This post was suppose to be on something else. But as it happens with hindi films and matters of heart, mostly we land up somewhere else. And it started with the gorgeous Namesake tribute video posted below. Jahan Bakshi writes on the matters of heart and the magic of silver screen that let the salty waters flow.
Watch the video first and then read the post.
Ever since I posted the video tribute to Mira Nair’s beautiful adaptation of ‘The Namesake’ on Twitter and Facebook, at least 7-8 people wrote back to me with thanks, saying how it made them cry. One of them had recently lost his father. In fact, as I was watching it myself with what seemed like a boulder in my throat, a friend of mine who also lost his father a year back sat quietly, tears streaming down his face. It was absolutely heartbreaking.
One of the many great things cinema has to offer us is a sense of catharsis, and that is a special feeling that becomes increasingly difficult to experience as one watches a lot films and reads a lot about them, becoming more aware of their manipulations and craft. It becomes even harder for a film to overwhelm you when you see it with all the distractions and thoughts that accompany you watching a film at home. I try to watch most films in theatres these days for this very reason, but like we all know, sadly and most often, the only option we cine-buffs have is this.
I miss crying at the movies. I think the last time I sat teary-eyed at a cinema hall was watching ‘The Help’ on an evening that found me in a particularly vulnerable emotional state. I was walking down the road outside my house when a group of guys I don’t know began calling me some names (which I’ll not bother mentioning here).
Not a big deal, really- but for some reason it just deeply upset me. Part of the reason is that while I am no saint or an Aamir Khan, I have never really understood the desire in human beings to hurt others deliberately for no reason at all. All bitching and snarky talk aside, and at the risk of sounding righteous and all, the urge to harm someone is something I have genuinely never felt in my life.
I know this sounds idiotic but while watching the film I thought a lot about why people want to hurt other people, about why people are hated just for being who they are and the general injustice of it all and blah, blah.
It also reminded me of my own nanny, my Didi, who literally brought me up along with my mother as a child, giving me more time than her own children perhaps. I remembered resenting my mother a little when she would tell her off because of anything. Of course my mother cared for her too, and still does, but for me she wasn’t hired domestic help. She was my second mother.
Till date, MilkaDidi– as I call her- sends me a Rakhi every year by post, and sends me birthday cards that probably cost her a lot. I remember her every now and then and think of calling her, but unlike my mother who speaks to her every now and then, I conveniently forget to. Maybe it’s also because I’ve grown up too much and find it hard to make conversation with her as effortlessly as my mother can. Right now, again I am feeling those familiar pangs of guilt. Maybe after I write this, I’ll call her. Maybe… if I haven’t forgotten to store her number again or something.
Now some of you might figure one of the many reasons I love Swades so much.
Anyway, when I came back from the film, I let out all the tears that I was trying to hold back at the movie theatre or as Subhash K Jha would put it: all the liquid contents of my eyes spilled out in a torrential tumble of tantalizing tears.
And I felt lighter. TheHelp is not a ‘great’ movie. It has one of the most cringe worthy scenes I’ve seen in a film in some time, won’t even figure in my Top 15 films of last year. But it made me cry, and for that I am grateful.
At other times when I am not feeling so low and my defenses are not as down like when I wrote this post (Yes, shameless plug, bitchezz!), I’m not as lucky. I saw Weekend recently, an outstanding film that I cannot recommend enough and that I intend on writing about soon. The film is beautiful and heartbreaking… but it didn’t make me cry. It should have, really. Sitting next to me was a friend who doesn’t watch too many films and probably didn’t ‘appreciate’ the film(making) as much as I did. But he had tears in his eyes.
I could have given anything to have that, I tell ya.
PS: Apologies to Kaka…
So when was the last time you cried at the movies?