Home > Interviews


Interview Team : Jyothsna

Drishyam, the Malayalam blockbuster is coming to Tamil as Papanasam with Kamal Haasan reprising Mohanlal’s role. Cinematographer Sujith Vaassudev who has worked in Drishyam and Papanasam talks to Jyothsna Bhavanishankar on these two films, the differences between Mohanlal and Kamal, his aspirations and many more. 


Photography to Television


My journey into cinematography was a gradual process. When I was working as a camera assistant at a studio in Trivandrum, I realized my interest in photography. And when my photographs were appreciated, I felt the next destination was Television. I had worked as a camera assistant in many TV serials in many channels where I learnt a lot.


Then I worked with Rajesh Touchriver in a short film called Sacred Face. It was a short film with a duration of fourteen minutes and was funded by a Hyderabad based NGO.  The short film had its journey in many national and international festival circuits and won many awards. My work got appreciated.




My first feature film was Shaji Kailas’s Kerala Café. It was done by five different directors; five different stories connected at the Kerala café. After that I have worked in 11 to 12 films, all in Malayalam. 




Papanasam is my first Tamil film. I have worked with Jeetu Joseph first in Memories and then Drishyam and now Papanasam.


Highlight of Papanasam


We completed the shoot in thirty nine days. That's the major highlight of the film.


Any difference in shooting Drishyam and Papanasam


We shot Papanasam at the same place where we shot Drishyam. The subject and storyline are such that they cannot be changed in any language or setting or in dialogues. Therefore I did not find any difference between Papanasam and Drishyam.


Difference between Mohanlal and Kamal Haasan


Mohanlal’s performance will be very easy and subtle. Kamal knows the Tamil audience well and he performs a bit louder. That said, it was a brilliant experience for me to have worked with a legend like Kamal. It was a revelation for me to see the gamut of expressions on his face and the minute reactions. There are no words to express and there are no reasons to compare these legends. Both of them are actors in their own stride.

There are no reasons to compare Kamal and Mohanlal


How was Kamal to work with?


I was initially very afraid to work with him before we started the shoot as I was told by many that he would interfere in one's work etc. But what I saw and experienced at Papanasam shooting was just the opposite. Kamal was very cooperative, supportive and very easy to handle. He is a very sensitive and a sensible person. If he asks you any doubt, you should clear it. That’s what he wants. If you are confident and explain things, he is fine with it. There is no room for argument. Overall, he is a brilliant human being.




Gauthami Ma’am is also very good. We Malayalees know her very well as she has acted in many Malayalam movies and we all like her very much. She was very cool, supportive, cooperative and caring. 


As a cinematographer, have you brought something different in Papanasam that was not there in Drishyam?


I did not want to distract the attention of the audience from the story line in any way through my lighting or camera movement because the story line is very narrow. People should watch and observe all the dialogues and expressions of the artists.  That’s why I did not experiment anything. I had to only capture the emotions because the story is very much interesting and powerful. There was no need to try any gimmicks. It is a plain movie which the audience should enjoy for what it stands.


Future projects


There are many offers but I want to be in a good film. Discussions are going on. We will have to wait and see.  Nothing is confirmed; Hindi offers are also coming. 


Your role model


There is no one role model as such! But I admire five to six DoPs and I want to do work like them. I admire the work of Conrad Hall, P C Sreeram, Santosh Sivan and Ravi K Chandran. I love their work and want to do my best in the world of cinematography; I am trying for that. 

I admire the work of Conrad Hall, P C Sreeram, Santosh Sivan and Ravi K Chandran.


Who are the directors you are keen to work with?


In Tamil, Mani Ratnam is one of my favorites.  In Hindi, it is Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I have been saying this in all my interviews. I would also like to work with Gautham Menon. After VTV, I was completely behind him. I would also like to work with Hari, A R Murugadoss and many more. I want to work in Tamil industry more.


Awards and accolades


I won Kerala State Award for Ayaal and Memories in 2013 and Kerala State television award in 2009.


Best of luck to Sujith Vaassudev for Papanasam and all his endeavors!







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.