Saturday, June 4, 2011
Retrospecting a Confusing Act
What a week! Exhaustion is in the air and the daily rut concludes. When the daily ruts concludes the weekly stupor begins. In other words, there is no escaping reality, and reality itself has become so ephemeral, really, that inception is neither confounding nor simplifying. A hardcore Buddhist would have enjoyed inception, and in case you are getting unsavory ideas, the reference is to the dreamy film and not divine conception. Just as that film impregnates the mind with surrealities, fantasies and possibilities, the hardcore monk then goes about enjoying the matrix, and the whole trilogy at that, all in one sitting.
Somebody enlighten me! There is despair everywhere dressed from head to toe looking absolutely dumb-struck at the gates of the multiplex, tossing a coin doing heads or tails. The matinee shows are like items in a fast food Chinese menu with blown pictures for maximum effect. The movies in that multiplex were a cinematician’s dream: Reveal Your Source starring an upcoming method-actor called Taca Baga; the next Pacino they dubbed him. Then there was the low-budget art flick, the year’s surprise sleeper hit, titled Show Us The Receipt. And of course, the hottest film happening this year, on its way to becoming a folklore in filmdom, starring who’s who of versatile Bhutanese multitaskers, socialites, actors and politicians – the mega blockbuster We Will Jail You.
Apparently, the script underwent a lot of changes as it changed hands from one brilliant scriptwriter to the next. That part of the story is already an urban legend, now going rural. The film itself is an honest production – and the director has done a wonderful job of letting the script, a literal living organism, do all the talking. A poignant scene ruthlessly portrays a monk breaking his sacred vows by sitting on his own spiritual master, Baba Neela, flattened underneath his buttocks. Another scene with a powerful depiction comes about as five characters decide to display the consequences of wrong speech, and the resultant instant Karma as they are arrested for public nuisance and theatrics. The scene where the judge juggles the three with lawyer lingo is priceless.
The narration (an authoritative know-it-all voice-over) keeps the many parts of the film tightly strewn together, as all are woven from one simple theme – misunderstanding one general notification that is read and interpreted differently by each character. Some of the players don’t even see each other in the film, but the twists and turns of the misunderstood tale keeps them connected, in a strange twist of fate, which perhaps only happens in life. This is the film’s biggest strength. The audience knows as much as the characters do, and the characters know only as much as the folks who issued the notification. And the notification itself is misunderstood by the very people who wrote and issued the memo.
In a way, the plot is open to all and the ending is anything but ambiguous. And because the ambiguity is absent, or is seen for what it is by the viewers sitting in the audience, who are in turn being monitored and watched by the writers and the enactors of the notification sitting up on the balcony; the show then takes on a surreal façade, with the watcher being watched by a watcher and so on and so forth.
When the film’s climax draws closer and closer, and the viewer waits in anticipation of what the notification means, the curtain falls on the fictional charade as another notification slams the screen, nullifying the notification on display.
There is no “The End” - the act goes on, and a franchise seems to be on the platter. This is what happens when you enact an act without a rehearsal; in the real world, confusion reigns supreme with open interpretations and disturbing actions.