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Friday, 13 January 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Film Editing

Best Film Editing

In their latest insightful article Indiewire highlights the difference between film, direction and editing when it comes to the movie awards season, it's a hard line to judge as generally the final edit of the film is the very vision of a director and that same vision by default is a film.

Yet apart from external factors to consider when thinking of the differences between an editor, director and the final product, there are also internal matters to solve.

Last years best editor winner Srikar Prasad [Talvar] never once met his director Meghan Gulzar [whom also went onto win best director], this external issue of physical communication would have by any means despite technological advances caused some information between the two to be lost in translation. It's what both gave the film a subjective heart as pontificated by Gulzar's investment in the case and a rather emotionless objectivity in perspective thanks to Prasad's typical sharp cutting.

The internal factor is how far an editor is willing to go to improve the directors work in line with his/her vision.

Editors are storytellers and in that form the editing table is nothing less than another place where the final draft of the story is recreated. They bookend the writers work in perfect form.

Editors are perseveres with an objective perspective on making a film the best it can be, by that definition they don't just cut to reduce time but to refine it within the films structure and bring out the perfect pacing [easier said than done]. They enhance the director's good and promptly snip of the bad.

Editors are observers, they know when to cut and what to cut; this is vital when they deal with actors performances. We might give all the accolades to the brilliance of certain performers and their characters, but it is editors who play behind them to make sure the best is found even amidst the worst. They define the greatness of actors with ease.

So onto the editors that did this and so much more in 2016...

Aarti Bajaj for Raman Raghav 2.0

The chapter wise division may seem to make the editors task easier, but one cannot forget the fact that a chapter divide demands not only a jarring feel of passage of time yet also needs to flow for a film of divided sections especially one that runs chronologically to run smoothly.

Aarti Bajaj one of India's prolific modern day film editors does just that, there is a scatter brained sense she brings to the editing that only justifies the broken sections of the film but also relates them to the very broken psyches of the lead characters.

This pattern is beautifully carried over between dialogue and action, proving that Baja is one of the finest simply because she has a key ingredient the best editors have; natural intuition, that matches her form with the sense of her director making for a fully formed psycho feature.  

Shivkumar V. Panicker for Kapoor and Sons

The fact that Kapoor and Sons should have been a longer film cannot be blamed on Panicker. A film whose absolute potential isn't achieved despite its narrative strengths.

Panicker balances a myriad of characters, three staggeringly powerful secrets and an array of different sub plots around it, this is his effort that pays of in creating a seamless and engaging film that works and endears across the board.

Then comes the fact that despite its wasted end minute potential, Panicker is a life boat who know when to hold onto his actors and frame to let loose the drama like a volcano, it's a pace that is constantly up and down and the ship is prevented from going erratic thanks to masterful editing.

As the film comes to its slow natural conclusion, it is the editing that does its best to save the contrived third act and result in despite its flaws an enriching experience.

Megha Sen for Udta Punjab

Just like its predecessor Udta Punjab's edit contains multiple threads handled in sublime fashion.

It is in the nitty gritty of it all that the films edit shines, particular scenes stand out because how well they are worked. The coked out downfall of Tommy Singh might stem from the intial few scenes, but it hits hard thanks to sharp editing that not only finds the focus of interest in the characters around Tommy and their equally negative reactions, but the subtlety of the comedy and nuance of performances.

Unlike in her other film [Dear Zindagi] the editor here realizes Alia Bhatt's ability to hold the screen and gives her the space to do so without unnecessarily jarring ticks, it refines the manic energy of Shahid Kapoor and adds the lingering sense of hopelessness and heroism in a restrained Dosanjh.

For a film that very much rides on its ensemble and more, the edit deserves the applause for knowing when to let proceedings go naturally and when to take the leap into cinematic territory for a film laden with great performances and a wonderful narrative linkage covering the contrivances.

Pooja Ladha Surti for Phobia

The genius of Pooja Ladha Surti lies in the fact that she knows when to play with the existing cliches of fearsome jump cuts in horror films and when to hold the scene to eke out the unpredictable psychology of the situation.

This isn't an editing job, more like Surti is a therapist; softly, calmly and with great precision helping her patient, her director's vision along.

There is not a wasted breath in the unrelenting Phobia, confined to one space for most of its runtime the edit keeps things crisp and meticulous without needing to unnecessarily shock or distract the audience.

The edit sucks you into the world and that is exactly what any film should strive to do, genre or otherwise.

Monisha R Baldawa for Neerja

Neerja's editing prowess is signalled within its first scene as we cut back within the light innocent and joyous world of Neerja Bhanot with the dark and dreary operation of the terrorists soon to be up against her. It juxtaposes the heroism and villainy with ease.

The edit then works in seamless fashion to bring both elements together and craft a combustible narrative within the confines of the hijacked Pan Am Flight.

Taut and tightly scripted are at time fairly thrown around when it comes to the script of such a film, but it is the final re-write or as we know it as the edit, where the mounting tension of the film is explored through allowing the film to take shape before promptly cutting between the frantic action.

There is a need to linger when the performers are at their emotional peek and this finally allows the world to witness the stellar talents of Sonam Kapoor or remind us of the powerful orator skill of Shabana Azmi.

And the Winner is...

Pooja Ladha Surti for Phobia!!!

Three for three wins for Phobia, it is picking up steam!

Up Next: Hair and Make Up get its time in the sun...which bald spots were hidden best, whose crows feet were easily covered...just kidding!

'Nuff Said,

Aneesh Raikundalia

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