Very recently, when we came across the ‘Made in India, made for the world’ campaign by Zoho, we were really impressed with the visuals. The Storyline, “Our Country’s craftsmanship not just stays with Handcrafts but look at our software, it is indeed work of our passion” gave us the plunge to talk to this man.
“Zoho asked us to create something that can establish a link between software and crafts. But this was a little difficult for us initially, as there were too many crafts we had on mind. What to show, what not to show, was a challenge. But then we followed the mood-board and exactly went by it.”
Deepak Bhagavanth, the cinematographer of ZOHO, is to be equally lauded for the awe-struck visuals. Both Balaji and Deepak have a similar flow of thought with an excellent chemistry. When started to shoot, they decided to go with natural colors and skin tone so as to bring forth the nativity feel.
Balaji further adds “We were conscious not to shoot an “Incredible India” kind of visuals.That was tempting us a lot. For example while shooting, we just couldn’t resist a few beautiful shots like the sunrise at Jodhpur, but had to let it go as we were focusing mostly on people and crafts.”
But yes, Balaji and team definitely had interesting shots that reflected the raw heritage of India. “India is all about heritage. We live in midst of such beautiful but forgotten tradition”.
While the Interview is on, I could manage to see some photos that were both intriguing and had sort of negative shades.
Balaji, your photos look so Professional… Are you a photographer too?
And then Balaji relaxed a bit to explain his journey of how he started as a photographer, then how tried to manage his software engineer job with his pure passion Photography and how that one moment, when he had his first camera a DSLR Canon 500D, told him that he can do much more with this tool.
As you start expressing art, you start finding many ways to do. Thus he tried his hand in filmmaking and cinematography!
He, along with a few other talented ones, began the ‘Madras Photo Factory’, who expertise in telling stories that takes you aback. They work with advertising agencies and showcase products or services in the most interesting ways.
If you have not watched their ‘Madras is Beautiful’ and ‘Madras is calling’ video, then Student Filmer advises you to go and have a nice look at it. Balaji Maheshwar, cinematographer for both the promotions, have clearly left the viewers with the thirst of wanting more of Madras. Melody, Melancholy, is how you describe seeing Madras stand different from Chennai.
But a look once more of his photographs reveals a different personality.
“What matters the most is that the viewer should experience the photograph as it was experienced by the photographer at the moment. It should be natural and should fulfil the whole purpose of telling a story. I began looking for life and strong emotions particularly through black and white photographs.”
His love for the quote by Abbas Kiarostami, is what drives him to excel with his cameras.
“Today, in retrospect, I do not think that a good film is a film that wins a prize. Nor do I think that a good film is one that draws a big audience or that gets positive reviews from the critics. I think that the determining criterion is its sustainability. A good film is one that lasts, that history deems worthy of staying with us. I do not remember who set this time frame at thirty years. Whoever it was said, that after thirty years we can judge whether a film is sustainable, whether we even know if it still exists or if it has disappeared.”
Inspired by Steve McCurry, Rohit Sabu and L.J. Ashok, Balaji Maheswar with his associates definitely took us down the memory lane.
What’s your Next work Balaji?