Monday, July 05, 2010

Two Movies “Three Idiots” and “Loud Speaker”

Three Idiots

Today I saw "Three Idiots" a movie I was meaning to see for what seems ages. My Bollywood quotient isn't much high (I blame fatigue) and I feel sort of impatient with long cinematic narratives that are going nowhere in particular. But having said that and having heard a lot about the movie I found it a big let down. Agreed, it has elements of an engaging film in which the characters elicit your sympathy and you go along with what is happening in their life as if you are experiencing in your own. This is the quality of all good literature and arts. First and foremost an artist wants his ideas and characters to be accepted for what he/she is and he/she wants the audience's sympathy. Which this movie gets. But why all this rona-dhona (crying and maudlin sentimentality)? Our directors think if they don't make you weep then their films aren't good enough. Bunkum.

It began on a very good note, engrossing scenes of college, fun all the way. Then it wandered into sentimental territory and I went cold and cut off. Something switched off. Why do sentiments have to play a major role in all our cinemas, the crying, the shedding of crocodile tears? As a people we are very shy of being seen crying, we keep things pent up, we bottle up, but on screen our actors shed copious tears, rant and rave and look how the women cry and throw tantrum. That was what was off-putting about the movie. But it is an excellent movie by Bollywood standards because there is a storyline and a plot line (unfortunately these two lines are often missing from our films).

Loud Speaker

No this is not a film about loud speakers. It's about a man called "Loud Speaker." This lovely and well-directed Malayalam movie is about a man who brings sunshine into a co-operative housing society with his charming rustic ways. Mammooty (big fan of his here) plays the loudspeaker to perfection.

How do I know?

The character is a Nasrani meaning Syrian-christian (of my provenance) and Mammooty through his character study exactly replicates the manner and language of Syrian-christians. For example:

What is "entha" in rest of Kerala is "enna" in Syrian-christian lingo.

Likewise "Enthina" is "ennathina." I couldn't but admire the effort, the observation, the genius that must have gone to script such nuances in this movie.

(Note: though Malayalam may sound like a single language throughout the expanse of the state the language is spoken in a hundred different variants, some sing-song, some truncated and sounding like Tamil.)

A thing that stands out is the cinematography. It's so subtle I wondered if it is a foreign movie. The camera moves unobtrusively, slickly, the dialogue is understated not loud, the acting is subtle not hamming.

On the day of the bandh when the rest of the country was in seeming turmoil I enjoyed these two movies.

Which is the better movie?

I am not being biased (which, of course, I may unknowingly be, who knows, it may be in the genes) but "Loud Speaker" is a better movie because it has consistency, a well researched script and the acting is superb. You feel as if the director is really in control. There are elements to this movie which entertain and draw your sympathy to the characters, which all good movies should do. The Malayalam movie has progressed and the Hindi movie can learn a lot from it.

1 comment:

ms said...

aftr the second week of its release, the joke going around was "the fourth idiot is the one watching it!" but it is ok, how will we appreciate the really good films if it wasn't for the ones that leave us cold? i enjoyed it till the bit after the suicide attempt by one of the 3 idiots. i even cringed thru the bit after the suicide of the "give me some sunshine" chap. but the final debacle was the vaccum-cleaner delivery. after that it was all downhill. i am reminded of this old tamil film (forgot the name)where kamalhaasan is a teacher suffering from a terminal disease (gautami is the other teacher). he dies and the movie is all the better for it. in bollywood he would survive and marry this woman. why don't they remake the 3 idios movie in malyalam or tamil, and let them choose the the treatment of the characters, events and ending.