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Friday, July 20, 2018

Twin Discs are Twice the Fun

The behind-the-scenes are as engrossing as the movies themselves....

Written by Shubhra Gupta | Published: May 15, 2010 10:28:49 pm

The just-out Love Sex Aur Dhokha double-disc DVD is a keeper. Apart from the film,which is going to be on my list of top films of the year,you get an engrossing,and enlightening,movie-length behind-the-scenes segment with the cast and crew. It starts with a puzzled crowd gathered around an outdoors location where the shoot is in progress: what’s happening here? I don’t know,says a bystander.

In LSD — which is about how the all-seeing eye of the camera has become the most powerful tool of this age,when voyeurism is all and privacy merely an over-rated affectation — its three segments segue into each other,not with smoothness,but with the jerkiness that hand-held devices,powered by natural lights,can provide. The characters are regular,everyday people.

The reason for shooting on digital format (different kinds of digicams were used,from hand-held ones to stationary security cameras) was dictated by the “premise” of the story,says director Dibakar Banerjee. In a “tutorial” with cinematographer Nikos Andritsakis,Banerjee explains why digital could be the way forward for the film industry. It’s not just about spending less than the conventional 35 mm and 16 mm would entail; it’s also about being able to tell different stories. Footage on cell phones has an aesthetics of its own,and if you use it on film,you tell your story differently; the language changes.

The reason for taking fresh faces was again something that the nature of the story demanded. These are real boys and girls who are all stunningly real,not Bollywoodesque 40-year-olds passing off for half their age. The exchanges between Banerjee and his crew are refreshingly casual,and you can see them working hard and having fun at the same time: music director Sneha Khanvalkar and singer Kailash Kher rehearsing a number,casting director Atul Mongia and editor Namrata Rao,who also act in the film,telling us why and how they did what they did. Good extras for lovers of film and all the processes connected with it.

The twin-disc Sherlock Holmes,also just out,is equally revelatory. How did the all-American Robert Downey Jr become the very lofty toff,Sherlock Holmes? A voice coach ironed out the American kinks in the voice; a martial arts expert showed him how to use his muscles to good effect,and the very Brit director Guy Ritchie turned him into a super-smart Victorian sleuth who solved every mystery worth a crack in sooty,grimy London.

Past representations of Holmes have been burdened by drab brown garb and deerstalker hats and curling pipes. Downey Jr is decked out like a Cambridge don,in suits which have the flavour of ’70s rock bands. You are immediately drawn to this modern-day Holmes,because Downey Jr plays him with a great mix of irony and earnestness and intelligence. Despite someone calling it “fresh and kinetic and modern and fun”,parts of the film feel stilted (Jude Law as Watson is strangely subdued and every single Victorian England visual cliché is on splendid display,and the occult bits are downright silly),but Holmes doesn’t let us down.

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