Category Archives: Films

Highway

In the evening, we went to the cinema to see Highway (trailer), as recommended by Kallu. On the way to the cinema there were long queues outside all of the Shiva temples by the roadsides, as it was Maha Shivaratri, a day dedicated to Shiva.

We got to the mall (security guards in berets this time) and were taken up in the lift by a gentleman on a wooden stool. Kalu and Sujoy hadn’t yet arrived, so we killed some time looking in Chumbak, a shop selling t-shirts, mugs, keyrings etc with fantastic India-specific drawings on them, like gurus bending themselves into knots and the plastic bucket bath to be found in every home.

I chose a mug with ‘you know you’re Indian when…’ With lots of lovely cartoons that I wouldn’t have really understood before coming here. Before I chose to buy it, I showed it to Sellappan with the promise to myself that if he didn’t laugh I would leave it right there in the shop. We also found a shirt with a certain motorbike on it, which unfortunately didn’t come in Sellappan’s size – but they’ll be getting them next week! I sense a return trip…

We collected our tickets and went through the airport security at the cinema, and I read the auditorium rules which included no hooting or whistling, taking a crying baby outside and not chewing gum. Sujoy and Kalu arrived and we went into the auditorium. We got excellent seats right in the middle of the modern auditorium, with a rail to stick our feet on as our chairs reclined back.

The film was in Hindi, so I didn’t understand most of the dialogue, but it was well acted and very well shot – on a shoestring budget too according to Kallu and Sujay. The film got a good review from all of us, though I’d have to see it again with subtitles to really judge. The characters weren’t exactly incredibly complex or deep, but they developed, at least, and there were enough laughs and action sequences to move the story along. The film also showed off some phenomenal North Indian landscapes that got Sellappan’s feet itching for his bike trip to the Himalayas this summer.

After the film we had a quick bite at the food court before heading homewards. On the way, we stopped at a busy Shiva temple and came away with flowers as well as spiritual benefits.

The film contained so much footage of the open road that my feet are definitely itching for our adventure to the North, which starts tomorrow with our flight to Jaipur.

Going to the Pictures

Once Sellappan was back from work we went out to see a film – my first experience of going to the cinema in India! Sellappan chose Idhu Kathirvelan Kadhal a Tamil rom com (trailer). We had to get there 30 minutes early to pick up the tickets, which we did on the ground floor. After that there was time for Sellappan to stock up on some calories in the form of freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, and mini poori.

The cinema was on the top floor, past a paintball range, a mechanical bull and a bowling alley. The cinema was on the top floor and as with the mall, you have to walk through a scanner (airport-style) before you go in. Once you clear security, you can buy as many burritos, nachos, buckets of popcorn, burgers, ice creams…as you like.

We went into screen three and found our allocated seats. We were the only ones in the cinema! Sellappan popped out for the loo and then hoards of people came into the cinema. When he got back Sellappan said that apparently the staff member on the door had asked him how he’d managed to get in – clearly we had somehow evaded his gaze when walking into the totally unguarded auditorium.

The film started with only a couple of adverts leading into it.

The film was shot mainly with a very narrow depth of field, and was mostly very pretty and ever so nice. There was only one scene with mild peril, as the BBFC would put it. There were a few songs (oh man, not another song, said Sellappan) during which the protagonists were mysteriously transported to Europe, Australia and somewhere else in Asia, to provide a nice backdrop for their dance extravaganzas. The comedian got plenty of laughs and clapping from the crowd, though I only really appreciated his slapstick.

During the intermission halfway through the film, a menu was projected onto the screen proclaiming the full range of snacks on offer. As the screening was about 3 hours long it was good to get a short break! We managed to resist the snacks, though plenty of people came back into the auditorium with things to munch.

In the second half as in the first, Sellappan translated the more crucial scenes, and the film wrapped up nicely at the end, though without a big dance number…

We had a light dinner at food point (I had an omelette) before it was time to recharge.

The Imposter Poster

The Imposter

The Imposter PosterI recently saw The Imposter, which is a documentary film about Frédéric Bourdin, and specifically follows his attempt to impersonate a missing person.

The film itself was gripping, and throughout I wondered whether the people in the film were the real people portrayed or actors, and how the film had been put together. Something that really stood out was the testimony of Bourdin himself. His way of telling the story almost made me doubt that it was really him. Bourdin told the story with perceptible mischievousness throughout, which was very unsettling at times. The way the story was told with the participants’ testimony interleaved with the “action” sequences kept the tension high, and I found all of the speakers very engaging.

The reconstructed scenes were very well shot with plenty of atmosphere, and the occasional overlap with the voices of the people talking about the events made the two aspects of the film hand together very well. The most striking parts of the film were when Bourdin was quoting word-for-word the things he had said, while the drama sequences were being played out.

There is no doubt that the subject matter of the story was controversial, and this did make me uncomfortable at times. I felt that the film’s final scenes were over the top and far too dramatised. Other than that I thought that the film was very well made and well put together. As the family had clearly cooperated I hope that they don’t feel that the resulting film was exploitative, although some viewers did have this opinion. I can’t say that I would choose to go on screen and talk about similar experiences, but that is their choice after all.

Overally I thought that the film was of a very high quality, very well made and told a very compelling tale. I would recommend it to any fans of documentaries or drama, as I think it performs equally well on both counts.