July 14, 2010


At first there were just 2 colours in the minds of men – black and white and our movies resembled that. We knew who the bad guys were. We knew it by their laugh and we always knew they would lose in the end.

Somewhere down the line good guys started doing bad things. Really bad things. But that was always the result of circumstances. They were told so by their mother, brother, sister, daughter, repented in the last half an hour of the movie, killed all the bad guys and went to Central Jail. The last scene was always a happy family waiting for them outside.

Then was the era of the anti hero. Our pent up frustrations came to the forefront. We idolized the guys who took on the system. They were evil but evil because the system. I still remember the scene from Nayagan where Kamal Hassan is asked by his grandchild, “Are you a good guy or a bad guy?”

Then the lines began to merge. It became difficult to understand who was good or even what was good. Perhaps grey had spread its wings all over our lives and our movies reflected that. And then came the movie Unthinkable. Watching it all my boundaries were again redrawn. Good, Evil, Right and Wrong everything changed every moment of the movie. The movie was horrifying. An usual plot with an unusual treatment. A bomb threat in the US, an interrogator, innocent lives lost and then the question – What is your limit? I loved the movie as even in the face of despair, one person did not lose hope, made the toughest choice of all – save two innocent lives that she could over hundreds of others who she left to fate. That’s perhaps the wrong choice to many but there lies the beauty of the movie. There’s no longer any right or wrong and that pushes us to do the Unthinkable.

Post watching it I almost went into a state of depression and started watching one movie after the other. And none helped. Edge of Darkness was a great movie to be watched for the inner torment of a father who lost his only child. The action is subdued, the screenplay taut and gripping much unlike Icarus, A Team and The Losers which should be watched if you are bored and need mindless action. Of course if you had fallen in love with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz when you were a bumbling teenager, you must watch Knight and Day. The action is blinding, the comedy is pure situational slap stick but that’s what you want. So these movies did not help much and I had to watch something different.

So I watched Karate Kid and it just wasn’t up to the mark. Great acting by Jaden Smith, a lacklustre performance by Jackie Chan (perhaps demanded by the script) and no great Kung Fu either. The angst of moving to a new city and a new life was underdeveloped. Even the story of the underdog was not touching, the movie could have been so much better.

A change of genre was required and I watched Exam. An interesting movie, great direction but perhaps the psychoanalytical aspect of the human mind could have been better documented. One examination hall, few rules, said and unsaid, 8 contenders for a coveted job and the ultimate challenge – this movie could have been Mortal Kombat for the Brain. Only it just fell a bit short but was riveting nonetheless.

But the movie that redeemed me was Toy Story 3. This is the best Toy Story made. Ever. And that’s it. Andy finally moved to college and the question we all had asked was answered. What will happen to the Toys? This one is not a story for the kids but for us who have left our childhood behind. It is a movie to be watched by everyone for it tugs at your heart. In the lonely nights when I have spent sleepless nights I have often wondered about the books and toys I have left behind at home. They always brought a smile to my lips and I used to close my eyes for a few hours of sleep. It also teaches you new values about friendship and that’s what makes it all the more beautiful.

Currently I am watching Tum Milo to Sahi as I write. And surprisingly it’s turning out to be a good movie. As I always say, “never judge a movie by its reviews.” You never know when you will be pleasantly surprised.

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