It is not exact Be John Malkovich But we are in the head of actor and director SJ Suryah on a bright and sunny afternoon.
He dreams and he has a dream girl for company. The portal that leads us into this airborne castle that Suryah built is the Thaamara Studioz in Vadapalani.
In a solid, deep green shirt and black trousers, the actor greets us with hazel slippers and a relaxed smile on his face. Known for his penchant for films that explore the human psyche, Suryah explains the reason why he chose to direct and star in Radha Mohan's Bommai, whose cast includes Priya Bhavani Shankar, his co-star from the film monster,
"The reason is the script and the director. Radha Mohan is a fantastic filmmaker and has a good reputation in the family and in the classroom. With this film, he will also reach the audience in the B and C center, ”he says.
Striving for perfection
On the set of this film, we have a short conversation with the actor after watching his many attempts to achieve the perfect setting for a song sequence.
"Everyone who loves their job … has to look for perfection. Look, perfection has no end, but we have to look for it as far as we can and as far as our knowledge of perfection expands. We have to search for perfection to our satisfaction, ”he says.
This striving for perfection has overwhelmed Radha Mohan. The Suryah filmmaker, casually dressed in a yellow t-shirt, says, "His sincerity and the way he gave himself to the script … it's a quality that I liked about him. He works very hard. "
Suryah's eccentricity is legendary in film circles. Priya Bhavani Shankar agrees … after all, in her previous film, she had a ring view of it, monster,
Today was no exception when she saw the filmmaker encouraging herself and yelling at the Jimmy Jib operator – "Dai Jimmy… Vaada, one more shot … come on, come on, ”Suryah says – and apologizes extensively to her when he requests another shot for the ninth time while trying to repeat what dance choreographer Raju Sundaram is asking him to do to get a song that works. Mutham … muthal mutham & # 39; (sung by Yuvan Shankar Raja).
"I'm not surprised how it went. That's how it is in general …" says Priya, who wears a yellow sari with a sequin blouse and looks very similar to Ms. Mysskin in every way from the 2000s would be a dream if we asked them about the number of takes.
It seems difficult to repeat over and over again, especially if it is a bit nuanced.
Raju Sundaram asks her to gently nudge Suryah while she approaches her for an intimate moment. Priya then has to approach the actor lying on the floor and when he approaches her for another intimate moment, she has to push him away … and then the dance choreographer would say "Cut", provided they film it properly.
"I think he (Suryah) just got some practice," Priya says with a laugh and adds: "You (crew) would always want something better, and you will be better hired [to their expectations] if you do more takes. "
Suryah offers a more nuanced attitude. “You can look at it in two ways. If I do more takes, it may be because I'm a perfectionist or because of my inefficiency. I like to think it's the latter in my case, ”he likes.
Create an illusion
While this happens on one side, cameraman Richard M Nathan is busy at work. When we go to the studio, it's not entirely clear why the actors are on a makeshift stage with bundles of haystack and sand for society.
It is even more confusing when we look at the images set by the cameraman. He took wide-angle and overhead shots that capture the blue walls and floor around the stage.
"Oh, this sequence is changed using Computer Generated Imagery (CGI)," says Richard. “We will only use the artists' contact points. The rest will look like they are standing on a mountain. It will be a night sequence. It may look bright now, but we'll bring it down in post-production. They will be on a mountain with the moon and stars as the background, ”he adds.
As Raju Sundaram moves on to his next shot – a long shot of Suryah dancing on the makeshift stage in the background and the camera moving away from him, Priya appears on the left. She is standing on a tiny wooden box a few meters from Suryah – we ask Radha Mohan what to expect in the film.
Do the name Bommai mean, Priya is a mannequin brought to life in the head of the character played by Suryah of this disturbed individual? "Something like that," says the director, "this film is like a mental game. It is intense, but it has its easier moments."