How Sukumar directs a scene? Ft. Pushpa meets Banwar first time scene from movie Pushpa: The Rise

In this post, we try to understand how the director is using dialogue, costume, staging and blocking to convey the power shift, character motivations, etc.


01 Why the movement?

Notice, how Bhanwar Singh pins Pushpa to a single location where he cannot move. But Bhanwar is moving and giving lots of orders to his subordinates. This establishes their relationship to be as a Ring Master and the Pet. Bhanwar like the ring master struts around asking audience to cheer while the pet is stuck with a collar around its neck similar to the handcuffs on Pushpa.

02 What about the dialogue?

Indian men cannot stand the women of their house being disrespected. The dialogue hits harder as Pushpa had fought to save Srivalli. First with movement and now with dialogue, Bhanwar is gradually gaining power in this dynamic. Also, if you observe the complete scene you will notice that Pushpa doesn't look at Bhanwar at all as he is both embarassed and scared to meet eyes.

03 Why the same Costume?

Notice how both of them are wearing white shirt different from the rest. This makes them stand out and also establish the fact that both of them think they are good guys in their story. Their egos are justified but the director cleverly adds the branded clothes dialogue that gives more depth to both their characters.

04 Why show other actors?

Firstly, to ensure that the people who consider Pushpa as strong should know that he is weak. Also, they act as us the audience in this scene. The director gently nudges us to have the same feeling as them while watching this scene. That is why he adds those seconds of reaction shots. Confused, scared, attentive and silent.

05 The Power of framing?

Notice how 3/4ths of the screen is occupied by Bhanwar and only 1/4th is for Pushpa. Clearly showing that Bhanwar has more power and command in this scene than Pushpa. Also, Pushpa is framed to one corner while Bhanwar is open, shows that Pushpa has no room to breathe.

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