C K Muraleedharan talks about working with Aamir Khan and the evolution of cinematography
wHAT is C K excited about? Well, it’s today’s release—PK. More of a ‘behind the lens’ guy, cinematographer C K Muraleedharan might not be visible during the promotion of the film PK and he might not have his own Wikipedia page but the Kerala native drew attention with big films like 3 Idiots for which he won The IIFA Best Cinematography award, Agent Vinod, Lage Raho Munna Bhai and Ek Hasina Thi. His tryst with cinema began right from his college days in the 80s, as Muraleedharan says, “I was part of the film society movement and we used to screen Kannada, European and intense Shyam Benegal films. That was when I had decided to join the film industry. I went to the The Film and Television Institute in Pune which was also a great influence on me. Though initially I wanted to become a director, I landed up being a cinematographer.”
Simple yet complex
Having worked with Aamir Khan twice, Muraleedharan, 52, says it is always a pleasurable experience, “We often discuss and argue about shots. He is a ‘no tantrum’ actor, comes to the set on time and we always rehearse together once before he goes for his make up.” As for his experience on working on the film PK, Muraleedharan shares that, “The concept is complex and Rajkumar (Hirani) took more than two and a half years to finish it. In fact, Rajkumar had a discussion with us before he finalised the script and even researched a lot. But as a cinematographer this was an easy film. It was just capturing the life of a regular person. We shot in Delhi, Europe and Bombay.”
The Hollywood bug
The one scene that Muraleedharan struggled to shoot was in Aamir’s previous film, 3 Idiots. “It is the delivery scene. We had to shoot in dim lighting, had to set up the rain, the flooded road and it was such a task,” recalls Muraleedharan who has also shot music videos. On Hollywood making spectacular films, “It is all about the homework. People brush it off saying we don’t have the finances, which is not true. We take more than 100 days to finish a film, while they complete it in 60 days,” he shares.