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Exclusive! Yamini Yagnamurthy: One of the challenges I faced as a cinematographer in Saani Kaayidham was to capture the performances of Selva and Keerthy

She talks about the unique experiences she had while working for the movie

  • Thinkal Menon

Last Updated: 11.56 AM, May 14, 2022

Exclusive! Yamini Yagnamurthy: One of the challenges I faced as a cinematographer in Saani Kaayidham was to capture the performances of Selva and Keerthy

Yamini at the location of the film 

Arun Matheswaran's Saani Kaayidham, starring Selvaraghavan and Keerthy Suresh, dropped on Amazon Prime Video on May 6. Sam CS' background score, Dhilip Subbarayan's stunt choreography and Yamini Yagnamurthy's visuals were a few aspects which received thumbs up from movie lovers apart from the performances of lead actors.

Cinematographer Yamini, who worked in Sillu Karupatti, a feel-good drama earlier, opens up about the difference of experience she had while working for Saani Kaayidham, a revenge drama, adapting to Arun's film language, capturing the emotions of two powerhouse performers and more in this exclusive chat with OTTplay. Excerpts...

The film has opened to encouraging reviews from critics upon its release. How elated are you?

To be honest, I did not expect the kind of responses that I have been receiving now from several quarters. It justifies the hard work we put into while making the movie. I'm really thankful for all the messages I have been receiving on social media from known and unknown people. Cinematographer Rathnavelu sir and a few others had called me and appreciated my work. I really feel grateful and excited.  

Why do you say you are surprised by a lot of appreciation that is coming your way?

It's probably because I didn't think of it all. We were completely immersed in the filmmaking process till it was complete and were not worried about the kind of responses the film would garner. Only when I heard the sound track, I got really connected and thought that this would work with the audience.

What were Arun's requirements while he narrated the story to you? How did the two of you arrive at a common decision?

After Arun approached me based on my show reel, we had a meeting after which I listened to the bound script. I could easily connect to the core emotions of the story. He insisted on hand-held shooting to convey emotions properly; coincidentally, I, too, felt the same while reading the script. We thought it would complement the unpreparedness and urgency of lead characters in the movie. The challenge was to improve my skill so as to match the performances of Selva and Keerthy. 

What according to you was the most challenging part while shooting?

Location scouting was the most challenging, if not adventurous experience for us. We travelled in a car and covered many places across south India. Similarly, I found the hand-held shooting tedious for the initial few days though there was an excitement about trying something new for the first time.  

What do you think was the biggest learning experience you had while working for Saani Kaayidham?  

I would say it was adapting to the film language of the director. He has unique ideas in terms of shot composition. I'm someone who loves a minimalistic and realistic approach towards lighting; it is called accent lighting. Luckily, I got an opportunity to experiment with it in the film. And it turned out beautifully as well.  

Your previous outing, Sillu Karupatti, was a feel-good anthology. In comparison, Saani Kaayidham is a revenge drama with violent scenes aplenty. As a cinematographer, how do you approach the emotions of different people who go through varied circumstances?

As a technician, I have to get adapted to different genres of films. For Saani Kaayidham, I had great support from action director Dhilip Subbarayan. I was exposed to several experiences which I wouldn't have learned from a reputed film school. The icing on the cake is that I got paid, too.  

The film marked the debut of Selvaraghavan and this is the first time Keerthy has essayed a role of this kind. How much fun did you have capturing their expressions?

I would say that it was a pure delight. I was the first person to see them performing. I really got emotional during some of the scenes. I had to ensure that I did not get carried away especially during single take shots. 

What was your reaction when you knew that the film was skipping theatrical release?  

Any film which deserves a theatrical release should be watched in movie halls. We all grew up enjoying watching movies on big screens. But a platform like Amazon Prime Video is capable of taking the film to every nook and corner. So, the OTT release is justified.