Film editor K.L. Praveen is much sought-after in Tamil cinema, with over 70 films to his credit. A National Award winner for Aaranyakandam, Praveen was born in Chennai and has his roots in Peddamaddali, a village near Vijayawada. Despite coming from a family of filmmakers, he never wanted to tread the same path. “Watching my family struggle for money while I was growing up had a strong impact on me. I never wanted to come into films,” he shares.
While Praveen was waiting for a placement in college, his father insisted that he learn a skill, and so, he joined a TV channel in Hyderabad, where the brief internship became his career. A stint under the legendary cinematographer and director Balu Mahendra, a well-paying job in Singapore and a chance to edit a film, came to him in quick succession. Soon, Praveen was neck deep in work. “I thought that my first film would just be a one time thing, but my second film Saroja got me a State Award and after my National Award, I gave up my resident status in Singapore to get into films,” he recalls.
When asked why he hasn’t taken up many Telugu films, he replies, “I have no idea! I have many friends from Tollywood and we’ve discussed working together, but it never materialised. Tamil cinema keeps me busy but I look forward to working in Tollywood. In fact, Nani had offered me Gentleman, but I was busy with Kabali and couldn’t take it up,” he says, adding, “Vishnu is a childhood friend and got me on board for his next untitled bilingual film. Hopefully, I will be doing a lot more Telugu films this year.”
Would he adopt a different approach for Telugu films? “Of course. For instance, for Oopiri, a bilingual, we had two different cuts and both were treated as separate films. People love their heroes a lot in Telugu, whereas in Tamil, content and presentation is very important. We can have a five minute introduction fight for the hero in Telugu, which might be deemed lengthy in Tamil. Even performance wise, Tamil is a little subtle compared to Telugu. But a lot of crossover is happening and it is a blessing in disguise for technicians like me,” he says.