Shreesha Kuduvalli’s panache of capturing the moments through the lens makes him one of the hottest catch in Sandalwood. The young lad, who assisted ace cinematographer Krishna of Mungaru Male fame, believes cinematography is an elemental part of filmmaking where contribution starts from script level and ends only after the final output is delivered. Right from his first film Topiwala that starred super star Upendra to his latest in the making Dhruva Sarja – starrer Bharjari, Shreesha believes learning is a continuous process.Excerpts from the chat with Shwetha Shivkamal.
How did you get introduced to cinematography?
I am from a non-filmi background but wasn’t new to camera. My father was a photographer in Shivamogga and he owned a studio. As a child, cameras were my toys and I was fascinated with the entire concept of capturing a person or a moment in a lens and this lure led to my passion. Probably my father also influenced me to get into photography in my initial days. After having completed schooling, when I expressed my wish to parents to pursue a career in camera, they were supportive, and also wanted me to complete studies first. When I was pursuing graduation, I met Krishna sir, through a mutual friend and was already a big fan of his works. I was amazed by looking at his techniques as he was way ahead of his contemporaries in terms of techniques. I expressed my interest to work with him and he instantly agreed after having seen my work in my first short film Typical Kailawesome. After assisting him for a few years, I became independent cinematographer.
What makes you say yes to a film?
It’s the story that has to impress me initially. It may not necessarily be one of the greatest scripts but the content of the film has to be challenging. It has to challenge and inspire me to go on the sets every day. Secondly the director’s equation with me. Only when the director and the cinematographer’s thought processes are aligned, there can be a good output. I am quite choosy about the projects that I take up and I want my work to do the talking.
What is your learning process?
I watch a lot of films; irrespective of the language. I would love to see how the plot unfolded and shaped up through. I like to learn from my mistakes and others mistakes as well. At the same time, I also read a lot and keep a abreast with the latest technology. In the world of technology, change is the only constant.
You have been a part of 3 PEG, a Kannada video rap song that is much talked about in the industry.
Well, all I would want to say is it’s just the beginning with reference to everything that is concerned with the song. This kind of video song is something that is new and the Kannada audience are accepting such kind of songs as well. The Kannada rap songs are catching on the trend and I am happy about that. The trend about rap songs has just started and to be a part of a trend setter is something that is challenging. You have a different working experience altogether and a responsibility. In a film, there is a big team including various technicians but here it was just a song. This was a career builder project for almost everyone who worked on it and none of us could afford anything less than the best. I’m glad that the song is being liked by everyone and hopefully we will present more of such songs in the near future.
Is it the style or the substance that matters to you while working with the director?
It’s an edgy walk between style and substance. While one director efficiently sketches a film through his style another one showcases his film elegantly with the substance. Irrespective of the style and substance, cinematography must be self-effacing. Camerawork is not about how the scenes are captured, it’s about dredging deep into filmmaker’s visualization and establishing moods and bringing out emotions. A good lighting complements a good camera work and a good cameraman will know what kind of lighting should be used when and where. A cameraman has to make sure that the visual narrative is refreshing.