Monday, 25 July 2011
One side effect of living in Dubai, I've realised, is that I have become a voracious movie watcher. I can safely assert that I think I watch as many movies as any member of the academy that dishes out the Oscars. Because of this, I find myself overly interested in films that get all the hype and praise and feel compelled to judge them in my own way. So, despite not having a red carpet beneath my feet, or the smell of popcorn in the air, these are my alternative views on the films that everyone has been talking about.
First off, I wasn't a big fan of The King's Speech. There was a lot of hype surrounding this film and its subject matter, way beyond what was deserved. The timing, of course, was perfect, what with a royal wedding this year. And to be fair, it is a nicely made film with some strong performances. But for me, it's a simple story with a misleading climax. I have to declare I am not a supporter of the English royal family. Ignoring this prejudice, I just didn't feel that the big ending, with the king managing to pull off his speech, was intellectually rewarding and, in fact, I found it duplicitous. The king didn't stride away from the microphone and into the battle he so proudly encouraged the nation to support. It was others far less privileged that had to man up and go fight. Even the most basic of action films show heroes both talking the talk and walking the walk, an honourable message to communicate, and one we can relate to.
Just to prove I'm not being confrontational just for the sake of it, amazingly I loved Black Swan. Even to attempt a film about ballet and achieve broad appeal with it is a massive achievement. But the way in which the story was told and directed was nothing short of magical. For me, this film placed the audience right behind the eyes of Natalie Portman as the neurotic, frail but fiercely driven star of the dance company. We felt every emotion and challenge she faced right in our hearts, and our heads were left spinning in her crazy world. I am not saying I am now inspired to pull on a pair of tights and prance around on stage or even submit myself to sitting through a ballet performance in real life, but I could see that film over and over again and be mesmerised in different ways each time I watched it.
Now a jump from the sublime to the ridiculous! I must salute the genius of Jackass 3D, which despite being puerile, disgusting and ultimately pointless, earns my accolade as the funniest film I have seen in years. And the fact that they used 3-D technology, heralded as the newest and most cutting-edge big-screen innovation, to enhance the childish vision of Johnny Knoxville jumping a jet ski from a fountain through a hedge is pure gold!
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
I remember some folks asked me a question about what subjects I liked at school. I was little flippant and tried to suggest that I spent all my time laughing and doing impressions of the teachers.That is really only part of the story and really only part of the true answer to the original question, so I will try to fill in the blanks for them.It is often said, “School days are the best days of or lives”. Whoever said that certainly didn’t go to my school (SCHSS in Nagercoil). It wasn’t that my school was particularly rough or out of control compared to others, it’s just that the pressure of discipline from the system and the demands of learning didn’t make for an easy ride as a teenager when you have so much other stuff going on like growing up, waiting to give a glance to the little chicks you admire, Chasing to find a secret place to fag!But as we all come to realize, what we learn at school can be a great foundation for the challenges of later life, and that goes beyond what is taught to us from the textbooks, it’s more what these years teach us about ourselves.I was better at the arts and languages than science and maths. This wasn’t because I was particularly gifted at anything. I just found the English Language and literature courses more interesting than maths, chemistry and physics. I was so terrible at those last three subjects, you wouldn’t believe it. Most kids passed their maths in ‘A’ level when I took the numerical ‘0’ as my mark once. I was not shocked or surprised because I was the one who performed it. But it embarrassed my maths teacher and my female class mates, I remember they dint spoke to me for a while, I dint cared either.To this day, I think I only passed because a portion of the exam was multiple choices. There’s a principle that if you give 100 monkeys and 100 typewriters, eventually they will produce the works of Shakespeare - through complete chance. In the same way, I must have ticked the correct quota of A‘s and B’s to strike gold! I hated physics more than maths, as none of it made sense, and the learning process was hampered by our teacher who used to come to work by motorbike with bags over his handle and we believed it’s his lunch. I was waiting for years to flunk the subject and drop it forever and I did. All I learned was why one shouldn’t put magnet into iron filings.Actually to be fair, I was enticed by Mercury as it doest have any shape and we were told that is too costly to afford, this makes me to fill my Reynolds pen with mercury and hide it in my thigh band. Also I learned how painful it is to be hit on the head with the wooden chalkboard eraser. The teacher was a real Robin Hood when it came to flinging that board eraser at me! I have cursed him more than 1000 times for every throw he made.I must admit, now that I’m older and smarter (some would think), I realize how the role teachers play in our lives is so central. To be able to take virtually empty heads and fill them up with knowledge and stuff to the point where learning can be an inspiration, is a truly special vocation. I was lucky enough to have a history teacher who did just that, and despite being the strictest disciplinarian, he seemed to make education a true joy and challenge that left me wanting more(He is no more now).I always loved to tell stories which is why I was always better at English lessons than anything else.I can explain, Language is one of the things that helped my progress till date.I don’t think I’ve ever needed to exercise my knowledge of isosceles triangle in real life, but things around are razzle-dazzle for me!