I have been wanting to watch Children of Heaven since the time I read Swati’s review of the movie. I love the magic of childhood, and the movie, as promised, reminded me of those days. The movie reminded me of a couple of things about being a child, which I yearn for even now.
I still want the childish hope and optimism. I loved the double life, that I could manage between the real world and my world of dreams, and how I, without a worry, could jump and hop between them. And, that is the childish optimism that I refer to. My dream world was a reflection of how I wanted things to be in the real word(mostly, I also had fairy-tale-ish worlds too), and I was sincerely optimistic that events in the dream world will turn out real. Now, though, it is a pain to be so surrealistically optimistic, but the days on which I manage such a dream, and stay hopeful seem so much more beautiful and valuable.
As a child, we could let our imagination paint so many dreams, that we (atleast me and my sister) hardly had a huge list of materialistic demands. Knowing quite well, that on our birthdays, we could get whatever that we wanted, our demands would still be small things that fascinated us in the week (forgetting millions of other things that were in vogue a week, a month earlier), and we could be so happy with the clapping doll, the train set. All we needed was our imagination.
And, it does not need stating, the movie, also reminded me of my sister. Our childhood was magical, as we dreamed the same dreams differently, and lived it together. Almost all my cherished childhood memories involve playing some game with her. Now, that I think of it, I hardly remember us being separate during holidays and evenings and all.
Coming back to the movie, I connected with it because it reminded me of such thoughts and more. The story is about Ali, losing his sister, Zhara’s shoes. The kids, despite being 9 and 6, are mature, given the poor family that they come from. They decide, not to tell their parents about the missing shoe, not because they are scared of getting scolded, but because they know that their parents cannot afford one in the middle of the month. Despite this maturity shown by the kids, the story maintains the beauty of kids, as such mature conversations is immediately followed by the immature and innocent hoping and optimism of the kids. Like, when Ali convinces his sister that he will come 3rd in a long distance race, because the third prize is a pair of sneakers. Or, when they follow the girl who is now wearing Zhara’s lost sneakers in the hope of getting it back (and maturely coming back, when they realize that the girl is even poor-er). Or, when after winning the race, Ali, panting, asks his coach, did he come third.
Another scene which stands out for its innocence, is when Zhara’s mother asks her to server some tea to the kids father. Zhara, does it. All this while, the father is cutting sugar meant for the mosque. The mother, asks Zhara to get some sugar for her father. Not wanting to walk again, she just points at the heap of sugar lying in front and says, but pa, there is so much sugar here. The way the scene was set up naturally, while the objective was to highlight the poverty of the family, through words exchanged by the parents in the scene, was sheer brilliant movie-making.
The other movie that I saw and really loved was Mudal Mariyaathai. Desi movies, most of the times flirt with the thin line between telling the story and losing the plot in showcasing the hero in the lead role and more often losing that too in trying to sell the movie as some story, bu t with the big hero in it. Bharatiraaja could have lost the plot in trying to make a movie with Sivaji Ganeshan. But, instead, he treated Sivaji as the character Mailsaamy, and in the process gave a memorable movie.
The movie is about a lonely Mailsaamy, who has married, not out of love, but to save the family honor, who befriends a rather talkative Kuyil, and how they slowly start to like eachother. Of-course, there are sideplots, mainly to make the viewers empathize with a middle aged village leader falling in love with the much younger woman. But, the side-plots gel well with the central plot, and unlike other movies, the empathy is not contrived.
My favorite scene in the movie is one where everything is obvious. The director had shown Sivaji being mis-treated by his wife, and explicitly it was shown that he did not get good food. Presently, he finds himself in Kuyil’s shanty, where she has cooked a rather delicious fish curry. The scene as it was set-up offered no surprises. You knew that Kuyil will offer the food to Sivaji, and he will refuse it ( he is the elder, upper caste guy blah blah), but he will finally eat it, to please her. It was given. Still, the performances by cast in the scene, the way Sivaji spoke about not wanting to eat, but his eyes showed the lust for the food, the way Radha, understood that he wants to eat, but maintained that he was doing it for her etc etc etc was simply mind-blowing.
Illayaraja’s songs and more importantly the background music also smugly fit with the story. It stopped, stuttered, flowed, rushed, with the story, and was like a invisible cast in each scene, which ended brilliantly with the BG score for the final scene. Mailsaamy is in his death bed, and Kuyil comes to visit him. They hold their hands together, and the scene flashes back to brief spurts of happiness that they shared with eachother. In the background, the signature track of the movie slowly starts to hum. As the flashbacks go past the screen, the song picks up tempo (and volume), and reaches a crescendo. The happiness of Mailsaamy and Kuyil, flows into you through the song, leaving you believing (despite your skepticism) that Kuyil can cure somehow cure Mailsaamy. And then, life flows out of Mailsaamy, and the song in the background, from its high pitch, falls quickly to a sad hum. Sadness now flows through the cast and the song to you, as the movie slowly draws to its end. Absolute Brilliance.
1. The biggest update is that I have no updates. No flashy story to tell, no mega research results to boast about, zilch. I am still struggling with the courses, the assignments, and still staring into my code, trying to figure what it is that I want the code to do. (However much I struggled with the Bio course, it has taught me a lot. Maybe I will post about it later)
2. oh!ya! I am learning to drive (again). And having a tough time, reminding myself that you have to turn across the road when you turn left and turn to your side when you turn right.
Till the next time then!