Good movies and bad movies Part II


In the recent version of King Kong, a particular scene comes to my mind as I begin to write this. Kong, after ‘rescuing’ the girl (Naomi Watts) from the clutches of the city, on their way to escape, lands in the frozen lake in New York’s Central Park. As expected, Kong slides down the ice involuntarily and is quite excited. And voila, the King Kong and his girl begin to skate in the iced lake in Central Park and they both erupt in joy. So is the crowd in the hall. The scene lasts for a few minutes of blissfull skating by the massive ape and the damsel, not so much in distress here, and the audience, enamoured by the absurdity, yet the beauty of the visual, forget themselves.

That pure joy of entertainment is what I had promised that I’ll write about in Part II. For three purely suspended disbelief, no one says ‘how stupid’ but is utterly bewildered. I’d equate this with scenes in other movies too. Spiderman saving his aunt from the villain, the water glasses shuddering inside the car as T-Rex approaches in Jurassic Park, or, in our own example, Rajinikanth swaggering ‘Ulle Po’ (‘Get inside!’) in Baasha as he reveals his Mafia side, or Kartik stalking Revathy in Mouna Ragam (A Silent Tune). All these brought pure, unadulterated joy in you. Often, you were willingly suspended your disbelief because it’s convenient to do so. Questioning how Rajini managed to uproot the handpump in a swing of arm would be to spoil the fun that lies ahead. For non-Tamils, a similar scene is in Main Hoon Na, where Shah Rukh jumps out of the window, climbs the terrace to save his brother. You ‘have’ been waiting for a scene, haven’t you?

There are a good number of such ‘joy’ movies I can list in Tamil. So, what’s common to these movies? They are fun, imaginative, and, scientifically looking at it, they place two out of place things in one place. For instance, in Baasha, it’s the most feared Mafia working as an Auto Rikshaw driver in your neighbourhood. A highly skilled commando officer camaflouging as a college student. A million year old T-Rex among us now. Such ideas can trigger your imagination and make it go wild. There are plenty of possibilities for a good hearted, yet highly skilled Mafia to leave everything behind and quietly work as an auto driver. He still have foster sisters and the ruffians can always play foul with them! What will he do when that happens?

As quoted often here, imagination is key to all these ‘joy’ movies. They trigger such huge imaginations in you and when the film maker feeds your imagination appropriately, his/her movie scorches the box office. There are several good ideas gone awry where the idea did not feed your imagination well. Hey Ram, where an archeological officer thinks Gandhi was responsible for his wife’s death and sets out to kill him. That’s enough to excite you but nothing much happens afterwards. It’s like feeding a lot of appetisers and denying you the food.

Joyful movies are also good movies because they bring joy to you. They trigger your imagination to its outer limits. They follow John Lennon and they ‘imagine’.
Often they become part of your everyday culture. Nobody quotes any punchlines from Pather Panchali to their real life encounters. But they do use ‘Kitne Admi the’ or ‘kkk-kiran’ or in Tamil ‘Ulle Po’ or ‘I will make him an offer he can’t refuse’.

To quote, Speilberg, ‘Imagination is good for us all. It can unite the world’.