Chola Bronze Sculpture
The Chola Dynasty was one of the longest ruling dynasties in southern India. It started ruling from the later half of the 9th century till the beginning of the 13th century. The Chola’s have now left behind magnificent pieces of architecture, sculptures as well as grew extensively in the field of literature.
During this period, a great number of bronze statues were casted, giving importance to the sensuous figures, elaborate and detailed treatment of their clothing and jewellery. These sculptures were not only made for decoration purposes, they were heightened when people worshiped them. It not only added to the significance of the statues but gave it a greater value and recognition.
Among the numerous Chola bronze sculptures, I’m focusing on the Durga that is now found at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Durga is known as a powerful warrior goddess who destroys and battles demons. She is considered to be the sister of lord Vishnu and therefore is often found in the Shiva temple.
The exquisite sculpture of Durga, reminds me of a lithe, youthful goddess. Unlike the other female figures of that period, she isn’t as curvy or sensuous like them. Her bodily form is more like an adolescent’s body. Moreover, the position in which she is standing is symmetrical, be it the two arms on either sides, the beautifully wrapped dhoti and her short, but identical leg form. The rough details in her short, patterned lower garment is contrasting to the long dhotis worn by the other female figures, adding to the assumption of her being a young goddess. Her breasts too are softly modeled and naturalistic in profile. The way, in which her eyes are shown, make it seem like she is calm but at the same time inactive. Beneath a tall conical crown, her face is gentle and introspective. It therefore is hard to comprehend what she is doing standing in this front view position. The dull, black bronze metal complements her gloomy mood.
Cinema and sound
Though we might think of film as an essentially visual experience, we cannot possibly underestimate the importance of sound in film. Sound, refers to anything that we hear. Sound is almost irreplaceable in any kind of film. Instead of being defined as having an independent, distinctive identity of its own, sound per se, has remained on the backburner. A soundtrack can be as complicated as the visual image on screen. Very often, the sound used in films express an emotion more significantly than a visual image on screen does. Hearing and visuals when integrated in a movie help in understanding the movie better.
Bela Balaz’s essay on sound and film makes us conscious of the sounds that are around us in our day-to-day life, that we usually choose to overlook. Instead of ignoring those sounds we learn to recognize their individuality and hear and see them as a form of expression, significance and great meaning. Learning to see sound the way we see visuals will make us realize its importance to film
Sound is used in every film to heighten a mood, set the atmosphere, tell us about the different characters and their background story and help in the advancement of the plot. For instance, in a horror film sound is used as a foreshadowing element to create the sense of suspense and anxiety. Similarly, low- pitched sounds can be used to create a sense of calm or loud dramatic sound is used in violent scenes.
To show the importance of sound in film, I’ll begin with sound in the Indian cinema, where filmmakers paid close attention to the sound design to combine aesthetics with realism in order to work out a smooth harmony between sound and other elements of film. Such an example has been seen in Ramesh Sippy’s “Sholay”, which was the first stereophonic sound mix, paving the way for an era of films that made use of analogue technology. Their films spill over with songs and dances and with a lot of music on the soundtrack, sound effects per se, are cleverly sidetracked without hampering the aesthetics of the film.
The beginning scene of two men riding on horseback to take us through the entire topography of the film, from isolated landscapes to the hustle – bustle of the daily life in a very indian village with its water tanks and temples. Had it not been for the type of music used the impression the clip-clopping of the horses hooves could come from an American western genre. Taking reference of Balaz’s essay of how there is no need to explain the sounds. There is also a transition in the way RD Burman uses sound effects in the film. Starting with guitar chords, French horsn and finally leading to the tabla.To set the mood for a typical Indian village of Ramgarh there is a taar shehnai coming into play when the riders reach the village.
The constant firing that took place at Thakurs house was complemented by a sudden silence. This sudden silence and use of no music acted as a way of conveying an emotion of grief, after the dramatic loud gunshots. Silence itself served as a best form of sound for that scene.
Moreover, the characteristic sound effects associated with each entry of the dreaded dacoit Gabbar Singh in Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay offers a model lesson on how sound can be used to signify the terror a character evokes.
Another film that resonates the importance of sound is an American satirical comedy film, Charlie Chaplin’s, The Great dictator. It was remarkable as it was the first film in which Charlie Chaplin spoke on screen, and thus dialogues were carefully heard. Without the sounds used during the marching of army one wouldn’t get an idea of its power. The constant change in scenes accompanied by an orchestral music enhances the pace of the scenes and portrays time passing by.
There are parts of the movie, which are spoken in German, however with the close-up of a listeners face as well as the speakers face one can understand the sound. Balaz says that, “we might perhaps not have noticed the significant of some sound or noise if we had not seen its effect in the mirror of a human face.” In the case of one of the speeches we saw the sounds and voices of Chaplin along with the physiognomy. It is the chaotic sounds used in the film that portray the chaos during the speeches.
The barber’s scene, which is repeatedly shown in the film, is a scene, which has no dialogues, only a soundtrack that plays and expressions and gestures that accompany it. It is the Hungarian dance soundtrack that enhances the barber’s actions. It is a rhythmic way in which he performs his job, very much like a dance in itself. If it weren’t for this soundtrack one wouldn’t understand the quickness and joyfulness of his job.
Lastly, a film where sound plays a major role to bring out a realistic feeling The Imitation Game (2014), Morten Tyldum is based on a true story. A key thing that Morten wanted to get right from the beginning was the sound of Christopher, the code-breaking machine. In this case the sound has a space coloruing, where every sound has a space-bound character. The sound made by Christopher would be different when working in one space than working at Alan’s house. The sound changes from space to space. Sound designer Andy Kennedy and sound effects editor Joe Beal tried recreating the sound of a machine, in order to give the audience an insight of the code-breaking device. Balaz’s understanding of sound that cannot be isolated is cyclically used in the film.
When codes are passed on from one person to another in the department or when they go to the bar at night. The chaotic sound played in the working department not cut out completely if the protagonist enters the scene. Similarly when important messages were being exchanged at the bar, there was a soft, calming music being played in the background. The close up of the characters would contain the whole acoustic atmosphere of the surrounding space. Thus we couldn’t only hear the people talking, we will also hear in what relation their talking is to the sounds around them.
Through these examples we have seen how sound not only refers to music, soundtracks or dialogues, it is imply anything we can hear and it times silence is a sound of communication. Sound effects have developed a more directional element, appearing to come from a specific place. This directional quality of sound enhances a three dimensional sense of space in the movie. As Balaz’s stated in his essay that just as film can show visual landscapes, so it can show acoustic landscapes, a tonal milieu. Sound is an irreplaceable element in film and is essential for filmmakers to use.
Any form of music has a rhythm to it, a beat to which one dances, sways, jumps or does some sort of action. There has been a great progression in music at the same time it is cyclical, where genres tend to revisit after decades or two.
Often we are unaware of the fact that Indian classical and traditional music was prevalent much before western music came into existence. Ever since, new genres of music have been emerging.
Goa, being the hub of music has not only seen the various changes taken place but has assisted and hosted the westernization of Indian classical music. It started with having ghumott in the primitive years to now having held an EDM music festival called sunburn in 2010.
While the rate at which music was flourishing, there was a sudden deviation from the mainstream music and there arose trance. In the 1990’s trance gained popularity in Goa, however the main reason behind its emergence was lost by then. Trance is that kind of music, which has no lyrics, loud, beats and is referred to a state of hypnotism and heightened consciousness. Moving on from trance music is Electronic Dance Music (EDM) , a sub genre of trance. It is what every teenage kid listens to and raves to. Being one of the most popular kind of music genre, there are bound to be many of these EDM concerts.
In the last few years, India has been on the top list of all the Djs and artist. There have been concerts after concerts. Initially I made it a point to go for every concert there was, be it Steve Aoki, Hardwell, Tiesto, Swedish House Mafia or else the very famous Sunburn in Bombay. After a point who the artist was never made a difference. It was the atmosphere of the concert that attracted a large group of teenagers and young adults. The purpose of a music festival got lost as the number of concerts increased.
I went for Hardwell, a dj who was performing at the Mahalaxmi racecourse. It was one of the first EDM concerts to be held in Mumbai and hence the frenzied fans were waiting to enter the concert before the gates had opened. There was a chaos, I entered the arena, finding young boys drunk and puking on the side. Friends and the security trying to cope up with their uncontrollable behavior. To add to that was the air we all were breathing. Even if someone didn’t smoke, one would get intoxicated with the drugs in the air. Holding on tight to my friends we made our way till the box office. Enthusiastic fans rushing in to make it in time for the artist to arrive while the kids already in a state of high on alcohol and drugs weren’t bothered about the music. I then realized that it was these intoxicants that acted as a stimulus for the music and especially trance. To enjoy the concert to the fullest, to be free and in a state of trance teenagers prefer being tipsy or high on drugs. I too had drank before the concert, but I was in the right frame of mind and in control of my actions. The ground was packed with teenagers, pushing, swiping and jumping around. I finally made it to the front of the ground, just recognizing that I was in the midst of a stampede. People who consumed alcohol didn’t care who and what they i were stepping on.
I was enjoying the concert, jumping to the electronic beats and moving my hands up and down until I was unable to take the claustrophobic atmosphere and the weed and hash contaminated air. I almost felt like throwing up and what stirred it even more was the banging, electronic music. The beats just got worse as the songs progressed. It was a feeling I wished vanished and everything around me just silenced at that time. Although he played a few songs I knew, but all mixed with some sort of beats which made the songs I knew also almost unrecognizable.
This makes me question such music festivals. Why would people go for these concerts when one hardly knows a song or two by the artist playing? Maybe it is just to be in an environment free from restrictions and a place to get high. The more the concerts there are people find it an excuse to inhale drugs and consume alcohol.
After having said this, one would argue about the hippie movement that was worse and drastically more in terms of drugs. Although psychedelic drugs played a major role in catalyzing the hippie movement it lead to the rise of many different genres of music. The purpose of drugs was not the same as it is today. Today it is used as means to let one free, losing the essence of the original music.
I personally am not the biggest fan of trance music, but only now that its become so mainstream unwillingly hear it. EDM concerts are fun from a distance and especially not when 15-year-old kids are throwing up near you. It is the concert experience that attracts the young crowd, who can bear the blaring beats vibrating in their ears. I sometimes also feel it’s a phase to go for all the music festivals and eventually when you are sick of repeatedly attending the same type one gets bored of it. Trance/EDM has spread at a very fast pace and its time people of Mumbai adapt to newer genres of music which don’t require the drugs to give you the adrenaline rush.
Click the link below to hear the soundtrack:
This sound track is a fusion of the sounds that represent India bulls. It starts off with a knocking sound on the newly made wooden flooring progressing to the sound each ones feet makes on the shining, slippery marble flooring. There is a constant increase in the pace of the beats, which mechanically creates a sense of rhythm. The soundtracks are merged into one another and at the same time creating a relapse. The mid section creates a kind of break with the calming orchestral music and once again shifts into the loud gushing of the water and sweeping sound. It gives its listeners a very chaotic impression. The sudden beep sounds are symbolic of every entrance in the building and tends to create an unbroken beat, which constantly goes back and forth. What is unique is the abrupt ending that gives a feel of the swiftness.
This poster seems like it belongs to the WWF as the logo is placed at the top corner. What I find impactful about is the simplicity in the work and boldness in the use of only one word. That one word is used to convey a message in correlation to the fish. However, the repetitive use of the points shows the art of stippling, where multiple points are used to fill the object. The minimalistic background with meticulous work on the center element is what this poster shows. Moreover, keeping in mind the style that has been used one would relate it to the Indian art form of Gond paintings, which is done exactly in this manner. Not only is the style used on the two fish but also surrounding the word “save” and the earthen like rough uneven background. All the Gond painting have animals as its pivotal focus and usually found in pairs, similar to what is show on this. Having the two fish, the word save and the WWF logo all are correlated. I feel it is a message for overfishing in India, as the style is Indian at the same time the poster reads save. The center focus of the poster is the two fish and the colours used are complementary colours that are enhancing the poster.
The colours captured in this photograph are extremely contrasting. The trees are like silhouettes on the luminous background they are placed against. It is the four vertical tree trunks that make the viewer interpret and observe the photograph in different ways. The jet-black silhouette of the trees and the niceties in the leaves make the branches look like monster hands and giving the trees a eerie look. Having a closer look one would notice that the trees are symmetrical with the sun positioned in the center of the image. The transition of colours not only shows dawn, but also shows the passage of time and divides the photograph into three parts. I find it fascinating how nature manages to show thee shift in colours in the sky so smoothly. The calm and tranquil atmosphere resonates because of the colours and stillness and details shown in the trees. The towering trees covering most of the photograph serve as a shield for whatever is behind them, allowing a lens like opening for the sun to pass through. The giant, never ending tree barks appear to be high-rise buildings in a concrete jungle.
Film Review – In the mood for love
Wong Kar – wai’s “In the mood for love” is an extraordinary love story obstructed by faith, and societal views. The director has shown the element of despair intertwined with a bittersweet tale of unrequited love. What I found unique was the narrative structure, though it was in the present, it seemed that something else was happening too. After having watched the film closely one would notice the parallel stories running. At one time there are many scenes being talked about.
The setting of the film is considerably fascinating, where the mood of the narrative is reflected in the setting. The low-key lighting is used as a metaphor to signify the loneliness that Mr.Chow and Mrs. Chan go through without their respective spouses. Through frequent encounters in tight hallways, claustrophobic staircases and rain soaked alleyways do these two grow closer. The desolate setting of the place plays a major role in bringing them together. In addition to the setting, the kind of shots taken complemented to the film, tightly framed close ups convey a sense of personal encounters. Much of the action happens outside the frame, which leads to the viewers imagining what is happening on screen, creating an element of suspense. Throughout the film there were many low angled shots, where one would pay more attention to the setting and tone of the dialogues rather than the character itself. Moreover Wong has made use of physical barriers such a grills, windows, doors and walls to frame shots behind. It not only builds the suspense but also metaphorically portrays Mr. Chow and Mrs Chan being entangled in a state of denial and them unknowingly enacting the process of an affair. Towards the end of the film the wall is used to denote the separation in their lives as they sat in their own apartments, however they were still connected as they both leaned onto the same wall that was dividing them.
From the beginning of the film their respective spouses are mentioned, but the viewers have never really show them. I feel it is a part of enhancing ones suspense at the same time showing the viewer’s limited information. This too has been done with the help of cinematography. The shots of their backs are taken, which convey a sense of obscurity. Once a scene is over, parts of it are put to focus and blurred out only once it leaves an impact on the viewers. This way there is always some scene going on in the background with another scene that has already started.
Even without the days actually changing, the passage of time has been depicted well. With the transition in mood, feelings and actions one is able to notice time passing by. Similarly their affair and relationship grows through their daily routine of meeting everyday, having lunch together. The most noticeable aspect is the character in the film. The number of people in the first scene to as the film progresses to the last scene changes drastically. It seems like towards the end there is literally no one left, besides the sorrow and loneliness. Just like sentiments change and disappear people collapse and leave. This simple action too indicates how time is passing.
The mirror reflection shots are most remarkable where the director indirectly conveys to his audience of how Mr.Chow and Mrs. Chan are enacting their spouse’s affair. It is used as a mean to show duality through the use of mirrors and shadows. Moreover, the protagonists of the movie have conversations that attempt to reveal how their spouses met. In the process of enacting another affair they ultimately fall in love. They are seen conversing and behaving as if they are already a couple. Wong could have done this intentionally to show us the change in love and love stories.
A part of film often overlooked is the change in costumes. On a deeper level, the colour palette of the costumes worn. There is a consistence use of a monotonous as well as monochromatic colour palette. Very often, the only indication that time has passed is shown in the colour of Mrs. Chan’s outfits. She wears the same style mandarin outfits throughout the film. It is the change in colour from red to blue that serves as a sign for time having been passed. She wears dull, boring colours when she is lonely, however whenever she is with Mr. Chow she wears floral print, colourful dresses. Her costumes vary based on her mood and state of mind.Lastly, the dramatic music wraps up the entire film. The music plays a critical role in the story- telling of “In the mood for love”. It is the same music that plays when either of them are thinking of each other. It is the only moment when the two are thinking of the same thing. However it is the repetitive nature of the music highlights the importance their relationship.
The title of the film itself is ironic and a little vicious, “In the mood for love” where the two characters want to love desperately and be loved. In an attempt to re – enacting imaginary scenes and conversations that could have taken place they are trapped in the cycle of love and prove to be unfaithful. The title is contradicting to the plot of the movie but at the same time works well for one part of the movie.