Instead of retaining visually striking shots in upcoming Tamil drama, Ceylon, director Santosh Sivan has broken the grammar of capturing shots, says the film's editor T.S. Suresh and adds that it was a great learning experience for him.
Ceylon is the story of a homeless refugee girl during the Sri Lankan civil war. "I have worked with several directors who always ask me to include visually beautiful shots in the final edit of the film. But Santosh sir asked me to keep all such good-looking shots aside because he said this film shouldn't be beautiful. It should be raw and rustic," T.S Suresh, editor of the film, told IANS.
"He wanted most shots to be as though they were captured through a mobile phone or handheld camera. None of these shots followed a grammar. You will usually find camera shots such as over-the-shoulder and close up in films, but you wouldn't find all that in Ceylon," said Suresh, who found placements of these shots to be his biggest challenge.
Suresh, who has edited films such as Tamizh Padam, Thoonga Nagaram and Tezz, considers working with cinematographer-turned-filmmaker Sivan as prestigious.
"When you work with him you see everything from a different perspective and maturity level. It helped me learn stuff that would usually take me about 10 years to learn in the industry. It is prestigious because you gain so much experience in such a short span of time," he added.
"It's also special because I have never worked on such a storytelling pattern before and I doubt if I would ever get an opportunity. It has a very unusual style of narrative. All this makes it very special for me to work with him," he said.
As a filmmaker, Santosh Sivan has helmed National Award-winning films such as Halo, Terrorist, Malli and Navarasa. Suresh has worked with a lot of debutant filmmakers, but he says Sivan gave him more freedom to work.
"Luckily, I didn't have to compromise on anything while working with Santosh sir. In fact, he gave me more freedom than other directors I have worked with in the past. He usually describes what he wants in a scene, and if he's not satisfied with the output, he'd ask me to take a break and work on it slowly," said Suresh.
"He is someone who would not push but persuade you to give your best. He knows that not all of us can work on a par with him and, therefore, he would step down and be a lot lenient. He would only okay a shot when you are confident about it," he added.
In the past, Suresh had edited on the spot for several films while they were on floors, but not for Ceylon.
"I asked Santosh sir why he wouldn't edit on the spot as it makes the entire process easier. He believes that an editor's creativity is lost if editing is done while filming. It should only be done after the entire film is completed because you never know when you may end up shooting additional footage," he said.