“It’s heartwarming to receive all the appreciation for my two years of hard-working” – Cinematographer Thamizh A Azhagan.

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Cinematographer Thamizh A Azhagan, who enthralled the entire Kollywood by shooting Venkat Prabhu’s quickie ‘Manmatha Leelai’ in just 18 days has yet again turned the spotlights with his recent outing ‘O2’.
The industry is intrigued by his work yet again. ‘O2’ movie features Nayanthara in the lead role, which has premiered on Disney+ Hotstar. The film is directed by debut filmmaker GS Viknesh and produced by Dream Warrior Pictures SR Prakash Babu and SR Prabhu.

The movie has been receiving appreciation for the brilliant making and far-out performances by all the actors. The story exhibits a claustrophobic situation amongst the passengers inside the bus, which is trapped inside a landslide. Although, the colossal efforts of filmmaker Viknesh in materializing such a unique story premise with limited characters and a single location is appreciable, its cinematographer Thamizh A Azhagan, whose efforts in creating visuals with so much realistic approach, have become the main highlight. The audiences are raving about the cinematography for being so natural, whereas in many places; they felt suffocation.

Sharing his experience of working in this movie, cinematographer Thamizh A Azhagan says, “Director GS Viknesh is a close friend. When he narrated the script back in 2019, is when I started journeying with it. I was keen on delivering visuals to the audiences which will help them believe in the real essence. In particular, with Dream Warrior Pictures adding Midas-touch to the project, I started working intensely to deliver the best.

Although set works were erected for Landslide and Bus scenes, I wanted them to look so real that the audiences shouldn’t feel it’s a set.  Besides, I wanted to make sure that the audiences feel the urge to survive among the onscreen characters as well while watching the movie. I started preparing for ‘O2’, around 2019, even before the commencement of the shoot. Every single scene was visualized first, with appropriate detailing, lighting graph and was finalized before going to the set, which has helped deliver a positive output.

Our main motive was to make sure that we don’t waste the time and energy of both the artists and other resources considering we were shooting in a compact space. This also helped us complete the shoot on time as planned and designed by the Producers. All the intense preparation and planning during the pre-production helped us accomplish these challenges with ease.

I shot the entire movie by hand holding the camera (by placing the camera on my shoulders). Although it was a complicated and excruciating task, it was the need for an hour for the movie to shape up perfectly. The cinematography had the responsibility of conveying the pathos, pain, and fear of every single character inside the bus to the audience. So I decided to adopt the same emotions and behaved like a victim trapped in such a situation itself, which I believe has helped me deliver their emotions.

I was elated to hear the heart-warming response from producer SR Prabhu sir, who after watching the final output gladly mentioned that O2 is going to be another special project in their production career. This was the first appreciation that instilled excitement and confidence in me. It was a wonderful experience to be working with an ace actress like  Nayanthara, who understood the entire scenario of challenges involved in filming the movie. She was very cooperative and would ask, “Is it okay Thamizh? after almost every shot”.

If the movie ‘O2’ has been finding phenomenal appreciation and reviews, It’s all because of the minute detailing work that cinematographer Thamizh A Azhagan has imparted. A bus trapped inside a landslide will go through lots of changes and the appearances of the characters inside will eventually change as the hours pass by. These factors were perfectly captured by changing the color tones and luminance  while the character takes a transitional change.

Furthermore, the movie has been appreciated by audiences that they didn’t feel the story getting stagnated for being dramatized inside a single backdrop of the bus. Courtesy of the different innovative camera angles composed by Thamizh A Azhagan, they turned out to be an additional attraction in keeping the audience engrossed.

Having completed shooting Venkat Prabhu’s Manmatha Leelai in just 18 days, cinematographer Thamizh A Azhagan has now touched a new pinnacle of success with his spellbinding visual works in ‘O2’. The press and media fraternity have already started affirming that apart from winning appreciation, he will be garnering more awards for his colossal work, this has made cinematographer Thamizh A Azhagan emotionally gleeful, who assures that such appreciation instills more responsibility to come up with promising works in his upcoming projects.

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