Parallel editing (cross cutting): It is the technique of alternating two or more scenes that often happen simultaneously but in different locations. If the scenes are simultaneous, they occasionally culminate in a single place, where the relevant parties confront each other.
Bejoy Nambiar’s ‘Shaitaan’ boasts off some smart storytelling with a unique sense of shot-taking. There are various sequences that call for attention, some of which include the circular-intro of the protagonists, introduction of Rajeev Khandelwal’s character, the dahi-haandi sequence that creates pulse-beating chaos, etc. However, one of the most stylish sequences of the film happens when the news of Amy’s kidnapping comes.
As a result of his ruthlessness, cop Mathur (Rajeev) has been suspended but his senior, Police Commissioner (Pavan Malhotra) wants Mathur to investigate the case at a personal level. We see him getting a tip off that someone has seen a blonde girl in a shady lodge. Parallel to this, we also see the five friends (KC, Dash, Amy, Zubin and Tanya) hiding in a shady place, similar to the description that Mathur gets. The director has carefully selected the location and the background information. We see Tanya standing over the stairs and thinking something holding a lighter, when she is approached by an unknown guy. The other four friends are watching Amy’s kidnapping story on a news channel when they realize that Tanya is not in the room. We see Tanya forcefully being dragged inside one of the rooms and is attempted rape by the guy.
Meanwhile, the director and editor have juxtaposed Mathur’s entry with Tanya about to be raped. We see Mathur barging inside a room. As an audience, we feel that Mathur is just about to unravel the fake kidnapping and reaching out to the five friends by saving Tanya. But there is a match-on-action cut which shows that Mathur actually entered another apartment where a couple has been trying to cover-up for two Nigerian men who killed a German citizen Claudia. The shot of Mathur kicking the door is matched by the shot of KC barging in to save Tanya.
Throughout this sequence, we listen to the revisited remix ‘Khoya Khoya Chand’ in slow motion and the beauty of the sequence is that we constantly feel that the two opposite sides (Mathur and five friends) are so close but realize they are still quite far. Through parallel editing (cross cutting) these two scenes, a lot of information is conveyed and it also underlines the fact as to how the police system works in our country.
Parallel editing, if used intelligently, can lead to creating some intensifying sequences, just like it did here !!