There’s nothing like a great opening, whether it’s a news article or a book or a movie.

A well-written and deftly crafted opening movie sequence can, for better or for worse, set the tone for what follows. Often, you don’t even have to wait for the actors to start doing their thing: the credit titles go a long way in creating the right mood and acquainting viewers with the plot treatment and the characters. Puneet Rakheja, an advertising profession, graphic designer and filmmaker from Delhi, has analysed the opening moments of several Hindi movies on his blog, Taking Credit. Rakheja hopes to draw attention to the unsung art of devising the titles that mention the principal cast and crew, apart from giving an early indication of the movie’s visual style and its approach to its subject.

“My curiosity about these sequences made me realise that there was hardly any resources available to study or appreciate the craft in Indian films,” Rakheja said. “It was shocking to learn that many times, these professionals are not even credited for their work.”

What makes Indian opening credits special? “Graphics, technology, music, film and photography come together to lead us into the dreamscapes of the cinema experience,” Rakheja said. Taking Credit is a team effort, just like the movies they parse. It comprises graphic designers, user interface designers and bloggers, and is “constantly on the lookout for recommendations and collaborators to cover more ground than we currently are”, Rakheja said. Here’s a selection of movie titles and credit graphics that the team approved of. The descriptions for each of the entries is  edited from the blog.

Jawaani Ka Khoon

One of my favourite ones comes from a rather unremarkable B-grade film called Jawaani ka Khoon, which features some remarkable surreal hand painted artwork, with the abstract storytelling and splashes of colour evoking anything from a microbial world to blood splashes to Rorschach’s ink patterns. Quite trippy. In the middle of the segment the sequence seems to go into more graphical forms – lines, circles, curves but quickly resorts back to abstract space. We haven’t been able to resolve if this is a stylistic or a narrative tool.


Another of my favourites that scores high on innovation is Jaal. This title sequence might just be one of the most innovative in Indian title design history. We are utterly delighted to have chanced upon this sequence. The title’s appearances are full of surprises and embedded within the story of the film itself. The film opens on a stone wall, with the films titles in hand painted lettering in blood red – a usual shorthand for action/thriller/suspense films. The camera then starts to pan across the wall and hovers from one name to the other.

The Burning Train

The title sequence that speaks Bollywood in bold capitals. Designed by Ram Mohan Biographics, The Burning Train is a perfect example of what Bollywood mainstream has come to mean. Dazzlingly psychedelic, the sequence uses the train motif and image ghosting to set us up for the exciting thriller. The low angle shots of oncoming trains are set in a high contrast of blues, reds, pinks and greens.


From the current examples, Prague is a very efficient and nicely done title sequence. The film begins eloquently with a sequence of Google searches, through which we discover the city of Prague from the perspective of a traveller. This language of pop-ups and image searches works on various levels to firstly introduce our character and his interest/journey, but tonally it makes it very relatable for the young, Google- savvy generation. It is nice that the images that pop up in the search are often visited later in the story. While there is no specific narrative tied in, I see the sequence as introducing a major character of the city itself to its audiences.


Katha tells the story of two friends, one simple and honest, and the other crafty and slick-talking. The animated title sequence declares how the film reinterprets the hare and the tortoise fable. The name of the film and the credits unusually and interestingly only appear in Devanagari. The sequence begins with introducing the characters and the actors playing them as animals from the fable, and suggest a playful theme. Indian animation veteran Ram Mohan created the sequence. More of his work in Hindi films can be seen in Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Pati Patni aur Woh and Do aur Do Paanch.