Thursday, May 03, 2007



"To check whether they have gone out of date
I read and reread my old poems
Again and again

A liking vomit blood
A night stinks putrid
Moonlight turns sour and turbid
Each day a line begin to disappear
And poems begin to commit gang suicide
Losing their belief in life

Winds from the mountain valleys blow at my face
The ship wander in the sea
Crossing continents that receded, darkening

Never becomes out-of-date
The sorrow of one who can't realize anything"

A Malayalam Poem by P Raman

One always expects something fresh and exciting from a young director, especially in his first film. He or she we hope will have something in him/her that is waiting to be told, something out of the pale of the 'established' ways of narrating, one that tries to avoid from the muck of the status quo.
If you went to Amal Neerad's Big B with such expectations, you would be disappointed. It has neither a story to tell (let alone a 'new' story) nor a new or exciting way of telling it. It strives to turn itself into a spectacle without the fire or the sense of wonder to animate it. As a result, it ends up as a series of empty moments whose void is filled up by thunderous digital sounds and dizzying pyrotechnics of editing. In the end, it looks like a series of 'trailers' of Hollywood thrillers, with no concern for any kind of continuity or semblance of unity. True, one doesn't need continuity or unity to make a good film, but in which case, the surface or the spectacle that is played out in front of you should itself be able to hold our attention and create some higher order out of the chaos within us.

In this mishmash of heightened action and supercharged anecdotes, where all the dialogues are drowned by the background score, it is difficult for the viewer to find a way out or into it, other than surrendering oneself to the endless violence and orchestrated stunts enacted before him or her.

Only things that we register are the continuous scenes of encounters, settling of scores, and the various characters entering in and out of the narrative just to rouse our suspicions about their motives. For instance the character of the Assistant Commissioner of Police or that of Eddy (Manoj K Jayan) seems to have no other role in the diegesis. In the end, you find that the whole string of 'local' characters starting from Mammooty to those decorative females who accompany them, are all held together by a thread which is held by two 'whites'. They actually turn out to be the puppeteers who make the locals 'play'. At one end you have Mary Teacher (Nafisa Ali) and at the other Tony (another white character, whose only aim is to stand in the way of the hero). While the former is all virtue and charity (all the central male characters, are her adopted children, and each one from all religions), the other is the personification of villainy. All the other characters are motivated positively or negatively by these two 'whites'.

There are films that leave one in a stupor, but rarely do films consciously intend to do so.


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