K.V. Anand became an overnight celebrity after Sivaji, and this time it is the Dasavatharam cameraman’s turn, Ravi Varman. His directorial debut, with its intriguing title, Moscowin Cauvery, will soon grace theatres. Meanwhile, he’s (quite rightly) basking in the technical triumph and glory of Kamal’s dazzling epic. Behindwoods got him talking on what working with the actor meant to him, and many other things on his mind, such as how fascinating a Vijay-Prabu Deva combo could be.

I was the only cinematographer Kamal contacted for Dasavatharam and the rest are rumours

BW: Rumours of cameraman Jeeva being considered first for Dasavatharam?

I strongly disagree with this. Kamal contacted me during the initial stages of Dasavatharam and asked for my dates. Even the director and producer of the movie had not been decided then. Only later did I learn that K.S.R is the director and that Dasavatharam is produced by Aascar Ravichandran. Jeeva was employed only during one day of the shoot and the movie does not contain even a single scene taken on that day.

Is Indian cinema on par with international movies?

Our cinema is unquestionably on par with international movies. We have the best talent pool of directors and actors who have won international recognition and acclaim. With actors like Kamal Haasan, it could certainly be said that our industry is indisputably in line with world-class cinema.

The most hi-tech technique ever employed by you for a movie?

It is definitely for Dasavatharam where we have used technologies like motion control and many such innovations. The result is for all to see.

The most challenging Dasavatharam shots.

All the frames in Dasavatharam have CG work and I even had to shoot some scenes in the same position four or five times, which proved very demanding.

Did you watch any double or triple role movies in preparation?

I had watched loads of Tamil and English movies released in the past and it was really astounding to note that people had put in lots of hard work to bring out the effect despite the lack of technology in those days. Other dual role movies would even look like a stage drama – am not trying to demean other such movies though – and owing to limitations, have only limited camera angles. But Dasavatharam is jet-paced and that’s where we had to multiply our efforts.

How did you manage between Dasavatharam and Moscowin Cauvery?

I would say that my experience working for Dasavatharam prepared me for Moscowin Cauvery. Both experiences are interesting in their own respect.

Is technology only a yardstick in defining movie-standards?

I would disagree. We have been making excellent movies even before the technological advancement came into existence. Movies of veteran directors like Satyajit Ray, Bharathiraja, and Balachander stand proof of this. It is just that communication devices have revolutionized our lives now and our movies are witnessed by the world sooner than they did in those times. Technology plays only the role of a catalyst in boosting a movie’s standard.



I decided the heroine

for Moscowin Cauvery in a flat 3 minutes

The domination of cameramen in Tamil cinema in recent days?

Cameraman’s role is as significant as the plot in a movie, and hence the argument of cameramen dominating a movie does not hold water. It is only during recent days that technicians behind the screen are brought into light with more mediums like TV and Internet exploring the technicalities of a movie.

Did you plan to become a cameraman?

It is a rather emotional story. I lost my mother when I was very young. Just before she died there was a wedding in our neighbourhood and my mother’s image was accidentally captured by the wedding photographer in one of the photos. I went to a studio and asked for a picture to be enlarged and learnt what ‘out of focus’ is. Thus, I developed an interest in photography and later bought a still camera and started practicing it.

Which actor is a treat to watch from all camera angles?

Although there are no such specific preferences, I love Kamal Haasan and it’s a delight to watch him perform when the cameras are rolling. That apart, I like Savithri; and among the contemporaries, Jyothika whose eyes are lively and enliven the shot.

On the common phenomenon of retakes?

I have no issues in the director going for retakes, since at the end of the day he wants the scene to be perfect. While some shots would be okayed in one or two takes some even go for 30 – 40 retakes, which is perfectly fine with me.

Do graphic effects lessen the camera effects?

That’s usually not the case. It depends on case-to-case and solely rests with the cameraman.

The trend towards camera assistants turning directors?

I don’t think that’s a possibility. Then again, it is based on the individual and his knowledge.

Your opinion on the new digital format?

It’s a welcoming change and I think digital format is here to stay for a longer period.

Your experience working with Shankar and Gautham Menon.

Both are stalwarts and expert storytellers. Gautham’s story will be two-hundred percent amplified in screen; however, Shankar has the capability to narrate a story to its onscreen effect even before the movie is filmed.

The best art director in the industry?

Thotta Dharani – without any doubt, in my opinion.

You actually found your ‘Mascowin Kaadhali’ heroine in three minutes?

I found her in an ad shoot and thought she would be a perfect match for the role I had in mind for the movie. She is spontaneous and has potential.

Your impression of her?

She’s an intelligent actor and emotes well. I see the talents of Revathy in her.

Any plans for a Malayalam movie?

I would love to direct a Malayalam movie someday. There’s an interesting friends circle of mine in the industry and it would be my pleasure to be associated with them.

Vijay-Prabhu Deva
will make a fantastic combo.

Your association with Ravi K Chandran.

He is more than a guru to me and I consider him as one of the pioneers in the industry. I dedicate my success to him and it is only because of his guidance that I reaped this much success.

Movies that sink without a trace, despite the hype.

I think it is because the media generates tremendous curiosity and expectation that the movie could not possibly fulfil.

Your association with Prabhu Deva?

I’m a huge fan of Prabhu Deva and think his dance movements are graceful and amusing to all part of the audiences. I missed working for Pokkiri and it is my pleasure to be with him in his new venture. Vijay again is somebody I adore. He is a formulaic actor like MGR. It is an interesting combo.

I missed working for



How far into Moscowin Cauvery are you?

The movie is completely finished and we are gearing up for the post production works. We plan for an August release. It would be a different experience for the viewers and I have no doubts that it would be a hit. It was difficult for me to handle story, screenplay, dialogue and direction at the same time, but the result satisfies me.

How many songs does the movie have?

There are 5 songs in the movie and we finished the movie in a span of 45 days. We shot most of it in Karaikkudi and Hyderabad. It will be a visual and emotional treat for the audience.

Any future plans to direct Surya, Ajith, and Vijay?

I will wait for my debut venture to grab attention and commercial success and will decide my next course of action later.

Thanks very much for spending time with us amidst your busy schedule.

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