Sunday, March 27, 2011

Five things that I like in any movie

1) Alone unspoken, undiscussed moments - These could be anything-  the first thoughts when you wake up in the morning, or eye contact with a stranger, or a forced smile,  a person suddenly at loss of words and his initial stammering or  a sudden blackout on a crowded train. I like such  moments because on such moments both our subconscious and conscious flood us with so many thoughts that even words fail to describe them. I just feel that capturing those moments is the real power of cinema. I instantly connect with the character. Also contrary to popular belief, I had been a quiet person for the most part of my life. And all my life I have had people with whom I had silent relationships- no real conversations - but a deep sense of understnading.

2) Using associative memory: It is for example if for today if  I say japan - you think of tsunami and a sense of grief, dignity and seriousness dawn upon you. Care has to be taken that it is not very context specific. I like how lots of directors tap into the collective subconscious, use associative memory - of colors, of objects, of events to guide us emotionally. And I really admire that. I was initially a big fan of symbolism. Now I always evaluate a symbol for its entertainment value and context. The biggest high for any filmmaker is when a viewer "gets it". Using symbols from personal memory mostly come in the way of the viewer enjoying it. I have realized the importance of not having subjectivism or not making things too self-important. Atleast for the kind of mise-en-scenes I have, I play a lot with contrasts. Happy moments suddenly becoming sad moments, sad moments bringing smiles. Lots of my friends do get confused as to why am I shying away from holding onto the emotion. One reason is that a single emotion runs out for me after a while. I feel the need to keep audience glued, on their toes.  Prob also because these days I see movies in Gaity, Galaxy with audience reaction. And with girls giggling, popcorn munching, baby crying audience I feel that we have a really big challenge to engage that audience.

3) Chemistry between characters - Chemistry is all that is unspoken - or the manner in which the dialogues are spoken - almost similar to point 1 but also involves interpersonal relationships. You can see a couple and tell them they are a couple. You see two extras walking- they will look like two extras walking unless the director or a smart AD has made efforts to make them look like a couple. Every chemistry has to be build and I am a big fan of any director who manages that because I have faltered on this a couple of times.

4) Multiple forces in a scene - Truffaut says there should be 5 thoughts packed in a given scene at a given time. I have kept the minimum rule to 3 - always 5 can be difficult sometimes. Actually some scenes should have 0 thought - a shot/scene between two intense shots - so that audience can absorb the intensity. Also the best is if these things come naturally and organically to you. When you plant it too much - there is a risk of planting something that might be detected. Worst thing is when someone watching a movie feels that he is reading the final draft. Actually I felt that in 3 idiots when I could see all the plants and pay off. But unlike lot of people I am a big fan of revising the scripts. I am also glad that successful humble film makers in India - like Raj Kumar Hirani - also vouch for it (their scripts going upto 20 drafts). I think revision gives you an opportunity to fit the script in mind space and also gives a clearer idea of rhythm and direction of the script. Also it eliminates cliches, brings richness in scenes, de-sharpens the edges of planted thoughts and infact helps make the script more organic.

5) Give orgasm to audience - I like the idea of giving orgasms to audience. And by that I dont mean a sex scene but just the amalgamation of perfect audio and visual that grabs their attention, shake their body and make them prepared for the film. Actually audio plays a very important role - hence the importance of music and sound design should never ever be under-estimated. I have tried to understand why certain scenes give people that feeling (a seperate blog entry for that). I guess that's because these scene present a new unseen image and so when one comes face to face with absolute creativity - all cells in his/her body resonate with it. Even if we achieve it once in our film, we know we have provided atleast one unique moment they would carry it forever with them. Those scenes are our windows to immortality. 

1 comment:

Zaphod Boozlebrox said...

I read this post while scrolling down. By the end of this post, all I could think of was Stanley Kubrick. And guess what I found when I scrolled further.

Nice blog.