Monday, March 14, 2005

A Tale of Two Movies

Saw quite a few movies this weekend. Five in all. Yup you are right, I put have even the most passionate and indolent couch potato to utter humiliation. I was infront of the idiot box for a whopping 22 hours outta 48.

It all began with Rahul Rawail’s Arjun on Saturday. I like watching movies from the eighties.Sunny Deol exuded a vulnerable innocence that made the character endearing.

The English Patient later in the evening. (I was also planning to watch American Pie The Wedding at 9pm but thought against it coz I didn’t want to part with the brooding aura of the English Patient.) Sunday was cataclysmic. My mom didn’t make any attempt at hiding her disgust and angst on seeing me sloth shapelessly in front of the TV like an amoeba stretching. She soon gave up realizing that her son had gone outta hand long back.

The list for Sunday…
Breakfast with “How to lose a guy in 10 days.” (Hey guys I know, I know but I just wanted to start the day on a lighter note.)Kate Hudson is good candy for just awakened eyes!

Followed by bits n pieces of Raj Khosla’s CID starring Dev Anand.

Afternoon was the Marathi tearjerker – “Chaukat Raja” Every time I watch this movie (This was the Fifth time I watched it) I surpass my past records of weeping inconsolably. This time too I was howling away to glory. While most might attribute that to Dilip Prabhawalkar’s true to life portrayal of a mentally challenged person, for me it’s the actress extraordinaire, Sulabha Deshpande, (she plays his mother) who penetrates my defenses and shakes me up inside out. She’s Durga Mavshi for me.My heart aches for her.Shedidn;t need to speak to convey her agony.That according to me is the success of an actor. Sanjay Surkar’s direction is very impactful in some scenes, viz when Nandu’s comes back home from Meenal’s place after his mother’s death. Sheer, raw emotions. But most of the times you get the impression that albeit the overall endeavor is extremely genuine the director is focusing more on inducing tears rather than narrating a story. But it’s a just a minor flipside. The performances more than make it up for it.Editing can described in one word – shoddy. Light design and cinematography lacked imagination. Music - wonderful. Set the tempo. Dialogues were to the point.

Two films stood out. For their sheer understanding of the medium. Their highly imaginative and though provoking subjects. Their universal and timeless appeal, inspite of belonging to completely opposite genres. And last but not the least for the conviction and passion of the respective filmmakers. The English Patient and Do Bigha Zameen.

The English Patient.

No. This is not a review. I can’t write reviews. I don’t believe in them either. This is just a cathartic moment for me. For that matter any good piece of art induces a felling of catharsis in me. And I want to just sit and stare at nothing in particular and let my thoughts take their own shape.It’s a nice romantic story was my reaction. But Kalyani put it more aptly, “It’s not a love story. It’s a story about love.” How true. The thing that stood out in the movie was the screenplay. The ease with which it moved from flash back to real time was something most screenplay writers would swear by. The direction by Anthony Minghella was first rate.(Incidentally he’s also written the screenplay)The movie won nine Oscars: Best director. Best Editing, Best Costume, and Best Supporting Actress were some of the categories that it won in. But as luck would have it Best Screenplay that year went to Billy Bob Thornton, for his adapted screenplay of ''Sling Blade.'' A nice touching movie. Not a pathbreaking one neither a visual spectacle. But still it had its own brooding charm that keeps you in its hold for before lingering away. Ralph Fiennes last seen in the cold-blooded act in The Schindler’s List was in great form. Kristin Scott Thomas was also convincing in her portrayal of Katherine. Especially when Clifton (Colin Firth) holds her and says Marzipan! I think you've got marzipan in your hair. She doesn’t know where to look. Juliet Binoche is so earnest that as the movie progresses you stop asking yourself, Why in the heavens name did she wait behind with the patient? The arid landscape is captured so effectively by John Seale that you can feel your throat going dry. (Ok,ok…I know this is stretching things a bit. But what the heck ya he did a superb job)

Do Bigha Zameen.

There are movies and there are movies and there are movies, but there’s only one Do Bigha Zameen. Only once in a while does God come down himself and makes movies (coz u see he has many other important issues to deal with like the Tsunami and Palestinian war etc etc etc) Easily one of the top five movies made in India.

Bimal Roy weaves a masterpiece, the beauty of which lies in its simplicity. Simplicity is the key word. The most difficult form of filmmaking. A territory many aspire for but very few can claim to practice. Every thing about Do Bigha is so real yet so simple. Balraj Sahni’s Shambhu is somebody with whom we can instantly relate to, his mannerisms, his story, his life, and his dreams.
While some may remember the legendary rickshaw accident scene from this movie. I would also put a couple of more landmark scenes as my favourites. The scene where Shambhu is embarking on his journey to Calcutta, how he comes back and hugs his wife again when hears her sobbing. Also the end scene where he picks up something from the ground and a guard or somebody reprimands him and asks him to open his fist to show what he’s stealing. Shambhu opens his fist and we see a handful of mud. It’s a slap across any self-respecting urbanite who is oblivious towards the plight of his brethren in the village.

The movie is considered a milestone because of the times that it was made in and the times that it spoke about. A frontal attack on the feudal system it also exposed the pusillanimity of the noveau rich urban Indian. The hypocrisy of the bourgeois and their vain ideals and existence. Especially when plotted against the simple idiosyncrasies of the village folks the severity is magnified. This film I think never got the credit it deserved. Here was a story well told. Here was the heart at the right place so was the head. But seldom do people notice a good thing, do they?


Blogger Dreamcatcher said...

Hey thanks for visiting my blog.
Btw the title should have been a Tale of five movies.
and hey its nice to know that people are lazier than i am.
i spent my weekend with "Bfore Sunrise", "The Aviator" and "Mr and Mrs Iyer".

March 14, 2005 11:51 AM

Blogger Sublime Thoughts said...

Wow!!!You watched before Sunrise?Maaaaaaaaaan,I am completely in love with that movie...Its easily one of the most romantic movies I have ever seen.Btw have you watched its sequel After Sunset?

March 14, 2005 9:30 PM

Blogger Akruti said...

Hi,i loved ur lines on do bigha zameen,a wonderful movie by bimal roy,and liked ur last post abt gulzaar sahab aur javedji also:) keep posting

March 15, 2005 7:23 PM

Blogger Sublime Thoughts said...

Gee Thanx.Keep comin ;-)

March 17, 2005 1:36 AM

Blogger Nikita said...

seems like u had a sooper sunday..good hai...

Over the weekend Over the weekend saw the daftest movie in the whole wide world - Socha Na Tha. The experience was a total every sense of the word..pathetic film, dumb storyline..Can't imagine how i survived it..

Kinda made up for it by watching Jogger's Park, redeemed by some excellent company..lovely film..really admired Perizaad's role as this go-getting single girl in a big city..absolutely loved the attitude and persona of her role.

March 20, 2005 9:43 AM


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