Friday, February 18, 2011

Moving Pictures

I am fascinated by cinema, by theatre and by books. Not necessarily always in that order. In fact a good movie or book can keep me away from so many 'more important' things in life. Do I regret it? Never! But this passion makes me ask myself what exactly is it about this often 'unreal' world that draws me?
I love movies, and I love deciding what is good cinema for me, not just what is supposed to be good cinema. Oftentimes, somebody else's idea of a great movie may not be the same as mine. That leads me to the question, what is it that we desire, expect, derive from watching a movie? Is it just the appreciation of another person's vision, creation? Is it for pure entertainment? Is it for education? Is it in order to be awed? Is it in order to lose yourself for a while?

What is it about a movie that appeals to you the first and the most? These may not be the same at all!
To me, the story is incredibly important. It does not have to always be going somewhere straightforward, or be life-changing or terribly profound and realistic. But it should have something, a moment perhaps that touches me and draws me in. Then the rest might be mundane but I am hooked! I do not understand direction, editing, cinematography and so on, so all I can say is a beautiful frame is definitely a plus, makes the experience more aesthetic but it is not a requisite for the movie-watching experience to be fulfilling. Of course, a brilliantly crisp story with all the correct ingredients can fall flat if the actors are wishy-washy. They need to be able to make me believe the characters they are playing. That's all. Sometimes actors are so into themselves that they never stop being themselves. That gets on my nerves. Also, special effects and action sequences never seem to impress me. So no dhishoom dhishoom for me!

I make no claims about being a highly evolved, discerning and knowledgeable movie-watcher at all. But I think that a movie that engrosses me, makes me want to be an onlooker of the scene unfolding, if not a participant is all that is essential to make me watch it in its entirety. Otherwise, I am sorry to say, I have grown to be a fan of the fast-forward button. Which explains how I get through 4-5 movies in one night.
Oh, and the trigger for all this unnecessary thought... the movie Ijaazat. I fell in love with it, all over again. Cried bucketloads, marveled about the strength of the roles written, Rekha's beauty, the poetry and the music, the non-judgemental treatment of the story! It almost breaks my heart to watch something like this and yet I choose to go through the experience again and again, because it feels like I live through all that the characters experience!

Is there a movie that made you want to stop everything else and just watch it endlessly? Over a lifetime, there may have been many, perhaps you could tell me about them :)