: Jyothsna Bhavanishankar & Inian | Camera : Balaji
| Text : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar | Video Editor :
SURESH URS INTERVIEW
Suresh Urs needs no introduction. Having edited around
500 films in many languages Suresh Urs has worked
with almost all the ace directors of our times like
Mani Ratnam, Bala, Ameer, Rajeev Menon, Gautham Menon
and Charan. His seamless editing won him the National
Award for Best Editing for Mani Ratnam’s Bombay.
Currently busy with Ajith’s Billa 2, this practitioner
of the ‘invisible art’ tracks his editing
journey with Senior Editor Jyothsna Bhavanishankar
How did you develop an interest in editing?
I was working as an assistant director to start with
and I saw my seniors and felt that editing was good
and changed my department.
How important is
editing to a film?
Not only editing but every department like camera, music
script writing, story writing are all like pillars for
any cinema. When all these people work in unison, cinema
Can you share your editing experience with us?
have worked in around 500 films across many
languages. In Tamil I have worked in successful
films like Roja, Bombay, Dhalapathi, Ramana,
Amarkalam, Chandramukhi. I have got good appreciation
from the industry side. Audience has also enjoyed
these films. In Kannada I have worked with off-beat
directors like Girish Karnad, Kasaravalli, Burgur
Ramachandrappa, Nagabharanam. I have got good
name and fame there also.
I have worked in around 500
films across many languages
How do you bring
in variation in editing for different genres?
It is important for me what the director wants to convey.
All films will not be the same and it should not be
the same. I will start my work based on the director’s
requirements. It will be a good experience for me especially
when I work on different scripts and with different
You have worked
with Mani Ratnam in many of his films. Can you share
your working experience with him?
I consider myself to be fortunate to have worked with
legendary directors. Mani sir is such a soft natured
person and gives freedom to his technicians. Even if
we give wrong suggestions, he would not dismiss the
idea outright. Instead he would ask us to try it on
and find it for ourselves and then we would realize.
So the next time around, when we want to give suggestions,
we would think many times before we say something. This
is the big advantage when you work with experienced
On the other hand, when you work with newcomers and
young directors, the entire responsibility rests with
us. We need to advise them.
Bala has a very sharp memory
sir shoots and sends and he will not be there
for the 1st cut. His memory power is very sharp
and he generally goes for many takes until he
is satisfied. When I happen to choose, for instance,
14th take, he would ask me why I have not chosen
32nd take. If my justification satisfies him,
he would let me use that particular take. When
you work with Bala sir, your memory power will
Styles used in
I don’t keep any specific style. Story is vital.
I maintain styles as per the story. If I adhere to just
one style, it would be monotonous for the audience.
National Award for Bombay
expected National Award for Roja but I never
received any recognition for that film. In fact
I worked harder in Roja. On that day of announcement
of awards, I was at my friend’s place
and a celebration was arranged expecting the
award for me. There were announcements about
all the awards except for editing. I felt very
disappointed and went over to another friend’s
place. The next morning, when I went home, my
brother told that somebody had called to congratulate
me for the award. And later when I opened the
newspaper, my name was there for Best Editing.
It was a thrilling moment for me.
I expected National Award for
How does a relationship between an editor and cinematographer
help a film?
Generally we don’t much interact except in the
final stages of a film. If there is a good relationship,
it is good for the film.
Your favorite cameraman
who gives you useful tips
It’s not like that. For a film, whoever contributes,
it is only going to help the film. Film is only a director’s
media. In my opinion, all the credit should go to the
I am always ready for Bala
is the secret behind Bala opting you for editing
for his films?
should ask him that. May be he likes my work!
I always allot all my time for Bala sir. I am
always ready for him. I have never said no to
him. Perhaps this is being liked by him.
I don’t consider anything tough or challenging.
They are all the same for me. I don’t differentiate
between big budget and small budget films. I am passionate
about my work. I am ready to work even 24 hours. I can
even forego food and water. As I love my work, I have
never felt anything very tough.
It has been said
that films are born at the editors’ table. Your
It is true but it can happen only with the support from
the director. We should not forget that fact. Some people
claim it is their handiwork but I don’t accept
that. Without director’s support, you cannot do
anything. Even if you give right suggestion, if the
director does not take it, you can’t do anything.
If we do something nice, the first credit should go
to the director. That’s how I feel.
What are the latest trends in editing?
is nothing like that. Director is the trendsetter.
Whoever narrates the story becomes the trendsetter.
An editor can never become a trend setter. Perhaps,
he can try a few tricks in one film but if it
continues, it becomes monotonous and it would
not be liked. Bharthi Raja sir, Bhagyaraj sir,
Mani sir, Bala sir are all trendsetters. I would
not like to talk about technicians in that vein.
Director is the trendsetter
Your current projects
Billa 2 is going on. Talks are on for a Hindi project.
I am doing P Vasu sir’s Kannada film.
Chakri Toleti and
Billa 2 experience
He is a nice person. Work is going on.
What would be the
style in Billa 2?
It is secret. I would not like to discuss. In cinema
the more there is secrecy, the better for the film.
We should not discuss everything. I would like to maintain
Ajith is a perfect gentleman
with Ajith in Billa 2
know Ajith from Amarkalam days. He is a good
actor and a perfect gentleman. Whatever he is
committed to doing, he would do it perfectly.
There would be no issues from his side.
who have gone independent
There are many. There is Saravanan, Ganesh and Harsha
in Tamil and there are many in Kannada film industry.
I am proud to say that my assistants have got state
awards ten times.
Kannada film Savi
Yes, the film was directed by Santosh Rai Pathaje, a
cameraman turned director. He was very keen that I work
in his film which had superb visuals. It is nice to
work with such directors. All the units in the film
like director, music director, editor sat together,
discussed and worked. The film was like an epic. The
film won SPB sir the Best Singer award.
You worked in Dil Se and also Uyire. Were there
any differences in editing?
is no separate style for Hindi or for Tamil
but there is a style for the story which Mani
sir maintains. Mani sir changes his style as
per the story. No two films of his will have
the same style.
Mani Ratnam changes his style
as per the story
What is your advice
to aspiring editors?
Hard work, sincerity, timing sense and understanding
the director are very important. Money making should
not be the objective. When one respects his work, he
would definitely progress.
Is fast cutting
good or bad?
I cannot say whether it is good or bad. If I had made
that mistake, you can ask me. It is not needed and I
don’t know why it is being done. As regards the
audience, if there is something new despite it being
technically wrong, they would accept it for the first
time. This is being misconstrued as success. As it continues,
it becomes monotonous. In Hindi films they don’t
try anything like that. There would be neat cuts and
enough time for expressions. There are no mistakes there
but the errors are done here. But times are changing
and people who had committed mistakes are also correcting
their errors which is a healthy trend.
What about the
cuts in songs?
Sometimes we cut for the rhythms which is fine. But
when your objective is for the audience to see the emotions,
there should not be any cuts. We need to use our discretion.
Rajeev Menon’s finishing
touches are superb
is a good cameraman and a director. You should
see the songs in his films to understand the
cuts. That’s what I call the creative
genius of a director. He knows very well what
to get from a music director or an editor. His
finishing touches are superb as he is well experienced
in making ad films.
in Minsara Kanavu
Vennilave song is an amazing number. Prabhu Deva had
choreographed the song. The song involved only simple
cuts but had an inebriating and mesmerizing effect.
Gautham Menon and Rajeev Menon’s style will almost
be similar. Cuts are very much alike.
Charan’s style is a bit different and he wants
things to be fast paced. He is a commercial director.
But even there, we would not have too much speed. We
would discuss at length and then proceed. I have done
around 8-9 films with Charan. Our combination was a
You acted in Mahan
Kanakku. Would you continue acting?
The director felt that it would be nice if I would do
the role. Acting is not my choice. If somebody calls
me, I don’t want to disappoint them and I would