Sila Samayangalil A True Technical Brilliance of Indian Cinema

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Sila Samayangalil (English: Sometimes) is a Tamil movie made by Priyadarshan in the year 2016. Priyadarshan has directed over 90 films in several Indian languages, predominantly in Malayalam and Hindi languages, besides making six films in Tamil and two in Telugu. This movie which has to be released in the same year is yet to hit the screens. The reason is, it is being nominated to several film festivals like Mumbai Film Festival, Jaipur Film Festival, Chennai Film Festival etc and won several awards. The film was selected for the final round of the 74th Golden Globe Awards. So what is this film about? What’s so special in it? Why it is being nominated to several film festivals?

Logline:

Seven people from different backgrounds will give their blood samples for the ELISA Test – AIDS. In verge of avoiding the tension, they decide to bride the technician and know the results. He reveals that only one among them has AIDS. Everyone hoping it’s not him waits till the results are out. From here the story takes a turn and ends on a shocking and emotional note.
(What is a logline and how to tell your entire story in two or three lines? Article coming soon

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What’s so special in it?

Screenplay & Direction:

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As said above, these seven people after giving their blood samples for test in the morning hours has to wait till evening in the waiting hall of a diagnostic centre as it is a rule in India that AIDS test reports should be handed over to the respective patient only. In order to kill the tension of waiting, they try to bribe the technician and know the results. They come to know that only one among them has AIDS. And here is the unexpected turn, everyone hoping it’s not him who has AIDS reveals all their flash backs to each other one by one to kill the time. This screenplay will surely increase the audience heartbeat as director will leave out each clue in each one’s flash back. One can’t really fore think using this clues and say that who exactly has AIDS among seven as director will mesmerise you revealing more twists later in the climax. And none of the Indian Films had this much tension to be felt by audience till date. Screenplay is the HEART of this film. Director has shot this film in chronological order scene by scene. Why? We will discuss it in a while.

Cinematography:

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The most important one to discuss here is Sameer Thahir’s cinematography. This will just remind you of Hollywood’s one of the greatest films “12 Angry Men”. 12 Angry Men happens in just one room. All the camera angles were not repeated twice in the entire screen time. When it comes to Sila Samayangalil, the drama happens in just one waiting hall. The seven characters will move here and there in the room itself and the camera angles were not repeated twice. Cinematographer has to find new angles for every shot every time he comes back to shoot the same character. It is really a tough job to do in just a small room. One would find some similarities between some shots but when observed clearly there’s a minute difference from shot to shot. This film was quoted by the jury of 74th Golden Globe Awards as “One of the best film that was shot in a single room without repeating a single shot after 12 Angry Men.”

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Here’s why Priyadarshan has shot the film in chronological order – The seven characters have to wait in the hall from morning to evening. The waiting hall has windows on all sides of the walls which acted as the source of light for the room. The colour, quality, quantity and the angle of the light coming in through windows will change according to the time of the day from morning to evening. So it is the Cinematographer’s job to show on screen the exact colour, quality, quantity and angle of the light falling on the characters as time passes. Externally artificial lights were mounted outside the windows and the light was sent in. So according to the time, cinematographer has to change the lighting positions and make the light hard or soft. So if director prefers to shoot the scenes randomly, it becomes difficult for the cinematographer to remember what kind of lighting he has setup previously for the shot which happened at the same time of the day in the film. It is as well difficult to arrange same kind of lighting each time. This will end up with several lighting continuity mistakes in the film. So in order to make it easy for the Cinematographer and avoid lighting continuity mistakes, Priyadarshan has shot all the scenes in a chronological order. And it is really a pain in the ass to shoot a film in a chronological order. Yet Sameer Thahir will never disappoint you. The film was shot within 25 days with the artists recording their voice on the location. If Screenplay is the heart, Cinematography is the BLOOD which flows in and increases your tension.

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Editing:

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Editing is the most underrated film craft in Indian cinema. Beena Paul, an award winning Indian film editor who predominantly worked in Malayalam film industry has edited this film. The cuts between the shots were kept as smooth as possible so that it doesn’t dominate the tension that is being built by the screenplay. This story especially needs such an editing that a cut should not distract the audience from the emotions of the characters. Editing is the VEINS that carried the blood in this film.

Acting:

The role which Prakash Raj has played has to be done by Aamir Khan in Hindi initially. Later Akshay Kumar came into picture. But finally it was done by Prakash Raj in Tamil. He is a five time National Award winner and he never disappoints us. All the actors along with Prakash Raj have blended themselves well into their respective characters and delivered 100% jaw dropping tension. One more interesting fact was Prakash Raj did this film for free of remuneration. Yes absolutely FREE. Acting is the BODY that carried heart, blood and veins.

Background music by Maestro Ilaiyaraaja will increase your heart beat which go in rhythm along with other crafts in the film. Music is the SOUL of this film.
This film is being played in several film festivals all over India. If you come across this film in any of them, never miss to watch it. I assure you 100% Goosebumps and jaw dropping tension. How did I know all these facts when the movie is not yet released? Fortunately I have seen this film in the Mumbai Film Festival 2016. There Prakash Raj and Director Priyadarshan had a chit chat with audience where he revealed all the above facts.

This film remains as a true technical brilliance of Indian Cinema in modern times.

By
Dinesh A

M.F.Tech Cinematography

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