Ace cinematographer and film-maker Santosh Sivan is doubly delighted by the governments decision to honour him with Padma Shri, since the recommendation for the honour came from within the film industry.
Says the ecstatic Sivan, I understand that it was Graftii, former students of the Pune Film Institute Of India, who recommended my name for the honour.
It feels good to be recommended by people who know my work rather than by politicians. Santosh is one of India's most accomplished cinematographers and filmmakers. Now what He laughs, When I am suddenly recognized for my work I wait for a new level to capture my creativity. I am not much of a planner. When I directed Tahaan(about Kashmiri militancy) I was asked to work in collaboration with the United Nations. So its important for me to spread my wings beyond cinema. Santosh says he is divided in his vocations as cinematographer and director. The line dividing the two jobs gets blurred.
But cinematography is more organic and personal. In direction you have a lot more organisational work to handle.You cant forget the film after pack-up. Direction is far more challenging. I am getting ready to release my new political thriller Ceylon in Tamil and then Hindi.
I've also shot a separate 90-minute English version of the film. I don't want it to to look like an art house film. There are elements of art in it. But I've made sure the Tamil-Hindi version is two hours long.Otherwise it wouldn't get a proper release in the Tamil Nadu theatres. Meanwhile, he has started work on his new Malayalam film.
It's called I Am Not Sita. Its a modern contemporary film with new actors, all talented theatre actors. As a cinematographer Santosh is currently a shooting a big-budgeted Tamil film Anjan in Mumbai directed by Lingswamy featuring Suriya, Manoj Bajpayee and Vidyut Jamwal.
Santosh has cut down on cinematographic work for outside directors. I do the camera work for the occasional blockbuster. It gives me the funds to direct my small movies. My small films are a very big thing.My career is like the little terrace in my Mumbai flat which I've turned into a vegetable patch. Since its small and a manageable I am very particular about everything that grows in my garden.