This morning, I had the uniquely lucky and somehow awesome pleasure of catching the Oscar Awards Live, for the first time. I say uniquely lucky because in a boarding school, it really is lucky. Therefore, every little titsy-bitsy statement made by anyone at all had an unnecessarily and undeservingly huge impact on me. One of them was something along the lines of, “No matter what kind of turmoil the world is in around us, we can always, always, go watch a film and be transferred to an alternate world within moments.” That statement had two instant impacts. One, it inspired an article that you are hopefully still reading, and second, it set my head reeling – really?
I instantly began arguing along the lines of my own thoughts and experiences. Do movies really do that to us? And if they do, is that a good thing? That is an entirely different topic altogether, and one that does not even slightly bother me. In fact, that statement does not
actually bother me, it just, well, I don’t know – something, it just did something to me, something strong enough to make me pen down – no, type down, my thoughts. I wonder if in a movie hall, or in front of an LCD for that matter, all our worries of the real world vanish, if hypothetically the movie hall is a part of the ‘alternate world’ thus named. I mean, for example, does the amusingly important and outrageously irritating and problematic urge to go lighten ourselves in the bathroom vanquish itself on seeing Shah Rukh charm both the female lead and us with his charms, or seeing Hrithik’s Greek God looks, or Katrina’s sizzling movies in Sheila ki Jawani? I highly doubt so! If you know what I mean, that is. But then the highly idealistic soul jumps up and says, “Buddy, toilets are very much part of the alternate world! Everybody needs to throw out the waste once in a while!” I can only smile at that. But it still doesn’t convince me – do movies really have a huge impact on us? I know how inspired I felt after watching Rang De Basanti – still my favourite Bollywood squeeze till date, but it still doesn’t convince me to do what DJ and his home-pals did. Though yes, it did inspire someone to send out a ‘Candle March for Jessica’ SMS to his or her friends, that united a whole city, a whole nation together for a great cause. Oh wait – I think that does count, actually. Oops. She really did get justice, bless her soul. Ok, I am one argument down.
But no sir – I am NOT giving up just yet. How exactly do we get transferred to an alternate world now! Can somebody please tell me? Hello? Anybody? Ah! I hear that sound – sounds like NOBODY telling me – nothing.
I remember an experience. I was 25 minutes late for my Guzaarish show. But none-the-less, I was encapsulated by the beauty of that Box-Office disaster. It is, even now, one of the most intriguing films that I have seen come out of this industry that is lost without the few stars who run everything. I remember the unplanned build-up till the climax, and the beautiful end with a ‘Maya yo’ that totally pulled me into a dream-world where I was standing beside the Ethan-about-to-die. I felt – something inside me. Something that I never feel in the so-called ‘real’ world. Is this the alternate world that people keep referring to? If it is, then I think I just fought my own argument out. Ouch.
I am suddenly remembering other things. I am reminded of how the world – India, that is, rose up to cheer an unseen, unknown love for the national sport of the world’s largest democracy, when Kabir Khan began crying near the end of Chak De India. I remember the huge applause that Rang De Basanti got when it was screened at my school. The applause was not for the film makers, no, it was for DJ, Sukhy, and all the heroes who had just sacrificed their lives for a great cause. It felt like – they were with us. I remember the tears and simultaneous laugher in the eyes of those enthralled by 3 Idiots, and the great message that it carried. I am remembering countless moments in the cinematic history that have made people feel real emotions, whilst being nothing but tapes and cameras and written words and music. I wonder – how is it that ‘horror’ movies freak us out even when we are dead sure, ok, no, we know that it is nothing but effects and a damn screen? I just don’t know. I guess the lady that made that statement at the Oscars had thought all this through before publicly saying an unknown truth. Why have people cried at Darsheel Safary’s dyslexia when it’s not even real? Why have people laughed their hearts out at an unheard-of situation in Hera Pheri? Why have people looked at each other, and themselves, guiltily at their failed contribution to Jessica’s justice, when No One Killed Jessica brought to light a sad truth about our country?
There is a reason for all that. These emotions that stay with you long after the movie is over, they are from that alternate world we didn’t know, or didn’t realize, existed. That is the power of cinema today. That is the power that cameras and computers and hearts and souls of directors and actors combined possess, and we are overtaken by. We just don’t realize it. But we are currently living in three worlds. The first is the very world that is around us. The second world is our imagination – where we do what we want, without bounds, imagine places that don’t, can’t, exist, where we are everything we want to be. And the third world is a direct product, or should I say the result, of the second world – the world of cinema. This is the world where we share our imagination, our ideas, our thoughts. We use our mental power to enthrall a few thousand in some cases, and millions in other cases, simply depending on the commercial success of the film. Ignoring the money that a movie makes, one thing is very clear: yes, we as a community have given birth to a world that we can now never leave. I say – I do not want to leave this world. It is, by far, the most beautiful one I have seen. Here, the hero always wins. Here, bad always bends before good. Here, corruption is always somehow defeated by the goodwill of a few. Here, anything can happen. Here, everyone is happy. It is a beautiful world indeed. I am suddenly ending by contradicting my own argument. But you see, truth is a truth, no matter how many lies or beliefs you use to try and ignore it.
I mean, just for the sake of saying it, did I tell you that even right now, as I discuss the world of cinema in its very true essence, I am fighting the urge to rush to release all my dinner from last night and the outstandingly delicious breakfast this morning? No, right? Ah well. Alternate world, you just screwed me.
But I still love you!