Tuesday, July 08, 2008


First of all, I like the movie; and this is one movie on which everyone has a different opinion. Everyone has their favorite character. A few liked the graphics. A few hate it. A few liked the "butterfly effect". A few thought it had no relevance. The 12th century scenes made sense to some; no sense to others. Kamal Hassan successfully got everyone talking.
There are so many subtleties and sub-texts that people have noticed - one person mentioned that the Lorry on which Kamal jumps in Chengelpet road had "Siva-Siva" written on it. Kamal got people watching the movie multiple times. Good job.
A few items of discussion:
1. Kamal has a problem with religions but not with all of them, as people could see. That is fine. An artist belongs to his day and age and Kamal is still a product of the sixties, with DK ruling the roost. Plus, I think the majority religion here can afford to take a few hits and not be so touchy about it.

2. It is incredible that people actually tried banning this movie - whatever happened to freedom of expression? The argument everytime in India goes, "Freedom of expression is fine..but you cannot go overboard". But who decides what is overboard? Even if a majority is hurt by a movie, an individual's freedom of expression trumps that majority. It is a fundamental right. More on this in another blog post.

3. Kamal's final conversation with Asin on God brought back memories.
Me and my friends Tayo and Lucy were having a conversation 3 or 4 years back. Tayo is a Nigerian who had finished college in Odessa, the Ukrainian port city. He was out of money and wanted to go to London and try getting a job. He caught a train in Odessa and went all the way to London (yes, that is possible). He had all his earthly belongings, and a friend's phone number in London. He lands in London and finds that he has misplaced the phone number. And cannot afford a hotel or anything in London. He cannot go back either. He is standing in the London train station, cursing himself.
At that moment, a miracle happened, according to Tayo. A classmate of his from Nigeria, a country he had left seven years earlier, walked past him in the London train station. And he had the phone number of their mutual friend.
Think of the odds of that.
Tayo finished this story and said, "That is why I believe in God".
I said, "But if God was there, he wouldn't have caused you to miss that phone number".
Lucy interjected and said, "Yes, but then Tayo would never know the presence of God".
It is hard arguing with that. I have noticed that many atheists act with lots of contempt towards religious people.I myself do not believe in God or any supreme power, but I can understand the power of that idea. Kamal Hassan, in this movie and in others, shows that contempt of the ill-informed. Religious people are not idiots.

4. One part that disappointed me was the run-up to the tsunami. Fletcher and the Japanese guy are fighting on the quayside. The helicopter is overboard. Govind and Asin are watching a little way off. How nice would it be if the camera had shown the receding of water during the tsunami? Everyone would have been oblivious except for the viewers, who had already been excited by the birds fleeing the coming doom. I though they would show that effect, but they seem to focus more on the martial skills of Kamal.

5. What was Kamal thinking about the finale of the movie? How could they show that ridiculous stadium meeting with Bush and Manmohan Singh and then K.S Ravikumar (for god's sake) dancing WITHOUT showing the titles? That ruined the whole fantasy of the movie and made it look like a circus. That must be one of the reasons people felt a vague discomfort about the movie - because the director ruined the fantasy in the end.

Overall, good movie but far from perfect.