted for a year-long filmmaking course at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore before deciding that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a cinematographer. “I have grown up in Chennai and on films like Iruvar and Nayagan. My dream was always to work in Tamil films,” he says.
He says Ravi K Chandran was a bit surprised when hearing his plans. “But he understood. His advice has always been for me to have fun with whatever I do. And of course, like any father, he’s also constantly asking me to take care of my health,” he laughs.
Santhana Krishnan has been assisting cinematographers in Hindi films from when he was 15. “During the shoot of Anjaana Anjaani (2010), in the US, I met Anand Shankar, who was then assisting Siddharth Anand. We got along really well, and have been in touch with each other over the years. He’s seen ad films I’ve shot, including the award-winning Interior Café Night. When NOTA was in the works, he offered me the film,” he tells us.
The film’s a political drama, and that, he says, comes with its challenges. “I want to keep the tone as realistic as possible. Also, I believe that when every department — production, design, art direction — work in sync, it becomes easier to execute the director’s vision. I am glad this collaboration happened, and am grateful to the film’s team.”
Santhana Krishnan, who’s awaiting the release of Baaghi 2 this month, heaps praise on Anand Shankar and Vijay Deverakonda. “They’re chilled out and we’ve been chatting like best buddies ever since I came on board. There’s this exchange of ideas that takes place all the time when we are talking and I think this has really helped the film.” The film, which also stars Mehreen Pirzada, was officially launched in Chennai last week.