This post may portray me as a guy who did not have much of a childhood / adulthood other than watching movies all the time. But hey, that is fine, because, that is what I did and I’m pretty sure, most of you did the same!!
Why am I writing this?? 2 reasons. Read on.....
Reason 1 : My scrap book that was once the most precious possession of my life. I was not expecting to find it. So when I saw it, I got very happy.
Flashback sequence – A kid (ME), after getting back home from theatre ( it a 5 pm show at Alka Talkies), scribbling notes on his movie log file. Once done, he promptly puts the book inside his shelf and makes a mental note to save enough money (spent on bun-maska) for the next movie.
The room suddenly was brimming with nostalgia.
Reason 2: The writing is on the wall. My family gave me an ultimatum.
They have been asking me to give up my addiction for quite a while now. Yesterday was the last straw.
My Ipod & laptop have been snatched away to cure me.
Just like any other addiction, my affair with movies started as a healthy habit.
Before I was taken to the theatre to watch “Gone with the wind” (Oh mercy, What was my Appa thinking?) at the age of 6, I was shown Godfather, assassination of JFK on our 14 inch black & white TV. Though I could not comprehend a thing then, I was inducted into the world of cinemas quite early.
The first movie that I vividly remember watching in a cinema hall was Amar, Akbar, Anthony (It was a re-run show in Apollo Talkies in 1992). I could not stop gawking at the screen. It had the biggest stars ( I was told) doing awesome stunts on a large screen. I wondered if my Appa could do things that Amitabh Bacchan (there, I picked my favorite of the lot) did on screen.
During school, most of the weekends were spent watching movies on VHS. It was during these weekends, when I discovered Nitin Manmohan Desai, Yash Chopra, Mani Ratnam, K.Balachandar, Kamal Hassan, Frank Capra, Sergeo Leone, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino.
These were people who did extraordinary things that we people could never do. These stalwarts made me realize how rewarding cinema could be. In retrospect, I feel that I enjoyed movies because I was always told that it is something that you do to have fun and look forward to. I was conditioned that way. If the movie turned out to be good, it was an added bonus.
In the years that have gone by, I have seen all sorts of movies. Some great, some ok, sum just plain horrible. What I have come to realize is that it is the “just plain horrible” movies that make me sit up and enjoy the great / ok ones. Rabindranath Tagore said that our brains are lazy and they look for patterns. They do indeed, but, every now and then, a filmmaker has come by and just shifted the paradigm. Movies like Kannathil muttam ittal (A peck on the cheek), Taxi driver, Nayakan, Inception, It’s a beautiful life, Memento (and a lot more) made me sit up and take notice. They challenged my brain. I felt like how Shriram (my maths teacher’s son and my classmate) would have felt when he would have solved a difficult trigonometry sum or got a chemistry equation right.
Films are a catalyst. They present dramatic problems, crises, and turnarounds. Films beg to be interpreted and discussed, and from those discussions we come up with principles / ideas in our daily lives.
Here are a few lessons that school did not teach me.
Rocky - You may be dumb, but to fight, you need heart, a big one.
Godfather - Be ruthless, things will fall in place.
Western actioners - You need to make the first move, else you are dead.
Lagaan - (a) Believe in yourself. (b) Make a beginning, (c) build a team, (d) Support team members, (e) lead from the front, (f) make the best use of limited resources, (g) Your girlfriend will always be jealous if you talk to just any other girl.
Nayakan - Always help people. People stand by you.
Dalapati - Stick your neck out for your friends.
It's a wonderful life - Be good to your family & community. God notices everything.
The pursuit of happyness - If you ever feel down and out & feel you have lost everything in life, go watch this movie. You will know why this movie is on the list.
This has been one of the most self-indulgent posts I have written. I would have done the same when I was a kid (from the flashback sequence). After all this is just like the diary / log that I maintained when I was a kid.
Food for thought - What is the full form of a blog - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog