By Nikhil Raghavan
Friday turned out to be an interesting day. Watched two interesting movies in a single day. Not outstanding ones, but not boring either. Neither ‘Oscar’ material nor box-office busters. Just good films with ageing stars in tailor-made roles.
Our Brand Is Crisis – a lackluster title – is currently running in a few multiplexes. The storyline for this political satire directed by David Gordon Green, is about a Presidential election in Bolivia; the candidate hires an American consultancy to design, package and market him. Ageing actor Joaquim de Almeida plays the lead role and Sandra Bullock the campaign managing professional, with another ageing actor Billy Bob Thornton pitted against her as the opposition candidate’s manager. It is all about how the marketers dictate terms and control the candidate and influence the voting public to bring him to power. And, thereafter, how the elected President charts his own course, going back on his electoral promises. Very typical of elections worldwide and an eye-opener for the Indian populace.
Sadly, this movie does not seem to have received a nationwide release and the required publicity. I wonder if any of our film makers will pick up on the idea and make a movie highlighting the typical Indian elections. Brings to mind the high profile media blitz and campaign of earlier Congress and BJP elections. Electoral promises and deceptions are a given in any such events.
In the second movie, telecast on MN+HD, Jack Nicholson plays an ageing Casanova in Something’s Gotta Give, a romance film released in 2003, directed by Nancy Meyers. Jack is typical of a rich, footloose and fancy free bachelor who weaves in and out of relationships. He charms his way into a date with a very young girl but get smitten by her ageing mother, played by Diane Keaton. Heart problem and BP notwithstanding, Jack believes in living life to the fullest and takes his doctor’s advice literally – “If you can climb those stairs, then you can have sex, too!” Flings and flirtations are typical of the middle age crisis and in the Indian context, they are mostly brushed under the carpet.
Imagine a Vinod Khanna or Shatrughan Sinha (Casanovas of yore) playing such a role with any of the numerous yesteryear actresses as the lover. In recent years we have had offbeat themes like Piku, scoring well at the box office. It is time for our film makers to rethink in exploring realistic themes and presenting them in an entertaining way. Not just realism in a harsh, dark way to make an already depressing lifestyle of the common man, even more disheartening.