Sub titles

First there was canned laughter. It prompted us to laugh at appropriate time during a sitcom. So much so that if there was no canned laughter, we didn’t find the prog or the movie funny enough.

Then came the sub titles. All programs have them now. Even the movies on screen at times.

The intention was noble for sure. The accents might be difficult to understand and hence the sub titles. Also it helped popularise English programming. But like canned laughter, there is a fall out.

How many of us, even though we understand the accent completely, also focus on reading the sub titles? My guess would be everybody! If on Netflix or on Prime or any other platform, if there are no sub titles, we switch them on.

The impact of canned laughter and sub titles, to my mind, is huge. We have been dumbed down. We have lost our capacity to think on our own. Everything is a prompt. We can’t function unless we are prompted to do so. We don’t get the joke or the nuances of what is said unless prompted. We expect someone to tell us the sub text of what is happening. We don’t get it on our own.

Zombies all of us. Lost of capacity to think and appreciate 🙂

Pixelate my head

I always knew all along but this weekend it was confirmed… Hollywood is as capable as Bollywood in churning out trashy stuff…

Sony pix had this movie Pixels as a big premiere… So Sunday afternoon with nothing better to do, I watched it… And it sucked! Big time… And since I was in the mood to tortute myself, I watched the whole movie!

The basic premise of the movie – refer to IMDb or rotten tomatoes…

The movie sucked but it got me thinking.. Growing up, we all have these games we play.. Video games.. Arcade games. They are lot more evolved now.. Way way evolved.. So we all fantasise about games becoming real and we being the protagonist. I know I have. And it is fun.. To play that fantasy out in our heads. Where instead of controling the characters through controls, we are in there…

Fantasy and fantasising is an integral part of our mind I think.. Whether we call  it day dreaming or any other nomenclature… The mind is never at rest and when it is not occupied, it fantasises… Some people have a very vivid imagination and they sure get lost in that world. Nothing wrong in that.

Virtual world has become this world where fantasies do become real (virtually of course). Multiplayer role playing games are a genre by themselves. But other games too.. They all have graphics and stories that suck you in deep. Of course the darker side also panders to fantasies of a baser kind and acts as a stress release…

In a world we are constantly under pressure – at work, at school, in our interaction with the external environment. The fantasy world becomes our escape.. That momentary stepping into a world where we are the hero. We are the ones making life changing decisions (instead of our life being changed by a decision by someone else). Movies are like that.. The couple of hours in a dark theatre, we forget about the crowd around us, and lose ourselves in the images on the big screen.

Fantasies are healthy. Or so I have read somewhere.. Specially sexual fantasies. They are capable of reigniting relationships.

I think am probably scratching the surface with this fantasy bit of our mind… Probably will do some more research. This post was just sparked off by the monumentally banal movie.

Doing the right thing


right thing

It was a kind of a movie weekend. Watched Blood Diamond, The Departed and Time to Kill. Sparked off a thought about doing the right thing. What was in those movies that caused the thought is something I will come to later.

What is ‘doing the right thing’?

Right from the time when we are young and start being aware of the world around us, our parents drill into us to do the right thing. And we follow what they say.

But think about it… what is the ‘right’ thing. What is ‘right’? Right for whom? For the people who tell us or for us who follow? Right is such a subjective word. And more often than not, it is never quite right for us. But we blindly follow what is right for others. And if we don’t feel happy doing that, surely it is not the right thing.

There are so many instances in our lives when  we have said that we did the right thing. That by itself is a confession that we did what had to be done and not because we wanted to do it.

Why do we do it? Why don’t we do what we think is right? Because if we did, we will be taken on one long guilt trip. Will be called selfish. And many other such things.

To do the right thing our way is considered a rebellion. But that apart, doing the right thing never gives us what we want. Other than the fake satisfaction.

Even the image that head this post, I would like to look at it from my perspective. It is very tough to do the right thing because while it is right for us, it is not for others. Convoluted logic but you get it right?

Coming to the movies watched, Whether it was Blood Diamond or The Departed, the protagonist never gets what he should have. In both the cases he is dead for doing the right thing. Lonely and dead. But a HERO because he died for the right cause. Of course the third movie was a John Grisham novel so it had a stereotypical ending where everything turns out alright.

So yeah we will continue to do the right thing… and rationalize it every time we do so because it has been ingrained in us that it is better to be a Hero than to be a Villain… Everything has to be black and white… though if movies are any reflection (as they supposedly are) of the popular culture, the trend is changing… there are grey areas that we traverse but unlike the movies, we keep them hidden…

That apart, I do believe that The Departed was perhaps best performance by Leonardo Di Caprio.

So have you ever been happy when you did the ‘right’ thing?

(Image courtesy

Cinema is a hit

I don’t know how many of you have noticed… but most movies that get released are doing reasonably well. Some, of course are huge like Chennai Express (and those who haven’t watched, must see the movie… its worth one look). I don’t think producers are really complaining. All monies are probably getting recovered.

While the conclusion probably would be that the movies are getting promoted better and that the studios have become marketing savvy. I think the reason for success lies somewhere else.

Cut to the 70’s and 80’s… cinema was an escape. Unlike the world today, there was nothing to do other than going out for the movies. Also the bigger factor… as a country we were stuck in a time warp and our lives were mundane and inactive. We had dreams but given the economic inequalities we were unable to fulfill the dreams. The whole socialism angle of Congress meant that we had to make do with what we had.. Cinema became an escape from the depressing world around us… the Impala Cars… shots of stars getting off the aircraft and walking to the terminal… and Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) brought the angst alive with his portrayals… Movies ran for weeks and weeks.. silver jubilee, golden jubilee… people watched one movie more than once. I remember watching Sholay 5 times!

Cut back to the present – the world has changed. There is lot more to do and avenues of watching a movie are more than one – theater, TV, download, youtube… And it is not just the movie… there is actually lot more one can do with his or her life. We should be happy (or are happy as the last happiness index had suggested). But last one year… things haven’t been good.. have they? The optimism.. happiness… it is all on the surface. There is fear, apprehension and despondency bubbling under the surface. And economical events of past month or so have increased it further.

And that perhaps is the reason why movies are back in fashion over the last one year or maybe a little longer. We are looking for that two hour escape.

Dabang rocks because hell! we don’t mind a cop being on the take as long as he protects the common man (job he is supposed to do). so does Ek Tha Tiger… we all want to be heroes saving our country from all the shit and of course the romance… Even The Avengers was a big grosser here because this country surely needs heroes.

Think about it… in a month when the country has been going through hell… Chennai Express has done over 200 crores (will probably discount the 300 figure). Not very hilarious.. but we laughed in that dark theater for those two hours and forgot about the rising fuel prices, rising prices, corrupt government losing case files, about balancing our budget while the government pushed through its plan which supposedly will help it win election..

So here we are… in our heads we are back in the 70’s & 80’s while the economy is as bankrupt as it was in 1991…