There were three movies I saw recently almost back to back. There was Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Once Upon a Time in Mexico and then there was Ivide [Here].
The Mexican flick made in 2003 starring Antonio Banderas has the hero using his guitar as a machine gun to take out the bad guys. I was particularly spellbound when Mariachi (Antonio) asks the President what music to play at the banquet – after which he will be dispatched – and he answers ‘Malaguena.’ Too bad the haunting tune fades in the background to accommodate more pressing matters like machine gun fire. With the smouldering Salma Hayek having designs of her own, this is a roller coaster ride into the heart of Mexico.
Our desi Tanu Weds Manu Returns has Kangana Ranaut playing two women, the suave yet high strung, Blanche DuBois character, Tanu, and the other Datto a small town girl from Chandigarh. Both are hung up on the same man. The critics have been crowing over KR for her feat of stealing the show without a male lead the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan or Aamir Khan. This is great disservice to Madhavan and his understated performance. I quite liked him in Rang de Basanti (2006). The silly ending as if to restore the moral order is a slap in the face of Datto and reinforces the sacrosanct bond of a traditional marriage in India, no matter if the wife has her husband dumped into a lunatic asylum in London. The reprieve at a Kanpur is refreshing, and the scenes of no-nonsense Datto at D.U. (Delhi University) made me reminisce over my time there.
Indian language movies have been known to explore different themes, away from mainstream Hindi cinema. Tabarana Kathe (Kannada, 1986) by Girish Kasaravalli and Uttara (Bengali, 2000) by Buddhadev Dasgupta come to mind. Ivide (Malayalam) released this year may not be of the same ilk but it merits mention for its theme which though so disturbing has to my mind not been the subject of a mainstream film. The film takes up the issue of Indians being killed in the US, Atlanta to be precise.
The loneliness of the lead character played by Prithviraj Sukumaran, the police inspector is very convincing. Separated from his wife and his daughter, facing reproach from his boss for barking up the wrong tree, the movie can only end with his death in one brave encounter. While his arch rival the CEO of an IT firm (Nivin Pauly)marries his wife and brings her home to Kerala, Prithviraj gives up his life in gun battle to save the CEO who is being held hostage by a crazed American disgruntled about how the Indians are stealing all the jobs.
I was wishing there were more movies lie Ivide which brought out the searing angst of the everyday hell some of us live. But aren’t movies supposed to be an escape from reality, you may argue. I think that there are too many movies that provide this escape. ‘Humankind’ T.S. Eliot reminds us in Four Quartets ‘cannot bear very much reality.’
Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. inez, Goa on Sunday 28 June 2015; pix source imgres