In today’s time, a lot of us give *picture credits* on social media. We like to acknowledge people who make us look good in our pictures. But why is it that we forget to read the names of people who shoot our Bollywood movies and make our actors look good on-screen.
Having made a couple of “zero budget” videos myself, I have learned the importance of a camera person in film-making. A director’s vision can only turn into a reality if the cinematographer does justice to it. These are the people who select shots and frames, walk in waters and mud, follow the sun rays to get you that perfect scene. Then why is it that we don’t even know the names of the major cinematographers of our country.
A cinematographer or director of photography (DOP) is the person in charge of actually shooting the film. He is the head of the camera and lighting departments. He is the one who decides what camera is to be used, what colours have to be used. In short, he has an important role to play in a film. In fact, his job is not less than that of a director.
In today’s time, Bollywood has a lot of money to invest in technologies and cinematographers from Hollywood. We are forgetting that we are the same country who gave birth to the legendary camera person V. K. Murthy who shot the internationally acclaimed movie Pyaasa.
Very recently I saw Aligarh. It was directed by Hansal Mehta and was critically acclaimed for the way it was crafted. But amidst the controversies, the big names like Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao and Mr. Mehta, we forgot to read the name of Satya Rai Nagpaul who flawlessly shot the movie and was also the cinematographer of another classic movie – Chauthi Koot.
To be very honest it is Satya Rai who made me realise how underrated our cinematographers are. I don’t think Aligarh would have been what it is without his long shot selections and fixed frames, apt use of light and the simplicity with which he shot the movie. When I searched for him on twitter I realised that despite being active on it, he doesn’t even have 200 followers.
After that, I googled for the top cinematographers of our country and came across these names. Aveek Mukhopadhyay – Pink, V. Manikandan – Ye jawani hai deewani, Ravi Varman – Barfi. Before today did you ever know about these people? If yes then I really respect you and if no then I don’t have the right to judge you because I share the same shoe.
It is high time that we start acknowledging these people and give them credit and recognition that they truly deserve. They are being appreciated throughout the world, it is time that even we begin to do so.