July 24, 2012

Why I Feel Let Down by Mr. Nolan

By now I would think everyone who has been crazy about the Dark Knight trilogy must have seen the movie so it’s a safe time to put my comments in for all who cares to listen or read. In a line – The Dark Knight Rises disappoints. For the entire running time, I never stirred in my seat; I was hooked by the spectacle on the screen but I never felt the tension that had built up while I watched batman take on Ras Al Ghul or the Joker. And that’s where lies the failure of the Man who gave us Memento, Inception and in my opinion the greatest villain in the movie world – Joker.

Both the earlier Batman stories were more than just stories – it had all started with Ras telling Batman that he had to become a legend. And for the two movies he became just that – an apparition – a dark knight who was ready to take the fall. He battled not the events; for the events could have been taken on by any superhero (or even the earlier Bats); what he battled were ideologies – the contrived, unforgiving justice of Ras or the crazy chaos personified by the Joker.

And that’s where the movies were different from the Boy Toys. The Batmobile never became the centrepiece, neither did the spectacular chase sequence halfway through Dark Knight; what remained with the audience hours after they had left the theatres was a primal fear – of evil, of lawlessness; of retribution at some strange justice for none of us have our souls clean.

Against this backdrop, came the story of The Dark Knight, more promising than ever before; with Bane taking up the mantel against Batman – the only one in the graphic novels to have broken Batman’s back and rendered him helpless (you can almost see a recreation of the comic book page in the movie.) You had Cat Woman – about whom we have had endless fights discussing whether she’s good, bad or grey and whether she feels for the Bat. You had scenes reminiscent of Bastille and the anarchy that follows a revolution and a fascinating trailer showing a football field getting devastated and yet what we have is a predictable Good vs. Bad movie which could have been directed by anyone with an eye for special effects.

And that’s where I feel let down by Mr. Nolan. Anyone else directing this movie would have been showered with applause and then promptly forgotten till the next ironman movie came along but here was a director who had forced us to think about the nature of the evil, about choices, about justice and all that he gave us was a movie where we see a faint hint of a Robin coming in for a possible future movie, a Batman retiring and making the fight with Bane a personal one.

To be honest the hero in the movie perhaps is Commissioner Gordon; trusting his instincts, doing his job, facing a bigger threat than he can handle; giving new heroes their chance to stand up for something that they believe in and never losing hope even till the last moment because he knows whatever be the outcome, he has to fight on for the right reasons.

Maybe that’s what the ultimate truth is – superheroes exist on the silver screen. In life what matters is never giving up on what you believe in.

July 20, 2012

The Punter

He knew all about horses At least he thought so. So he bet on them. Always on which horse will win. He felt it beyond his dignity to bet on a horse losing. After all, the horses had some self respect.

He was a bit arrogant when it came to horses. He was an idealist as well. A strange combination one would say but it served him well. He knew if he was right and did his bets honestly; the horses would not let him down. Now as you would know, for any story to succeed, you have to get in some drama, action, passion till the point of time when there might be a strange sense of indigestion.

So in the peaceful life of this old punter of ours, came a few young colts and for the first time perhaps he slipped. He picked a few colts, rooted for them, what the heck he trained them for greatness. And then came the second round of colts. Better, stronger and designed to break every record ever held by horses!

But now something strange happened! The first set of colts began behaving strangely. It was almost as if they had become humans, full of jealousy for the new kids on the block.

And slowly the races began to look like wrestling fields with the horses crossing courses and neighing and kicking up dust till our poor punter was covered with mud. He thought, “What the hell. Enough of horse racing for a life time!” just as he was about to leave, he got a kick on his back. And what a kick it was.

He was bedridden for years. People said it was one of the older colts but our punter would have promised that it was not even a colt that he saw through the corner of his eyes as it kicked him, it was in reality a mule!

It was said, the older colts ran over the racing fields and the younger colts never ran a single race after that on those courses.

Years passed. Our Punter was old and wiry but much better now that he had given up on racing. But the other day, he opened his television set in his perfect Lego world and he saw an arena larger than anything he had ever imagined.

And there were his younger colts, racing and winning and breaking every record known to horses and to men.

And as I saw him watch the race, I wondered if this was a story of horses, of colts who grew up or a punter who honestly like most existential heroes, did almost nothing and yet was the protagonist.

July 14, 2012

The Four Little Mice Grow Up

One of my favourite stories as I was graduating and beginning my journey to understand Brands was about the four little mice. Their story is one of hope, of camaraderie, of possible futures that they wish came true some day.

But as life goes by I see the story of the four little mice change, evolve, develop – whatever you might call it. It’s interesting how each copes up, running on the little treadmill so that the scientist on the outside can observe and take notes on the little black book.

So as we move forward with our story, let’s see how the little mice fared. They all aged, they all greyed, they all added and shed back a few pounds but all in all they survived the big, bad city. And they met the ladies. Oh yes, you see as the every mouse grows up, according to all fairy tales involving mice, there has to be a mouse princess. So each met their princesses and some of them met the right ones, while the others waited.

The family mouse, the wise old one, who loved his family a lot, kept going further and further away till one day he decided to set sail again. His family wanted to open a Ratatouille store in a land far far away.

From each of their ships they could still see the other three, but it required a lucky wind to get their voice across to others. They called out once again, with the hope that “One day the ships will return.”