Friday, December 18, 2009
Hindi movies are looking better than they ever have before. But is it mostly surface appeal with little substance? Nandini Ramnath surveys the scene. Also in this issue, Suhani Singh finds out if we’re ready to go digital,and cinematographers revisit their key films. Plus, we profile VK Murthy, Ashok Mehta and PC Sreeram.
They have state-of-the-art equipment at their disposal.
They get noticed in reviews and their names are often included in the publicity material. They are paid vastly more than they were a few years ago. So why do cinematographers complain so much about the state of camerawork in India’s largest film industry?
Projection facilities are often poor, especially outside big cities. The luminescence and colours of film prints that cinematographers see in a processing laboratory take on a different look if they aren’t projected properly.
Here’s a sample of what some of Hindi cinema’s leading cameramen have to say. KU Mohanan (Don, Aaja Nachle): “In Hindi films, even if you’re ill or dying, you have to look fantastic. We do what I call cosmetic lighting. The lighting is to cover up flaws. When you do that, the mood you want to create goes for a toss.
Several cinematographers confirmed that a big-ticket actor’s make-up, wardrobe and hairdo take precedence over the story’s requirements. “Often, costume designers start buying clothes as soon as they get an oral narration of the story idea,” Ravi K Chandran said. “They dress their actors according to the latest fashion trend. Costumes will be decided upon without consulting the art director or the DoP.”
Subrata Mitra, the acclaimed cinematographer who shot Satyajit Ray’s earlier films, once declared that only a handful of cinema halls in India projected films the way they were meant to be seen.
“When we shot a night-time battle scene in Lakshya, all we could see and hear on the screen was the sounds of guns and flashes of light,” said Farhan Akhtar, the director of Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya and Don. “So the next time I’m doing a moonlit sequence, I will worry about the audience that is watching it in a single screen.”
Source: TimeOut Mumbai
Edited for blog: Abhinit Khanna
Full Story on timeoutmumbai.net