Monday, January 5, 2015

Movies (of yesteryears) which moved me

I am not a regular movie watcher. I read more books than I watch movies. Movies have an impact of their own. Unlike books, movies are not individual effort but require team effort. When a good team comes together, a great piece of art gets created which reaches a wider audience than any other form of art. That makes movie making one of the biggest industries in this world.

Here is the list of movies I have watched in the last 2 years which really moved me so I keep suggesting them to others. They were made many years or decades ago but I could watch them only recently.

Guide

This 1965 Hindi movie has origins in a novel of same name by RK Narayan. Though the author did not like the movie version it went on to be a big hit. Conservative society of those times did not mind the extra-marital relationship of heroine of this movie. Melodious songs are still heard today, “Gaata Rahe Mera Dil” seems to be the songs most liked but my favorite is “Aaj Phir Jeene ki Tamanna” sung by Lata Mangeshskar.

Raju, a guide (played by Dev Anand) is the central character of this movie but it is Rosie (Waheeda Rehman) is the protagonist, she gives twists and turns to the story and shapes the movie. Hers is a role of a dancer. Since Waheeda is a professional dancer in real life, she did not to have to act and just be herself. But more than dancing it is the emotions she exhibits make the movie memorable for long. Her longing for love which she does not find in her husband and her desire to take up a career in dancing find a helping hand in a tourist guide Raju. She goes on to live with him and her dancing career blossoms. In an insecure moment, Rosie hands over Raju to police accusing him of misusing her money. Raju gets jailed but when he comes out destiny has something else in store for him. While he is introspecting his life, people around him make him a saint and he ends his life in that disguise.

This movie is the outcome of a great team coming together. An unusual story, great songs, melodious music, soothing places all make an impact and wonder about many aspects of life.



Schindler’ list

This 1993 movie directed by Steven Spielberg is based on a novel. Set in the middle of Second World War, it documents the horrors of Holocaust. This movie is considered a remarkable achievement by many critics worldwide and had won Academy awards.

I had to watch this movie multiple times and supplement it with reading to get the history and message it is conveying. But it is worth the time spent. You will understand the times of World War II. One gets to see two ends of humanity in the same movie. On the one end is heroic Oskar Schindler, a member of the German Nazi Party, who goes out of his way to save the Jews working in his factory from getting killed in the gas chambers.  On the other end there is Amon Goeth, a lieutenant in Hitler’s SS Army, who is brutal in conduct, shoots randomly at the prisoners, killing humans for him is no big deal but a casual activity. Oskar Schindler loses all his fortunes bribing the Army commanders to keep his Jewish workers alive. In the end Russians defeat German, Amon Goeth gets hanged and the Jewish prisoners are set free.


This documentary like movie recreates the history to its closest reality. It shows how helpless and clueless the Jews were and how cruel were the methods adopted by SS army to wipe them out. After watching this movie, one would surely feel today’s times are far better times to live than 6-7 decades ago.

This movie is on the must watch lists prepared by many around the world and for a good reason.






The Terminal

This 2004 movie is also directed by Steven Spielberg but it is Tom Hanks who steals the show.
A traveler Viktor Navorski (played by Tom Hanks) from Krakozhia (an imaginary country) arrives at New York's JFK International Airport and gets trapped in the airport as there is an outbreak of a civil war in his homeland and as a result of that the United States no longer recognizes Krakozhia as a sovereign nation, and he is not permitted to either enter the country or return home.

Innocent and unable to communicate in proper English, Viktor learns the ways to survive in Airport but does not give up hope of getting out and collect the autographs he wanted which was his mission of travel. Efforts of Airport officials to get rid of Viktor do not materialize, as Viktor fails to pick-up the clues but he does not give up approaching the customs to give him a clearance. Several months pass, war in his homeland ends and Viktor gets the permission, goes out and gets the autographs and heads home back.

Though this a work of fiction and most part of the movie is one location – airport terminal with a limited number of characters, it is Tom Hanks who keeps the movie watchers glued to the screen.



Sharapanjara

This Kannada movie was released in 1971. It was directed by Puttanna Kanagal and had Kalpana and Gangadhar in lead roles. Kaveri (played by Kalpana) and Satish (played by Gangadhar) are a picture perfect couple, lead a happier life with two kids but their good times come to an end when Kaveri loses her mental balance as memories of her being forced into sex by a relative before marriage resurface and begin haunting. Satish learns about this incident, though he loves Kaveri, he does not accept her like before. He gets her treated in a mental hospital and brings her back to home after a couple of years. But the children who have grown without her during her absence refuse to accept her as mother and one time loving husband maintains a good distance from her. This puts Kaveri into depression again and the surrounding people make the situation worse and all that makes her go insane again as the movie ends.


Kalpana's performance as a traumatic woman was widely appreciated and had made her one of the best actresses of Kannada movie industry. It is the soundtracks with very high quality lyrics provide another dimension to this classic movie.