The past few decades have seen an evolution of contemporary and controversial cinema. Gone are the days when it was a fight to establish your supremacy as an actor or director par excellence. We have had in the past, and continue to produce, great actors and directors who have showed the world that cinema can be as innovative as another field.
Actors and film-makers have realized the social relevance and importance of making a film. What was just a tool of entertainment has become pivotal in instigating real life events, both good and bad. People instil into themselves not only the characters, but also the emotions during the three hour tenure. Today, cinema can be used as a tool to discuss issues pertaining to the country and even the world.
As George Bernard Shaw rightly put it, Charlie Chaplin was, “The only genius to have come out of the movie industry.”
Chaplin showed us that it is the art of body language and exceptional expressions that can get you off your seats and applaud an actor. He had seemingly ventured into every aspect of film-making, quite surprisingly for a man who journeyed from “rags to riches”. His first “voice” movie, The Great Dictator showed us the intent and social aspect in his movie making. It was not just an imitation of a leader. He was an actor who, through his journey, wanted to be part of, and contribute to society.
And then there was another director, who made it a point to showcase himself in every movie of his; Alfred Hitchcock. Born just four months after Chaplin, he could confine thrillers inside the four walls of an apartment. His in depth analysis of the inner psychology of characters was mind boggling. He incorporated a lot of technology in his films, an aspect that only added to the Hitchcock thriller. His shower scene from “Psycho” is till date one of the greatest scenes of all time in the history of cinema.
Now let’s talk about some our very own greats.
From a small village in Paramakudi, a boy who was written off the school distinction boards, is an actor who has and still strives to make films for a purpose. Kamal Haasan or Ulaganayagan, has been a farmer, tirelessly ploughing into the land of Indian Cinema, to extract the best out of him.
His films have shown social, political, economic, religious and people’s issues. From Hey Ram, through Anbe Sivam and now to Vishwaroopam, he has showcased respect for a human being, whether a common citizen or a jihadi. Truly undeterred by failures, he has made films only for the sole purpose to improve the quailty of film-making and not for a potential profit.
With the recent turn of events for the film Vishwaroopam, I seemingly was bewildered by the importance given to a movie these days. Its become a part of an individual.
Though the question of “democratic expression” was contested, something I was very extremely unhappy about, I was happy to realise that people do consider cinema “THEIRS”.
Immense support from the filming fraternity made me feel that an actor will always get what he deserves. The support and encouragement that Kamal Haasan got were the fruits of his labour through the 53 years; years that were spent making a differnce and making his presence felt on screen.
It is these people, who consider making movies their social responsibility, and a way to contribute as a citizen to the society; who leave their footprints not only in the Hollywood Walk of Fame but also in the “sands of time”.
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