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From Gateway of India to India gate: Paradigm shifts in the landscape as a backdrop

May 27, 2010 05:39:48 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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With release of RAAJNEETI, Delhi would indeed emerge as the current heartthrob city for the filmmakers of Hindi films. While one may opine that the choice of Delhi for RAAJNEETI is more guided by the fact that the topic of RAAJNEETI is politics, and therefore a background of Delhi has to loom large in the film, it also goes without saying that Delhi has emerged as the current favourite with the film makers in the recent past. It also is in sync with the current changes that city of Delhi is experiencing and the transformation that it has acquired, providing the filmmakers with an opportunity to search for a diversified palate. But the real favorite with the filmmakers is the India Gate of Delhi in the same manner, as Gateway of India hitherto was, till the Mumbai bomb blasts, as a fallout of which it was decided to ban shooting of the films with Gateway of India as a background.

The imposing facade of India Gate indeed provides an interesting backdrop to the frame of a shot and with the adjoining greenery, the whole shot conjures up as an elegy in motion. RAAJNEETI would provide another flavor to construction of frames in the film. Indeed the vastness of expanse that a filmmaker gets when he uses India Gate is unparallel any where in the world, as in one long shot one can in the frame imposing North and South Blocks in their majestic splendor. This splendor was revealed to the movie aficionados when Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra shot RANG DE BASANTI and used the frame of India Gate as the symbolic place to register protest in RGB. The idea stuck with the common people and subsequently India Gate emerged as the perfect background for protests against the apathy of the systems. One often wonders whether the candle light protests that happened subsequently in Mumbai on Gateway of India were inspired by the idea that was provided by RANG DE BASANTI.

It is the availability of the vast expanse in front and back of the India Gate that has tilted the balance in its favor. The most vivid memory that one has of Gateway of India is from BOMBAY, which also was the leitmotif in the poster of the film as well. Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala in a cozy moment, and the soft light emanating from the background, in fact became a statement for Gateway of India. The choice of Gateway of India in the Hindi films was owing to the fact that the aerial shot of Mumbai during the nights using Gateway of India as the background, and with the huge official towers looming in the background created an element of awe on the screen.

Keeping in sync with ethos of both the cities, it seems that with politics as the background, India Gate would be the backdrop of the frame, while for films with commerce, gangsters etc., Gateway of India may continue to be the preferred choice.

But one thing is for sure, neither Delhi nor Mumbai is only relegated to India Gate or Gateway of India, there still is a vast expanse that remains undiscovered through the frame of the cinematic oeuvre.

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