EYE OF THE ARTIST
To have or not to have – an opinion? To be or not to be – open to new perspectives? Is there a right and wrong in cinema, or does one build the rules as one goes? The three aspects to any expression are evidently the giver, the medium and the receiver. According to Film critic Mr. MK Raghavendra, what makes a cinema does not necessarily have to be an image of the maker and his trials and tribulations (nobody wishes to see the ugly side of his personal life). At the same time then, should it not refrain from being a celebratory impression of his goodness either? However, the viewer must then step out of his own shoes while watching the film – to be fair? What then is the effect of one’s life experiences, learnings and views on the way a maker builds the film, or the way the audience views it? If the film is being made for a certain viewer anyway, what stops it from being for the maker? In what way does he make the creation his own – or does he?
What if the film is a piece of time that the maker wants to capture, which is made as purely as seen by his eyes alone, and true to what he believes is Art. Will it not then cater to anyone at all, or will it attract those that connect with similar thought process? Is influence of ways that are “non-Indian” blasphemous to represent? What if I wish to recreate a Casablanca simply because I am fascinated by the era and the times – even if I have never lived in them but have grown up with stories of the like?
Film, with its various intensities of realism intend to carve out fiction within “real world” as we know it, or create a reality within unseen illusionary premises. Mimesis is the showcase of real life events or situations as a form of replication through film. What a filmmaker can explore while attempting to recreate reality is Time in Space. This is the variable entity that would give the film an expression that may go on to becoming an identity for the maker. The advantage a Filmmaker has over the Theatre Artist is to be able to juggle with timeline. The disadvantage with comparison to Theatre is that one can leave less to the imagination than what is allowed at a live stage, where the viewer walks in with a presumption that time cannot be meddled with, but spaces and its elements can be showcased as existent even when invisible. Thus (re)construction of Time is Space is thus the biggest tool that a Filmmaker has to his disposal and the distinct way he decides to use it becomes a language.
Through Mr. Raghavendra’s discourse and the many questions it raised, what rang a bell in the film enthusiast within me is that a movie could come close to perfection if it is approached location-wards to stringing a story together in all its activity and detail. What is interesting is the subtractive approach – breaking down every frame into its bare required minimum – which is difficult but eventually fruitful. It is easy to work with what exists within the chaotic extents of our surrounds, but will confuse the viewer with realities that may be useless in conveying the message that the film maker has in mind.
Should cinema be only that which the Indian audience may be able to “relate” to? What is the Indian way? Or should cinema be like a Tree that is simply a Giver to one and all? How does one start from scratch? If viewed simply as an Art form, my opinion is that true Art lies in what the beholder perceives and how close that comes to being the expression of the Artist.