“My parents were conservative and believed in having a simple life. Growing up, they tried giving my sister and me all that they can, while raising us as responsible adults. Like most middle-class family kids, I was also going to choose to engineer but somehow, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do. Cinema was my calling. It took a while to really think about making it a career option, but I did and went ahead with it. I joined a film institute in Chennai and life took a big turn. I started to watch so many international films – not just English. I’m talking about Iranian, French and Korean too. Although I was an avid moviegoer, I never thought about the technicalities of a film. Why is a scene shot in a certain speed or how does a director get an audience to watch a scene where an actor is seen brushing his teeth for three whole minutes! It blew my mind, especially Mani Ratnam’s Iruvar. I admired Santosh Sivan sir. It became a dream for me to work with him someday.
However, things didn’t go as planned after my graduation. I joined NDTV in New Delhi. It was a great opportunity, of course. I was appreciated for my camera work and was sent to cover Mumbai blasts and wars in Lebonal. But after a few years, I knew I wanted to be back to cinema. I wrote to Santosh Sivan. It took me a while, but I grabbed the first opportunity I got! Soon, I worked with Santosh sir for Ceylon – dream come true moment. I was living the life I wanted to – it was the beginning of the career I’d planned to have. I remember taking my family to see my name in the end credits too. They were so happy. It meant a lot to me – all of it. Even working in Tollywood was special. Both Keshava and Ranarangam were films I enjoyed working on. Sudheer and I share a great rapport, where we understand each others’ styles of work. That brings out the best in both of us. I want to do more such work – great work on issues that move people. Over the years, I have seen the kind of influence cinema has on people. You cry, laugh, empathise and even feel scared for a character. I want to be able to make my audience feel all of that and more with my work.”
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