What interests you about a film like Spyder? Is it the opportunity to relax on a big-budget production or are there new challenges here?
I like big films because you are in the midst of mass people. Mahesh Babu has so many fans. They talk about it on Twitter. The first time I saw this fever was when Mani Ratnam made Thalapathy, with Rajinikanth. It’s like a festival moment, which is amazing. And on top of that, you also get to experiment with a lot of new technology.
Can you talk about something that was especially challenging in Spyder?
The roller-coaster sequence was difficult. Murugadoss is always very quick to adapt something that has come on that day in the newspaper, and he always wants to do things that are bigger than life, which he would want to see.
Big-budget films are also big-hero films. Apart from lighting the sets, do you also pay attention to the way you light the hero’s face?
It depends on the script. But with someone like Mahesh Babu, I don’t need to do much to make him look good. Most of the actors are very comfortable with the camera. You do what you can to make it comfortable for them to perform.
How do still manage to leave a personal touch in such big films?
It was easier before. Now, people want to make a film in two languages. It’s not enough to hit six sixes in one over, you have to hit twelve sixes in two overs. It also takes away these fleeting moments you try to capture.
One of your most interesting films is Meenaxi. Did MF Husain change your craft in any way?
Not really. But I like that kind of no-graph filmmaking. He was trying to relive moments that he had in Rajasthan and Prague and so on. So it became very interesting to shoot in a strange way. You learn something about texture, colours from the stories he has. After seeing the film, Mani Ratnam said, “It’s poetry.” This is the only time has has complimented me.