Have you ever wondered why our films often shy away from greatness? How many films out here are truly great? I am being honest. Only a handful of films come to my mind if I think of greatness. Wait a second here, What do I mean by Great films? What are the parameters that has be taken into account in order to construct a great film. Watch this video by DslrGuide and proceed with the article for a better understanding!
Lets start with subtext. Okay, what is a subtext? Why should a film have a subtext? Why can’t films be made just to give the audience a thrill ? Or make the audience cry? Of course a film can be made JUST to thrill or to make the audience cry. But once the audience leave the theater, they just forget about the movie as they wipe off their tears. But when we see a movie with a subtext and great depth , we tend to have the feel of the film even after going to our bed. What we would have seen would be the story. But what we would take away out of the movie would be the meaning.
From the video you might understand that character design depends on the character motivation or desire and its imperfection or flaws. There is a third important factor though in my view. It is the Character’s belief or philosophy. This shouldn’t be told directly. You have to throw it here and there and make the audience search for it. For example if you take Kabali and introspect his character, you’ll notice that Kabali has all the three factors mentioned above. Kabali’s desire is to stop the crimes happening in Malaysia by Tony’s gang and help people. Kabali’s flaw is his emotion. He gets weakened whenever he gets emotional. Kabali can only be defeated by an emotional blackmail. Think of the scenes where Kabali is shot by using Meena as a trumpcard and the scene where Kabali is surrounded by villains and he is not able to fight back as his wife is at knife point.
Kabali’s philosophy is that he is against oppression. This is shown after the very first fight scene where Kabali frees the birds from cage. Also we can see some photo frames of people like Ambedkar, Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara in Kabali’s Free Life Foundation. His Philosophy is his strength that make his overcome his weakness to achieve his desire. Character’s profession can also be considered while designing a character. Pisasu is the best example where the protagonist is a violinist and sees things in a way a violinist sees.
In how many films you felt that final reveal was too good? What is a reveal? It is something that is always there but then as an audience you didn’t notice it. There are films that have miserably failed in this reveal. I would quote D16 as an example where it failed big time. The whole idea of the masked killer was a cheap trick just for a forced revelation in the end. Not to forget the gautham after plastic surgery too! And there were films that were purely celebrated for the very reveal. Drishyam is one example. We knew who the killer was in Drishyam, yet there was a revelation in the end that was purely coherent with the story and cinematic!
Most of the films fail to hold us glued to our seats throughout the end because the audience already has all the answers. For example, in Maayavan where after a point when you already know who the culprit is, You really don’t want to watch the other minutes of the film as the film has failed in making you glue to your seats by revealing it at a wrong time. Though, in Maayavan, they failed to give us the necessary engagement factor to find the killer right from the first half, I feel the revelation would’ve probably resulted in a slightly more absorbing experience.
Visuals for storytelling :
There’s this particular scene in Mani Rathnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai where Karthi goes to Aditi Rao’s house to convince Aditi Rao’s parents. That scene starts off with a top pan from the corner of the dining table where a plate is kept on the top and a chair is pushed inside the table . The camera slowly pans to the another corner where Aditi Rao and her parents are seated. This shot hints us that Aditi’s parents are waiting for someone to meet during the dinner. Just see how the master uses cinematography to explain the scene. There’s also a shot in Balu Mahendra’s Sandhya Raagam (sorry for the spoiler, I couldn’t resist saying this) where the grandfather finds his wife dead. The camera shows his wife and slowly pans off close to a Wood-burning stove and shows the wood burning and then moves to the next frame where the grandfather is seen going in a train. Now do you really need an explanation for what the master wants to tells us through this scene ? I badly wish young filmmakers insist on meaningful frames rather than colourful frames.
But above all, as said in the video, it is the story that holds all these. These elements are just to make your film stand tall from other films but it is the story that makes your film stand separate from other films. So let us not worry in making good films but instead focus on making ‘OUR’ films !