Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beyond colours...

“I was hurt when someone told me that a shot in the film I worked was fantastic. He said he was so thrilled at the camera angle and lighting of that particular shot.” Cinematographer Madhu Ambat told the audience. I was attending the Lights On session at Sathyam Theatres, Chennai two years back. For the surprised look of audience he continued “It was like saying “wow” that particular line in the novel was so touching. Until cinema is treated as a complete art work, what is the point of praising one shot and its excellence? As a technician I was happy but not as the creator.”

My cinematographer friend Anbu very often says “Machi, the chain of beautiful frames I see in a film is such a torture, after certain point of time. Is life that beautiful as they represent in films? Definitely no, then why do we create such spectacular visuals? ”. Listening to them, I learnt a lot from the veteran and the beginner on equal levels. Both of them are right. Recently I read the same from texts on Neorealist filmmakers and French critics. Last week my Professor, Dr. Jamie Sexton was taking a session on how IMAXs came decades back and how it failed to continue to excite people after the initial excitement. IMAXs are definitely back for sure. But I bet it will stay as a powerful medium only if the cinema remains an authentic piece of art and not a visual spectacle made only for that.

Without knowing anything about cinema, during my college days I asked Anbu whether the theatre can be in the shape of an egg and the audience can feel the screen all around them as if the are in reality. What if the theatre make you feel like you are in a battle field and from one corner a horse rider approach you and shoot an arrow right above you to the other end of the space where his opponent warrior stands. Even today I would like to see a cinema like that, but if and only if it is rooted on aesthetics and principles true to its essence and common sense. I am not talking about rules, which I never believed in. For that matter I dont think any art is cocooned inside a set of rules.

All that disturbs is exaggeration beyond imagination, as long as an art claims to be the representation of societies, cultures and landscapes. My say has nothing to do with fantasy tales. I am still an admirer of comic books. Still read the Malayalam children magazines Balarama, Poompatta, Bobanum Molliyum and Pico classics with the same passion and enthusiasm with which I read them in my childhood. I still do watch Walt Disney cartoons and fantasy films. I was watching the Padmarajan film Njan Gandharvan with my good friend Soma yesterday. It was still a magical experience, like a dream that leave you dream more... Andre' Bazin's concept of realism was very interesting to hear. Professor said that in Bazin's point of view cinema has a privileged relation to realism.

No comments: