Jaipur Diaries: Chapter 7

Home Theater!


Watching movies and writing about them are two very distinct activities. While watching movies – not necessarily strictly curated ones – is still pretty much a regular affair, I have not written about any in a long-long time. Considering the sheer number of movies we do watch, I ought to write my perceptions and interpretations more often. But more on that later.

I do not quite remember being much of a movie marathon fan. Funnily enough, binge sessions seem to be a weekend/off-day staple for a ‘staid -before-time’ couple such as us. I have grown an affinity towards these binge sessions. Partly because of the genre-jumping which it affords but mostly because no plex can match up to the comfort of your own bed opposite to which hangs a newly acquired 40” flat screen fitted with a decent pair of speakers. Add to that an ambient temperature of 22 degrees, chicken pops exponentially superior than overpriced popcorn, and a bottle of Coke at MRP. How can it get any better?

Now onto the writing part. Given a choice, I would dig out human dramas, indies, and possibly obscure small-budget films. When you are carefully ‘curating’ the stuff you want to watch, critiquing and commenting is but a natural recourse. It’s a different ballgame altogether to watch random movies and opine on them.

We largely watch movies that do not require us to stress our brains. That would include rom-coms and comedies. I Don’t Know How She Does It, Mad Money, Judd Apatow movies are some of the memorable ones. History cum fantasy: The Dwayne Johnson prototype. Hercules was good fun. Gross Out and/or risque humor. Brothers Grimsby had Baron Cohen in his element, yet again. And finally super-hero flicks and the big ‘uns (read Intersteller, Martian, etc.). But we usually go to the plex for those.  

At times I’ve stumbled upon the kind of movies I’d prefer watching. Fargo, for instance was on my wishlist for quite sometime. The hard drive contains another – perhaps not so well known – Coen  Bros’ creation, Burn After Reading. Both were what you would expect a Coen collaboration to be. Edgy, quirky, tragi-comic, in your face. My favourite still remains Brother, Where Art Thou! Coens never fail to make me laugh and shock at the same time.

District 9 was yet another pleasant surprise. Never before have I seen such a thought-provoking alien film. It is a powerful commentary on various issues. Some obvious. Some not so obvious.  Loathsome aliens are the metaphorical equivalent of Blacks in post-Apartheid South Africa. The civil unrest against the slum-dwelling lobster-like creatures also resonates with the general feeling of citizens towards refugees in countries like Sweden, Germany, and Canada. Nigerian prostitutes serving aliens is a clear indicator of flourishing flesh trade across nations. The technically advanced extra-terrestrial creatures bowing down to the crafty Nigerian Weapon Mafia for Cat Food is a thinly-disguised reference to constantly changing power-equations among internal and external stakeholders of any nation. On a micro-level, a mere paper pusher (who eventually becomes the unlikely hero) being given the responsibility of an extremely high-risk job is reminiscent of the rampant nepotism we all experience in our daily lives.

Surprisingly, Crimes and Misdemeanor – a ‘curated’ film – didn’t quite give me the kind of high I usually associate with Woody Allen films. I would any day choose Match Point,  the more contemporary take on a similar theme by the actor-cum-director. Crimes and Misdemeanor is much too busy philosophising and defining a moral code of conduct for the movie to be enjoyable. A sub-plot revolving around the quintessential neurotic Clifford (played by Allen himself) and his ultimately futile hopes of wooing Mia Farrow’s character is much more engaging.

Curated or not binge-watching has its own silly charm when you have precious little to do on hot summer days!



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