Decoding a scene: How 'Telescope' director visualised social ills in a pit

When director MB Padmakumar shot his third film 'Telescope' he had visualised to showcase the struggles of the society symbolically in a 62-feet-deep pit. The movie revolved around eight people who were stranded in a deep, abandoned pit. While each of them represented individuals from different sections of society, they could escape from the pit only when they stood together. As part of Onmanorama's exclusive series 'decoding a scene', Padmakumar gets candid with Sajesh Mohan.

The making

Talking about the thought process and execution, the director said, “Honestly, it is very difficult to decode a particular scene from this movie. The movie itself is like a large single scene. The film was entirely shot in the pit and it was like a real-life epic endurance and survival for all cast and crew."

"The film portrays the accidental fall of eight people into the pit and their efforts to get out. The people are caught in a mental quagmire where the chains of cast, creed and power that tied them prevented them from helping each other -- even touch each other," he added.

The approach


If one assumes 'Telescope' to be a realistic off-beat film, Padmakumar assures that it is not. “The treatment of the movie is very different. This is not a realistic movie. It was just like a drama on stage. The film moves in a dramatic manner within a fantasy and attempts to tell contemporary events - a portrayal of post-Independence India. The pit itself acts as a mirror to the society in a symbolic way. We cannot say that a particular scene was challenging rather each part was challenging," he said.

It making involved too much of risk factors. "Artistically it was very risky and physically it was very dangerous shooting. We had an agreement that the actors would not eat too much or drink too much for they had to remain in the pit from 7 in the morning till 9 in the night. It took half hour for the actors to get to the bottom of the pit, so they stayed together below most of the time," he recalled.

The supporting team

Talking about a certain sequence where a pig became a crucial point in the movie, Padmakumar said, "The pig is not like other animals. Sometimes, it gets too much violent and it gets difficult to control the animal. We tied the pig and made it go down safely into the pit. The danger was such that all the actors were standing at the pit and the pig had to be managed tactfully.

"That was the time that I felt really nervous. It is still a scary memory for me. I am very thankful to my cast and crew because they had supported me in every way to make this movie. During discussions, there were opinions that the visuals of the pit can be generated in graphics, but I didn't want to ruin the originality of the subject. The cast and crew, especially my art department and production controller, supported me to make the pit in the most natural manner." 

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