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What did Kamal Haasan and Ajith Kumar do for the lightmen?

Aah! So you guys have come to read this article. Sorry for using Kamal and Ajith's name to pull you in, but I feel we have to recognize these people working as Lightman in the industry. There is an episode of Ajith in this article, and hence I had to use his name. Here I am sharing my opinion, after watching the film, Lightman.

Lightman is a piece of work mainly targetted at the parallel cinema lovers. Not just art film lovers, but even general audience can witness this movie to know and recognize the most underrated work in the film industry. The film talks about the life of a youngster, who aspires to become an actor with the talent he has. But he is being made to understand that just talent alone cannot make him a star. Due to family commitments, he joins a film unit as a Lightman.

From thereon, his life doesn't get any bigger or better. There is this particular scene where the lead hero is seen enacting a drama scene. He performs the scene almost for ten minutes, and it is a single shot. This single scene conveys the passion that character has for acting. Like this, there are many subtle emotions conveyed. There is no entertainment, but there are lots of information that you can learn from Lightman. We all know that actors and directors earn crores and crores of money, but how many of us know that these men are paid in hundreds?

Apart from the aspiring actor's story, there is another part of the film, which has real life lightmen sharing their experiences and the plight of being a lightman. The lights and light stands are always heavy to carry, and these people have to carry all these heavyweights through all the hills, mountains, towers, and high buildings. And if they ask for an additional amount of Rs.10 or Rs.20 for drinking tea or coffee, the production team would ignore them. Contrary to this, when a core member of the cast or crew demands few hundreds or thousands, the next minute, money will be transferred.

These people cannot even attend their own son/daughter's birthday, or father/mother's sudden demise, as they will be signed for one full schedule at a stretch. Unless and until the schedule is completed they cannot leave. People who have worked in this field for more than 25 years talked about their experiences, and one common thing, which all of them opened up was about their salary. They started their careers with Rs.10 or 15 per day, and now, in 25 years, the amount has been increased to 500 and 600, not even to thousands.

In today's scenario, it is difficult for a common man to survive with these hundreds, but the ugly truth is that there is no other go for these people. The contribution and hard work of these lightmen along with the DOP's creative visuals, make our loved stars look bright on the silver screen. The lights show them bright and colorful. Unfortunately, the light is not thrown upon these people who throw light on the stars. Out of the 24 art forms in the making of a film, lightmen are the least paid and underrated, but overused.

One particular lightman narrated two of his experiences interacting with Kamal and Ajith, which are as follows. He said, "One of my favorite actors is Ulaga Nayagan Kamal Haasan, and during the shoot of one particular film, I was sitting in the shooting spot. Kamal sir came, and I stood up and greeted him. He came near me and asked why I stood up. He also told me that both of us (Kamal Haasan and the Lightman) are technicians and both are equal. Likewise, Ajith sir. He has helped us a lot. This doesn't mean I don't like others or I like these people, but I am just talking about the people who thank the lightmen. There are many other actors too, like Prabhu, Napolean, who enquire us about our family, our work and talk good with us. More than the money, these talks motivate us. "

After coming out of the movie, all I felt was the importance and significance that these unsung heroes have in each and every film. Even for a person like me, who is doing short films, we do lighting and shoot the film. Without lights, you cannot get the desired output and the cinematic feel. Leave out all these. When there is a power cut, what do we search at first? Candles right? Or in this digital technology, we use the mobile torch. When our daily life is filled with all these lights, and to a greater level in cinema, don't we have to recognize them? I felt we should! If you still feel that the title was misleading, I am sorry. This has to reach a larger number of audience.

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