Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The art of opening.....

If ever you see a piece of art, it usually signed by the artist. This imprints the sort of stamp for the artist. Similarly every film has it's artist sign the film by doing something different on it, which signifies something unique. Now for the film I always have this habit of noticing how they execute the opening sequence or credits(which ever is given the preference). As many may have noticed this is usually a treat in hollywood classics like The Godfather with that fantastic opening sequence with no background music and plain dialogues which really built up the mood with subtlety. Or that great narrative in Scarface which gives the film it's base and somehow sets the tone with that really catchy theme. Or the brilliant Catch Me If You Can opening credits. Or one of my favorite narrative opening sequence of A Clockwork Orange. The list goes on for quite awhile.

But there are plenty of hindi films with really unforgettable opening sequences. The first that comes to mind is that really brilliant guitar track from Sholay with the western theme cinematic playing out on screen. The wild desert like landscape and that hauntingly tattooing music is no doubt a cinematic gem. The angles used for this sequence are perfect for the settings. It captures the gist of exactly what the director wants to portray. R.D.Burman is at his casual best with this score. I don't know how many remember this, but this was the best part of this movie for me.

The next film I believe has again the great Pancham(why am I not surprised!). This time coming up with a track which I believe many won't be aware of. This film actually took the efforts to create a whole sequence of custom animations which were relative to the theme of the film. This was not the pioneer film to take this effort but it was certainly a film which took this art to a whole new level. There is an opening sequence reveals of a murder and robbery on a train and as this sequence ends we get the fantastic opening credits. This is the film which actually instilled that feeling of excitement that only a well presented image can bring about in a human being. I must confess this is one of my favorite films of all times and a huge amount is due to this sequence. The film is titled The Train and stars the only superstar Rajesh Khanna. This credit sequence has the feel of a James Bond film(maybe the inspiration) and has a title track which matches if not more than any of the Bond films. (The credits start at 1.32). 

Some of the films have used music and narration to open their films. This is again an effective method if the voice over has the credibilty of attaching emotions with the narration. This style really draws the spectator in for a simple reason, as to we don't see the narrator and an intrigue is instantly formed. But sometimes silence is the best narrator, this is widely showcased in this simple yet somehow very poignant opening sequence from one of the best films by a very talented director Shekhar Kapoor. He chooses a very non dramatic way to open his film and introduces his actors with a haunting music which is used very heavily through out the film. This piece of music is well placed and well timed as it explodes rather than soothes. You feel the film's tone from the very opening scene. Excellent opening sequence for my taste.

Talking of directors of this age, I have seen a trend in directors to start their films on an off note or a simple narrative. A fine example would be the opening of Ek Main Aur Ek Tu, which had an interesting narrative and a new kind of opening credits presentation. The opening sequence of Kahaani was also different and well executed. The really wild opening of Gangs Of Wasseypur was a brilliant stroke, with ultra violence with no form of explanation for the motivation or any of the characters. I feel this kind of opening is like throwing the audience in the deep end on their very first day of swimming classes. Either they learn to swim or...

The art of opening of a film is so crucial because it's human tendency to form impressions quickly. A good opening is like the friendly greeting before a hearty meal, it may not mean much but makes the meal ever so pleasant.

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