Movies

Research is the body and soul of filmmaking, says filmmakers

PANJI: Research is the body and soul of good cinema, and documentary films in particular cannot be made without indepth study of the subject.


This was the general consensus at the Open Forum on the ‘Role of Research in filmmaking‘ organised by the Federation of Film Societies of India as part of the ongoing 42nd International Film Festival of India.


However, the speakers regretted that most makers of the commercial cinema did not bother about research if they had good stars.


Filmmaker Anwar Jamal whose film ‘Dil ki Basti mein‘ is in the Short Film Center said: ‘originality needs sensitivity and research.‘ But this is often ignored if market forces dictate terms or the star value takes over.


In documentaries, he said research has to be authentic and indepth. Even serious feature films need a lot of research, he added.


Filmmaker Ramesh Tekwani who also moderated the discussion said "pure enjoyment gets substance if there is adequate research". He gave examples of popular films that fail because of bad research. Research should not be confined to the subject of the film, but should also be about public perception.


When asked why film producers do not care about research, he said it is not the producers but the script writer who is "lazy".


Film analyst Ketan Dewan said a filmmaker may have a gut feel about the subject of his film, but it will come crashing down if there is no research. A good film works from the theme selection to the marketing stage. Content cannot be limited by boundaries and so research has to be such that the film is understood by all.


He said several films run only on word of mouth opinions, and so the media has a major role to play through reviews, just as social networking also can make or mar a film.


Jan Tilman Schwab, a film historian from Germany, said when he set out to write a book on football in cinema, he was told there were hardly any films on the subject. However, he had found films on football in every continent when he set out to do his research and finally produced a book which is over 1000 pages long. The same kind of diligence is needed in research for making films, he said.


U Radhakrishnan of the FFSI said early filmmakers in India did not have to do much research because their works were based on mythology, but this had become very essential in the present-day cinema.

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