Great filmmakers have a distinct visual language that sets them apart from other filmmakers. We know how Maniratnam uses short dialogues to convey heavy emotions; we know how Denis Villeneuve uses flash-backs & flash-forwards to get into your mind and we know characters in Mysskin movies move comically but still convey deep emotions. They are very hard working, they prepare so much before switching on the camera and they are very gifted. If you really like such film directors, you could watch their films and try to learn what camera angles they uses, how long their shots are, why certain shots are very lengthy or too shot, and how does they achieve their style. The uncompromising Dileesh Pothan is one such director. After watching Thondimuthalum Drisakshiyum, I simply went back to his first, Maheshinte Prathikaram and I couldn’t stop myself from writing this post. Laced with a beautiful and powerful soundtrack, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is more-realistic-than so called movies releasing with the tag-line ‘Realistic Movie’. I like him the most because he does not spoon-feed audience but everything is presented quite realistically. The best part of Pothan is his obsessive attention to detail.
What Dileesh Pothan created for Maheshinte Prathikaram is a small town called ‘Prakash’. Each and every actors, jr artists, puppy, every shop were the characters of this small movie. They have their own big parts to play in the story, Pothan simply presented his story without any over dramatic attempts to show how good he is. There are so many things you cannot learn from a film school. New age movies like Thondimuthalum Drisakshiyum, Aaranya Kandam, Maheshinte Prathikaram, Visaranai teaches many things which no film school can ever teach you. You should watch these movies right now to help improve your filmmaking skills. These films require context to appreciate.
Do you remember the white car which comes to Soumya’s house with her future husband? That car does have a huge role in Mahesh’s revenge. If you don’t understand, then go backwards from the climax with a question in mind ‘Why?’. The detailing, or the butterfly effect used in scripting is not the only reason why I rate Dileesh Pothan as the best of Malayalam now, but because of the way he handles background music, the characters, the dialogues, camera movement and art work. Background score of Thondimuthalum Drisakshiyum is something close to absolute.
Like Maheshinte Prathikaram, Thondimuthalum Drisakshiyum is an example of what can be done with visceral storytelling and camerawork. The film is riveting and quite funny, and shows what you can do with a simple story line. If you have deep passion for making film then you must have a deep passion for watching film. There is a cinematic saying in Hollywood that everything you need to learn about filmmaking, you can learn from “Citizen Kane”. With the same intensity, I recommend Dileesh Pothan movies. It’s literally impossible to be a good director without having studied the great filmmakers of the past. Every new filmmaker should study movies made by directors of this class. One friend told me that it is too early to phrase a sentence like that about Pothan, but I feel… it is already late. I should have said this at the time of Maheshinte Prathikaram itself.
Cinephile. Learning the art of Filmmaking. Film-Director.