The song ‘Yedhedho Aanane’ from the soon-to-be-released Mr. Chandramouli has got more than three million views since it was released a week ago. Featuring Gautham Karthik and Regina Cassandra, the song has a lot going for it. There’s rousing music by Sam CS, sensual and graceful choreography by Brinda Master and Richard M Nathan’s camera that focusses on the aesthetics of love.
There’s a thin line between a sensual song and a vulgar one, and the team worked to ensure no one crossed the line. Here’s how the director, choreographer and cinematographer went about making it happen over three days in Krabi Island, Thailand.
When I decided to shoot this song, I spoke to both my actors to work on their bodies so that the end result would look beautiful, not distasteful. They had to be able to carry the costumes for the song. Gautham and Regina worked for nearly a month-and-a-half before the song shoot. Brinda Master coming on board was a huge plus, because she knew exactly what would work on screen.
We had budget restrictions, and I went for the recce, and passed on all the information to the team.
I was particular that the song had to look artistic. A normal mistake people make is to use too many close-ups for bikini shots. I wanted the beautiful surroundings to get as much importance.
Richard is a director’s dream cinematographer, and he’s willing to do what it takes to give you the effect you want. Gautham and Regina were very cooperative, despite the shooting being so demanding. We worked hard to get the result that’s showing.
Director Thiru showed me the costume references and told me the song would be shot in Krabi. I’ve done some beach songs earlier too (for Thani Oruvan and Iru Mugan), but wanted this to be different. I was insistent it had to have underwater scenes, and forced Richard to somehow get a fish tank to place the camera in. I’d seen it being used for a song in Edhir Neechal, but that was just for a shot or two. We needed a longer duration underwater here.
I’ve worked with Gautham in Kadal, and know him well. Both, he and Regina are very dedicated artistes, willing to go the extra mile. I wanted to give them the best song of their career. It helped that they swam well, but by the end of the shoot, Gautham had an awful sunburn.
A song is as good as the team you work with. In this case, I think they gave me exactly what I visualised.
The profusion of fish that swam into the scene as we were shooting was a pleasant surprise. Many wondered if they were computer generated, but seeing them for real was the experience of a lifetime.
Richard M Nathan
Director Thiru did the location recce and told me I would love the place. I always tell myself to shoot songs and films aesthetically so that I can watch them with my family. Choreographer Brinda Master knows how to make a song pop on screen, but also knows where to stop. I did not have the time to plan the shoot, and landed at the location with my camera, team and two mirrors. Our group of 35 people would leave the hotel at 5.30 am so that we reached the shooting spot at least by 8 am. We had to leave the island by 4 pm so that we reached before it got dark. And so, I began work knowing I could get no dawn or dusk shots.
The scene of a shimmering sea and Regina lying on it happened by chance. During low tide, I saw two tourists sitting on a thin strip of land that just got visible; Regina immediately ran up to the place before it went under water.
I did not follow any colour palette for the song or movie; I usually let the script decide the colour tone. But, if I had to compare it, I would say it is similar to Angaadi Theru, a film in a totally different space.
This song is my ode to the Kingfisher calendar. I’m a huge fan of Atul Kasbekar’s work and I’ve always wanted to recreate it. This song allowed me that opportunity, and nature supported me. But for that low tide, I would have never got the shot.
Brinda Master wanted underwater shots and we needed a special rig for that. But, that would get very expensive. And so, we improvised. I sat with a person who made fish tanks and got one made that would hold my Rs. 1 crore worth camera. It was three feet deep, 1.5 feet wide and 2 feet long. And, it cost me Rs. 4,500! I asked that the glue holding the tank together be strong because the camera needed to be protected from corrosive seawater. The water was crystal clear and we managed some great shots. An amateur aerial photographer from Bangkok took the aerial shots.
In places where you don’t have many props, you have to work with what you have. Everyone is speaking about the shot where Regina’s back has an artistic shadow. Guess what that is? The steel broom left behind at the island for cleaning!
The mirrors took on the role of lights and reflected even the tiny grains of sand beautifully. The actors felt the heat though; it was April and the mirrors radiated heat.
Despite all our planning, one day, I worked till 5 pm; that’s when we got the dusk shot. But, on our way back, our boats got stuck in low tide and we had to wait for the high tide before we could make our way to the shore. That was some drama!