Home > Interviews


Interview Team : Kaushik L M

Yennai Arindhaal has paved the way for a talented Australian cinematographer to show his credentials to the Tamil film audience. We are talking about Dan MacArthur, whose sleek work shone through in the film. The way he visually treated Gautham's emotional action story was remarkable. In this chat with Kaushik, Dan opens up about the film in detail and also about his travel as a DoP, his exposure to Indian cinema and the upcoming Simbu film.

1. A brief intro about your work, other than your Indian films

I've been working in the film industry since 1988, starting at the bottom as a lighting assistant and I gained a lot of traction in Australia with the music videos I shot for some of Australia’s biggest bands. This led to my first couple of feature films including the action flick Blood Money which we shot in Hong Kong and Miami, and for which I won an Australian Cinematography Society Gold Award. This project really paved the way for my career.


2. How did you get initiated to the Indian film industry with Go Goa Gone ? How did you get acquainted with Gautham Menon? 

Yes, Go Goa Gone was my first experience with Raj and DK and we had a lot of fun making that film. That led to me meeting Gautham through one of the writers on the film and we started on the Simbu project which was put on hold while we took up Yennai Arindhaal.


3. What's the level of your exposure to the Tamil cinema space before joining Gautham? Have you seen Indian movies in general?

I have watched a bunch of films from the South and across Bollywood - we are quite acquainted with Indian cinema in Australia. Many Indian films appear on Australian TV and Yennai Arindhaal for example, has been playing three times a day at the local cinema here.


4. The Indian film technicians that you admire and look up to?

There are many talented film makers in India and certainly a lot of new emerging talent who are taking Indian cinema into a new era. I obviously admire Gautham’s expertise as a director and also newwave filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap and Abhinay Deo.  I also admire many Indian music directors and technicians as this is such a big part of the film and the quality of composition to create 5 - 7 songs per film is quite amazing.

I obviously admire Gautham’s expertise and also newwave filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap and Abhinay Deo.


5. How is your wavelength and working experience with Gautham, in two movies till date?

Working with Gautham is very enjoyable. He’s very relaxed on set and he likes to set a certain work flow that makes the actors feel comfortable so that we can tell the story uninterrupted.


6. How did you approach the script of Yennai Arindhaal as the cinematographer? What were your first thoughts on hearing the narration from Gautham? Which scenes were you eagerly looking forward to shoot?

Before YA started Gautham took me through the story and I could already see a lot of great scenes. I personally was looking forward to the hospital scene when Ajith climbs up and rescues the girl. Gautham and I talked about how we wanted that gritty realism in the film as well as the lush rich images of the dance scenes and love stories.


7. Tell us about the wide travel for the Unakkenna Venum Sollu song. Did you experience India's cultural diversity?

That song was an incredible journey. We experienced it just like they did in the film. We traveled by train with Ajith in a sleeper carriage and we played guitar and sang songs together - it was a lot of fun. The scenery and the history was an aspect we really enjoyed, it was amazing.

We traveled by train with Ajith in a sleeper carriage.


8. Whose inputs and sensibilities took prominence in the visuals of Yennai Arindhaal? Yours or Gautham's?

Before each scene Gautham and I would talk it through and he would convey to me how he saw the scene in his mind. From there I would take that information and pitch to him some ideas about the lighting and the mood and after some more discussions we would settle on a mood. Gautham was very happy for me to come up with interesting ideas and go with it, because I think he felt it would be something new coming from a foreign DP.


9. Tell us about Ajith and his much talked about screen presence. How did it feel to capture his actions through your lens?

Ajith is a very natural actor and he really understands his hero role. He is so experienced that he knows where I am with the camera all the time and he automatically works his action for the lens so I never had to tell him to turn this way or that. He knows that stuff so well and that made my life very easy. He was also always eager to try anything new and to listen to ideas and work that in if he felt it fitted with his character. He’s a very supportive and co-operative person to work with which makes him a joy to have on set. His patience and personality are truly remarkable.

Ajith is so experienced that he knows where I am with the camera all the time.


10. How involved was Ajith with the script and direction aspects of Yennai Arindhaal?

That I couldn't tell you a lot about. I know that Gautham and Ajith would have discussions at length sometimes about certain aspects of the character but Ajith expressed a lot of faith in Gautham’s judgment.


11. Are you impressed with Arun Vijay, his looks and level of commitment for Yennai Arindhaal? 

Arun was incredible. His commitment to his role was outstanding. He worked so hard and would drag himself through the mud no problem if we needed it. He is super fit, was great with the stunts and it really shows on the screen.


12. Did you see Yennai Arindhaal with the Tamil Nadu audience? 

Unfortunately no, my commitments in Australia prevented me from being in Chennai on the release date. It looked amazing in the media. I was getting a lot of praise on Twitter and people sending me messages, which was fantastic and I certainly appreciated it. We watched the film with our family, friends and the Tamil audience here at the cinema in Brisbane on opening night and there was still plenty of cheering!


13. Which scenes got the best response when you saw Yennai Arindhaal along with a theatrical audience? 

The cinema here in Brisbane was mostly full of Ajith fans and it was great to see them cheering at key moments in the film – they especially loved the dance scene with Ajith and Arun.


14. Tell us about the great feedback on your work for Yennai Arindhaal. Feeling overwhelmed ? Did you foresee this? 

It was amazing to get so much praise from the industry and fans. Before the Ajith fans had even seen a frame of my work they were very excited to have me and were very supportive. And then when the teaser was released, the feedback was really humbling. I am happy that my work has been appreciated and I would like to thank everyone for their praise.

When the teaser was released, the feedback was really humbling.


15. After working with Trisha, Anushka and now Pallavi Subash, you must feel that Indian women are the most beautiful in the world right?

Ha ha! Not only that but they are the nicest people I've met. So down to earth and kind with no pretentiousness - it’s very refreshing.


16. What can we expect from your upcoming Tamil film with Simbu and Gautham? What's the genre and when will the film be wrapped up?

We are hoping to have the film wrapped up by mid-year. It’s a very romantic love story that goes on the road, so it’s going to be beautiful. I’m really looking forward to getting back into it.


17. Any other Indian film offers? Other future plans

At the moment I’m busy with Gautham, so we shall see what comes after that.
All the very best Dan ... 



This page hosts exclusive interviews with actors, actresses, film technicians and related celebrities. The interviews are generally personal views of the guest about their projects and film related matters. People looking for information about actors, actresses, directors, music directors, cameramen and other technicians will find this page useful.