Tuesday, March 2, 2010

MY CINEMATIC TRAILER

When I decided to start my blog, I wanted to first write about the evolution of my love for cinema. But quite sadly and ironically I just could not remember the first film I ever saw. As someone who remembers almost all films that I saw as a child most vividly could just not recollect the first film. Was it a black and white film or east man colour…Tamil, Hindi or English….I wish I could remember. But here is a memoir of films that left a lasting impression on my mind and laid the foundation for my unadulterated love for cinema.

Nimajjanam – A Telugu film that won national award for Sharadha. After a short trip to…don’t know where…and returning back to Chennai we decided to spend the night at a friend’s house. While I thought that the decision was to avoid night travel I was surprised when my mother casually stated that the decision was due to Nimajjanam playing on Doordarshan. Here I will digress to give credit to my mother. She is the one who introduced me to books, films and music. Someone who never thought that I am a child, young to understand a complex story but took company in me to watch a film and share her reviews. I clearly remember my mother telling me that Nimajjanam is a movie that every woman should watch…a movie that will educate women that they could also be a reason for their sexual abuse. This she said when I must have been just 4 or 5 years old. Supermom, I wish to salute you for nourishing me with good cinema.

Coming back to Nimajjanam, I remember the movie for Sharadha’s stellar performance and cinematography. Images from the film are still fresh in my memory. The story from what I remember…Sharadha and her husband go on a pilgrimage to Kasi. While taking a dip at the holy Ganges with her husband, Sharadha drowns and dies. While it is seen as an accident by everyone, Sharadha actually lets herself drown as a punishment for losing her chastity.…she is in fact raped by a lecherous bullock cart driver during her journey from the railway station (don’t remember where her husband was then). The driver is tempted by Sharadha’s beauty when she sleeps unaware of her slipping sari revealing her cleavage. Sharadha ends her life by taking the blame on herself for the incident. On his way back to the railway station Sharadha’s husband takes the same bullock cart. When the driver hears about Sharadha’s death he is shocked and guilt engulfs him. And to add fuel to his guilt he crosses the place where he committed the crime. The guilt haunts him further and he dies…a scene which I can never forget. The camera from his point of view looks around and the huge tree that witnessed his crime even scared me. The film according to me was about sin and renunciation. I remember that it is a practice to renounce something after a trip to Kasi and river Ganga is where one takes a dip to wash away their sins. As a child I was wondering and still continue to figure out who the sinner was and what was renounced in Nimajjanam.

The Last Emperor. A film that had world wide recognition was on Doordarshan again. My mom told me that I should watch the movie. She said it had won many an Oscar and the little boy has done an excellent performance. There I was staying awake to watch the late night film while mom and dad were sleeping. The film left me spellbound. It was above and beyond belief. It would be right to say that I started realizing the meaning of editing and background score after my tryst with The Last Emperor! I also have some other fond memories of the film...the live censorship of some scenes. My all progressive mom’s split personality woke up from her sleep exactly at the famous kissing scene and asked me to switch off the TV for a few minutes. I was too young to understand or question why she asked me to do so but obeyed and resumed watching after a few minutes. The censorship popped up at two other scenes as well! Years later, much to my mom’s embarrassment, what I remember the most is the kissing scene.

Antarjali Yatra…a film that made me a fan of Shatrughan Sinha and Bengali films. A bed ridden invalid octogenarian counting his last days has doting sons who will do anything to get their dad longevity! Though they set up a tent and shift their father to the river bank as his death was nearing they don’t let go off any option to keep their dad alive. They fix his marriage to a poor young girl with hope that her mangalsutra will make him live longer. Post marriage the newly wedded couple are left alone at the river bank. The old man with kajal decorating his eyes even tries to raise his head to kiss his bride. Alas he could only aspire! Shatrughan Sinha plays an undertaker in the film and turns out to be the only companion for the new bride. The movie ends without giving a solution to the story with a flood washing away the river bed.

Ninaivugale Neengividu is a Tamil telefilm. I don’t remember the film as a whole but two scenes are deeply etched in my memory. It is the story of two women. One a rich, young and pretty girl and the other a middle class mother of two. The former meets with an accident with the only alive part in her body being her brain. The latter if I am not wrong is brain dead. And then the obvious brain transplant takes place. The mother of two essayed brilliantly by Jayabharathi, wakes up with memories of the young girl…I still cannot forget her scream when she looks at herself in the mirror. She then proceeds to her(!?) bungalow while her husband (of her flesh and bones) stands outside the gate and looks at her with mixed feelings.

These four films among many others, I would say left a lasting impression in my inquisitive mind during my formative years. It made me think that there was more to look forward to in cinema than mere star cast. Thus grew my fetish for cinema…an insatiable thirst to watch films from across the globe. And I would proudly state ‘A film a day will keep me awake’

15 comments:

kaavya said...

seriously mam i wish i had watched atleast one of those to relate better. and yes i admit-i dont rememebr my first or my second movie.i jus realised after reading the blog :) great one

lavanya said...

WOW :) amazing mam seriously even i wish i had watched any of these to relate to them. the first movie i went to as kid was Roja but apparently i din see the movie as such... and the first movie that i recall of watching is khadhalan :) and ended up fighting with my dad saying prabhu deva's pair's name is shruthi n not nagma.... :P memories..... :)amazing article mam :) will wait for the next one :D

Rums said...

Welcome to Blogosphere Vids. It's been a real long time since I read something like this from you - I'm all excited and want to see more posts!

I remember Ninaivugale Neengividu - wasn't it Prameela in that movie? The whole concept for someone as young as I was when I watched it was eerie - now we know it's fiction :)But it's still etched in my memory!

Sanjay Pinto said...

My wife is a genius...and here's the evidence :-) No wonder Kamal Haasan too was in awe of her review of Hey Ram.

Chandni said...

Hi mam, your creative blog has taken me back to the TVP classes that u handled for us in our final year. I remember so clearly we used to sit through your theory sessions patiently only to listen to your one film review in the last ten minutes :) if not for you most of us would have remained unaware & unintroduced to world cinema and gone no far than vijay, ajith or shah rukh :) yor most unforgetable is Hey Ram. Even today when I hear a song or watch a scene from it your descriptional teachings ring clearly through my mind. Hoping you'll write a blog on it sometime :) all the best.

Krithika Rajendran said...

the firstt movie i remember watching was "Adhae Kangal" :-) it was my favorritte movie when i was small...and "roja" also...and "michael madan kama raj" alll 4 kamalss!!:-)..
super blogg mamm:-)

puja said...

great post mam! looking fwd to reading more such remarkable articles by u!

Vidya Pinto said...

@kaavya, Lavanya & Krithika, Thank you. Am happy I made you look back and recollect the first film you saw.
@rums.....its probably 6 years since i wrote something out of passion... the last would have been our macomm days...i feel so nice and born again after i started to (re)write. will definitely be a regular blogger....infact i would say that it was your 'nostalgia' post in your blog that inspired me to start one. What a wonderful, emotional and straight from heart writing.
Ninaivugale neengividu....am sure it is Jayabharathi cause i cross checked with Niveditha mam
@Chandni, Hey Ram is definitely in the pipeline.
@sanjay, thanks for everything.

CDey said...

The last emperor is one of my favorites.. the score is haunting. not to forget some of the scenes that have stayed alive in my mind after 18 or 19 years - the young prince without his glasses lost on the roof top of the palace he is trying to escape.. and the grasshopper coming out of the box at the end of the movie..

good blog.. made me think about the movies that made an impression on my mind.

sharanya said...

This makes me want to watch ALL the movies that you have mentioned!! I'm really missing your TVP classes!! I got SO MUCH interest in TVP only because of the way you taught us!!
AMAZING!! It shows how passionate you are Ma'am!! =)
SERIOUSLY, Wanna read more of these!! =)

Amma's samayal kuripugal said...

yeah vids ninaivugale neengividu heroine is jayabharathi, and rums, it was kind of spooky in those days to think about such medical procedures, but with all the fantasy films and so called si-fi movies i think now we can appriciate the write and producer for having the guts to make that film then:-)

Lilly said...

hey ma'm.. this blog's just awesome.. i just loved reading it.. looking forward to more such writings from you.. do keep writing and keep your fire alive for writing.. love rohitha..

Usha said...

My dearest Vidhi, I am very proud of you. While reading your blog, I remembered those days, when we both used to talk hours and hours about so many things... Cinema, books (Thi janakiraman, Sydney Sheldon, Jeffery Archer, Bhagavath Geetha) Music,(I remember the day of Maharajapuram Santhanam's death) Days when we used to enjoy watching the night sky. You were my close friend.(Even Now). Naan unakku solli Koduthathu Konjamthaan. Unnidamirunthu naan katru kondathu niraiya! Naam sernthu Paartha nalla cinemakkalai pathi unnudaya blogil ezhuthu. With love, Amma.

Lilly said...

ma'm now I wish I'd watched the movie which has been analysed critically.. The analysis is such wonderful.. anyways how u doing ma'm?? you said you'll give me your gmail ID & never gave it.. :( I'd like to know it and keep in touch with you ma'm.. Love.. Rohitha..

Vasanth Rajkumar said...

Nice post. Thanks for reminding me the name of the telefilm with Jayabarathi. I even forgot the name. Thanks for making me remember the name. It aired possibly 20-25 yrs ago. I must have been 12 then. Still fresh in my mind.Really felt sorry for the 2 kids. I tried coogling everywhere but couldn't get more info on the film. I wish someone uploads it to Youtube.