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Man behind those stunning stills

Meera Srinivasan

Many of the stunning hoardings that one sees in the city are stills from G. Venket Ram's camera "While shooting, I am not conscious whether it is for an ad or for a film"



G. Venkat Ram

Chennai: As a first year student of engineering, Venket Ram found his love for the camera outweighing his interest in academics. He quit the course to follow his dream. He pursued Visual Communication in Loyola College after gaining sufficient experience under various photographers. For over 12 years now, he has been into ad and pre-production still photography for films and portfolios.

Having worked in 60 films including `Ayudha Ezhuthu,' `Boys,' `Khakka Khakka,' `Vettayadu Vilayadu' and more recently, `Paruthiveeran,' Mr. Ram says the ability to relate to characters and an eye for detail are vital while shooting for films.

"It was important for me to bring out the rustic feeling in the movie. The photographs had to communicate what the story was likely to be," he says, recalling his experience shooting for `Paruthiveeran' in Theni.

His eyes light up as he explains how he captured those moments. "With the mountains in the background, black clouds descending on them and the green-brown grass... it was so fascinating," he says.

His `Sillunu Oru Kaadhal' posters won appreciation. However, not many know he was the one behind those intriguing stills. He attributes the trend to poor awareness levels of copyright laws in India. Talking about his experience of shooting for Rajnikanth-starrer `Sivaji,' he says it was challenging to bring the `Murattu Kalai effect.' Vikram's fans are bound to be impressed with his stills for `Bhima.'

If shooting for films requires so much effort, is ad photography any different? "Not at all. While shooting, I am not even conscious whether it is for an ad or for a film. For me, it is that moment seen through the camera that matters," says Venket Ram, who shot for Reliance and Aircel recently. "Earlier they were two different domains. With celebrity endorsements, the focus on the product has gone down now. Ads are very people-oriented."

What does he have to say about technological advancements in his field? Though he acknowledges the advantages of digital photography, he finds it cumbersome at times. "If I want to suddenly capture something in the rain, it's difficult with all the chords and the laptop."

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