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Interview Team : Anita; Hemananth

“Lingaa was an exceptional experience” says Amaran, Art Director. Having been an assistant to Sabu Cyril, Amaran opens up about his career as an art director and the journey of making Lingaa.


Excerpts from the Interview



“To start with, I am a choosy art director”

I don’t want to be one of those people who recreate the same set and design over and over again with some alterations. I want to create a world that audience has not seen. Sathyajith Ray said in a book that ‘’Audiences are aware. They have more information. You should give them something that they haven’t seen”. I strictly try to follow this. For instance, when I worked in Yudham Sei, for the mortuary scene, Myskkin and I went to a real mortuary near the medical college. The very day when we went, it so happened that they were doing post mortem of a female body. It was stripped and cut right in front of our eyes. There, I saw the whole atmosphere and noted every small detail. The first scene in Yudham Sei where Cheran topples a body… Yes, that was inspired by what we saw at the mortuary.

When I worked in Yudham Sei, for the mortuary scene, Myskkin and I went to a real mortuary near the medical college. 


“I always struck a sync with cameramen”

To strike a balance with a cameraman is the top priority for an Art director. The rift is bound to happen. A cameraman will think the shot is good because of his work but an art director will also think the same. When that starts to happen, it becomes difficult to work further. Most of the cameramen I have worked with were the desciples of PC Sreeram sir. So, we have only shared constructive criticisms. I try to convince people with my ideas than argue. So thankfully, I haven’t experienced difficulties with the sync.


“One advice of Sabu Cyril that I would never forget”

He said “Never tell anyone that you don’t know something, even if you don’t! Learn by observing. Cinema is a huge place, if you nod along saying you don’t know, they will finish you off. ‘No’ can never be your answer!”


“Talking of art directors, I was amazed by Thotta Tharani”

Once, when I was taking a walk near Marina beach, I saw this huge set that looked like red fort. I was curious to see how the set was actually made, so I quickly went to take a closer look. It was surprising to see that the whole set was constructed using gunny bags and sacks. I was shocked to see how the set was made to look so beautiful, just with sacks. That is when I remembered Sabu sir’s advice. ‘Learning by observing’. Thotta Tharani sir stood there instructing his assistants asking for more gunny bags (laughs). I was astonished as I waited watching the full making of the set and without a question, I left.


“Lingaa was an accident”

It is 10 years since started I working with Sabu sir and as and when required I have done work for him on demand basis. I couldn’t believe that he called me for Lingaa.  I just said ‘yes’. The reasons being two fold - Rajinikanth sir and brand KSR. He said he will be the production designer and I will be the art director. I was more than just fine. I was happy to be a part of his team as he led me and guided me. Infact I told my assistants that they aren’t working for me but we are all working for Sabu sir. I was enthralled. 

The reasons being two fold - Rajinikanth sir and brand KSR


“Lingaa’s shooting experience”

What ever the audience expect, the film will give only a multiplied effect. It is bigger than ever. We have put in our heart and soul to create this movie within 120 days. I waited eagerly to see the grandeur on the big screen. There are times when viewers might not understand the artistic touch in a frame. But here there is no chance of any creation going unnoticed. Of course, we have Rajinikanth on screen! His magic will steal the thunder first, but then the rest will be noticed.


“Lingaa art direction team is a must mention”

I must give all the credit to my assistants for this project. We worked in crazy hours and there were 3 shooting schedules. There were no Sundays or holidays during the 120 days. Sometimes even when I felt tired and lost, their sincerity and dedication lifted my mood and motivated me. During the shoot, there were some assistants working away from the location too. I used to give them instructions over skype and people used to work on those and send it across to me.


“Lingaa - an unflinching lesson”

After working with KS Ravikumar and the Lingaa team, I feel nothing is impossible. Let me explain this with a situation. We had to make 200 dias (lamps) for a song, over night. After making them we also had to do electric wiring for lighting purposes. There were only two people to do this and you won’t believe, it was ready the next morning. That time I realised ‘impossible’ was just another word for ‘possible’.




Tags : Amaran, Lingaa


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