Contributed By Venkata Naveen
There’s a lot of talk and discussion about this recently made short film “Manasanamaha” which caught everyone’s attention.
The narrative story revolves around “Surya” (Sun) who is a designer by profession. Surya’s life is filled up with experiences in the past associated to various episodes of his love (aka Seasonal Love) Each episode associates him with different personalities (aka lady love) whose names can be related to various seasons in the yearly seasonal life cycle namely “Chaitra”, “Varsha” & “Seetha”, which are season names
In short the director is trying to tell us the story of lead who can be compared to sun that travels through various seasons and the experiences it holds in connection to each season. This may be perceived as a seasonal love story but it is not entirely a seasonal love story it is the journey of an honest lover spanning through multiple personalities whom he met in various stages of his life.
P.S:Kindly requesting the readers to watch the film before you read this*
1. Film starts up in winter season, Denoting the entire setup to be in winter in a location called “chai kahani”, The color palette, pastels, dark blues and dark greens.
2. Setup in “chai kahani”, the director wanted to tell the stories over a cup of chai. Symbolically art work is done to say these are “chai stories”
3. The entire film happens in the lead characters head, So the director has chosen three different narrative styles to narrate the different phases.
(i) POV – Wanted the viewer to be in the narrator’s shoe
(ii) Reverse Technique – He wanted the audience to literally travel with him in reverse coz he was trying to feel nostalgic, Which is indeed a powerful tool.
(iii) Frozen present – Background reverse – This technique was used to say the narrator got stuck in a moment and the rest of the world is going back in memories.
There are little nuances and underlying visual storytelling in almost all the scenes and all kinnd of narratives.
– Chai kahani in the narrator’s background throughout the film
– Breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience from a track in shot.
– The text on the watch denotes the scene
Very very cleverly blended CG in very natural scenes, where the camera being the POV, you can see the narrator in different parts of the film in these moments
The whole transitions were so effectively and effortlessly done.
– He used sound as a tool to do transitions too.
– This shot has no visual transition but he hints with a temple bell ring sound before he opens the shot.
The next two shots with a car lock key sound, cooker sound denoting the place of the story and where it’s happening.
Suddenly, the quirky funny film turns into an emotional one with the narrator’s tear from one eye, there’s an angle change and now he’s telling the story not to the audience but to someone sitting before him, and he’s intentionally craving for some care and belief. And the teardrop is being used as a lead/transition to the reverse story that is about to start.
And from here starts the toughest part of filming, with properties, Voice over being used as most powerful tools and the technique is seamlessly well done which sucks us into the everlasting nostalgia. The CG goes into a whole different level. Each and every shot is a long mise-in scene with practically no Cut, god knows how many takes they’ve taken to get that perfection in every shot! The story unfolding from the breakup to the proposal is one of the most artistic ways to tell a story, which requires an enormous amount of visualisation.
Coming to the story, there’s this shot where his friend mixes alcohol with the coke that the narrator is drinking who has already promised to give up drinking to his girlfriend.
Here he promises and leaves alcohol for her.
Here’s the shot where he plays with the audience by deceiving them, by showing the girl as on a hospital bed, but ends with an actual emotion where she runs to see her boyfriend on a hospital bed.
In the 14th minute, his story is finished and the camera moves out of that table. It’s a way of telling that the narrator’s perspective is done and now there’s a story for every individual and a person. If you go ask them, they’ll come up with their own perspectives. (Yours is just not a story that’s been happening. I want to get christopher nolan’s doodlebug short as a reference to conclude this point)
And the story ends with this small girl starting to tell about their (girl’s) story.
And a female version of the song takes off, and there’s a post credits scene too!!
We have come out of the guy’s perspective and this girl’s song and the cute animation slides (which were taken from the scenes that we’ve seen in the film from his perspective) that follow shows the 3rd person perspective where the girls were actually not what he depicted and judged so far. And the real story is he had not paid attention all the time
This shot from the parking lot, where they discuss about dinner plans
This shot where she’s offering coconut in the temple.
This one from his college where he’s playing video game.
All of these where he isn’t paying attention to them really.
And the director has really hinted at a lot of nuances which weren’t complete and saved for the feature probably. Didn’t reveal any story and character development, (he’s just introduced them as the girls and their moods reflect seasons as seetha, chaitra and varsha) . like a sun going through seasons. It seems just like a tease and a presentation of something huge that’s in cooking. Don’t even know well what can be done in the feature presentation! This is just pure poetry presented with extreme freshness.
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