Saturday, August 22, 2009

Two conversations, One ride and the journey of cinema

I would rather struggle with film than struggling with other things.... - Woody Allen to Jean-Luc Godard in their conversation. (Meeting WA)

I couldnt have imagined a better way to start the weekend. Now before i start saying, writing or quoting things, I know that there are a lot of my friends working in television and on reading this they would love to kick my ass and label me a psuedo-moral preacher.

But hell, I am sorry but i will write or speak. Woody Allen says and i quote "TV in a certain way is changing the viewing habits of the audience, the audience are now so used to Television and the kind of images it is bringing that thats how they expect from the cinema when they are sitting and watching a film on a large screen".

Apropos to Kaminey. I was traveling from Bandra to Andheri in BEST bus and two ladies sitting behind me were going all guns fired on Kaminey. "What kind of stupid film it is?, how sad Priyanka Chopra looks?" and let me tell you they left the film from between - needless to say i intervened - Not for the sake of Kaminey but for the sake of gauging the reaction of a particular audience segment. Why were they pissed off so badly?

One of the ladies replied "how can anyone like this film? 4 stars my Foot!!! "

I couldn't help but had to laugh, she continued her rant "have the media gone mad in saying this the best film of this year?". Well i agree the media is biased towards "Kaminey". But i think its ok to be biased for a film that is trying to do something different. Anyways, What makes me think why those women reacted so badly to the film is because the answer lied somewhere in the conversation - in what one was speaking to other. Lady A said to B "I couldnt see anything properly on the screen and Priaynka Chopra was so bad without "make-up" ?? Aaaah - there I caught you ma'am.

The images that you were expecting and the images that you couldn't see or were not shown. A Priyanka Chopra has to be there on the screen with "make-up" and is expected to look like a Barbie doll. Well - I am not against "make-up", i am against the idea of "make-up" that makes the actor look great and doesn't do anything to the character. Ok, point made, continuing ahead - its probably a high dose of television images that are responsible for those ladies to react like this. A friend said "Indians are not trained to watch Kmainey-like lighting." hmmm...our job is not to train them, so they watch and are able to appreciate or criticize us, maybe our job lies in providing them more kamineys and make them think that "Oh-ya even this is possible and this too is great". Or maybe I am just expecting too much.

In the conversation between Woody Allen and Jean Luc Godard, Woody also tells an interesting aspect bout cinema. I quote "the idea is so pure in its pristine stage that you would never love your film after it is made. Once the idea has come, afterwards its all a downfall - writing, casting, making, editing, mixing - all of it takes it down" ...Amazing thought.

I have always felt this, but didnt know how to express. Although there are these highs in between you get when a few visuals do come together in the form of how the original idea was. But nothing like the original idea. I worked on a film for one whole year, from pre-production to post-production. From organizing meetings between Producer, DoP, Director on Skype and taking notes till handing over the hard disks and DVDs for dialogue clean-ups and watching over the ADR - and i realized how that statement of Mr. Allen is so true. When you close your eyes and the images that run through your head are the most beautiful ones and as and when the film gets made, you know - "Oh well, was it imagined like this?". But anyways what i would love to add to Mr. Allen (or if i am allowed) is that "The Editing sometimes does bring in all the wonderful images together to give you a feel of how wonderful the original idea was. I term it as the "magical fleeting moment" . On shoot, with the kind of haphazard schedules you would have never ever thought of all this to happen. Yet in 90 mins, even if that magic of coming together happens for 15 odd mins. your audience will be moved, that is beyond doubt.

Well, for cinema fans, i recommend this wonderful conversation between these two greats taped in 1986. The one Cut that i saw was of 30 mins only and it was badly badly edited with completely unnecessary title cards and hammy background score, it would be wonderful if even the text form is available - like Truffaut interviews Hitchcock. Here's hoping that I can get the whole conversation from some source.

© Copyrights 2009 All Rights Reserved. Hardik Mehta

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