World Themes for Indian Cinema (Part 3 of 8)

Co-Blogging Series- Anand Chandrasekharan and Lazy Geek

Fire-fighters, investment bankers, engineers working on outsourced IT projects, doormen – thousands lost their lives. The untold outrage, the genuine sorrow (and the political photo-ops) aside, one of the most vivid memories of September 11, 2001 is tens of people jumping down from a burning tower.

man falling from tower

When people are struck by tragedy… when they are jumping out of a burning tower… are they jumping from jobs and lives they loved?

Parts 1 and 2 of this series focussed on real people (Srinivas Ramanujan and the unsung hero Dr.V) whose lives make inspiring themes. This attempt (in verse) is more abstract and philosophical and tries to relate to the mindset of the victim when tragedy strikes and one’s life flashes before one’s eyes…

THE MAN IN THE MIRROR
Our parts, our roles, they’re all perfect,
So prim nobody would suspect…
anything astray, anything out of the ordinary,
Performances simply extraordinary.
As we live life, donning our make up,
Through every “Howz it going”, thru every “whatsup”,
Do we stop to think, to ponder?
To look for a moment, yonder…
At the man in the mirror, he lives…
Reflections, ruminations, dreams, beliefs!
Listen to him, for he would introduce,
That person, given a choice, we’d choose…
Be him, and life would not be sour,
Even if one’s jumping from a burning tower.

My Take on this – Lazy Geek
He stands high at the 102nd floor of the burning tower, struggling what could be his escape route. He can probably jump and hope he can survive. Flashes of his wife, children, parents, friends come before him. Should he jump? I am worried about him.

They may call it sensational stuff, paint it grey or even complain it as cashing in from a nostalgic tale, but the man from the falling tower is certainly the concern of the theme.

Movies like Mahanadhi have captured the toil a man undergoes for no mistake of his. The way families get destroyed because of one small mis-judgement. It irritates you. You can never stomach that. You can’t even agree to this fact. It is one of the few times that we have reality striking before our eyes.

Didn’t the reality strike on 9/11? Didn’t that reality strike us with the incidents that happened in India? Every time it happens we forget it in less than a week as the news about those incidents decreases exponentially. But thinking back after a couple of years, they get reduced to few images we saw on CNN that night, in India.

Movies have long standing impact on people life. Genuine Ones. This could also be one genuine one if at all someone was willing to be genuine enough in crafting this movie. It needn’t be as lavish as Titanic, as sober as Schindler’s List. Just a honest depiction. Indian directors are changing to the new style of Multiplex movies. This, however, cannot be a multiplex movie. By all means, this has to widely watched like Lagaan.

But that man at the 102nd floor, waiting to jump, still worries me.

8 thoughts on “World Themes for Indian Cinema (Part 3 of 8)

  1. Ok this will have shades of the Titanic.

    Where do you start -with this potent image or do you end with it?

    In either case – will it look at whether the American dream was worth dreaming, especially by non-Americans?

  2. Just a little thought. I have been fiddling with this one for about 3 years now.

    I was actually thinking of writing a story placed in the 18th century madras. (1750s onwards)

    A very simple, straight forward story without anything even remotely resembling tamil cinema cliches (like flashbacks for one).

    The film would be completely in B&W, and is placed, as I mentioned in 1760 Madras. Egmore, or Mylapore.
    The lead actor is a small time entrepreneur who is also the town watch for the locality. Would make for a brilliant telling if handled well, as well as make for an amazing window into our history.

    What do you think Guru?

  3. Ravages – this one is evocative of Tim Burton’s Big Fish. If you’ve seen the film, you know what an amazing effect the depiction you described can have – black and white, realistic depiction of a local guy working for the social good of a small town.

  4. Very good topic! The thoughts of a man standing at death’s brink or for that matter, any lift-changing event (that he is not responsible for) can have so many takes. I think many good movies deal with this, but its never enough. Mrs & Mr Iyer and Anbe Sivam are more explicit example. But, I think, Kannathil Muthamittal is an implicit case where the small girl has to face to fact which she is not responsible for. How / Why people react to these the way they do will make a very interesting story-line. But, to make it really interesting, it should not be patronizing to the protoganist of the movie (which I think Mahanadi was in a way). Take, the Pianist, for example.

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