Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Movies and More Movies

We watched “Swades” yesterday night. Turned out to be a pleasant experience (agreed one has to watch the movie with an open mind, accept the fact that Indian movies are all about the melodrama and tying up all possible loose ends in the most twisted of knots and (this is the most important part!!!) never ask too many questions), especially after the last two movies we watched earlier this week – Maria Full of Grace and Rabbit-Proof Fence. Both the movies are without doubt among the most touching, realistic movies I have watched – but the underlying human tragedy leaves you with that same queasy feeling in the tummy I spoke about in my earlier post. Maria Full of Grace at least gives us the joy of a happy ending (towards the end we were routing for Maria to stay back), while the Rabbit-Proof Fence delivers its punch line in the form of one (the ending was reminiscent of Schindler’s List). Swades was light hearted by comparison. Indian moviemakers have a compulsive urge to gloss over poverty and societal ills in the same way they glamorize their heroines (even the village school teacher looks like a Glad Rags model); which unfortunately makes movies like Swades into glossy public awareness ads. On the whole I enjoyed the movie which is based on the real life story of two former UMCP students who left their jobs in the US to return to India and work for AID. But I would have definitely enjoyed the movie more if it was about 2 hours shorter.

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