By Plimun Web Design
Sometimes I wonder, whether Cinema can qualify to be called as an art form. Some decades ago, the master film maker Jean Renoir has also thought so and had categorically said that,’ cinema has the potential to become literature but it can never be considered art, simply because, ‘art is the sole vision of one person’, which in the scheme of film making process is a contradiction.
He further said that one person cant do everything that is required to make a movie. One person can write the screenplay, direct the film, photograph it, edit and score music, like Charlie Chaplin did-but the film maker cannot act all the parts, or record all the sounds, or handle all the lights required, amid the myriad other details that are required to make a movie. ‘Art’, he said ’should offer the viewer the chance of merging with the creator’.
Fine. At the same time, it is undeniable that cinema is a unifying force or a convergence point of many art forms, like photography, music, painting, theatre and so on.
Like any other Tamilian, I was fascinated by the moving images since my child hood. I vividly remember the sounds I heard and the images I saw, along with the colour of my mom’s saree , when she took me to watch the great MGR’s films when I was 3 or so. Cinema is very close to me. Though I was watching mainstream commercial cinema in theatres, our Doordrashan opened up some new avenues of cinema by showing national award winning films. I was struck by the nuances of reality I saw in those films immensely I may not remember the language, but I do recall the films.
Later on, I came to know of the so called art films or parallel cinema. Gradually, when I was introduced to world cinema, I immediately realized this is cinema. Then what the hell was I watching in Chennai? Picturization of some stage-plays enacted on sets and some times, outdoor locales with the addition of some songs.
I have read that the job of good literature is to show a mirror to the society. Same is the case with cinema. Unfortunately most film makers in India feel the job of films is to entertain and that is precisely why the Governments levy entertainment tax on films, they argue.
Cinema,as a whole entity may not be art, but it can try its best to become collective art, provided it sheds its populist entertainment quotient. A good piece of art can be as entertaining as a commercial cinema. Monalisa continues to enthrall and entertain millions even to day. However cinema tries to keep away from reality, it still cannot run away fully. If a shot is kept on a road, the film documents the road of that times. Even if you keep the film in indoors, the costumes and other props do tell about the period, when the film was shot.
M. S. Ravi Kumar
Masters in Economics
Post Graduate Diploma in Mass communication