Apart from being a blockbuster hit, Arjun Reddy has introduced a new cinematographer in Tollywood. Thota Raju, who hails from Suryapet and is the son of a make up man, did not take any course on cinematography it just happened to him.
“My father Venkat has been a make up man to Mohan Babu garu and I used to go to the sets along with him during holidays. It was then that I used to observe a lot of film shootings,” says Raju.
During these set visits, Raju observed that only three people were busy and running hither and thither.
“The director, the cinematographer and the lead actor these three people were always busy. So I decided to choose among these three and that’s how I wanted to be a cinematographer,” he narrates, adding that he was never interested in becoming an actor. “I expressed the same to my father and he suggested that I join as assistant to top cinematographer Surender Reddy,” says Raju.
Later, he worked with Mohan Krishna too and learnt the technicalities of the camera as well. “I worked for a few Hindi films like Ishq and Raj Kumar as a second unit cameraman. I also worked as an assistant to Hindi films that were directed by Manishankar in Hyderabad,” mentions Raju.
The interesting thing about Raju is that he has done a lot of ‘clash work’. “When a cinematographer is busy with two films or is doing something else, the director hires a junior cinematographer, which is called clash work. I worked for a few films including Pelli Choopulu,” he says. That explains how this talented cinematographer shares a good rapport with actor Vijay Deverakonda.
In fact, Raju reveals that it was Vijay who suggested his name to director Sandeep for Arjun Reddy. Talking about his technique and experience while working for the film, he explains, “The scenes have come out to be lively because we shot most of them continuously for five to eight minutes. Generally people shoot scene after scene, but I wanted to get the emotions right, so I shot lengthy scenes.”
Recalling times during the shoot when he had to carry heavy cameras while avoiding crane shots, Raju says, “For the lengthy scenes I used to carry the camera (25kilos) with my hands and once the scene was over, my hands completely shivered. It is not easy to hold them for so long.”
Talking about how he shot the kissing scenes in the film, Raju explains, “We never felt that it was vulgar or something special. It was all in a flow and natural. The initial scene was shot without much crew as the actress was a bit shy, but later she carried it with ease.”
At the end of the day, the cinematogrpaher is ecstatic about all the appreciation coming his way since the release of the film. “The response is superb and everyone is talking about the camera work,” he says....