the ship which once sailed high

Titanic has been re-released in 3D recently after almost a decade and half. My better half has been excited about seeing it ever since we saw the trailer of it some months back. However I tried I am not able to even pretend the same level of enthusiasm on watching that movie again albeit in 3D. Trust me, I don’t have anything against that movie; infact it used to be my favorite movie during my Pre-US days. Over the course of time it has sort of waned down.

This information might amuse those who know me well now - as a kid and teenager; I hardly used to watch any English movies. I was not a great fan of English movies then. My reasoning was simple - I didn’t not understand any shit those people were rolling out of their tongue. In the pre-vcd, pre-internet era, it was hard for me to get hold of English movies which would help my comprehension of language with appropriate subtitles. Hence the count of English movies I had seen was only a handful. I could pretty much count them by hand and almost recollect them all. And notable amongst them were Jurassic park and Titanic (Baby's day out, Home Alone 1, Speed 1 & 2, Anaconda, Godzilla etc making taking up most of the remaining).

Thus from the limited exposure I had, my favorite English movie was Titanic. Blame it on my hormones, I liked it not just for the grandeur, but also for the delicate love story between Jack and Rose it depicted. I loved it so much so that we asked our dad to get a Video cassette of the movie from Dubai (with the clear understanding and awareness that the censorship in the middle east is quite strict and I won't get to see seeing any 'drawing' (the verb) and will have to settle for 'drawing' the noun). That is how much I liked it.

So, when I landed in the land of Hollywood in the middle of the 21st century, I was still searching to find Hindi, Malayalam and Tamil movies online, still reclusive to watch English ones. During the initial weeks in my college, I had the opportunity to attend a social gathering event at a church near our college. So, here I was sitting in a round table eating lunch with couple of my fellow desis from college and some White Americans. So, they were asking us the usual questions about India and how different does it feel to be in US blah blah blah and the conversation leered towards movies. They were curious if we get to see English movies in India or listen to English songs. While a friend of mine was answering their questions how he and others see many English movies and are fans of English songs,  I was maintained a facial expression as if I agree with everything my buddy was telling and it’s ridiculous to even think that there is a possibility that people in India might not have seen English movies.

And then one of the young ladies we were asked which was our favorite English movies. My buddies had difficult time picking a movie unlike me – I was certain of my answer. I told “Titanic’. I was not hoping to get “aww” from any one, but at least I was expecting someone at the table to say “that’s my favorite too” or “I love that movie”. Instead what I got was a repulsive “Really?, you like that movie?” …that too from girls in their 20s who were the demography that that movie targeted. I was amused by their remark, not because it was embarrassed me a bit, but because I could find no reason as to why they felt so. I just assumed that they were one of those rare girls who didn’t like it. 

To cut the story short, I remained oblivious to the vast treasure that is Hollywood movies till for good 1.5 years in US. And then, over the course of years how I turned into a huge English movies fan - who obsessively and religiously watched English movies and turned into someone who has a strong database about English movies and is also a connoisseur of movies - is a story for another day.

After having watched many classics, landmark and cult movies, now when I look back at Titanic, I see the sentiment behind those girls’ remark. For all the visual spectacle Titanic was when it came out, in the core of it, it was just a melodrama - one which was highly manipulative and a bit overrated. I still think it’s a good movie – just a good one, not a great one. But it was a landmark movie when it came out.

So, when my wife was all ecstatic seeing the trailer of Titanic in 3D again, and how she was drooling at the prospect of getting to watch it on big screen for the first time in her life, I cannot but think how I would have reacted had it happened when I was new in US, like she is now. My taste and preference of movies have changed - neither do I consider Titanic to be my favorite film, nor the prospect of seeing a ship sink excruciatingly slowly over 2 hrs in 3D excites me. I don’t think this movie even features any longer in my top 10 English movies of all time, but whenever I read or see anything related to the movie Titanic, I cannot but think about that phase of my life and my naivety or innocence – a time when I used to like a movie for its face value and not how over analyze the various aspects of it before deciding whether I liked it or not.


slaves of our image

A while back I was reading some article on Bollywood actor Dharmendra. One of the remarks made by a well respected Director said that “ He was  quite a talented actor, but ended up being a slave of his image. That’s exactly what I also felt, not about Dharmendra; but about another superstar from the Indian movie industry – Rajnikanth.  Based on some of his early year’s movies, I found him to be quite a good actor well in control of his histrionics skills. Over the years; thanks to the slew of superhero movies, he became more of a super human capable of making moves and kicks humanly impossible. Now a days, even if he tries to do a normal character, his fans would reject it outright. He has become the character he played on screen that it becomes him.

This made me wonder-  aren’t we all; albeit in a smaller scale, in one way or another, slave to our images? - Doesn't our action/behavior influenced to some extend by what other perceive of us? Don’t you behave or dress a certain way because the people around you expect you to be so? Don’t you think at times “Let’s not do it….thats not what my parents/friends expect to be on my nature”

 I, for one, can definitely vouch for that. I have had instances when people have remarked that it was so unlike of me,  even though they don’t necessarily know  me in and out to know what is ‘likely’ or ‘unlikely’ of me. I have had a friend who once remarked that he has never seen me angry and was surprised when I lost my temper. Even though he would have known that, like all normal human beings, I too have change in moods , yet it was a bit hard for him to accept it.

Likewise, there have been instances when my friends couldn’t believe that I could wear a particular shirts/pants which I have never worn before. Not that I cannot; but they couldn’t picture me in such an attire.

And I too, on many occasions, think what others might think about me before doing something. Like, I think hard about posting some photos or comments in Facebook wondering what others might think about me- not that I would not do it or have not done it – just reluctant because I am uncertain as to how that would affect others impression about me…or how it would affect my image.

I believe the same mentality is what stops some celebrities from acting like a common man – not that they don’t behave so; but are not expected to be found so.

(I know I don’t make a strong case here – my validation points are quite feeble- blame it on the writer’s block I have been having or rustiness of not having blogged in almost a year. Trust me I make a more solid case point on this subject verbally in person)