'Ko is not autobiographical'
National Award-winning cinematographer K V Anand is coming out with his third Tamil film Ko very soon. His first film as a director was Kana Kandein which was critically acclaimed while his second film Ayan was the biggest commercial success of 2009.
His major films as a cinematographer other than Priyadarshan's Thenmavil Kombath for which he won the National Award, include Shankar's Mudhalvan, Sivaji, Rajkumar Santhoshi's The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Khakhee, Mansoor Khan's Josh, to name a few.
The audio of Ko composed by Harris Jayaraj was released on the January 19 amidst much fanfare.
K V Anand who started his career as a photo journalist narrates the story of a photo journalist in Ko. Jiiva plays the photo journalist while Karthika, daughter of the yesteryear actress Radha plays a journalist in the film. Ajmal and Piia also play major roles
In this interview, K.V.Anand talks about Ko and much more
You started your career as a photo journalist. Now the protagonist of Ko is A photo journalist. Is the film autobiographical?
Yes, I started my career as a photo journalist with the Tamil magazine Kalki. I have done quite a few cover stories for India Today and Illustrated Weekly also. I have also taken cover photographs for Suba's (Suresh and Bala) crime thrillers So, photo journalism is one field I know more than anything else. I know how magazines work but not much about news papers. But this film is not autobiographical.
Image: A scene from Ko. Inset: K V Anand
'There is nothing that defies logic in Ko'
Why a photo journalist as the protagonist?
You have seen heroes with sickle, knife and guns but not one with a camera! I decided to give my protagonist a camera as a weapon as this is something new. But then something that excites me may not excite the audience as I am in love with cameras. Pulitzer Prize may excite me but it may not even strike a chord with an average viewer. Still, I thought it might be a new experience for the Tamil audience.
After Kana Kandein, you made Ayan which had all the masala elements like dance, songs, fights, etc. Did you follow the same pattern in Ko also?
I am offended when someone says Ayan had masala elements. What is the difference between the masala in Ayan and other masala films? We haven't done anything in the film that defies logic. Ayan is a proper commercial film and not a masala film.
Similarly, there is nothing that defies logic in Ko. The photo journalist does not do anything illogical. It is a realistic commercial film.
You said you didn't know how a newspaper functions. What kind of research did you do before you started writing with Suba?
I went to the photo department of the Deccan Herald office in Bangalore. I spoke to the editors, sub-editors, reporters, photographers and observed them for hours together to know how they worked on deadlines, etc.
I cannot do any work without proper research and logic. I grew up reading newspapers and magazines and books.
Image: A scene from Ko
'Films without songs do not succeed at the box office in India'
What is Ko about?
The film is about the everyday life of a photographer played by Jiiva. Karthika works as a senior reporter. What happens in their lives is the story of the film. Ajmal plays Vasanthan, a common man. Piia as a journalist is also wonderful in the film. She is a very under-rated actress. As it is an Indian film, there is love and also songs.
You said nothing defies logic in your films. Don't songs defy logic?
Every Indian film-maker makes films with songs. Mani Ratnam makes films with lots of songs. Sanjay Leela Bansali has songs in his films. I am just an entrant in the film industry as a director. I am just following what the successful film-makers do. Films without songs do not succeed at the box office in India. If you are making a big budget film, you have to have songs because your film has to succeed at the box office.
When audience want songs in films, what can you do? When they change and support films without songs, song-less films will come. Not otherwise. If audience start supporting films without songs, I will be the first film-maker to make films without songs! You know shooting scenes are easy but not songs. Scenes push the story and film forward but rarely songs.
What kind of films do you like to watch; films with songs or without songs?
I like to see songs in romantic films. In serious films, I prefer not to have songs.
Image: A scene from Ko
'If Suriya had not been available for Ayan, I would have chosen Jiiva'
When you started the film, it was Silambarasan who was the hero. You changed him when he wanted the heroine to be changed. What exactly happened?
I look at a film as the director's medium. I have worked with big directors like Shankar, Rajkumar Santhoshi, Priyadarshan, PC Sreeram, Mansoor Khan and I have found that all of them had great respect for the script, and they worked with the script in mind and not actors. Script is the hero for them. I just followed them when I decided to have Jiiva as Ashwin, the protagonist and not Silambarasan.
What impressed you about Karthika? Was it her role as Raja Ravi Varma's muse in a Malayalam film with Santosh Sivan?
I saw her first in Josh, a Telugu film. And, I wanted an actress who looks like an ordinary journalist and not a sex bomb! She has acted very well in the film.
How did you choose Jiiva?
I had considered him even for Ayan. I was quite impressed with his very first film Raam. Then, there was Katrathu Thamizh. If Suriya had not been available for Ayan, I would have chosen Jiiva. He is one of the most talented young actors in Tamil, a dark horse, I would say. He can do comedy in a film like SMS and also serious roles like Katrathu Thamizh; a real versatile actor. He is a very simple person also.
Image: A scene from Ko
'I make a film only when a full bound script is ready'
What does Ko mean?
Ko means King, Leader like Ilango means young King. It's a very old Tamil word.
You have given the camera to Richard M Nathan. Didn't you think of wielding the camera for your film?
When I was the cinematographer of a film also, sometimes, I used to feel I needed more time to light up and prepare the scenes. I didn't have the time to work to my satisfaction. If that is the case, how can I do justice to both direction and cinematography?
Richard who did Angadi Theru was my assistant in Sivaji. He is a very hard working person and shoots candid images. To me, good visuals are not postcards of mountains and valleys, but conveying what the story has to say. In my dictionary, a good visual should be able to push the story forward without a dialogue.
I make a film only when a full bound script is ready. After my next film Maatran with Suriya which I start in April, I plan to work as a cinematographer.
Which cinematographer in India do you admire?
PC Sreeram is one cinematographer I really admire; he is my hero. He changes his style with each film which not many cinematographers do; they get addicted to their style and follow it again and again. His Thevar Magan is different from Thiruda Thiruda. They are different from Kuruthi Punal and Nayakan and Agni Nakashatram.
Image: A scene from Ko