Creative Geography

Creative Geography – How Aamir Khan went from Chicago to Switzerland within minutes

This week’s Friday Fundas covers yet another interesting editing technique in movies popularly known as Creative Geography.

Creative Geography is an artificial landscape that is created in movies. This technique was invented by Russian film maker Lev Kuleshov. You might also remember few weeks back I had covered another popular experiment called as Kuleshov’s effect in movies which was done by Lev Kuleshov. Creative Geography involves a subset of the montage in which various segments are shot at different locations. But in the way it gets assembled during editing, all these appear to be one continuous location.

Consider a shot involving a person walking into a big bungalow and then the next shot shows him walking into a large hall. These two locations could be entirely different and in fact miles apart. But in the way the editing is done it appears to be a continuous space for the viewers. The shot of the person entering the bungalow is shot first and then the next shot is shot entirely in a different location in a hall where the person is walking in. The costume of the artist is maintained the same for the sake of continuity.

Let us now look at some examples of this in Indian movies

Dhoom 3
Dhoom 3

In the recent Bollywood movie Dhoom 3 starring Aamir Khan, the entire story is based out of Chicago, Illinois in the United States. However the climax portion of the movie where Aamir Khan rides on the top of a bridge is shot in Contra Dam, Ticino, Switzerland. Actually he starts his bike in Chicago and within few minutes he is in Switzerland. In the movie the dam is shown as a location in the outskirts of Chicago. This is achieved through editing and thus it forms the creative geography for the movie.

Nayagan
Nayagan

Similarly in the Tamil Blockbuster Nayagan the entire movie is based out of Mumbai and follows the life of a Mumbai don. The climax portion of the movie is shot in College of Engineering, Guindy. The college in Guindy becomes part of the creative geography of Mumbai for the movie.

This is again an elementary technique used in movies and it is used by the film makers to achieve the desired outcome of the image they had while writing the script. Next time when you watch movies look out for its creative geography. You will start appreciating the amount of efforts the film makers undergo to give a visually compelling product.

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