KV Guhan on Mister: With Varun Tej, I felt like I was working with Mahesh Babu [Exclusive interview]

Shekhar H Hooli
cinematographer KV Guhan

Locations and picturisation play an important role in travel movies, and Mister, which falls in this genre, has generated a lot of curiosity over its exotic locales and brilliant cinematography.

International Business Times India caught up with cinematographer KV Guhan, who has handled the camera work for Mister. He spoke to us about the locations featured in the film and the challenges they faced during the shoot. He is all praise for director Srinu Vaitla, Varun Tej, Lavanya Tripathi and Hebah Patel.

Here are the excerpts of IBTimes India's exclusive interview with KV Guhan:

1. You have worked with Srinu Vaitla in Aagadu, Baadshah and Dookudu, before Mister. Please tell us about your association with the director.

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I worked with Mahesh Babu in Athudu and it was he who introduced me to Srinu Vaitla. I worked with them in Dookudu, which went on to become a blockbuster. All three of us came together once again for Aagadu, but unfortunately the movie did not work at the ticket counters. However, the whole team has put in wonderful effort in this movie.

I like his scripting and dialogues, which make me work with him time and again. After Aagadu, I got busy with Bangalore Naatkal. Hence, I could not join him in Bruce Lee: the Fighter. He created a pattern in the industry. It struck a chord with the audience and become a hit. His format became so famous that several movies were made on the same pattern in the next few years.

KV Guhan with Srinu Vaitla on Mister set

2. What do you feel about the story of Mister?

Srinu is known for his family entertainers and comedy movies. But he has changed his format in Mister, which gives you a feel of Aanandam. This travel movie is a family drama with a love triangle. It is all about a reunion of a family and how the hero handles the whole situation and reunites the family.

3. Travel movies are known for their rich visuals. Which places has Mister been shot at?

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We shot Mister at several spots in Chikmagalur and Ooty. The movie has mainly been canned in Karnataka. You will love the locations of Chikmagalur, Ooty and Spain. Usually, travel films have an artistic pattern, but this is a travel film made completely as a family and commercial entertainer.

4. Did you face any challenges during the shoot?

The Chikmagalur schedule was very challenging for us as we had to shoot some songs sitting on the top of a bus. We had to travel a lot. There were several risky shots. We also canned some action scenes. We were surrounded by a lot of leeches, which was a terrifying experience.

5. Did you use a helicopter for this song shot on the bus?

No. We used drones for these shots! They have come out really well and you can see them in the promos of the film. I am sure that viewers will fall in love with those scenes in the film.

6. How did you prepare for this project?

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I didn't prepare much for Mister, because I knew that it would involve spontaneous work. We had scouted for locations and fixed some before we started shooting, but all our plans changed when we landed amid nature. Every scene was new and unique, and we were ready to put a camera angle for every scene. We had to explore new locations every day. I have used all available techniques for this film. But considering it to be outdoor work, carrying many things and human resource was a challenge and we had a tough time managing things.

7. The promos of Mister show that your picturisation is going to be one of the highlights. What would you like to tell fans about it?

The script and direction are very important for a cinematographer. It is the content that offers scope for his work. A cameraman can show his talent in a travel movie, which involves more of picturisation. Mister obviously has it. I am happy to work in it as I love to travel a lot.

Varun Tej and Hebah Patel in Mister

8. How was it working with Varun Tej, Lavanya Tripathi and Hebah Patel?

One nice thing was that I knew Varun Tej and Sai Dharam Tej from the days of Khusi, as I was the associate cameraman for the film. They were kids at the moment and they used to visit the sets regularly. I had met Varun a few times during those days, and it was more of a personal affair. But now, he has grown up to be an actor and everything is professional now.

Varun is a sweet and caring person. Whenever he saw me shooting without a hat in the sun, he used to cover my head with some cloth or other stuff. He used to serve me food on the sets. It was really great working with him and I felt like working with Mahesh Babu again. Varun's reaction, tastes and thinking are really very high, like a Prince.

His previous films belong to a different genre. Being a travel drama, Mister was a challenge for him, and he has done a wonderful job. His performance will be a big asset to the movie.

Travel films are very taxing for actresses, as they have to travel a lot for the outdoor shooting. But it was not a problem for both Lavanya and Hebah, who never made us feel if they were uncomfortable. Lavanya had to shoot a scene amid leeches, which were sticking on her feet during every shot. But she was there for it, crying all the time. She used to leave the sets only once we said 'cut'. 

Lavanya Tripathi, Varun Tej and Mister

9. Did you have any bad experience while shooting Mister?

Yes! I was about to be hit by the trunk of a tree, but I missed it by inches. While shooting for a particular scene in Chikmagalur, I was standing on top of a bus. The road was supposed to be free for this shot and I was busy focusing on camera. But god knows how we ran into a branch of a tree. People who were watching the scene shouted and alerted me. Thankfully, I was able to save myself and the camera. 

10. Please share the most memorable experience you had on the sets of Mister.

The whole film is a memorable experience for me. We explored a lot of places in a very short span of time. Mister has been shot in 90 days and we had a break of one or two days after completing each schedule. Every moment we spent on the sets is precious for me.

11. What are your upcoming projects?

I have joined forces once again with Sai Dharam Tej for Jawan, which is directed by BVS Ravi. We have already shot for this film for 12 days. The movie is likely to be released in August.

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