July 25, 2011 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
In an exclusive chat cinematographer and director Santosh Sivan says he likes the idea of the story of a land, the land being the character of the film and also the clashes of culture. When a stranger comes to your land for the first time you welcome him, but what do you do when he comes for the second, third time and the fourth time? Urumi travels from past to present and the director had roped in interesting pan Indian actors and a lot of foreign actors too.
"I have recreated an era which is pure, and shot the film in Maharashtra, Mangalore, Kerala and Chennai. There is a lot of action, songs and I have made it entertaining. We couldn't have a simultaneous release in other languages as well because of the elections then," avers Santosh Sivan. The director has made winning a national award a habit be it for cinematography or for direction. His mother asked him once when he would get an international award and so he got them too.
He laughs, "Awards give you power, but more than that the visual language has helped me get invited and have access to all the places in India and abroad. Language was never a barrier. I have been able to understand so much, I have seen the light struggling to permeate from the nooks and corners of the traditional houses in Kerala to light getting blocked in the glass houses in London. It is about how you see the world and how the world sees you. I've been lucky to travel even as a student of the Pune Film Institute."
Does he enjoy being a cinematographer or a director? When he is behind the camera, he enjoys work relating to light, location, scenes and only creative people but he opines direction is more rewarding in terms of satisfaction. It is a journey that one goes through that has been visualized and have actually done something to see the result. He puts it aptly, "At the end of the day you can buy a car or a house that will eventually go after you some day. But when you are no more, cinema remains..for posterity."