'Director's Cut' - A Book Review

Director's Cut
MK Raghavendra
HarperCollins
320 Pages | Rs. 399

To be honest, however great a cinephile that I claim to be, I have read very few books or essays on cinema in India before now. Admittedly, I would consider the online reviews of popular film critics, such as Anupama Chopra and Rajeev Masand, before planning a movie outing with friends and family. But lately, not always would their views cohere with mine.

It is at this juncture that I come across M.K. Raghavendra's Director's Cut - 50 Major Filmmakers of the Modern Era, published by the HarperCollins. The author is well known among Indian film critics, and is known primarily for his scholarship and expertise. In this book, he handpicks fifty of the most revered film directors of the post-1960s world cinema and attempts to study their craft from different point of views. Political implications, social realism and even the director's mental attitude towards his work, among many.

The author states the didactic purpose of redefining what we casually refer to as 'classics' first and how we could allow newer voices of international films into that list. He delineates his purpose of choosing the 'modern' epoch - one, following the French New Wave - and presents his argument for missing out on certain film directors like Francis Ford Coppola and Roman Polanski while choosing others who not only commenced work in that period but also produced major work for many years ever since.