Lights, Camera, Documentary!

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Guest lectures at SCMC Pune have always been a constant source of learning and accepting new perspectives. Virtually or physically, leaning remains unstoppable.

On 30 th September 2020, the sophomore year got an opportunity to interact with Mr. Anupam Barve on the topic ‘Planning documentaries on OTT platforms.’ Anupam Barve is a filmmaker and film educator. His interests revolve around Screenwriting and Direction, Directing Actors, Performance for Camera, Film Projects and Film Appreciation. He has been a part of various short and feature films like The Hunt, Afternoon, The Shadow Lines, Fresh Suicide etc. which have many awards and achievements attached to them.

He began the session with a question: “What are documentaries according to you?” After interacting with the students and riddling them with some tricky questions, he pragmatically answered by saying that for each person, the answer would vary. He said that he once had a bunch of students in class who wanted to make a documentary on ‘Irani Chai’. Their purposes of making a documentary on that topic would be different – maybe someone wanted to make it as a nostalgic document, someone wanted to talk about preserving the culture of Irani population and much more. But by quoting some personal examples, he wanted to debunk the notion that documentaries are fully factual and not subject to bias. He believes that documentaries are subjective, as different people have
different perceptions and agendas.

“The word documentary in Marathi is called Mahitipat which means Informative films. This is inaccurate, as the sole purpose of making a documentary comes with a personal bias so it would be wrong to say that a documentary’s only purpose is factual information dissemination” he opines. He
further adds on by saying that documentaries are to entertain, enrich and create an emotional connect. This form of motion-picture does manipulate our sense of logic and rationale. In context to this, he also showed bits from two documentaries namely ‘Fire in Babylon’ and ‘Howl’. Answering the question about where to draw a line between films and documentaries, he said that there never was one. An interesting and entertaining piece of content can also be classified under the category of documentaries. Diving into the cinematic aspect, he also explained the Kuleshov effect for the students. “Editing stitches different versions together to create a new reality” he said.

All in all, the session was highly interactive, engaging and fascinating. “I liked how he was open to discourse and different viewpoints. He engaged us with very insightful and informative documentaries, that made me think in a different perspective” says Ahan Sen from Batch 2022. Mr. Barve’s detailed analysis of documentaries helped the students to learn and gain many new perspectives, as well as unlearn many pre-assumptions about documentaries.

 

Shirin Pajnoo
(Batch 2022)