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Kauling cinema: cargo and the class system by Shraddha Kaul


Break time on set. Lot of hustle and bustle on the sets.


19-year-old Ingenue: "I don't understand. There were no names written on them. What did I do wrong? I didn't even get to see how I looked on that T.V thing.."


Veteran Female Hair Dresser: "See, the chairs near the video assist ..video assist is that monitor, the TV thing you see in front of that director there..those chairs are all meant for different kinds of people even if there are no names written on those chairs. It’s an unsaid protocol. Now.. it's mandatory that the director has one chair which is closest to the monitor because the director directs.(calls out loudly for milky chai)… The director is the boss. You shouldn't sit on that chair. And erm.. the longevity or the brevity of your role, the camaraderie and rapport decides what chair you need to sit on... The bigger your part, the closer is the proximity to that director's chair, closer is the proximity to that monitor. And If there are 5 lines of chairs placed behind that monitor..( thinks) Okay..how long is your part, child? "


19 year old Ingenue: "I have 10 lines. But I’m there in most of the scenes. I am there. You can see me." ( feeling sad)


Veteran Female Hair Dresser: "Aah the mute. Visuals but no audio. (pops a cardamom pod in her mouth) …So a prop like you would sit on the last line of the chairs..? Away from the TV thing…Got it?"


19 year old Ingenue: "OK….so if I had a talking part which has round about 20 minutes of talking in this film, which chair can I sit on then?"


Veteran Female Hair Dresser: "Third line of chairs. Or the second line. Closer to the video assist and director. Depends on the rapport and camaraderie with the cast etc.. depends."


19-year-old Ingenue: "Isn't this like a class system?" (puzzled)


Hair dresser: (laughs a loud) "Are you a new born calf or what! It's like sitting on the airplane...the first class sits closer to the pilot and the cock pit.. the economy sits much much much further away from the pilot. And the animals..the mutes....they are relegated to the cargo… Now. please press my aching back near the left shoulder blade with this rolling pin, in return for the wisdom I shared today."


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