08 December 2005
I remember the first time I watched “Nayagan”. Lost in the dark theatre , seeing the eyes of young Velu Nayagan ,his helplessness, loss, anger, pain,wondering what would happen to this orphaned kid who looks just like me; empathizing, sympathizing, despising , feeling his injustice as my own ,his need for retribution as mine, his love, his fears ,his ironies and how all those elements come together in that climatic act, when I knew he was going to be shot yet wanted someone to scream and save him, that queasy feeling in my stomach saying something bad was going to happen , palms sweating ,heart filled with strange sorrow, holding that loud crying scream inside my throat so I wouldn’t burst …and finally unable to hold them, my tears tumbling down along with Velu Nayakkar getting shot, as Ilayaraja weaves his melancholic magic in the background! SIGH…that’s what I call a “Lifetime” movie.
A lifetime shrunk, felt, experienced in those three hours. A surreal experience that I know would travel with me the rest of my life! Few movies have evoked such emotions in me. ”Satya” took me to Mumbai , ”City of God” took me to Rio De Janeiro, ”DDLJ” wanted me to fall in love, being ”Godfather” was all I could think of during a stage of my life, “Gandhi” invigorates my patriotic fervor every time ,”Anjali ” makes me wanna adopt an autistic girl, “Bombay” makes me angry at the stupidity of fighting over religion, “Droh Kaal”, “Kalyug”,”Salangai Oli”(“Saagara Sangamam” in telegu),”Mahanadhi” and the list keeps growing as I grow.
Its surprising how those 2 or 3 hours, live inside you as pockets of consciousness, pockets of entity, pockets of experience, all bottled inside forever to cherish, forever to recall! You may not even want to watch these Lifetime movies again .You don’t want to re-experience some of them bcoz they have given you that moving, visual visceral experience already and ur afraid you may not feel that again!
Somewhat akin to not wanting to see your old friends now, as you have changed and they have changed and u don’t want the current existent self to destroy that sweet memory of idyllic ideal past! But sometimes you want to go back to that idyllic past with them so you can share new ones and similarly you want to re-experience that lifetime movies again to appreciate an aspect that you didn’t know existed before. It may not be the same experience, but u know it will still be satisfying because u know it has already taken you once to that plane of “illusory reality with a happy or sad closure”.
There are other kinds of “Lifetime movies” which is significant not bcoz of the movie but bcoz it represents a time of your life and reminds of the people you watched it with. I remember the first movie i watched with my girlfriend (“Indecent Proposal”) sneaking without anyone’s knowledge, finding a theatre where no one knew, only to pretend I didn’t know her for the rest of the movie bcoz of the party-pooper sitting next to me who was from “known” circle. The movie (“Muthu”) where i remember the bus ride more than the movie bcoz I was not part of the bus structure, hanging two feet away, holding the last window in one hand and some stinking drunkard’s collar on the other, hoping the strength of his sweaty shirt would save my life; the movie (“Khal-Nayak”) where after my initial attempts to shush my loud-mouthing whistling friend, I took the plunge to join his act ; the movie(“Magalir Mattum”) where we clapped incessantly when no one else was clapping in the theatre; the movie(“Vaaname Ellai”) when i jumped the hostel wall ,broke a thousand rules ,only to find the hostel warden in the same theatre!
Movies have become the pages that I can turn to look into my past anytime. I know they would continue to form new exciting pages of my life! It would be a lifetime of movies and movies that would last a lifetime! How about you ?