THE DARJEELING LIMITED
One cannot begin to appreciate Wes Anderson enough for his indelible mark in Cinema. From brilliant costumes in well-composed settings to classic pan shots, his style has surely become an acclaimed signature. There is perfection in each frame that exists effortlessly throughout. Each element of production from costumes to props is meticulously planned in accordance to the mood of the film.
Darjeeling Limited, a dramatic comedy is certainly a must-watch for all those who also admired The Grand Budapest Hotel. There is a seamless connect in artistic direction and editing, however with different plots. The film’s genre is a dramatic comedy. The film is a witty interpretation of humour and sorrow with a vibrant colour palette.
The film begins with a long shot and slowly narrows down the frame by zooming in. In the film, the camera is placed in certain observant angles to show POV such as the initial taxi scene. It welcomes the viewer as a part of the frame. When the character nearly misses his train, slow-motion enhances the scene with a feeling of eternity. The film also ends with such an effect to seal it with consistency. Close-ups have been used extensively to show raw emotions of the depressed brothers. A classic Wes Anderson right to left pan has been used in many scenes to evoke a sentiment of continuity and avoiding cuts. The pan works in good favour especially since the film revolves around travelling in a moving train. Sometimes, the purposely excessive zooming on temples and buildings added to a traveller feel. Narrow train passages have also allowed the director to show his affinity to central character positioning.
The art of editing is truly invisible, especially when one talks about a Wes Anderson film. The essence of his editing lies in the lack of it. The director prefers taking long shots and then zooming onto characters. More cuts are preferred during highly dramatic ones. During some conversation scenes, the camera is centrally placed right till the end despite characters moving around. During intense conversations, closeup shots of different characters are used.
An element of drama is incorporated with characters being transported back in time for their father’s funeral just by being seated in a car in a similar placement. With use of It takes you to a different time and space. Another very cleverly interpreted scene is a pan shot of the moving train’s compartment that depicts life of other characters in realistic settings within a space.
The background score for the film certainly transports you into another world. ‘Charu’s Theme’ by Satyajit Ray is aptly played throughout the film since it equates with area of origin, India. Apart from the predominant theme song, other tracks have also been incorporated by artists like The Kinks, Ali Akbar Khan, Peter Starstedt etc.
The dramatic film has a certain vintage quality, the way it slowly captures frames with less cuts. Crisp yet witty dialogues delivered by the characters evoke contrasting emotions at the same time. With a keen eye for detail, he can also use this very tool to help characters reminisces about one’s past. The minimalistic yet effective approach to the genre can teach a lesson or two to Bollywood drama that sometimes, less can sometimes be more.
*Images are screenshots of the film
SCRIPT BREAKDOWN OF A SCENE FROM DARJEELING LIMITED