How Can You Show Depth in Films? Infuse Subtext!

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A film in all it’s might isn’t merely a entertaining tool, At Least now. Of  course, it’s entertainment for the most part, but the necessary impact and the experience that it is going to offer you is what makes it a good film.  This can be carried through with a pinch of entertainment too! Unfortunately, most of our films lack this impact as entertainment takes a front seat. Okay, So how does one take over the impact to the audience? This is where the depth of a film comes into play which is mandatory for all great films! Every great film has layers of information that goes inner and inner with the audience’s minds creating the necessary depth.

So what is this depth?

One of the first things that comes into your mind the moment someone utters the name of some movie is the thing, that has created an impact for you at the subliminal level. This could be anything actually. It could be a simple visual, or a particular character or even a dialogue. This impact is completely subjective. For instance, if someone takes  the name of the film ‘oru kidayin karunai manu’, the character of the grey shaded lawyer is the first thing that would come into my mind. The depth of this character completely amuses me. For someone else, it might be the first look of the film with the goat.

On the whole, The film has somehow succeeded to created an impact that the viewer takes home back and not forgets it the moment after walking out of the theatre. So, there isn’t any particular way to define the depth in your story. It’s anything that creates an impact for a longer time in the audience’s lives. So, having depth in your story in terms of anything results in the film sustaining in the minds of the people for a longer time. It’s completely left with the creator on whether he wants his film to long last or evaporate quickly.


Apart from the ways how depth could be achieved above, One of the most overlooked topics would be that of subtext. The above mentioned ways how depth is brought live on screen are put straightly in front of the audience’s faces. But subtext is something that the creator doesn’t spoon feed it to the audience. The sub-text in a movie are the underlying facts that the creator doesn’t reveal to the audience and lets them think, intrude their mind about the hidden facts and come up with his/her  theory out of their own perception. This results in a better relatability with the particular character or the world the film is set in.

The hidden subtext can be an indirect preaching, impending danger, character design with their unique features containing underlying facts that is exhibited throughout the film. For example if you take Kathi or even Appa,  the protagonist wears a red shirt whenever he talks against capitalism, where red acts as a symbol of communism (very simple one though)  Subtexts act as silent surprises in the film and whoever unfolds it, enjoys the filmmaker’s creation completely.  These minute details add a lot of intensity to a story. These immensely result in a greater amount of depth in the story. It deals with a lot of maturity in writing that has been only mastered by few and experimented by some.

How subtexts are infused with the movie?

To start off with how the subtexts are introduced in films, they are not infused artificially as an act performed separately, but it happens along the story and only for anyone who bats an eye for it understands the meaning of the perceived message that the creator who has hidden it right before your eyes. The concept is better explained with some famous examples as follows

Kaka Muttai: This movie has been excellently coated with sub-texts then and there, majorly targeting how capitalism is been affecting the common man. The structure of the movie is like how the young boys enjoy having the crow eggs from the tree in the ground they play everyday, then the tree is been cut and the ground is occupied by a rich guy who builds a pizza shop in the same place. The boys are attracted towards pizza by the advertisements and they are pushed to the point of getting the pizza by doing all the odd jobs and finally ending up eating the pizza and realize that its not worth of any hardships they have gone through . The complete story of the movie is a sub-text revealing how capitalism grabs the current resource from the common man and replace it with its own expensive resource and attracts them towards it. This movie effortlessly conveys the perceived message in an attractive manner featuring no direct preaching.

Mayakam Ena: An absolute brilliance by selvaraghavan, this movie infuses subtexts from the first frame, where the light becomes bright from dim and the camera tries to focus properly, indicating that the protagonist is in between the phase of setting into the right phase of his life from all the chaos around him. And in the scene at the bus stop where, the hero and heroine, the light behind the hero is been lit constantly, while the light behind hero is blinking indicating his double mindedness over falling in love.

Aaranya Kaandam: This movie stands as an exceptional epitome of subtexts in South Indian cinema. If we can break down the story of Aaranya Kaandam and look for the sub-text hid under the plot. It exposes the impotency of men, 1.Singaperumal .an ageing don who can’t prove his manliness to his affair nor in his profession 2. Sapai who is been called by his friends as impotent throughout, turns to be cheated by his affair and at last gets killed again a sign of impotency, 3.. Pasupathi who  proves impotency in saving his wife from his own colleges

Iraivi: One of the finest crafts of Karthik Subbaraj, this movie conceives a lot a subtexts in it that provide a substantial information. Starting from the title Iraivi that means Goddess statues, indirectly inferring the women in our life. Jagan an artifact student in the film has a true commitment and love towards the Goddess statues and insist on preserving and passing it to the people who would take care of it, rather than the people who leave it uncared. He implements this ideology in his life by desiring on his friend Micheal’s wife, who doesn’t take of his wife properly and he feels that Jagan should be the one who should take care of her. The scenes don’t have any particular narration on the subtexts but they are right before your eyes silently leaving the message firmly.


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