An Indian Civilizational Perspective

The Art of Great Movie Direction

I believe all GREAT directors – when they direct a movie – embed an emotion …. underlying and intangible but very prominent in their movie.

So primarily, great film direction involves being able to inject and steep your movie in a certain ethos that you espouse and can effectively create. It is the second nature or the very core of the director’s existence. You cannot do it until YOU completely have it as your passion and core of being. So, only the most profound of people at their core become Great Directors. Technique is not what makes a good director Great – but his/her own CORE OF BEING!

Guru Dutt’s favorite emotion was PATHOS. Everyone who sees the movie can feel that pathos written all over EVERY bit of the movie. His movie Pyaasa was ranked by TIME as one of World’s Greatest movies of all times. Of course, while compiling the list, the "judges" were obviously heavily Hollywood centric so most of the movies (in true tradition of most "World championships" in the US) are from … well.. the US!

If you saw Raj Kapoor’s movie – it was ALWAYS that "other-worldly romance" that was the underlying emotion. He had – I think in Aag, his very first directorial movie – described beauty and romance as first purest dew drop being touched by the first rays of sun.. FANTASTIC visualization of what ultimate beauty and romance could be. THAT emotion was his underlying theme.

Shantaram had that artistic feel to his movies. He had a way to show things without saying it. If he could use the camera to make his point, he would never use a dialog. In one of the movies, for example, Jeetendra (elder brother living in the village) visits his younger brother who is studying in the city and who has recently raped a girl.. is talking to him sitting on the chair in his dorm room. He asks him if he has done anything to mar the family name.. the younger brother replies in negative. When Jeetendra gets up to leave .. the camera shows that he forgets to take his umbrella – which was his cover and help to walk (the larger umbrellas) .. and then the camera pans on his back.. the ink bottle on the table behind the chair had fallen and the ink had made a big black blot on his shirt on his BACK!

Bimal Roy had this realism which steeped his movies.. When you see Do Bigha Zameen you realize and empathise with the protagonist’s pain and suffering.

Except for Sanjay Leela Bhansali, I do not see any great director today in the Indian film industry…although I do see some excellent movies coming out…

……for all those who are interested in "Spiritually"-oriented movies.. .please see AKS and Benaras…. AKS is one of the MOST amazing movies I have ever seen.. great performances and a timeless and VERY true message given in a manner that is difficult to comprehend at first.. but that is the only way to put it!!

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