Friday, 6 July 2018

I sacrificed three movies for Tik Tik Tik: Editor Pradeep

Having sacrificed three movies, it took at least one-and-a-half years of dedication for editor Pradeep E Ragav to work on Jayam Ravi's Tik Tik Tik, directed by filmmaker Shakti Soundar Rajan, and make it a milestone in Tamil cinema. I had a short interaction with him over a phone call recently. Here are the excerpts from that:

Editor Pradeep(left) with Tik Tik Tik director Shakti during post-production
Since it is the first space movie in the country, what were your benchmarks and references for this?

First, we wanted Tik Tik Tik to be a benchmark for such movies in India. We watched almost all movies made in Hollywood and even in Asia. A couple of Korean movies deal with space-based plots. So, we watched all of them. However, our main references were actual footages taken in outer space and space stations. Some nuances like droplets of water floating above the ground were those we saw in videos made inside real space stations.

Did you have any challenge in working for Tik Tik Tik it being a movie of a new genre?

The plot demanded heavy commitment. I dropped two movies that were offered to me. Also, I had quit from a project that I had already signed up for. I wanted Tik Tik Tik to be my only commitment. Even my fellow crew members, the director, and producer did not understand my decision in the beginning. But, as the project took off, my commitment to Tik Tik Tik was of a great help in the post-production phase.

How did the industry react when you signed up for Tik Tik Tik?

Since I am an upcoming editor, a few seniors and editors working with me when I was an associate, demotivated me. They were asking me what I can do in a movie of such a genre - that is completely new to Tamil cinema. I had to go through this peer pressure as well.

The timeline of Tik Tik Tik
Did you try any new working style for Tik Tik Tik?

Usually, I would show a rough footage with initial cuts and sample music to the director and show them this is how the scene would be. That was how I tried to communicate the content to the rest of the crew. Even in such cases, we had a challenge as some raw green mat footage without any VFX can only be understood by the director but no one else in the crew. So, everyone was having their fingers crossed until they watched the finished output.

Usually, in a movie with enormous visual works, there happens to be an egoistic clash between colourists and editors. So, how did you manage that in Tik Tik Tik?

We worked for almost one year and seven months as a whole. In this, leaving the 50-plus days of shooting, every single day of post-production could have led to such ego clashes, as you say. But, luckily, it was vice versa. Since the post-production work took more than a year, it gave us enough time to build a bond among the technicians. Especially our conformist Manoj and colourist Rajashekar had a good rapport with us. They would have watched at least 10 to 11 versions of the movie but were patient throughout. For instance, the villain's space station you see in the movie alone has 30 to 35 layers. It is all because of the magic they made it look real.

What kind of filmmakers or scripts do you think give better scope for editors to show off their talent? Which filmmaker do you aspire to work with?

It is not about filmmakers. But, scripts and screenplay demand an editor's effort. The better and detailed the script, the finer the work of the editor would be. I always wanted to work with directors who understand this aspect. Mainly, Mani Ratnam, Gautham Menon, and Shankar. Also, I wish I work for a movie with a mass star like Rajinikanth, Vijay or Ajith.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, July 6, 2018.

A part or complete version of this interview by Santhosh Mathevan has appeared in Photos/images appearing on the post are sourced from the interviewee.