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Flashback Impact
- Vanaparthy Ranganath*

You come home after a tiresome week , taking your favorite star's video cassette/DVD from your favorite store on the way and relax to gear up for the week ahead. Sipping your favorite Earl Grey and slipping the cassette into the player you lean back and watch the movie. Most of the movies you see today have atleast one flashback associated with them. The flashback could be anything that we see in shaded negative prints, it could be anything from a hero's promise, hero/heroine's illness, mafia background of the hero/villan, hero's parents killed by the villan, hero-hero's brother quarrel, quarrel between two best friends, family feuds and anything that we can imagine in a typical Telugu film.

This flashback trend started from late seventies and got its momentum from the early eighties. There may be some movies in the fifties and the sixties with a flashback here and there but the idea caught up only in the early eighties. If you have seen the older classics of NTR and ANR you rarely see a flashback scene. The trend was probably created by the next generation heroes like Krishna and Shobhan Babu. Most of the present generation heroes like Chiru, Venky etc relish this idea of flashback as you can observe that in their films.

How does a telugu movie viewer receive this flashback? What impact does this flashback have on the viewers? Does a flashback decide the success/failure of a film? Let us try to analyze this today.

Coming to the first question, the viewer usually receives the flashback well because it has some element of surprise in it. For instance, if a hero in a film tries to hide something or stops suddenly while saying something, it keeps the viewer guessing what could be the reason for it. A regular movie watcher can probably guess it correctly, but he has to wait patiently till the climax or atleast till the interval and compare his guessing with the movie's story. So, this probably makes the viewer interested in the movie if the flashback is in tune with the film's story. If the flashback scene is depicted in shady negative prints for every major scene in the movie it might keep the viewer thinking about it and might even keep him at the edge of his seat.

Coming to the next question, how does the flashback impact the viewer. It again depends on how neatly it is woven into the story. If the flashback is shown in tune with the movie's story and if the flashback really turns out good, the viewer enjoys it. If the flashback is revealed very late in the movie in the climax or very early in the first 30 minutes of the movie, then probably it might lose its efficacy. For instance, if a heroine in a movie becomes nervous or uneasy while looking at an object and she sees something in the flashback before she falls to the ground. And some scenes later if the film reveals the flashback based on a good story, the flashback has delivered a positive impact on the viewer, if the flashback is not so promising, then it might leave the viewers bored or frustrated.

Lastly, how does a flashback decide the success or a failure of a film. It is again dependent on where it is linked in the story, what is the timing of that flashback in the movie and how effectively the director captures the interest of the audience. For instance, a hero or a protagonist might have promised something to another character in the film and he might be committed to that in the movie. If in the later part of the movie we see that he promised because of a very good reason then that implies that the flashback is in tune with the story and might be of great interest to the viewers. On the other hand, if it is a boring flashback and is not in tune with the earlier scenes in the movie, then probably it could result in viewers walking out of the movie after a spicy song unable to sit till the climax in the movie.

Overall, to sum up a flashback is an integral part of the movie and has to be neatly picturised to keep the viewers interested and the cash register ringing.
End of Flashback
* Ranganath Vanaparthy works for Oracle Corp., Silicon Valley
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