October 04, 2012

Of Inspiration, Inspiring and Inspired

Of late my wall on Facebook has been flooded with criticism about Barfi being a movie where images, events and scenes have been copied from multiple sources. And like most things in India where we spend hours on pointless debates, the media has gone crazy discussing it, especially after it became India’s nomination for the Oscars. The debate over Barfi is unwarranted according to my view. If anyone is to be blamed it’s the selection procedure for the Oscars. If a 4 hour long cricket match can be sent to Oscars, even Barfi can. No one takes Bollywood seriously anyway beyond its immense monetary clout. With Ray, our last magician passed away leaving behind a void which till date is waiting for someone to fill up.

Barfi was a great movie. I really believe it. Everyone who saw it came out of the cinema feeling nice about the world around them. Once they looked at the news feed; that’s when opinions started to change. As a friend of mine commented, we rarely watch great cinema, we rarely listen to great music and therefore (I added) if someone does watch and uses them as an inspiration, what can be said.

The line between outright copying and inspired work is extremely thin. According to Jungian Archetypes every story in the world follows one of 15 root stories or archetypes. Simply speaking, every love story where the star struck lovers die in the end because their families never accepted their love is a story of Romeo and Juliet retold.

Whether the director should have acknowledged his sources is a matter of little debate. Yes, he should have. Should the timelines of the story be a little clearer? Yes, they should have been. Should the story be more real? Of course not.

Priyanka Chopra grows into her role and I believe in the second half delivers a performance better than anyone else. RK is brilliant and the newcomer doesn’t disappoint. All in all, it’s a movie tribute to some of the nicest works of world cinema.

Coming however to inspiration, no one can be a better subject than Woody Allen. His Love Story with Europe continues and this time he takes us to Rome with a collage of multiple story lines which have no connection whatsoever. As a Woody Allen fan am I disappointed? Of course I am. He is slowly inching away from the depth of human psyche that he loves to portray but then his every story is original and after a long time truly funny.

The subtleties of Allen are evident everywhere. I wish I could be like him. Having achieved what he would have set out for in the beginning of his career, he is now having fun. I wish I can get that license as I grow old. I wish I can one day make a marketing mix I want to make, without bothering about approvals, investments and internal selling.

I wish one day The Andy Warhol of the day calls me up asking me if he could paint my own Absolut Warhol!!!

The third part is about inspiring movies. When you watch a movie like Moonrise Kingdom or Hope Springs, you realize that some people in this world are still trying to make different movies. And there are some who know how to grace with age. If you have not seen Moonrise Kingdom, it’s highly recommended just for the sheer storytelling. It might also be considered over the top depiction of a disturbed love story.

Maybe as my first grey hairs come on, I must learn the same.


Anand Kashyap said...

To say Ray was the last magician is a limiting view. No doubting his greatness, obviously. What about Anurag Kashyap, Ashutosh Gowariker , Farhan Akhhtar and Aamir Khan? I think they are some of the most talented content producers,Bollywood and Hollywood included. Not everyone came out of Barfi with a positive feeling. I felt the movie was 40 mins too long and plagiarism is a whole different debate.

Madhurjya Banerjee said...

@Anand - http://thebigindianpicture.com/2012/10/a-moment-in-the-conscience-of-man/

I don't agree with some of his views. But gives a good appreciation of what Ray was. All the people you mentioned have the brilliance but not the passionate zeal for Cinema. Btw watch Hugo :)

Anonymous said...

Chor chori se jaae, seenajori se naa jaae !

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