"Take movies, music, poetry out of life & its gone!"

The maverick, RAM GOPAL VARMA and his innovative 'Rogue technique' of film-making in DEPARTMENT. (A preview by Bobby Sing)

16 May, 2012 | Articles on Cinema

Ram Gopal Verma - Bobby Talks Cinema.com

He is known for introducing many new styles of storytelling on screen right from his first film SHIVA released in 1989. He is known for moving ahead of the overused fixed format of film-making followed by directors in India from decades. And he is known for digging his own new rough paths without caring about any success or failure coming on the way, constantly in his career.

In few words as RGV says,
“Its not about re-inventing rules…….......Its about destroying them.”

So the maverick is here to destroy the rules again with DEPARTMENT in which he has now introduced the Rogue methodology (Partially used in his “Not A Love Story” too). A technique in which tiny digital cameras are used to shoot the various sequences, planted at some unbelievable and never used before placements. Like along with a tea cup picked from the table, right on the head of the actors, on their arms, on their legs, on every corner and roof of a room.

As per his own explanation, “Rogue by definition is something which doesn’t confirm to a pattern which has been established over a certain period of time.”

Hence while narrating his new style to be used in DEPARTMENT, RGV explains to Amitabh Bachchan,

“I am trying a very different kind of technique in shooting ‘Department’. So it might be very dissoluting to you. Because you have been used to perform to a camera for nearly 40 years of your life and suddenly there is no camera or cameras are all over the place. Which means you can’t be performing to one camera. And that is the whole point.”

On being asked that “To which camera one should react to?”, he says,

“The whole point is that you shouldn’t react to the camera, you should not be aware. The whole idea is that. There is an actor you are talking to and if you don’t feel like looking at the particular character then you can look at anywhere you want.”

Further to the next question that then Which angle will be more likely used in the end”…….he replies,

“I don’t know as I am also at the field and I will look into them all on the editing table”

Now for many film makers and students of cinema, this might sound absurd and mad. But I do feel fascinated by the idea as that’s how the word ACTING can be brought out of Dramatization. That’s how you can make the scene completely free, free of any restrictions, any floor markings, strict angles or any particular directions. In this way two characters are free to talk with each other as they would do in reality without looking into any camera or worrying about any profile or angle because the director himself would like to select the angel on the editing table itself.

It might be tough, a little illogical and out of the box too. But it interests me as it sounds like synonym to the word Freedom. And my thought gets very well supported and confirmed when Amitabh responds to this new style of film-making in his words as,

“In a sense I feel that it liberalised me a lot because I was not conscious of the fact that this is where I have to move, this is where I have to go. There is a lot of freedom with what you do and its almost like doing a rehearsal and not knowing where the camera is, which is great for an artist.”

So as far as the technique is concerned I am excited to witness this cinematic experiment called “DEPARTMENT” tried with the veterans of the industry like Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt. But at the same time, I am also not in an agreement with RGV in his second statement which actually remains the other hidden side of the picture, in which he feels that “Story can fail but novel technique can never fail”.

In his own words, “Story can fail. Genuinely innovative technique can never fail. When they made The Blair Witch Project with hand-held cameras, the Hollywood studios felt the audiences would be put off. When Steven Soderberg shot Traffic with hand-held cameras without using lights the producers felt audiences would get put off…Technical innovation can never go wrong. That's what I feel." 

And here I would like to disagree with him as technology alone cannot impress or entertain all kinds of audience. In fact there is a very smaller percentage of viewers who are really interested in the technique with which a film is made. And a larger proportion of them are actually there in the theater for the entertainment factor alone, particularly in our part of the world. They don’t even care how it has been shot or with which camera it has been shot unless the technique either attracts them exceptionally or it distracts them awfully. But till it doesn’t go any either way, a normal moviegoer here is least concerned about the technical part of a film.

So with DEPARTMENT its quite possible that viewers might find their heads spinning with the unusual camera movements showing them the visuals from angles which have never been used on the screen before. It may be a tiring experience for many unexpectedly. But on the positive side the film may turn out to be a path breaking explosion on Indian Screen with all its tiny digital cameras reinventing the way films are being made here in Bollywood.

However, the fact remains that this whole package of experimentation essentially has to be presented along with a well written script and storyline. Because in absence of that its difficult for the technology alone to win over the audience. An excellent technical achievement without the backing of an engrossing script will be just like a naked gorgeous girl wearing some heavy beautiful jewellery. Where for a few it might be ART, but for many it would be an entirely contrasting & intolerable expression.

Hence for the sake of Cinema and its growth in Bollywood I would love to see this experiment work as then it will surely open many new roads for the budding film-makers ready with their own novel & unexplored ideas waiting to be canned in those tiny cameras.

- bobbysing

For the actual interviews in which the above statements were there, check out the video at the following link and you will surely enjoy the interaction between RGV and Amitabh Bachchan.

Tags : Maverick RAM GOPAL VARMA, Innovative Rogue technique, DEPARTMENT, A preview by Bobby Sing, Articles on Cinema, RGV reinventing film-making in India, Tiny Cameras in Shooting, Innovation in Bollywood.
16 May 2012 / Comment ( 1 )
Vinay Ved

Interesting note.....I have great respect for RGV.....he knows how to take risk with his art........and also he has been able to deliver one of finest movies too.......looking forward to witness his magic in Department as well...Thanks for sharing important reason for the same Bobby .


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