Monday, February 06, 2006

Two movies - my views

Two movies that I saw on consecutive weekends - Rang De Basanti and Achan Urangaathat Veedu (the house where the father doesnt sleep), are both fantastic movies in their own right.

Rang De Basanti tries to capture and maybe even tries to inspire an awakening of the youth, of a generation. And almost manages to do it too - well, Almost.The first half of the movie shows a young English lady in India, trying to film the great freedom fighters Azad, Bhagath singh, Ashfaq, Bismil, Rajguru. And how she befriends a group who think that the country sucks, the system sucks and find excuses as to why they need not do anything about it because, well, whatever you do about it, the system conquers you and you are defeated.

Well, So far, so good. I even liked the parts where they show the students and the patriots parallely.

But then we start losing the way. The pilot friend, who has been the conscience keeper throughout, dies in a plane crash. We are taken through a small sequence where the defence minister himself makes a statement that it must have been a pilot error. The pilot's mother, fiancee and the friends are beaten up by riot police during a peaceful gathering to protest this.And when they gather on their favorite hangout, a fort (awesome scenery) to discuss what can be done, someone says let's shoot him and well, that's it. They shoot the defence minister and goes on radio saying this is their justification. Finally all the friends get killed by commandos.

Well, I totally disagree with the second half. To compare the defense minister to Reginald Dyer (Who was responsible for the Jalianwalla Bagh massacre) seems absurd, and if the director was trying to portray it symbolically, depicting corruption as a parallel to the heinious massacre, well, how effective is it? And finally, the cause becomes much too personal. I for one, could not really identify with it. And the ending shows a lot of tv interviews where some people justify the act. This it seems, is the awakening of the youth. How ridiculous!

When you leave the theater, you hear remarks about Aamir's acting and Rahman's fabulous music, but very little about what the film actually conveys. I think the film will be remembered for just that. A hit for Aamir Khan, another hit for AR Rahman, amazing camera work, but no, not for the root of corruption that it set out to fight. And that I think is where it falters.

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The other movie I saw, a Malayalam one - "Achanurangaatha Veedu" literally translates into "The home where the father never sleeps" comes from a director who is famous for his slapstick comedies, but one with quite entertaining themes. Well, I was in for a surprise this time...

The lead character is played by a comedian famous for his almost vulgur comedy. But here he dons the role of a father, whose daughter has been kidnapped and been sexually exploited by a host of people. He puts in a very subdued performance and the film, from scene one, is point blank. Since this pertains to events that actually happened in Kerala, which we all dismissed with a certain impersonal shrug, this film strikes straight on the heart. We feel the pangs that he has had to go through, his helplessness, his anguish. There are a few scenes that stand out - one, the police officer confirming that it is indeed his daughter who's been arrested and his reaction to it; Two, a man in a crowd shouting out "Let us also see you" in a vulgar way when the child is brought to the police station; Three, the scene where the father breaks down in front of a judge after he attempts suicide. And the ending is very very disturbing indeed.

In India, perhaps the only country where women are venerated so much that there are living goddesses among them and are so degraded that in almost all regional languages, they have the word "commodity" as a synonym, I think "Achanurangaatha Veedu" makes a very poignant point.

1 comment:

Anoop said...

Where's my long overdue mail???