How Priyadarshan discovered K.V. Anand

Director recalls his association with the late cinematographer who made his debut with Thenmavin Kombathu

KOZHIKODE Priyadarshan was in a spot of bother. There was barely a month before the shoot of his new film began, but he did not have a cinematographer. He was planning to give the job to P.C. Sreeram, who, however, had taken up a Mani Ratnam film. He then tried Venu, who too was unavailable. Sreeram, though, came up with a suggestion. He recommended an assistant of his, named K.V. Anand.

“I had met Anand when he came to the set of my Tamil film Gopura Vasalile, which was shot by Sreeram,” Priyadarshan told The Hindu over phone from Chennai on Friday. “He was a still photographer then and wanted to learn cinematography from Sreeram. When he asked me to try Anand out, I did.”

Priyadarshan called up his friend Suresh Kumar, who was producing Kashmeeram at the time, and requested him to let Anand shoot a few sequences. The result was spectacular, literally. Anand was thus signed up as the cinematographer of Thenmavin Kombathu. The beautiful frames of the Mohanlal-starrer caught the eye straight away, back in 1994.

Pollachi had rarely looked prettier. Neither had Shobana, the winner of the national award for the best actress that year.


“I remember several colleagues calling me up after watching Thenmavin Kombathu to talk about its cinematography,” says Priyadarshan. “Balu Mahendra told me that he had never seen a camera work like that before and Mani Ratnam said few outdoor sequences looked as beautiful.”

Anand’s outstanding work received the official stamp too: he won the national award for the best cinematography. He went on to work with Priyadarashan in films such as Minnaram, Chandralekha and Doli Saja Ke Rakhna.

The prolific director says Indian cinema lost one of its most talented cinematographers with the death of Anand. The cinematographer-turned-director passed away in Chennai on Friday at the age of 54, following a cardiac arrest.

“It is such a tragedy, just like the premature death of Jeeva, another talented cinematographer that I introduced to movies,” says Priyadarshan. “Like Anand, he too had died of cardiac arrest.”

Cinematographer Manoj Pillai remembers watching Thenmavin Kombathu and being blown away by its visual beauty. “I thought Anand’s camera was brilliant in that film,” he says. “I have always admired his talent, especially the way he lit up the scenes and used the skin tones.”

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