(My final article for CP blog, bowing out IIM Cal style :P)
Disclaimer: All the nominees this year have done wonderful work. This article does not intend to slight any of their work, but only aims to get into the Academy’s head(s?) to predict the probable winners.
It’s that time of the year again. The Oscars are just around the corner. And every expert worth his/her salt has already predicted wins for Oscar hopefuls. So, why this entirely pointless exercise of writing yet another article on the same issue, you may ask. Because, as a PGP2 I couldn’t resist upstaging PGP1s , coz that’s what we PGP2s do! (refer to Oscar poll that facchas have started). Without much further ado, let me begin my prediction.
First, the Academy Awards® for acting a.k.a the acting gongs. The way the awards season has progressed till now – Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo seem to be the outright favourites. It would take a very brave person to bet against Firth and Portman. The Best Actress category this year is filled with incredible performances, each of which could have easily won in a normal year. Despite that, my bet is on Natalie Portman – basically because she has won every single award this season. Christian Bale could be in for some competition from Geoffrey Rush, whose performance in TKS was as brilliant as Colin Firth’s portrayal of King George VI. But this could only happen if the Academy is on a total feel-good mode (more on that later). Also, the Academy loves to reward someone who has undergone an extreme physical transformation for a film (e.g. Charlize Theron for Monster), so Bale might be the winner. (more…)
- Which are your 5 favourite films and why?
Why is the number always 5? All around the world I am asked the same number. You can’t stop at 5. There are so many films. Cinema caters to different states of mind. The appeal changes with age. As you change as a person, your cinema changes. I’ve always found this a challenging question. The child in me loves ‘Jungle Book’. I like ‘Do Aankhen Barah Haath’ for taking up such a serious subject and converting it into Nautanki style of storytelling. I love Meghe Dhaka Tara. It’s my all-time favourite film. It does something to me that I cannot explain. ‘Guide’ , ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ in India, so much of Italian cinema. Fellini- all his movies as a director. Polish film-maker called Krzysztof Kieślowski. He’s done incredible films. This series called Decalogue – a series of ten short films based on the ten commandments – absolutely delectable. The American art-house films. The era where the Rat Pack of America changed cinema – Scorcese, Coppola, Oliver Stone, all these guys has been very inspiring in my life. Before them, there were musicals and big dramas and they brought realism into movies and turned it on its head. And they brought in imagination – people like Spielberg and George Lucas. They took us to space. If you look eastwards, there are masters like Kurosawa and his cinema. Closer home there were ‘Do Bigha Zameen’ , ‘Garam Hawa’, ‘ Meghe Dhaka Tara’, ‘Sarange Holi’, ‘Guide’ , ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ these were some of the movies that made an impact on me. Not that there aren’t other films. ‘Bandit Queen’ was one of my favourites
2. What is your take on contemporary Indian film-makers?
I am slightly disappointed in them. That’s a negative way to put it. I am one of the contemporary film-makers in India and I am slightly disappointed in myself too. We are not able to choose. The character of any nation or any community depends on the choices they make and it seems like we are not able to choose. We are living by other people’s choices. We are always scared of putting our foot forward and make the cinema that we want to make. We are not able to sever ties from the whole folk theatre, nautanki, song-and-dance musicals. Yet we have one foot in the other boat and we want to get into this whole new wave. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. You have to make a choice. This is my take on contemporary film-makers including myself from a third person point of view. I think that is what the world also feels . They are looking at us and they are hoping for a change. But its so far-and-wide and spaced out that you are not noticing any change. We are still stagnated. (more…)
By Varun Torka
(Based on the book of the same name by Cormac McCarthy)
Expect no music here. No self-pitying jokes, no philosophical banter. And not even a sliver of hope. The Road is a different kind of movie. It is not only among the coolest movies to be made over the past couple of decades, but also one of the most depressing. The storyline follows a father (the Man) and his son (the Child), as they traverse a barren and disparate post-apocalyptic world, where the aim of life has been reduced to just survival. On their way they meet different people – some dangerous, some helpless – and simple things become treasures. Their experiences make you respect your comfortable life in new ways. As self-protection becomes key, the line between good and bad, already so uncertain, begins to blur.
The film stays true to the book however, and can be constructed as a sequence of different incidents that each play their part in forming a whole. Remember that The Road is not about how the apocalypse occurs, or even about how people react to it, but rather how adaptation to this new landscape is automatic. The Road is about the new dimensions of a particular father-son relationship, the inner journey of a pragmatic man who rediscovers parameters of morality from a child, and the altered meanings and significance of familiar situations and rituals (such as eating around a campfire). The film does lack pace, perhaps purposely, in order to portray a static world, with no hope of redemption.
Viggo Mortensen (of Aragorn fame) steals the show as the father trying to preserve his son’s innocence as they wander through an increasingly depraved world. The slow progression of the film and the monotony of the landscape may put off some viewers – but a powerful performance by Mortenson makes The Road a must-watch.