Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Of some movies

In the second attempt we got the tickets, at a mighty 100% premium (also known as 'black' in the usual parlance) knowing somewhere that its going to be worth it. 15 minutes into the movie, I was more than happy about being inside the theater. To me, the plot of Mira Nair's 'The Namesake' (2006) is pretty ordinary...the story of anybody migrating from his / her country (read culture) of birth to another country (once again, read culture) isn't new and is definitely not the aspect that works for this movie (at least not for me).
Whats extraordinary about the movie are the performances of Irrfan Khan & Tabu as the quintessential Bengali couple and the evolution of their relationship over a period of time. Irrfan's rendition of a typical 'Bangaaali' from Calcutta with the typical 'Bangaali' accented English (if you know what I mean) is phenomenal. In the words of my father who himself is part Bengali, "Even an authentic Bengali wouldn't have managed to do justice to the character of Ashok Ganguli". From their relationship aspect, the sequence in which he calls up his Ashima (Tabu) from the hospital will remain with you forever, amongst other such brilliant sequences. Tabu as the Bengali mother of 2 teenage kids, is so convincing that one forgets that she isnt even married in real life. Im glad that we have such actors around us.
As my good friend, who sent me the DVD had mentioned, Jim Jarmuschs 'Coffee and Cigarettes' (2003) is as free flowing as Henry Miller's writings and the 11 short vignettes are like the themes from Kafka's 'Meditations'. Shot in Black & White and always over a coffee table in different contexts, this experimental and independent film is beautifully existential (and comical). It's quiet absorbing for the likes of us....if you know what I mean!
Revisiting Martin Scorsese's 'Raging Bull' (1980) got me thinking about three aspects. Firstly, about the degradation of Martin Scorsese as a director and the late and highly undeserving Best Director Academy that he got for 'The Departed'. Much has already been written about the second fact the judges at the Academy (and this time rightly) awarded the man with the Best Actor. I'm talking about the authenticity of Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta, the boxer with a stupid anger and a doubting mind.
Lastly and most importantly, I saw myself cringing at the sport of 'Boxing'...I can't believe that while we call ourselves a civilized society, we continue (and in a very blatant way) with this bloody and gruesome sport. There have been instances of death, major injuries and an infamous 'ear-chewing', while we kept enjoying it (and still do). Is this being civilized? If we consider that the armed forces of a certain superpower nation is killing the innocent citizens of a small country, maybe it is.
Coming up in my next post is an interesting aspect of Gulzar's poetry in 'Omkaara'...and yes, I remember that I have to translate Mir Taqi Mir's 'Dikhaayi Diye Yun' working on it.


Hemisha said...

Me 2 saw namesake and i loved it. only i think the book was much better than the movie cause there is so much more in the book. the book actualy has more picture in it. but acting of all of the charaters is mind blowing.


(i thought i will give my name 2day as v r talking abt names)

blaiq said...

I couldn't agree with you more on Martin Scorsese and The Departed. For me the only saving grace at the Oscars was that Babel didn't win Best movie or director.

Am looking forward to stuff on Gulzar and the Mir Taqi Mir translation.

meraj said...

m glad too...about Babel not being on the Academy list :)

nikhil said...

hmm.. dude.. sports has nothing to do with being civilized. lets forget pretentious claims of gentleman's games..

boxing, like any other sport (ice hockey??? ) is fast, competitive, and very intense.. what does being civilized have to do with it ?

svety said...

now u've got me really intrigued meraj...hurry up and write ur next post

The Hunter Gracchus said...

i cant resist, hav to respond; how u equate speed, competitive spirit and intensity with uncivilized behavior is beyond me. don't bother to reply tho; i can imagine what it'd be; sorry, everyone else, for this sort of confrontation

The Hunter Gracchus said...

on the same lines as c and c; but at the same time; drastically antithetical, is 'ten minutes older'. brings together szabo, bertolucci, michael radford (of il postino), godard et al in a collection of 10 mt shorts which are anything but spontaneous. extremely well thot out, on the other hand, at times, a bit too much, in fact. still; in ten minutes they tell u how time can be stretched.

The Hunter Gracchus said...

thanks to online rentals, been watching the 80's nfdc movies made by the shyam benegals govind nihalanis ketan mehtas and plenty other unsungs like goutam ghose, vijaya mehta et al, this had probably been the best phase of indian cinema, largely ignored, strangely. this sudden hype of indian cinema; inclusion of a below-average 'water' in cannes; are inexplicable, when we had trikaal, pestonjee, current aaghaat, mandi, to boast of, twenty years back.

meraj said...

two human beings trying to physically outhit (if i can be allowed that usage) each other while the world enjoys it is absolutely uncivilized by my standards...besides, there are better ways to test speed, competitive spirit and intensity than getting into a bloody sport.

that phase churned out some of the greatest movies, but its not an ignored one...its just forgotten by the current crop of moviemakers and audience.
and 'water' to me, as you mustve already read in one of my post is a very well made and totally engaging movie.

The Hunter Gracchus said...

i'd not entirely agree about water, even though its eons superior to deepa mehta's earlier works; i think it falls flat in choice of lead actors, particularly lisa ray; except sima biswas and the old lady harridan noone seems entirely convincing; but anyway, now that you say so, i'd watch the movie again.