July 23, 2024

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Readers Write In #700: Shot Reverse Shot of Mass Cinema

3 min read
Readers Write In #700: Shot Reverse Shot of Mass Cinema

By Aadesh Ramaswamy

Recently Kajal Aggarwal’s Satyabhama released in theatres. One thing I noticed was that many reviews said how the film had a good amount of slow-motion walking scenes with BGM of Kajal Aggarwal “hyping “her or massifying her.…   Ofc this is something that has been shot with male leads only exclusively… IIRC Shruti Hassan has one, in Krackk in the action sequence where she saves her home…

In that scene for example, it makes sense… The “massification” of the “heroine” or the female lead is an extension of the hero. She is venerated because she is related to the hero. Ofc the scene is uplifted by the terrific subversion of traditional masala police tropes, the intercutting with Ravi Teja talking about how his wife is a badass etc. But inherently the celebration of the woman is because she is the man’s woman… So inherently the slow-motion scenes saved by the BGM, are a male related tradition.

So now what do we do? Do we also celebrate women with the same tradition that we celebrate men with…? Maybe we could but what is the downside of such a thing… It doesn’t create an identity for the women but merely keeps her in the shadow of the film. If a Rajini walking in slow motion is the same as Kajal Aggarwal walking in slow motion, then isn’t it creating the misconception that a woman is the same as a man and that she can replace a man with no change and she can effectively live a happy enough life, ultimately casting her aside as a “nothing, but a man” or “nothing but the man’s …

This reminds me of a scene in Notre Musique where Godard talks about Shot-Reverse-Shot from a Hawks film and tells how the lack of difference between the shot and its reverse showing the male and female was indicative of Howard’s lack of understanding of the innate difference between a male and female…

Of course, this isn’t something that I feel majority of our filmmakers would have thought about, considering that our films barely have “shot”/reverse shot” worthy scenes with women…

The second thing this impact is the individual identity of the film and by extent, the heroine. At this point, I can’t resist talking about how Kalki 2898 AD is being compared to Dune, by the simple virtue of having a world of sand….

If the simple image of having sand invokes a film having a wholly another world from, quite literally another world, the glorification of a female in the style of a male, will inevitably recall the massification of another male hero countlessly produced….

So now we do not think of how she handles an investigation but roll our eyes that she is handling the investigation this way even though as female, distinct from a male, we would have expected things unexpected….

So,what is to be changed in this? I do not know…. Before, people knew who a woman was from cinema…  Archana, Vimala, Manga……… But now the desire/need to for cinema to show women has been replaced by an overabundance of images of women, created by themselves, but not majorly in a way that reveals about them……. emotionally or in the way a Vimala is there, cos other types of revealing keeps happening…

What Social Media should have done is emboldened women to share stuff that helps understand her… But that happens seldom as far as I know…

So maybe change an angle directors, you are the only hope we have………

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