Tamil Cinematographers Rule Hindi Industry
by MovieCrow and S. Raja Sekhar
Ranbir Kapoor's "Barfi" released last Friday and has been getting rave reviews from critics and public. Many have claimed it as the best movie released so far this year in Hindi. Ravi Varman's cinematography fills Barfi with old-world charm and sprinkles with magical shots. Ravi Varman is the much talked about and sought-after cinematographer in India today. Ravi Varman has Vettaiyadu Vilayadu and Dasavatharam to his credit.
Tamil Cinematographers migrate to Hindi
Bollywood films often have excellent visuals and quite interestingly, most of these top cinematographers in Bollywood have come from Tamil film Industry. This trend has been happening for more than a decade now. People like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan have truly marveled how Tamil Industry can produce so many exceptionally talented cinematographers one after another. Here are some examples in no particular order,
Cameramen who started this trend were Santhosh Sivan, PC Sreeram's assistants -- Late Jeeva and KV Anand. They passed the baton to Ravi K Chandran and now a large number of Tamil DoPs busy are dominating the Hindi movie industry.
Ravi K Chandran - Sanjay Leela Bansali, Ameer Khan and Shah Rukh Khan's favourite. Ravi has been ruling the Hindi industry for almost a decade and his claim to fame was Dil Chahta Hai, Black, Ghajini, Fanaa, and recently Agneepath. In Tamil, he was known for Citizen, 7aum Arivu, Boys and Aayitha Ezhuthu. He has temporarily put all his Hindi commitments on hold and busy directing a bilingual movie,Yaan, with Jiiva.
V. Manikandan - Shah Rukh Khan's favourite who cranked the camera for Om Shanthi Om, Ra.One, Main Hoon Na. He is known for hot temper. Manikandan is probably the only technician to have walked out of Mani Ratnam film (Raavanan) and Shankar film (Anniyan) mid way during the shooting. Manikandan prefers shooting advertisements over feature films.
Natraj alias "Nutty" - Anurag Kashyap and Vidhu Vinod Chopra's favourite. Nutty got the right break in Tamil Film (Youth). He is infamous for acting as hero in C-grade Tamil films like Naalai, Milaga etc. Nutty is your street smart and self-taught camera man who started his career as camera operators who went on to weave his magic in Parineeta, Jab We Met, and Black Friday
Nirav Shah - PC Sreeram's assistant is quite different, He shot to fame in Dhoom2. But his passion towards experimental script based films made him focus more in Tamil & today he is one of the leading cinematographers in Tamil with major hits like Ajith's Billa and Vijay's Pokkiri to his credit.
Tirru - Priyadarshan's favourite cameraman who happens to be this commercial director's default selection. Unfortunately due to flops like Aalavandhan, Hey Raam and Lesa Lesa, our superstitious directors and producers tag him as unlucky. Tirru is extremely talented and his name gets thrown in to the mix for consideration for many big Tamil projects.
Other lesser known technicians such as R. Madhi is also well-respected by the Hindi film makers for his spectacular work in Shaitan. Few of the other cameramen who have emerged from outside of Tamil Nadu are also trained in Tamil Industry. For example, Ayananka Bose, the cinematographer of Student of the Year, Kites assisted Rajeev Menon in Tamil movies before shifting his base.
Cinematography is one field in Indian film Industry that has been widely acknowledged as truly international standards. Undoubtedly, Tamil Industry has played an extremely important role in changing the face of Indian movies and should be proud of churning out so many world class talents. The credit should primarily go to the triumvirate PC Sreeram, Santosh Sivan, and Rajeev Menon who have mentored the maximum number of cinematographers who are currently active and successful in Hindi Industry.