The bond between Indian cinematography and Arriflex

After joining the Film and Television Institute in the eighties to study cinematography, the first year was spent shooting still photographs, doing lighting practicals and lab work. We however watched a lot of films, argued more about them and of course dreamt of shooting our own films.

It was only in the second year that we got a chance to shoot on film. I remember my shot in the motion picture exposure practical exercise and it was a panning shot of somebody going into a building.

It was a bright day and the iris was cut down to f/22. I could barely see anything and some one shouted ‘start camera’. I was so nervous. The Arri 2c camera came alive – black and white film squeezing though the gears. Before I could get my bearings the shot was over. I wasn’t prepared for the flicker that I saw through the eyepiece. I thought my camera was faulty. My first shot in cinema was going to be wobbly. I had to wait for a week to see the results on screen.

I heaved sigh of relief when my shot came on screen. There it was – crystal clear with no flicker.

Guru Dutt with VK Murthi
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Crime and Punishment in Cinema

deewar

India is the world’s largest democracy, but it is also a very unequal country, where some citizens are more equal than others. Convicted criminals, who are rich and powerful, seem to get out of jail well before their sentences have been completed. This is in sharp contrast to the lives of thousands of under trails languishing in jails not having access to a lawyer or even getting a chance for a fair trial. However, in the darkened “Halls of Cinema”, Good always wins over Evil and the Long Arm of the Law would eventually catch up with the criminals.

How does the film industry view crime and punishment? How do they represent it in their work? How do they deal with the law when one of their own is the accused?

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