December 7, 2015

[Reflections] On Movies that Move and Move not!

Why are there certain movies that you’d like to live forever in and others that you want to run away from, in a few minutes? Is it about you or is it about the movie? You, in that time and place? Shouldn’t really good movies take you away, no matter where you are and what you are going through? Am I ascribing too much power to a movie? I only say so, because there have been movies that I simply lost myself in. Forgot what I was feeling momentarily, lost in the world and emotions of the characters. You find yourself teleported into the maze of human emotions. What really grounds me to a movie is truth. It comes from a place deep within one, which says ‘Yes, this works’ & ‘No, it doesn’t’. It’s pretty much an on-off switch. In certain bad movies, you can turn your attention to beautiful things of course. For instance, the cinematography might have such a sensuous quality but it’s just like looking at a pretty screen with nothing on and nothing outside the window either. It can hold your attention only for so long. Sometimes, a character is spectacular. He tries to pull the movie with his extraordinary performance. But, the movie falls to budge. For the sleek wheels on which the movie flies, is its story and the screenplay. It’s a duet of the two. The What and How! Sometimes, the story may be spectacular. Good, but still not as good as how it is, with the right screenplay. It’s the subtle art of ‘when to tell what needs to be told’. A certain confusion, a muddling of things, contradictory viewpoints, even an open-ended ending can turn the entire movie upside down. Awesome is the power of a movie to create unimaginable worlds. It’s been a drug ever since it was found. The mediums are changing. Why am I a fan of movies and not TV? Some people liken TV watching to the primitive fire gazing at the end of the day. Although I remember being fascinated by it, as a child, those He-man cartoons on Sunday mornings, the dripping-sad regional movies on the same afternoons, the Mahabaratha and the Ramayana and in later days, ‘Oliyum Oliyum’, which played all the latest film songs and it used to be the catastrophe of the week if the power went off at that time. Watching some of those same songs, by accident these days, makes you scream in laughter. Makes you shake your head in disbelief that you once enjoyed those things. Well, coming back, TV is a strict no-no. Although certain TV Series from US and UK has had us all captivated, of late. Still, it can’t hold a candle to a good movie. The stress is on ‘good’. There are only certain movies that seem to come at exactly the right time. At times, you find something you were battling with, solved subconsciously by a movie or even a scene in a movie. Some movies have that power to inspire and elevate you. Some movies make beautiful things out of the mundane. Some movies delve so deep into complex emotions and leave you wanting for more. But these are few and far between. In the battle between being business and art, many movies fail the ‘truth’ test. For the businessmen, it’s a lottery. For the aesthetically inclined, it’s a compromise. But few are the movies that take your breath away like a pristine island and in your search for one such, perhaps it’s worthwhile to wade through murky waters.

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