So, how important is a theme in a film with multiple primary characters? What do themes have to say in a medium like cinema? Before I get into that, let me start off by talking about Vedam. According to me, all the five elements represents the 5 primary characters. But first, what are the characteristics of five elements?
Fire – Aggressive, Rebellious, Burning and something that can light up peoples lives.
Earth – Silent, Bears all the pressure, Undergo so many issues.
Water – Flows from place to place, Cannot be arrested by small dams or containers, Moulds into any shape possible.
Air – Flows from place to place again (But, the difference here is unlike water, air cannot be restricted to go to another place), Pain (Pollutants) of it cannot be seen as it is invisible.
Sky – Always high, Only sky has the power to bring happiness to Earth (Rain)
Now, let me tell you the characters which has got identical characteristics from Vedam.
1. Fire – Vivek Chakravarthy – Manchu Manoj
Right from the opening shot, he plays a rebel. He throws the cigarette stub on a board which says ‘No Smoking’. (Oh wait ! There are actually two ‘No Smoking’ boards). In fact, the kind of music he plays is so hard hitting. Take a look at this image.
The kind of colors (Yellow and kind of red dominated) used in the first song clearly intensifies the nature of that character. Through out the film, this character is always on the verge of picking up a fight. Quite aggressive, I must say. Unlike any other character in this film, Vivek has action episodes. He shouts at times, screams his heart out and always gathers attention. He is very strong to look at and it feels like it is dangerous to touch him. That’s the way his body is built. Krish just translated that nature of fire into Manoj’s body. Quite fiery right? Now, take a look at these images which justifies all these characteristics.
2. Earth – Ramulu – Nagayya
Similarly, the color used in every scene that involves this character is very earthy and warm. (Brown and Green dominated). Another very intelligent trait used in here to justify that is, Sacrifice. Earth is always ready to sacrifice everything it has. Be it plants. Be it trees. It’s own surface for that matter. Ramulu’s character is so beautifully etched that he always tried to sacrifice everything he has. It is his hard work sometimes (He works as someone who gives clothing to people around. Quite earth like behavior right?). It is his own Kidney sometimes. Ramulu’s character is always surrounded with one or the other problem. That is just because, his nature is to get used to bear issues to a maximum extent. (Only in the end he revolts like a small earth quake). Now, to create even more impact, Ramulu’s grandson always solves problems. And in the end, his grandson is released only with his problem solving intelligence. These are some images which prove my point.
3. Water – Amalapuram Saroja – Anushka
Before I tell you anything about this character, let me show you this image.
It seems to be very seductive but it has its own voice. It is dominated by Blue. Every frame which involves Saroja has blue domination. If there is no scope to fill the frame with blue, what is the alternative? The weapon used by Krish in those situations is so simple, yet so thought out. It is Karpuram’s costume. Always has blue in it. Now, enough of appearances. Let me talk about the nature. Just like water, Saroja always wants to move from one place to another. First from a polluted atmosphere to a fresh atmosphere. (That is what she keeps saying. ‘Kottha jeevitham’ ‘Fresh ga Business start cheddam’). Even the way that character is closed is so within her nature. She says, ‘Inka ee bathukodde, vere pani chuskundam’. After that dialogue, she flows to another place. That is justified by this visual. What a watery woman right? Images that justifies this point are here.
4. Air – Rahimuddin Qureshi – Manoj Bajpayee
Out of all the characters, I personally think, this character is told more cinematic-ally. Techniques used to establish this characters’ nature are very intelligent. Just take the transition shots and the ending of the previous character that leads to Rahimuddin Qureshi. All the transition shots involved to focus on Manoj Bajpayee presence have something to deal with air. Sometimes it is pigeons that fly in air, sometimes it is a flag that flies or sometimes it is their own clothes that move due to air. The amount of detailing that went into bringing that airy feel is really brilliant.
Now, again enough of establishing. Lets get into the nature. Air has no boundaries. Same air can flow in Hyderabad and Sharjah. Striking any sense? Yes, this air like Rahimuddin wants to fly to Sharjah. If this doesn’t convince you, there is one more thing that can get you. It is his invisible pain. One thing that really bothers him is the death of his child who didn’t even see light (Invisible). You can see the amount of pain in Bajpayee’s eyes, but not the reason for it, unless he talks about it. May be nature can complain about its pain if it has a voice. At one point, he says ‘Aaroju nene anni pogottukunna sir’. That’s enough brother. We’re dumb. We admit it. Images that conveys my point.
5. Sky – Cable Raju – Bunny
To be really frank, when I heard that bunny is playing a role in Vedam, I thought his stardom would definitely bring in some unnecessary changes into the writing. But, Vedam acted as a tight slap on me. Because, right from the opening of his character, we can only see Krish’s passion, but not Bunny’s stardom. The very first frame of Cable Raju itself is so exciting. An old lady points at Raju who is doing his work on a building top. Although, that lady is showing Raju from her POV, Krish wanted his audience to see Raju from his POV. So, instead of going to over-the-shoulder shot of that old lady, he set up a long shot.
That clearly proves the point over here. That entire frame turns out to be like this. Lady points at sky and says, ‘Raju akkadunnadu’.
Brilliant framing Krish. Not just that one shot, there’re so many scenes which indicates this. All the visuals that captures Raju are so thought out. Most of them are either low-angle shots or aerial shots. Both of those shots highlights the sky and Raju as well. I really do not know whom should be credited for this. Krish or Gnanashekar V.S., the man behind the camera. Coming to his nature, Raju always wants to be high as sky. That’s the only reason he is from slum. (He needs to be on the ground first, to reach the sky). That’s the only reason he is behind money. (Money is seen as a tool which can get him to sky). As he represents the sky, star like Bunny is chosen for that role. Not just a commercial aspect. So much sky like presentation right? These are some images which justifies the above content. Have a look.
Vedam is that one film in which Krish, as a writer and a filmmaker is in his top form. Even after having a theme like this, he didn’t want to concentrate on proving that. He just used that theme as a tool to narrate the story. That’s why we donot find so many references to these elements once they’re established properly.
The main reason for the emotions to have worked out in Vedam supremely well is the tool that is used to fuse all the primary characters. Theme has such impact.
If this is how elemental personification looks like, try to imagine the impact of their combination. We’ll probably do another write up on that. Cheers.
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