Vinit Masram (1988 – 2023)

by | Sunday, July 16, 2023

I found out about Vinit Masram’s passing a week or so go.

I did not know Vinit personally, having met him just once, at IDC’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2020. But the news of his death hit me hard.

I had been a fan of his work for a long time – having stumbled on his YouTube channel years ago. Cinema beyond Entertainment is a collection of beautifully crafted, insightful, analytic and creative, video essays about cinema. It is truly an amazing body of work. A labor of love, the depth and quality of analysis and clarity of exposition is truly amazing. I have, over the years, sought out and watched almost every video that he released. Clearly Vinit was a person who lived and breathed cinema. He had a wonderful visual style as well, effortless and smooth, wearing his expertise and talent lightly. As Sumant Rao, one of his professors at IDC, wrote:

He had the rare ability to take subjects that were difficult to understand and make them easy… I had the pleasure of seeing the start of this journey while guiding his project as an animation student during his MDes. He had chosen perhaps one of the most difficult topics for a short animation film, explaining Einstein’s Theory of Simple Relativity… You can see how even at that time, [so early in his career] he had the maturity of creating an engaging experience without compromising on the communication. (The video is embedded at the end of this post).

I met him just once, at the IDC Jubilee, back in 2020. In fact, back then, despite having followed his work for a while, I didn’t know that we were both alumni of the same institute. This is not entirely surprising since I had graduated years before him. Someone, in passing, mentioned that the YouTube channel Cinema beyond Entertainment was the creation of a fellow IDCian, and that he was there for the Jubilee. I insisted on being introduced to him. When we met, I went all fan-boy, and maybe embarrassed him a bit. We talked for a minute or two where i just told him (more than once) just him how much I loved his work. He was polite but we really didn’t get a chance to connect.

Vinit had a unique, authentic voice and sensibility, and in some profound sense, you felt you knew him, as person, through watching his videos. He was that passionate friend, who just wanted to share his love for something–in this case cinema—with you, and through that, push you to see the world through their eyes. Vinit, even in the short time he had on this planet, managed to touch people at a deeply personal level, through this knowledge and expertise, the clarity of his voice, and his ability to communicate complex ideas in simple yet powerful ways. And first and foremost his genuine love of cinema. He was a great educator and he will be missed.

Note: I was asked to create a short video for a condolence meeting being organized at IDC. Below is what I had shared. It is essentially the same prose above – just me speaking it, kept here for the record.

I have been compulsively going back and watching his videos over the past week or so. I will include a few below but you should check out the channel for yourself.

Here are a few of his videos:

The official trailer to the channel (watch it for how beautifully it is edited – just over 2 minutes)

A lovely visual essay, an ode to why we love this medium

One of his first films: Understanding Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity

A few randomly selected blog posts…

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