Location hunting in the South can throw up a lot of surprises, admits cinematographer and first-time director, R Velraj
IN the industry for over a decade, cinematographer R Velraj is happy with his directorial debut, Velaiyilla Pattathari. Velraj’s cinematography in movies like Aadukalam, Polladhavan, Kandhar and Enge-yum Eppothum has had a lasting impression on the audience. Now the Madurai native is geared to work with his favourite actor, Dhanush.
The ‘velaiyilla pattathari ’ in the movie is Dhanush who faces issues at home and is in love with his neighbour, played by Amala Paul. “I had a story, and mentioned the name to Dhanush. He suggested we work together and contributed to each shot, the story, etc,” says Velraj, 44. Having known and worked with Dhanush since Polladhavan, Velraj is quick to comment on how the actor has changed over the years. “He has matured a lot. He gets involved with direction and comes up with many ideas,” says Velraj, who has travelled extensively in Tamil Nadu for his movies. “I travel to different places, but recently I went to Namal Medu and loved the place. It is close to Theni and Suruli. I like shooting in forests and unexplored areas,” he says. Highlighting significant places in Tamil Nadu, he says Karaikudi is his first choice “for the houses and courtyards.”
Velraj is in love with Madurai for its food as well. “I have grown old, so I am on a diet. But when I am in Madurai, I like the curry dosai which you will find only there,’’ he says. ‘‘I also like the spicy nandu omlet with rice,” adds Velraj, who gets nostalgic about Pongal celebrations at his hometown.
— Mrinalini Sundar