Koode editor Praveen Prabhakar on working with Anjali Menon and why content is always king
“Today’s audiences, mainly the youth, are used to fast paced movies but they are liking Anjali’s style of filmmaking, as seen by the fabulous response to Koode.' - Koode editor Praveen Prabhakar
Praveen Prabhakar is Malayalam cinema’s most talked about editor, who believes more in story telling than doing flashy cuts for the sake of it. Praveen is today better known for being ace director Anjali Menon’s “Asthana editor” (regular editor) and his cuts in films like Bangalore Days and now Koode have been universally appreciated. The buzz is that he is the sounding board for Anjali and is there on the sets when she does crucial scenes, though he never does spot editing.
Praveen who has done just 10 Malayalam films in the last six years, knew Anjali Menon from her college days in Kozhikode. But it was Ustad Hotel, where she was the script writer that brought them together. Praveen honed his skill working as an editor making ad films with noted filmmaker Rajeev Menon. From making 30 seconds ads to nearly 3 hour commercial films, Praveen has come a long way.
“I would say my mentor and the person who brought me to cinema was Anwar Rasheed the director of Ustad Hotel (2012), which was written by Anjali. We were all part of the Anwar Rasheed group who produced Anjali’s first big commercial film Bangalore Days (2014). And then when she started Koode, which she jointly produced with Rajaputra Ranjith, I was there as the editor,” says Praveen.
On the criticism that Anjali Menon films are too long and there is a lag, Praveen defends her style of filmmaking. “I would say Anjali is a master story teller who delves into minute details including the way the background props should look in a shot (the miniature toy train in Koode). The emotional bonding between family members, their joy, anguish and pain of the characters in her films are told beautifully. The pacing in her film is different but at the end, the viewer is able to get into the mind of her characters and what drives them.”
Praveen points out that Bangalore Days was originally 4 hours 30 minutes which was cut down to 2 hours and 51 minutes. Praveen explained: “Today’s audiences, mainly the youth, are used to fast paced movies but they are liking Anjali’s style of filmmaking, as seen by the fabulous response to Koode. She looks at each character and delves into their life minutely bringing out their motivations clearly out. Koode is a different experience all together as the whole story is told keeping in mind the Prithviraj character’s perception of Nazriya, as he is the only one who can see her."
Today, a new breed of flashy editors have taken over Malayalam and Tamil cinema, who use flash cuts and other gimmicks to pep up the narration. The new generation directors want “speed’ in their narration and want their film to be told in 2 hours. Praveen in a way is an “old school” editor who believes his job is all about story telling. Praveen says, “I never use flash cuts and sparingly use dissolves mainly to show transition. I feel story is always king and should drive the film forward smoothly and not gimmicks that’s why I’m comfortable doing films with good story tellers like Anwar Rasheed and Anjali Menon.”
Praveen next release would be the Anwar Rasheed film with Fahadh Faasil titled Trance sometime next year. And he would be definitely editing Anjali Menon’s next film, rumoured to be with Mohanlal.
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