Susi Ganesan's Tamil movie Kandasamy, releasing on the August 21 is an action adventure with a lot of computer graphics and special effects.
He share some of his sketches and experiences in this exclusive interview with Shobha Warrier.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj
Image: Thota Tharani
'Kandasamy was challenging'
I have worked with Susi Ganesan in all his four films. Kandasamy is our fifth film together. He is a very serious director who gets into even the minutest details of film making.
For any art director, the director should be convincing and he should come up with interesting ideas. After 45 years in the industry, one gets bored with the same old story. It is like eating from the same menu every day.
So, when Susi told me about Kandasamy, I found the idea of an ordinary government officer researching to do something for the society very interesting. I felt there were a lot of things which an art director could create.
It turned out to be challenging too. The first thing we did was create a mask for the character. In disguise, how should the guy look like? As Kandasamy is another name for Lord Murugan, we decided to have a rooster as his other face. When we mentioned this, Vikram did very well in imitating a rooster.
Then, we started working on his costumes which are very Indian.
Image: A sketch of Kandasamy
'Re-creating the police officer's room was quite interesting'
The first set we created was the police officer's room where Kandasamy comes in flying like a bird through the ceiling.
Re-creating the room was quite interesting. Usually a police commissioner's office is squarish but here, I tried to give it a dome like ceiling so that it looks quite appealing when Kandasamy comes down flying. I would say this room is the most important part of the film.
It was not easy for Vikram to do the landing with the mask and the costume.
Image: A sketch of the dome
When I designed the hideout of Kandasamy, I had to think of the group that was working inside the room -- there are four to five of them.
Each one has a designated job, like one is an electrical guy while another is computer operator. So, I gave divisions and partitions for each one.
Image: A sketch of the hideout
The villain's den
From the outside, the villain's den, a bus, looks like any other bus so that people do not recognise it.
But the villain has done the inside up with all luxuries. The man who owns many colleges, wants to give the impression that he also travels by bus and not by car but in reality, this is no ordinary bus.
Recreating the bus was interesting but the problem was we could not extend the bus width wise as it has to look like a bus from the outside.
Image: A sketch of the bus
Shriya's room is also wonderful and different. Unlike other houses, here it is a single large space, rather a long room which has everything from a bath tub, a dining area, a bed room to a work place. At one end, I have kept a bath tub and there are beds, chairs -- everything in the same room.
We put up a set like this inside a theatre. There are elevations inside the room like you see in the theatre.
Image: A sketch of Shriya's room
Re-creating a city
A part of the city which we have shown includes high rise buildings surrounding a corn field.
It is about a real estate mafia acquiring agricultural land to construct commercial buildings. We couldn't get the city backdrop with the corn field, so I sketched it first so that they could graphically create this scene.
Image: A sketch of the city
On the whole, the movie was quite an interesting experience, quite different from the other films I have done so far.
There is no difference between working in a big film or a small one; it all depends on the vision of the director. The trio that has to work together is, the director, the cinematographer and the art director.
Before Vikram became Kandasamy, I as an art director became the character and started thinking like him. Then, I visualise everything as the character.
That was the how I designed my first film Raja Parvai for Kamal Haasan also. He was a blind man in the film, so I imagined myself as a blind man to find out how I would move about in the house. It was only after that, I designed his house. Even today after so many years, I do the same.
Image: A sketch of the villain's den from outside