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Design and Bollywood... - Pearl Academy

There’s something magical about the Bollywood movies, you can never have enough of the songs, the fights, choreography and the amazing inspiring locations. Movies always move us into another world, giving us that desirable escape, even influencing the clothing we wear, the music we listen to, or the way we decorate our homes. From the early epics, which had heavy sets and bejeweled extras, to today’s superhero special effects extravaganzas, our Indian movies have always been tempted to show too much.

Being a lifestyle researcher I am always curious to understand what defines the trends, even in movies and through movies. The way movies have been designed in current times captivates my imagination. I recently saw two very diverse movies, Bajirao Mastani and chalk & duster and both succeeded in creating a vibrant and authentic universe for its audiences in front of the camera. Each movie defined meaning because each expressed the idea impressively, manipulated the ideas creating the purest form of communication for its audiences.

Bajirao Mastani is an epic love story from a time period audiences have not witnessed but the movie was designed in a way that each and every scene unfolded in front of their eyes creating ‘suspense of disbelief’. One bad prop, one unbelievable costume, one poor background could have brought the illusion crashing down and at that moment, the audience would have popped out of the story and it would have been a fight to re-engage them. A very small but effective design detail in Bajirao Mastani; Ranveer’s Singh’s character was deliberately designed to have the accent while delivering dialogue, I believe this accent strongly added authenticity to the story of Bajirao Mastani.

An effective design involved at all stages be it the costume, set, location or production has a place in cinema spectacle and irrespective of the budget helps in transporting the audience into an illusive reality. Like in chalk and duster which is very much based on our current challenge-education, something we question every day, what the audience remembered and what has stayed forever, is a great movie regardless of the number of people on screen.

Design creates a suspension of disbelief which enables the audience to “notice” nothing and entirely immersed in the story. Although seldom celebrated design plays an important role in movies. A really good movie can stay with us forever creating this goodness which influences our way of viewing and remembering movies. Certainly, when something is both beautiful and functional, it earns a place in our lives and becomes a part of our experience. Our movies have us living in, on, and around design.

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