Friday, April 01, 2011

#93: Love, Sex and Dhoka

In the 'Making of LSD' feature on the DVD, Dibakar Banerjee tells us how there is an unmistakeable crudeness to digital films and how our world today is so defined by content that has a digital source. Whether it's on the cell or the pictures we see on our TV news channels, we're getting used to it like our daily bread. We might not like the format in which it is served everyday to us but we cannot escape it.

The idea to make a digital movie first struck Dibakar when he was at a film school giving a lecture on the various modes of cinema. A Q&A session that day led to Dibakar finally putting together, less than a year later, India's first full-length digital feature film. If I proceed to let you in on the story of LSD, I would perhaps not be doing justice to the director's vision. To keep it simple, let's call it a movie that has three stories. Somewhere I suspect Dibakar intended the plot to be a surprise for you, so we will keep it that way and it deserves that respect of secrecy for the benefit of those who haven't seen it. For this is a movie that's unique, that's not just the proverbial 'hatke' movie in thought but in reality, something that is truly innovative in it's concept, story, execution and finish.

Dibakar has an advertising background, so I guess it comes naturally to him to visualize scenes and elements in scenes with flair and conviction while he is making a movie. What he does with LSD is actually take a leap from conventional filmmaking and write his own grammar in every scene. He makes it very clear in his director's commentary that his objective was to make a digital movie and if he had to stay true to the format, he couldn't have had picture perfect composition. It had to be astray, asymmetrical, and at times, arrogant in it's look. And it is this brilliant DNA that Dibakar infuses LSD with, that lends the movie it's distinctly unnerving identity.

The two other important architects of the movie are Nikos Andritsakis, the cinematographer and editor Namrata Rao. The three conjure up magic of the voodoo kinds with their teamwork as each and every frame is in absolute sync with the story, character and mood of the movie. Looking back, I don't remember a single scene that seemed unnecessary or trivial. LSD is not only minimalism personified, it is also minimalism at it's nadir. And I have written about all this without even coming to the performances in the movie. It will be interesting to watch how these very performers, who did exceedingly well in their roles in LSD, will perform with other directors. Was the brilliance of the actors a result of some fabulous casting or was it still the director who made it work ? The answer would be so fascinating to know we should wait to see more of what all the performers do in other movies. Oh, forgot to add, these actors went through a 2 month intensive acting workshop supervised by the director himself before commencing their work on this project.

To borrow and twist a cliche, some movies are just great, some attain greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. LSD is one movie that qualifies on all three counts. I don't know how many times in my last 92 reviews on this blog have I called a movie perfect.

Let's just say LSD would be a perfect start to this list.

Rating: 9.5/10


Diptakirti Chaudhuri said...

Completely agree.
So glad that somebody else also found this jagged, rough, almost incomplete film 'perfect'.

It is one of my Top 10 films of all times.

IssacMJ said...

And the DVD would make it to the all-time list too. And like it says, it really is fully loaded !