There is a well-thought-out process behind every department of filmmaking. Even something that might seem as mundane as the title sequences of a film, which the OTT-consuming generation usually skip, takes a creative toll on the filmmakers. Title sequences, just like the opening shots of a film, give us a sneak peek into what the movie holds for us. Good movies generally have a dedicated team that takes care of these title sequences. For instance, Aaron Becker, in collaboration with his team, created the title sequence for movies like Split, where the opening credits were broken into 24-frame grids to symbolize the 24 different personalities of the protagonist.
For that matter, even Christopher Nolan uses the titles very creatively. In Inception, the title comes at the very end of the film to show how Nolan has incepted the idea of dreams versus reality in our heads to keep us questioning the state of our protagonist at the end of the movie. While in movies like The Prestige and Interstellar, he teases the surprise twist by hovering the title over the twist itself before the movie even starts- be it the pile of cloned hats lying on a deserted field or a dusty bookshelf.
Following the video “How To Use Film Titles Creatively” by The Nerdwriter, I tried hunting for more such examples in our beloved Bollywood and was quite surprised to learn that most of these films come from the same production house. Below is a list of all those movies, in no specific order, that pick the perfect moment to highlight the title of the film and don’t just put it blatantly in the opening credits without any clear motive.
This 2010 film starts with our protagonist trying to escape the boundaries of an institution that wouldn’t let him explore the opportunities he wanted, foreshadowing what he does at the end of the movie. After getting expelled from the school for this act, he realizes he would have to leave all of the things that made his life exciting behind him and go live with this authoritarian father, whom he hadn’t met for the past 8 years. The credits start with Rohan leaving his boarding school and stepping into the car that takes his journey forward, while Amitabh Bhattacharya’s refreshing lyrics with Amit Trivedi’s melancholic music cover the background. The credits are shown within the interiors of the car and the train, with Rohan trapped in it, looking outside the window. The movie title is the only thing that appears out of all these entrapments. All Rohan can do is envy the freedom through the caged windows of the train.
This another Motwane flick literally traps its character and uses the film title more subtly, than creatively. The film starts with our protagonist Shaurya trying to ask his office colleague out for a date. Four minutes into the movie when Shaurya and his colleague finally go out for a coffee date, and his crush says that she would be getting married in the next two months, is when we cut to Shaurya’s frowning face and see the movie title for the first time, signifying how he is going to get trapped in this labyrinth he believes love is. All of Shaurya’s plans for future fast track with this one single line of dialogue and this sets up the story as he is pushed to buy a flat as soon as he can.
This yet another reincarnation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s classic is given a unique spin by Kashyap (co-written by Motwane), as he gives us a modern-day retelling of a story, shown from the eyes of the three different characters that we have all witnessed over the years (courtesy: Bollywood). We see a title card with each character’s name before their story begins, like a chapter playing out. The film starts with Paro’s love story, followed by Chanda’s tragedy and as the movie reaches the interval, we finally witness how Dev is coping with Paro’s marriage- and this is the first time we see the title of the movie at the end of the first hour of a two and half-hour-long film. This was a trope that was used by Sandeep Reddy Vanga in both his films, Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh to signify the downfall of the character.
Even though an overall average film with some great performances, it serves as a good example of creative use of the title. Before the film starts, there is a special note mentioning the ‘War Against Drugs’ that plays out like the start of a Star Wars film. The film, however, starts in the fields of Pakistan near the Indo-Pak border presumably in Wagah, Punjab where we see a Pakistani sportsman stretching himself before shot-putting a bag of drugs across the border to India. As the bag is flying high in the air, the screen freezes as we get a close-up of the bag to see the title of the movie, signifying how this, amongst the several other ways, helped Punjab get high. Coincidentally, the same bag is later found out by Alia’s Bihari immigrant character while working in the field, which then sets her story forward.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.