Decoding a Scene: Cinematographer Gautham on the making of 'Theevandi'

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Tovino Thomas-starrer 'Theevandi' revolved around a youth's obsession for smoking and how he manages to put an end to it. The youth's de-addiction struggles were something carefully crafted through some amazing visuals captured by cinematographer Gautham Sankar.

Gautham has cranked the camera for movies like 'Theeram', 'Theevandi' and 'Ladoo.'

Talking about the making of 'Theevandi', Gautham recalled that director (Fellini T P) and the writer (Vini Vishwa Lal) had definite plans about the look and the editing pattern.

Recapturing the 90s

"If you go by the script, one can see that every sequence is connected. We wanted the film to have a feel of the 90s and accordingly mostly long shots were taken. 'Theevandi' was more or less inspired by 90s movies like 'Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal' and the Sathyan Anthikad movies of those time," he said.

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Finding the perfect locale

According to Gautham, the most challenging scenes in the film were the sequences shot on an islet (thuruth) where Tovino's character undergoes a transformation.

"As the script demanded, these scenes were initially planned to be shot on an abandoned island in the middle of sea. But then we couldn't find such a place. That is how we ended up with the option of shooting on a private island at Payyoli in Kozhikode", he said.

"We saw the islet and decided to select it. Clearing the place was a Herculean task as there were snakes. Two days prior to the shoot, the art director set everything up as you see in the movie. Except for a few montages and song sequence, all shots were to be shown as happening at night. The night sequence had to be lit up and we could not take the unit van or a generator there. Two boats had to be tied together to reach there. We took only essential things like lights, crane etc," he added.

Bringing in the raw feeling

Gautham talked about a particular top-angle scene shot which was much appreciated by movie buffs that showed a group of birds flying.

"The story behind that scene was that by 6 pm, the birds would come and roost in trees. One such time, we flew the drone camera at a height and burst crackers on the ground. That is how the scene was beautifully captured. A raw and rustic feel was mainly aimed even with the colour of the skin of the artist. The scenes at 'Thuruth' were shot with top light and long takes," he said.

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Long shots

As the sequences come to an end, Tovino delivers a dialogue reasoning how he decided to quit smoking and Gautham said how they decided to do it using long shots.

"Fellini and I had planned that it should be taken with a round track without any cut. Without picking any other character's reaction, the camera goes along with Tovino's dialogue in a single shot. This pattern was carefully taken into consideration throughout that scene," he said.

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