My movie fix for the past week were these two strange tales, from contemporary India and 17th century America. Both full of drama, both full of affected male characters. Very masculine films both, the women mere wallflowers in the script. The difference is that I disliked the first and rather loved the second. And no, it’s not about being partial to Hollywood at all!
Let me start by tabling my views on Jolly LLB. Despite its talented cast, brilliant performances by Boman Irani and Saurabh Shukla and a decent show by Arshad Warsi, the film fell flat. The script was too predictable, the first half slow. A few sharp dialogues and colloquialisms were all that it had going for it and a sense of satisfaction, the good old good-over-evil win in the end. Nothing to write home about at all.
What piqued my interest though was the few minutes spent on discussing the plight of the homeless and pavement dwellers in the film. Because I work in the area of shelter and urban poverty, I was happy to see the movie tackle head-on the issue of the tremendous prejudice with which elite society treats the homeless and the downtrodden, how little their lives are valued and how meager our understanding of the conditions that drive them to leave their rural homes and come to work in the big, mostly bad city!
Coming to Tarantino’s Django Unchained, I have to say it was sheer entertainment. Once I got used to the copious amounts of blood and gore that splatters the screen at regular intervals, I sat back and savored the beautifully constructed shots, the oh-so-apt background score and the well-etched characters in the film. The period setting is impeccably done and life on the plush plantations of the Southern States in pre-Civil War America shown in all its splendor. Django, the D silent mind you, is fashioned after our own Rajnikanth (Rajni Sar!), shades and all! The story, haunting in its sadness and poetry, is a parody of itself almost, the emotional angle underplayed to the point of getting a bit lost in all the melodrama. Quite a bit like Gangs of Wasseypur and I believe Tarantino is Anurag Kashyap’s inspiration for his work.
No comparison is possible and I won’t attempt it! The common thread is only the subtext of the reality of injustice in a world where survival is the only truth and a belief in destiny your only hope. In that sense, the D is silent indeed!