Shooting film songs

Picture the song: ‘Sundari Neeyum’ is a slo-mo beauty

The track from the Kamal Haasan-starrer ‘Michael Madana Kama Rajan’ is a great tune superbly filmed.

Kamal Haasan is versatile – literally so. The Tamil thespian has played twins, father and son, quadruplets and 10 roles in various films, and each time, he sets the characters apart through voice modulation, make-up, body language, and personality tics. Dasavthaaram might have been excessive even for Haasan fans, but in Singeetam Srinivasa Rao’s 1990 comedy Michael Madana Kama Rajan, the balance is just right.

Michael is a toughie, Madan is a suave businessman, Raju is a Chennai street type. The best character is Kameshwar, a Palakkad Brahmin caterer whose riotous Malayalam-inflected Tamil and love for Tirupurasundari (Urvashi) produces the best tune in Illaiyaraaja’s soundtrack. Haasan sang Sundari Neeyum (You are beautiful) along with legendary playback singer S Janaki, with lyrics by Malayali writer Poovachal Khader to suit the character’s background. (The terrible subtitles, though, barely capture the theme of celebration.)

Filmed entirely in slow motion, down to the lip movements of the actors, Sundari Neeyum is a fantasy sequence that explores Kameshwar’s amorous side. It occurs after two encounters that seal his fate. In the first, Kameshwar meets Tirupurasundari and her thieving grandmother at a wedding, where he ends up clasping the young woman’s hand while trying to solve the mystery of the missing items. Next, Kameshwar visits Tirupurasundari’s house to pick a quarrel with her. This time, they embrace, and move into a gorgeously filmed sequence that was shot at twice the normal speed and then slowed down to create a romantic reverie.

Cinematographer BC Gowrishankar floods the song with soft focus light and gently glides around the lovers as they dream of courtship, marriage, consummation, and the child that follows. The lilting tune is perfectly matched by the gracefully choreographed movements of the actors and the background dancers. The fantasy is especially hilarious since Kameshwar is a bumbling sort who can barely keep his wits about him. In his head, he is in control and a tiger in the bedroom¸ but the rest of the events in the movie prove otherwise.

Michael Madana Kama Rajan is constantly weaving between the quadruplets, whose paths eventually cross in a climax stolen from Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush. Sundari Neeyum, however, is among the movie’s many wholly original and inspired moments.

Sundari Neeyum.
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Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption

Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.

Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.

Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.

Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.

One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.

With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.

The variety of filters available on Vizmato
The variety of filters available on Vizmato

Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.

The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.
The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.

You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.

Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.

Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.


So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vizmato and not by the Scroll editorial team.