Nothing gives away a film’s lack of self-belief, more than its reliance on a voice-over (VO). Widely considered as the last, laziest crutch employed by a screenwriter/director/editor when the written scene or blocked footage are far from having the intended effect, I can almost hear a filmmaker’s mournful tsk when they cut to an explanatory VO, filling in the blanks and telling the audience what to feel.
In Sagar Ballary’s Jungle Cry, streaming on Lionsgate Play, the screenplay cuts to the film’s characters speaking to us in documentary-styled clips, where nothing is left to chance by the film’s writers (Dipankar Giri, Diane Charles and Shubhodeep Pal). Whatever the characters aren’t able to communicate through acting, they emphasise in their chaste Hindi VOs.
(For eg: “main bilkul ghabra gaya tha uss din…) It’s a choice that was also employed by Aaron Sorkin in his last venture – Being The Ricardos, where actors played the older version of characters to fill people in on the context behind the making of one of America’s most-watched television sitcoms of all time – I Love Lucy. While Sorkin uses the different POVs to allow his patented style of Jungle Cry, also based on the rather incredible real-life story of 13 tribal kids picking up a rugby ball merely four months before a Junior Rugby World Cup championship that took place in London in 2011, uses it less effectively.
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