Films true to a genre are the most influential. The certain tropes in one’s artistic style become their voice. A script can range from a properly printed document to just some notes on chits of paper. The most unique thing about cinema is that it is a very open art form. It could mean a lot of things to different people. It can be just entertainment as well as something that has the power to change perspective within a few frames or words.
The Theatre of My Mind
Personally, cinema has always overwhelmed me. The way in which all the elements come together to create a bigger picture has always instilled a feeling of curiosity in me. Therefore, whenever I sit down to write a new story, there must be something to guide me rather than imagination alone. Normally we would watch or read something of the same genre to get some inspiration. But when it comes to directing, it is always the subconscious mind that allows us to decide how the film should be made.
I turn to watch these films for various reasons, as they help me find a voice and keep that flame burning.
The American touchstone is what I call this film. The first time I saw Pulp Fiction, I had a confused feeling. But I kept going back to the film. The more I saw it, the more I got acquainted with the world Tarantino had woven through his script. It was not the camerawork or the technicalities of the film that drew me to it. It was the script.
The script was in balance between laziness and elegance. The film was bleeding with life and all the actors just blazed in the vitality of the mobster world. It was an adrenaline rush throughout, but the casualism in the story bought in the wit which was carefully segregated into novel-like set pieces.
The twists were as real and as unpredictable as they could get. It reminded the audience that life could go haywire any second. Iconic performances from the entire cast complimented the brilliant screenplay.
Christopher Nolan is truly a magician in his craft. It was the simple illusions that could fool the audience. Creating a lot of technology and engaging the audience into a cold feud between two magicians looked like the perfect thriller in hindsight. But what makes The Prestige special is how it masks a secret using these carefully constructed layers.
Nolan invites us into a 19th-century tale that is built grand on a strong script that makes you wonder. The coldness and the isolating nature of the film play a trick on the audience, just to make them drop their jaws in the final act.
Iruvar is a Tamil classic. It is a combination of Tamil Nadu politics and is a statement about how actors are compared to God and given authority which completely splices the idea of democracy. We are shown how celebrities and popular people can be easily bought into politics under the mask of democracy. It draws a caricature about how both politics and cinema blindly influence the public to a mass opinion about an individual or idea.
This is loosely based on the popular feud between MG Ramachandran and M Karunanidhi who served as chief ministers of Tamil Nadu. Their friendship slowly burns out into a public rivalry through a prism of politics. Their ideals and power equations are carefully sketched by Mani Ratnam’s writing and spellbinding direction. It is a fine cinema, which resonates through the mood and ambiance bought in through the dialogues and the frames.
Some controversial dialogues were muted to avoid widespread disputes and tensions at that time. How this duo continues this frenemy relationship forms the rest of this masterpiece. It is this duo of Mohanlal and Prakash Raj that steal the show as well.
Devasuram is a Malayalam film that gave birth to one of the most iconic characters played by Mohanlal. The story revolves around a feudal brat named Mangalassery Neelakandan who squanders all the wealth left behind by his father who is revered throughout the village. He spends it on liquor and gambling.
His life turns around when he crosses lines with another landlord named Mundakkal Shekharan. This feud leads to a set of events that reform Neelan. Another catalyst in the form of a young lady named Bhanumathi paves a way for his reformation. Devasuram explains how the Asura with a heart of gold changes into a peace-loving yet valiant Deva.
The climax is one of the best in Malayalam cinema, which completes the transformation of Neelakandan.
The English film is one of the best movies ever made. But here, I am explaining the Malayalam one. The film can rightly be called global cinema as it is inclusive of all genres. It includes drama, romance, comedy as well as action. It is a comical take on Romeo and Juliet with a splendid backdrop of the Kerala family systems. Here, the feud is between Anappara and Anjooran’s family.
Comedy, which normally distracts a serious plot such as this, in turn, compliments it. The use of verbal comedy to compliment the drama on the screen creates an entertaining tale. The brilliance of this film is how comedy plays a role in binding the story together. The other elements such as the romance between Mukesh and Kanaka’s characters, the bitter rivalries between the sons and the families that sprouts action, and dramatic situations come together and fit under the umbrella of wit. That is what makes Godfather such a convincing and lovable entertainer.
All these movies are indeed not the best movies that were ever made. But sometimes the emotions that escape from your heart when you watch them again and again, formulate the role a film plays in your life. How it withstands time and other factors ultimately make it a classic.
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