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Colours and Cinema

Cinema has used extravagant theatrics to emote and show character development. The theatrics and added aesthetics are hard-hitting for the audience takes back moments like such which stand out. The aesthetics have become an important part of modern-day cinema. Besides a strong story and characters, it is the aesthetics which make for a good film. Even in theatre, add-ons like smoke on stage or massive props make for the appeals of a good looking and well-directed play. The aesthetics not only make for beautification and enhancement of a scene but also an expression of feelings and coveted narratives.

Colour Palette in the movie Manmarziyan (Source: PetalSearch)

Cinema over the years has used songs, background score and imagery to show different emotions. For example, a slow-moving melancholic beat like the one used in Kal Ho Na Ho in case of a tragedy or a the violin notes in Mohabbatein to express love and joy. Films like Rockstar have dedicated tracks like the ‘Dichotomy of Fame’ which is completely instrumental in nature shows the rise and fall of Jordan, the protagonist through the movie.

New age cinema has taken the use of colours for the use of expression and enhancement. Each colour holds meaning and value which adds to the scene. So even without expressing through speech, dialogues or facial expressions, the colours work their magic and show the present state of the scene or character. Colour can affect us emotionally, psychologically and even physically, often without us becoming aware. The colour Red is widely used to express different emotions ranging from anger to love. The colour red definitely has some biological effect on humans. Red is used specifically to connote explosively emotional moments and situations. For example, in Schindler List’s, at first, this little girl seemed to be offering a bit of hope, however, the same red coat is seen later in the film on the body of the presumably same child, dashing that hope and replacing it with rage and sorrow. Spielberg masterfully employed the colour within that film to create a conflicting and vastly uncomfortable sense of both life and death simultaneously in order to convey the horrors that took place during the Holocaust. It is to be noted that the rest of the scene was completely in Black and White.

In Bollywood, Anurag Kashyap has mastered the art of using the colour palette to denote emotions and his characters. Colour is crucial to Kashyap’s emotions. He colours the emotions of his characters onto the screen completely. In Dev D, the use of red is for the intensity of passion between the three main characters. For Example, the moment in Chanda’s room or Paro’s wedding ceremony, the dominant colour of the scene is red which visibly blend with each character. The psychedelic blue neon drug haze takes the audience on an addict like Dev’s trip. Pink in the climax signifies love moving onto the orange of redemption in the film.

Even in his other creations like Manmarziyan, the colours play a dominant role. Especially, the poster in which the backdrop is yellow and the foreground have a pink creation of Taapse Pannu and Abhishek Bachchan, signifying love, hope and positivity. The use of purple on the poster of the song ‘Halla’ in the movie which revolves around Robbie (Bachchan) after finding out that his wife, Rumi (Taapsee) might still be in love with her ex-lover signify his feelings of frustration and gloom.

The colours in films clearly play a dominant role to magnify the intensity of a scene making everything look larger than life. It is to captivate and manipulate the audience to the beat that the director prefers. The audience takes backs moments relating the colour with the scene leaving an impact that it should.


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