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Sunday, May 20, 2007

FOR $9.50







For $9.50, I took myself to see Mira Nair's latest release "The Namesake" starring Tabu, Irfan Khan, Kal Penn, Zuleikha Robinson and Jacinda Barrette. I decided that I was going to use my last bit of money and give myself an experience and so after service, I went to the cinema for foreign films and bought my ticket; giving myself up to the god of film fate that Mira Nair would deliver a presentation that will fill my thoughts for days to come.




I went for the late matinee cos I had missed the early one. I had over an hour to kill so I went to get something to eat. I found very interesting the reactions I got as I sat down- a single woman seated in the midst of simpering couples and families. I am not a very physical person and so, I watched with some degree of fascination as some individuals felt it necessary to assure themselves of their companions presence by constantly toucching or leaning into the person. Some women I felt were trying to communicate their ownership and territory with the way they touched their man's arm, ran fingers through their hair, stole prolonged kisses and ate out of their bowls of ice cream when one sat in front of them ( I was at Haagen Daas...)




I watched from behind my shades the patronising smiles and avoided conversation from people that thought it was their duty to include me because I was seated alone. I did not feel alone. I have learnt not to. Most times, I take myself out; I am single and I refuse to be one of those females that requires either a man or an armor of fellow female colleagues to go out on an adventure. When I go to restaurants. I have to sit at the bar because no one makes seating for one.... ( a story for another day)




The Namesake was poignantly fufilling. Just when I thought it was about to drag on and kill the story, it ended on a sweet and sharp note.

The story I understood, the characters I connected with and the message I recognised. In Irfhan Khan's character "Ashoke" I saw a father trying to communicate to his son why he should be proud of his name; in Tabu's character "Urmisha" I saw a woman trying to weather the feeling of loneliness and disconnect attributed with the migration to a foreign land and in Kal Penn's portrayal of "Gogol" I felt I knew the man unsure of his true identity having been brought up with a name so odd and unique and yet at the same time tied to a history that was foreign to him. Jacinda Barrett was perfectly shallow in her portrayal of a white American woman coming to terms that her boyfriend was not as American as she was and Zuleikha's character was a rebelling against the roles and identities her heritage had cast for her as a woman.




I was very much moved by the way Ashoke's character and that of his wife Urmisha was protrayed. Theirs was of a love so modest and yet one of the most powerful interpretations of the communication between a man and a woman. They barely touched through out the film but you knew they cared deeply for one another. It was evident in the way he spoke to her: with tenderness and great affection and he listened with attentiveness and respect to what she had to say. Their eyes always met with a smile. Their words, poetic in speaking. She did all he asked of her without him having to say it. They looked like a couple that had deep and meaningful conversations with each other and I found myself longing for such a companion to share my life with. I wondered if such an innocent love still existed for my generation. The most endearing part was that it was an arranged marriage and yet the bond that was built between both was so strong that I believed its existence.




Gogol's attempt to hide his heritage and culture was saddening to me because in him, I saw all those who either by choice or by birth were navigating life in another man's land but were still weighted down by the obligations associated with your "people". Knowing and living another language besides English usually sets one up for alot of confusion and Gogol was a very confused individual. I travelled with him without leaving my seat back to his father's homeland in India and felt like I could reach out and touch the rickshaw drivers. I longed for a hand woven fan and an open courtyrad house where the family would gather in the shade of a balmy evening. I walked with him through the grounds of the Taj Mahal and felt my heart sing when he, like me, declared upon the sight of such a beautiful masterpiece that he was going to be an architect.




For $9.50, Mira Nair gave me a look into my life by giving me a look into someone else's.


PS: See also Deepa Mehta's "Water" and "Earth". Also Mira Nair's "Kama Sutra". Indian films that have shaped my understanding ,appreciation of and love for storytelling.




5 comments:

AN IBO DUDE'S CORNER said...

I see u love bollywood movies. Not my thing though. U seen the movie, Fracture?

Try and see it

ijeoma obu iheoma said...

i am definetly going to check out the namesake.. i was discouraged from seeing it due to the bad reviews it received here in Toronto.. but i will check it out..
and yeah you should def see fracture.. that movie is quite cool

catwalq said...

I am going to check it out...
thanks

Simply Gorgeous said...

Now you are talking.... I love mira nair. Hands down Kama sutra has to be the best movie ever.

The relationship between the two best friends and the raj and how it plays into the shifting of power of love- great.

There is monsoon wedding that you did not add here...

You must be a real babe for women to be so insecure. So why the 5.5-I think you are truly unaware of your own beauty.

For me I really don't feel that insecure when a single woman eats alone or comes by herself. I think it has to do alot more with what is going on in the relationship. Maybe the woman feels she has to constantly prove her worth...

t said...

Hi Bollywooder, I want to be an actress/dancer in your gig. Call me when the time comes.