As The Revenant trailer sets off a debate about natural light cinematography, our cameramen get talking
The first look of The Revenanta��by Hollywooda��s award-winning teamA�of writer/ directorA�Alejandro GonzA?lez InarrituA�and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (ofA�BirdmanA�fame)a��grabbed headlines for being shot in sequence, in natural light, using their famous a�?single takea�� device. Based on true events, the period film (set to release in December) stars Leonardo Di Caprio as 19thA�century explorer Hugh Glass, and has drawn flak for gruelling shoots for the cast and crew in remote snow-clad locations.
With Hollywood filmmakers testing their limits with natural light, their counterparts in Indian cinema say they are no strangers to the a�?magic houra��.A� PC Sreeram, known for his play with natural lightA�in films like O Kadhal Kanmani,A�believes our cinema shouldA�never be comparedA�to Hollywood becauseA�we are progressing in our own way. a�?Cinematography is largely dependent on the story. If I am able to deliver good frames that make their presence felt without drawing attention away from the plot, that is me trying toA�test myA�boundaries. ndian cinema has seen some delightful camera worka��from a commercial film likeA�Baahubali toA�36A�Chowringhee Lane, which had amazing play of colour by Ashok Mehta,a�?A�says Sreeram, who will be shooting R Balkia��s next.
There is also a general perception that a filma��s budget decides its lighting. KV Anand, the man behind theA�lensA�on films like Anegan, feels cinematography depends on the director, too. a�?Our films make the hero look larger than life, so we need appropriate lighting. However, low-budget films likeA�Kaaka Muttai,A�which used 15A�per cent artificial lighting, are great examplesA�of pushing the envelope,a�? he says, adding that most of filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnana��sA�films were shotA�inA�natural light. a�?Our veterans have set our standards. We need to aspire to go higher, not chase international standards,a�?A�he concludes.