It’s a Friday night and millions around the world gather in darkened rooms to laugh, cry, jump, fantasise, and reflect. What draws them in? What lies at the core of cinema’s magic? It’s directors? It’s stars? It’s stories? You would be correct if you said “all three,” but only partially. The answer is its magicians, all of them, in front and behind the camera. We’ve grown to celebrate the ones in front but what about the ones behind? 

Good magicians never reveal their secrets, as do movie magicians who suspend your disbelief by insuring their work is never “revealed.” The beauty of their craft is like sugar dissolved in a cup of milk. Although invisible, its presence is felt.

Remember the painting-like imagery of Barfi? It was the result of top-notch cinematography. Would a period drama like Jodha Akbar have the same impact and authenticity if it weren’t for the carefully designed costumes echoing the Mughal era? And what about the value of make-up? Consider the exemplary prosthetics in Paa that transformed Amitabh Bachchan into a progeria patient that moved people to tears. How about production design? The sets of Devdas were meticulously constructed to transport you back in time. And as it is rightly said, a film is re-written in the editing room. The rhythm and juxtaposition of scenes elevates the story and Kahaani is a perfect example. Last but not least, what is a film without sound? A half realised movie. The craft of the sound designer and composer brings the picture to life and Omkara exemplifies this marvellously.

There was a time when different elements of a film were individually acknowledged and appreciated in India. Hollywood celebrates movie’s magicians most notably through the Academy Awards with its twenty four categories, only four of which are star specific. Their focus is always the award. In contrast, Film Awards in Bollywood are sponsored television events geared more toward TRPs than awards, inevitably diluting their significance and leaving virtually no room for people who work behind the scenes.

We at Pandolin love movies! The only thing we love more than movies are the people who make them and we want to show it by reviving the golden times and honouring the technical and artistic ingenuity behind cinema’s magic.