It's Oscars time. Somebody wake the Grouch.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Stew's Celluloid Soliloquy

This week I want to take into the world of Indian film, or Bollywood as those who think they know what they're talking about call it. Indian director Jayaraj's "Atbhutam" (Wonder), which at first I thought was a biopic of Stevie Wonder, is actually the story of an Indian playwright dying of pancreatic cancer who wishes to be euthanized. The 74 minute film was shot in two hours and 14 minutes, allegedly a new world record but also no way to make a serious film. Jayaraj considers himself an experimental director and far be it from me to say that he's a crackpot. Apparently he knows something about cinema as he is already listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most prolific producer having been involved with 110 films and everyone knows that someone who has produced so many movies can't be a crackpot. Except for maybe Darryl F. Zanuck.

The story of "Abhutam" is loosely based on the Terri Schiavo story in that it involves someone who will die. That, at least for me, is where the comparison ends. It took longer than 2 hours and 14 minutes for the US Supreme Court to deny Terri's writ of certiorari. Still I wanted to find out what the movie was all about so I read through the script and watched a first cut of it. For your review I have included the scene where Ravi, the stricken playwright, is visited by his brother Vijay.

Abhutam

Scene 3

Vijay: Greetings brother, how is the pancreas?

Ravi: Damn this pancreas, they should just remove it and serve it with fava beans.

Both laugh heartily

Ravi: Seriously brother, have you heard from our father and mother.

Vijay: They send greetings as well. But they are not too much excited about the euthanasia.

Ravi: I'm not exactly ecstatic. Laugh track

Vijay: What was that laughing noise I heard?

Ravi: Never mind. (distressed) My life is ending, how ironic!!!

Vijay: Why is it ironic?

Ravi: I'm afraid we have no time to make the incongruity apparent.

Vijay: Good-bye brother.

Ravi: I'll see you when you break on through to the other side.

End scene

A little bit dry there and I think you can see where exploring the life of the dying man may have been of some benefit to the story. Here's another scene where he meets his mother and father for the last time.

Scene 5

Ravi: Welcome to my dear mother and father.

Mother: Ravi, why have you not written or phoned us?

Ravi: I was too busy dying from the bad pancreas.

Mother: Oh yes, now I remember.

Father: My son, your mother and I are worried sick about the euthanasia. At least with the pancreatic cancer you have a 0.0000015 percent chance.

Ravi: My heart will go on. (sitar music swells)

Mother: Why is Vijay playing that sitar so loudly? (we see Vijay in the corner and he stops playing)

Ravi: There is no more time, I must be euthanized. (he takes a shot and waits to die)

End Scene

So if you like slap dash Indian movies that are supposed to mirror real world events please go and see Abhutam with my blessings. It'll at least be as good as 16 Blocks and Ultraviolet and you might even be able to understand the plot.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home