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If Lord Rama opens a stamped envelope with Indian postal stamps and postal marks, from Sita Devi, what will you think? Yes, it happens in the movie Sita Vanavasam (1934), Lord Rama does it that too in the wilderness. Mistakes and inaccuracies, very commonly present in the Cinemas, not been given much attention by the filmmakers and critics/ reviewers, is a point of concern to be stressed upon, so as to make a better presentation in cinemas.

In Kovalan (1933), a Tamil film set in between third to the fifth century, based on a character from the Tamil epic Silappathikarm by Ilangovadigal, one character appears with spectacles in few scenes. In Madurai Veeran (1952), based on a story on a popular folk deity, set in the seventeenth century, had one scene, in which “guillotine” makes an appearance.

In the dubbed in Tamil, Malayalam cinema Jesus (1973), there were four dances like modern day cabaret dances, in the palaces of Herod the great, since then the trend in the south Indian films was to have a cabaret dance.

The costume designers and art directors, in the early decades of Tamil Cinema, had not given much importance to accurate presentation of the material with respect to historical periods and geographical locations, in the stories of kings and queens. In the movie Marmayogi (1951), one of the best examples of such movies, features a tournament contested in the manner of the Knights of the Round Table.

In the Tamil movie Elam Arivu (2011) dubbed in Hindi as Chennai v/s China, a book written by Bodhi Darma, a third-century Pallava king, is kept in a Library at Chennai, which has the ancient knowledge on traditional medicine, by surprise, is in a bound book form like a printed book, while the Printing Technology came to India somewhere around 16th Century. The language used for writing the scripts during the Pallava Period, even though it could be Tamil, cannot be read by the modern-day people as it was a different writing form used in those days.

gladiator movie sceneIn the Hollywood movie Gladiator (2000), set during the period of Ancient Rome, a gas cylinder appears in a horse-driven chariot in battle filed. Even in the cinema Brave Heart (1995), based on a story about the 13th Century Scottish warrior, a car appears in the background of a battle scene.

In the movie Titanic (1997), the lead character Jack Dawson mentions the lake Wissota, which was built five years after the ship Titanic sank. These are the examples, wherein the mistakes are present, though they are academy award-winning movies too, in addition to their blockbuster successes.

It could, probably, be attributed to their poor knowledge in history and even good cinema of our filmmakers. Also, the formulaic pattern of making movies for commercial successes, does not allow them to think beyond in making movies with accurate and authentic presentation.

However, there are some promising ventures, like Subramaniapuram (2008), a Tamil Cinema, in which there is a laudable presentation of the period in which story is set – the 1980s, by the then cinema posters, costumes, Lambretta scooters, cars, etc., along with an actual event - the release of a cinema Murattukalai (1980). In the Tamil movie Indian (1996), dubbed as Hindustani, there are some scenes about INA, which are shown in black and white, - was an attempt to capture the period, in which story is set.

- M. Joseph


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