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Location: Hyderabad, AP, India

Program Manager Microsoft IT India

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

This medicine is for cinemagoers...

Yeah, I know. I haven’t posted in a long time. That’s the funniest thing about the academic schedule at Anna University. It starts slowly, continues slowly, and for the first few months each semester you think you’ve got plenty of time to do all those things you always wanted to do once in college. Pretty soon, except you don’t know how, there’s only one month left for the sem and every professor has scheduled his lectures in such a way that 60 % of the course will be covered in this last month. October was a “last month”!!

But somehow I still found time to go and see both “Bride and Prejudice” and “The Terminal”

I’m not going to waste much time on the former. The less said about that deplorable excuse for a movie, the better. So I won’t be telling you that at this point Aishwariya Rai would be regretting a monumental judgmental error – one even beyond the league of India’s hopelessly misguided cricket team selectors.

But The Terminal is “au-fait”. Steven Spielberg has produced a masterpiece, and has demonstrated his mastery in visual story telling. And Tom Hanks has once again demonstrated that he is an actor par excellence.

The main thing that struck me was Viktor’s natural outlook on life. Everything he does, or says, seems entirely natural. He seems to breathe fresh air into Uncle Sam’s musty red tape. Throughout the film, the dialogue has ensured that Viktor never lies; although what he says are construed as evasions and mistrusted by the airport bosses: every word he says has the ring of absolute truth. And that enhances the feel of the movie: anything less, and people would have felt disappointed.

One can construe into the movie a hint of anti-Americanism or anti-bureaucracy, but actually Spielberg shows the predicament of the American mind as it stands today (definitely reflected in the recent election results) of over dependence on process (their own) and a complete short-sighted faith in it being the only way to do things conflicting with their image in a world that is changing both economically and strategically.

But back to the movie. Kumar Pallana did a wonderful job as the eccentric Indian janitor and certainly provided some comic relief. The interweaving of sadness and pleasure in the movie was wonderful and Viktor’s determination in making the best of the queer situation he found himself in is a worthy testament to human spirit.

But somehow, Spielberg made a hash of it in the end. We knew Viktor was going to New York , but I think Spielberg could have delayed his flight some other way. The janitor stopping the plane..well, just a bit off the rails in an otherwise sound and cohesive plot.


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