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A story to tell

In a recent seminar, film director R.V. Udhayakumar shared tips and his experiences with students of Visual Communication



Emotional R.V. Udhayakumar

Films need not necessarily take the common story-telling style,” said Tamil film director R.V. Udhayakumar, speaking at a seminar ‘Face to Face’ organised by Bishop Appasamy College of Arts and Science for the students of Visual Communication.

An effective tool

“Indians are very good in narrating stories. But, we can also use the film medium for a variety of other purposes. You can make a documentary to educate the audience or just tell them about an incident,” said Udhayakumar, who has directed blockbusters Ejamaan, Kizhakku Vaasal and Chinna Gounder.

Global impact

Talking about the impact of films as a tool for propaganda, he said: “Hitler was the first world politician to use the camera. The power of the medium is seen in Triumph of Will, a documentary shot with a camera by his girlfriend Leni Riefenstahl. She had used 36 cameras. The camera angles and the camera positions she used have made Hitler appear great.

For Russians, cinema was the medium to communicate their problems to the rest of the world. In India, the story-telling tradition has continued. From the age-old tradition of therukoothu (street theatres), where stories from the epics were retold, it has now graduated into films.”

Talking about the styles of filmmaking, R. V. Udhayakumar said that for him the story came first, even before any thought of the actors who would essay the roles in his film.

But, he admitted that some wrote the script to suit the style of the actors they wanted in their films. “Of course, there were masters like Satyajit Ray whose realistic films were worth watching and imitating,” he said. However, he opined that “any film, Indian or American, is made for survival”.

Inspiration

Talking to the students, he urged them to decide on what they wanted to become and be inspired by it.

To those who wanted to become mediapersons, he emphasised the importance of constantly observing and taking notes of what they saw or heard around them.

“I have always carried a scribbling pad with me, wherever I go. Write down whatever you hear – even if you are speaking to a relative, he may have something to tell you. It may help you sometime when you are stuck up with writing a dialogue.”

Udhayakumar defined screenplay as “Who wants to do what? How can he? Why can’t he?” And, “Despite all the progress made by technology, it is the emotions that play the most important part in a film”.

Citing Titanic as an example, he explained, “Even though the film employed technology, it is the emotion that dominates. So, I bring emotion into all my films”.

SHARON PREETI

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