Monday, March 30, 2009

if 'death' had to choose between Gulaal and Omkara...

Gulaal is probably one of the better films to come out this year. No doubt in this.

A few days back I happened to watch Omkara and there too like Gulaal - the denouement of the story leads to death of the main characters. But why at the end of Omkara do you feel that if ‘death’ was asked its preference than it would choose Omkara over Gulaal.

In Gulaal, one almost felt like "hey, hey wait...don’t pull the trigger - please add a little more somewhere – I would not agree with you if you pull the trigger now" - or "hey dude! Whats got into you suddenly" - if Dileep Singh, the character heard the "Maula" song that plays in the background - then his anger can be sufficient - because its such a powerful song - but then the character doesn’t hear the background music and react...but the audience may or may not – you can never know that.

The poetry in death of Omkara’s characters is a step ahead than the poetry of death in Gulaal. Although the later tries and match it up by the poetry in songs and making them play in the background – but sample this in case of Omkara:

Omkara's deaths have a superb use of top shots - eg: when Langda is shown chocking to death - extreme high camera position, top angle - low right corner of frame is Langda lying and on the top centre of frame stands his wife. Omkara and Dolly on the swing – both lying dead, and the swing moving - the final closing shot of Omkara - On both occasions there was a deliberate use of top angles and how.

The final shot is pure adrenaline rush – Even the climax when death lingers over its characters – there is an amazing use of cinematic elements - note the sound of the swing, the use of a lullaby (this one element is so shocking) - the fade outs and fade-ins as we approach the climax - normally I consider it extremely silly to use fade outs and fade ins - like in the span of such a short duration - As one great filmmaker rightly said; "The cut is the greatest invention of cinema" - so we better use it properly - But it takes a very deft handling like Bharadwaj to use those fades.

One of the facts that remain is that it was the great Shakespeare who was behind the main plot & story of Omkara – but having watched Gulaal thrice now – I know this fact for sure – that if death was asked to choose between them – then it had to be Omkara. On every other aspect of filmmaking both the films are almost at par. Maybe Editing is the only aspect where I would again go back to Omkara.

But that’s a discussion for another day.

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