On Barfi and Ramleela
Choosing a path less trodden might seem exciting and make a person feel heroic but it’s never that easy. With risks come doubts and fears. To Ravi, this has been the secret to his success. “I had my fears! I had to give my best in Barfi, especially because it was going to be a silent film and the visuals would speak for themselves. There could be no room for mistakes,” he says. According to him, the basic idea was to give a whole new perspective on a story or genre that often is typified as clichéd. “In Barfi, I decided to give a happy and colorful perspective to the movie. Not the grey, sad tone that movies of this genre usually portray,” he adds. The Director of Photography has the power to manipulate the mood of the story. Ravi Varman has mastered that art.
When asked about Ramleela, Ravi is lost in thoughts with a glint in his eyes. “Everyone knows that it is based on Romeo and Juliet. I like Shakespeare. Jeffrey’s film is one of my favorites and I had to aim at that level. The spark of inspiration for Ramleela was something I stumbled upon by chance. I had to go through a lot of paintings for my daughter because she wanted to paint. In doing so, I realized how beautiful they were. Paintings are magical, they inspired me and that is how I sat to work on how every scene should unfold in the film. The power of colour is mind-blowing and that’s why the Magic ofRamleela was so overwhelming.”
Ravi Varman’s cinematography in Santham, a Malayalam movie brought him international appreciation. He received the best cinematographer award in France for the same. “DirectorJeyaraj called me for the project. I had to shoot in limited lighting. There were good cameras, good lenses, but no light. Here I learned the art of capturing light and not just using it.” Actor Kamal Hassan gave him a call to congratulate him on his success. “I learned that you can never make friends in the film industry. Only your work speaks for you. There was only one person who honestly supported me – Kamal Hassan. He spent three hours watching my film and then spent two hours introducing me to the world. He also recommended me for VettaiyaduVilayadu. And of course my wife, she has always been there for me,” he says gratefully.