Cinema: A Study in Visions and Missions

— Soumalya Chakraborty

A few eyes behind the camera, a million over the kaleidoscope…

As a form of art, cinema is unique. On the same canvas, it makes a plethora of images come alive, interwoven, to tell a story. Be it everyday things we see around us or grand fantasy of an epic scale, one of the main aims of cinema is to narrate a tale visually and engulf the audience in the setting in which it is told. Take them back in time, forward to the future, make them identify with the lives and trials of the protagonists, so that at the end of the day, the audience has not only “seen” it, they’ve also “felt” and “lived” in it to some extent.

One of the things that never fail to fascinate me about cinema is the variety of ways it makes us view the world around us and the range of perspectives it creates. Over the interactions and debates we have with people, it’s clearly evident how each of us see the same thing differently. These differences result from the way our thoughts, feelings and perceptions have been shaped by upbringing, location and education.

Filmmakers have the same idea. They feel a certain way about ongoing events around us and create their tales to put those opinions before us (I am not going into the debate of how much popular opinions shape cinema and whether they really represent the creative crew’s vision. While all of them certainly don’t, I have reason to believe that some of them do). Now once their take on things are on display, it’s open to analysis, criticism, speculations on alternative takes and of course, questions.

While cinema itself is an exercise in opening our eyes to newer horizons, the discussions and analysis that follow are no less fascinating. Every unique perspective and new take make us sit up, take notice and wonder how we would have dealt with the same idea in our ways. This process generates a deluge of reflections and opinions which enrich our minds and rewards the ef-fort behind the creation of such works of art.

Film festivals are, therefore, the favorite haunts of those who wish to experience this world through lenses of manifold hues and open their minds to new ideas and discourses. For they not only provide a platform to consume a number of the cinematic world’s finest offerings, but also the welcome opportunity to actually interact with the creators and get acquainted with the journey of thought from inception to reality.