Monday, Oct 03, 2022
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Cinema

Rimjhim Girey Saawan: How Monsoons Make A Splash In Indian Films

Unlike world cinema, where rains relay a perceptible fact, Indian cinema uses rain as a manifestation of inner truth and vivid emotions.

When it pours: Screenshots from Singin’ In The Rain

The weather, notably rain, is not only a participant in films, influencing the course of the narrative. Many of the oldest stories feature rain and floods, as with that of Noah in the Old Testament and the birth of Lord Krishna in the Mahabharata. But it’s sometimes there only as an implication, without actually affecting the thrust of the story, say like the storm at a bleak moment in Shakes­pe­are’s King Lear. Rain is even more useful in films as it creates effects that are strikingly sensuous, making the trope fruitful. But before moving in to Indian cinema, which is the subject of this piece, let me describe a few sequences from world cinema classics to illustrate how the rain has been effectively used.

Among the most famous is Gene Kelly in Stan­ley Donen’s 1952 musical Singin’ In The Rain. It is raining and Kelly (as movie star Don Lock­wood) has a car waiting and an umbrella under his arm, but he chooses to send his car away, keep his umbrella folded and get soaked to the skin, celebrating the elements sensitively like a hedonist. But that happens after a tricky problem has been resolved at the studio and is a result of his momentary relief too; it is not simply a reflection of his inner state. A more profo­und use of rain is in the early parts of Andrei Tarkovsky’s sci-fi masterpiece Solaris (1972). Kris Kelvin, who is due to embark for a distant planet the following day, sits in the garden soaking in a shower and watching the drops patter into an empty teacup, since this is the last experience of it he will have; rain symbolises life on Earth that he is being removed from.

When it pours Screenshots from Pather Panchali
When it pours Screenshots from Pather Panchali
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