Tuesday, March 27, 2007

To weep is to make less the depth of grief ~William Shakespeare, King Henry the Sixth

Anna Beer at the Guardian blogs says I am too self-conscious to read in public places, because I might start sobbing’ while discussing schmaltzy books.

The responses to this post, form an interesting pattern which varies from Anna Karenina to Brothers Kharamazov, Charlotte's Web, A Time Traveller's Wife, The Mayor of Casterbridge and what appeared like a cute cartoon called 'The Cat Came Back'.
Many readers seem to think that the demise of Beth is in Little Women but I distinctly remember Beth's death as described in it's sequel 'Good Wives'
(Brings back memories from school where I had devoured the entire pack of Good Wives, Little Men and Jo's Boys in a single week.) Does anyone else remember Beth in Good Wives?

I'm a little shocked at the mention of 'The Wind in the Willows' ?? A scornful look at self for not shedding a tear even as a kid. Is the sentimentalist in me dead?

But no, I remind myself about the incident where I needed a tissue or two while reading the last chapter of the “Remains of the Day’ and the only other instance I remember being misty-eyed was while reading ‘Of Mice and Men’.
I think moving to tears by a book not only depends on the type of person you are but also on the mood while reading and there are some books which leave you with a melancholic mood -Maugham comes to my mind at this juncture.

And in the words of Anna Beer ‘Sometimes the tears are a sign that a book has truly, deeply moved me - but too often there are shadows of Dickens at his most manipulatively sentimental.’ Do you agree with this?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dor and In Pursuit of Happyness

The Hyderabadi in me is always curious about any movie by Nagesh Kukkunoor, hence 2 hours of last weekend was spent in watching Dor.

Two women - Meera and Zeenat –diverse in all aspects come together for a cause.
Zeenat’s husband Aamir is accused of murdering Shankar, Meera’s husband, in the Middle East. Aamir could be saved from the death sentence only if the wife of the deceased gives a letter forgiving him.
Determined to save Aamir, Zeenat travels from Himachal to Jodhpur in search of Meera and to extract a signature on the letter from her.
One would wonder what Shreyas Talpade is doing in the movie? But he seems so essential to bring those light-hearted moments to the otherwise heavy movie.

It is a rarity that heroines are shown having a head above their shoulders , the only heroine that I can recall in recent times is the character of Antara Mali in ‘Naach’ – totally individualistic, fearless and strong-willed – an anti-thesis of the usual cry-babies of Bollywood. So I found myself drawn to the character of Zeenat, excellently portrayed by Gul Panag. This movie isn’t as much about the husband’s death as it is about the emancipation of women and the power of saying ‘No’ to something that they do not want to do. Many reviews have praises for Ayeasha Takia but my vote goes to Gul Panag for her subtle yet powerful performance.

Having said that, I would also ask Why do film-makers feel that they can’t do away with the clichés?. – especially the last scene in the railway station? (haven’t we seen enough with this ending?) and also Shreyas appearing out of nowhere to save Zeenat from the goons and last of all Shreyas declaring his love for Zeenat – totally uncalled for.
Though they might be overlooked in the greater view of the movie in totality, they do mar the effect of the otherwise well-made movie.

On Sunday I found myself heading towards Prasads multiplex to catch In Pursuit of Happyness -the biography of Chris Gardner which seemed a little over the top of the drama genre. We see Will Smith, with the junior Smith struggling to make ends meet by selling high-density bone-scanners; one might ask what is a high-density bone scanner?, to which, I would like to quote these lines from the movie , ‘that which provides a denser image than the x-ray at double the cost’, which would give you an estimate of how difficult it is to make one's living selling these gizmos. So realization dawns upon Chris that the way to happiness is to be rich and the way to becoming rich is by becoming a stock broker.

We are then hit with different visual images of how much Chris suffers along with his kid, after his wife abandons him. How he gets thrown out of his house for not paying rent, how he stays at a State run home for the homeless, how he spends a night in the jail .

Inspite of all this he manages to obtain a seat at the stockbroker internship programme.
How he loses one of his shoes in recess of his Internship and walks back with a single shoe and how his kid loses his favorite toy while they climb into the bus.

And if all these haven’t succeeded in inducing tears to your eyes – believe me, you are not going to enjoy this movie – my only regret is that I was not warned.

Ok, perhaps it is not such a bad movie like I make it to be, but yes it is definitely worth watching at home – in one of those re-runs of Star Movies.