Silent Whispers

Chasing Illusionary Butterflies!

Archive for February, 2010

Avatar Phenomenon- Worth the Hype?

Posted by Mrityunjay on February 16, 2010

My guess is, almost all the entertainment magazines, websites and channels would have covered or rather exploited the ‘Avatar’ phenomenon to the hilt. It’s almost two months that the movie was released and the guys from Twentieth Century Fox must have gone laughing all the way to the banks. Even after two months along with all the exposure accorded to it, movie hasn’t stopped raking moolah for its team. Almost everyone with or without the knowledge of the ‘English’ language has seen the movie once and finds it almost bewitching and opulent.

Yes, it is a grand show of visual extravagance that has taken the concept of movie making to a new height altogether. The scale, never before seen graphics, 3D, budget and what not, Avatar has been a true phenomenon. Seems, all the hype concerning the movie was worth the wait. Avatar also marked return of hugely successful ‘James Cameron’ who was missing in Hollywood action after the previous all time grosser ‘Titanic’. In between, he was indulged in making some fascinating documentaries in collaboration with Nasa.

Having said all that, I still find movie nothing more than a visual treat. Though, I may sound stupid and people with better understanding of cinema might scoff at my naivety or so-called cynical attitude, I will prefer to stand by what I just said.

First thing first. James Cameroon was always a hugely successful director who paid his producers astonishing returns. Whether it was True Lies, Terminator or Titanic, all these movies did amazing business on the box office. But, yes there is a great but, He was never really known for making ‘path-breaking cinema’. Agreed, he had a niche segment and he is a master of making potboilers or should we say, ‘Popcorn flicks’, but that’s that. Tell me what other values his movies offered except excessive use of new technologies or for that matter, grand scales? He is master of epic movies but beyond that I will have to really scratch my head.

Avatar was a classic example of effective use of promotional strategies. Everything about it was so well documented, hyped and there was a shroud of mystery covering its making. Movie was promoted and hyped in such a way that, if you ask a cine-goer, did you watch ‘Avatar’ and if he hasn’t seen it yet, he would be almost embarrassed to confess it. Mass-marketing at its very best. It was a brutal but suave attack on human psychology. I have seen people telling me about watching ‘Avatar’ as if they belong to the first generation of movie lovers who are updated with latest of Hollywood.

Check the story line of the movie; boy meets girl, they fall in love and in comes haters of love and peace and ultimately after finishing up all the goons, they both live happily after. Innovative? Striking? Got a ketch up sauce of Brave heart, Pocahontas and Space marines. Any resonance of 999th time’s repetition of ecological balance, some Voo-doo kind of bizarre spirituality and importance of peace and love in the times of conflict?

Remember Titanic? A poor boy meets a rich girl and expectedly cupid strikes. Enters the evil fiancée and family members and boy finally had to sacrifice his life in order to save the girl. Impressed again? Nothing original in terms of story or the end of it. However, what was different was the ‘Ship’. I don’t remember seeing such a giant ship and the sadistically fascinating sinking of it. It was just Wow!

Honestly, I don’t think I am being a cynic here but all I am trying to say is, it wasn’t as great as it is made out to be. ‘Avatar’ must win all the awards in graphics/technology division but for God sake don’t insult Hurt Locker by awarding ‘Avatar’ the best movie and best director award. However, if entertainment is only criteria then it should win hands down else, so many nominations are just sufficient enough.

To end with, ‘Avatar’ might kick start a new chapter in movie-making. 3D was never used with such wonderful effect. I also loved the use of truly photo-real CG that was always promised by Hollywood but delivered only in Avatar. All in all, if you can leave your logics behind then take a bucket of popcorns and enjoy the grandest spectacle ever seen on 70mm.

P.S- By the way, I loved Pandora and Na’vi. I wish I could reside there, walk on those floating mountains and ride one of those seductive Inkaras! 😛

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2010: Year of The Tiger

Posted by Mrityunjay on February 15, 2010

According to Chinese calendar, year 2010 is the Year Of The Tiger. Well, if you are born in any of these years; 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998 or 2010 (Parents can rejoice in the last case), you have got plenty of reasons to feel good about. If you are wondering about difference between Western astrology and Chinese zodiac, then let me tell you the details. Chinese tradition uses lunar calendar for celebratory events whereas Chinese zodiac system uses cycle of twelve animal signs after which years are named.

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Oscar 2010 : Nominations Announced

Posted by Mrityunjay on February 4, 2010

The much anticipated Oscar Nominations have been announced and It seems a royal battle between Avatar and Hurt Locker.

And so here it comes after lots of speculation. Yes, I am talking about much anticipated Oscar nominations and I bet, many of you must have started to predict whether it will be one between the ex-couples, James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow emerging with the Best Director award! Bigelow is only the fourth female best director nominee in Oscar history and would be the first winner if she manages to clinch it. At the same time, few of you would be dismayed on Clint Eastwood missing out this time for “Invictus”. But surely, all the movie buffs have got plenty to talk about till 7th of March when the gala ceremony will differentiate winners from lucky losers.

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A Few Inches More

Posted by Mrityunjay on February 2, 2010

Day before yesterday, my room-mate casually asked me about height of some of our top bollywood stars and that got me going about how some of the greatest personalities of last century are short-heighted. There are hundreds of examples of ‘short’ people making it real ‘big’ in public domain. Yet, despite of this we people are obsessed with tall personalities just the way we have this ‘unfair’ obsession with “fairness”.

Mahatma Gandhi was 5’3” whereas Stalin was 5’4”. We simply cannot ignore this fact that many powerful men in world history were short. If you are a movie buff, how about realizing the fact that talents like Tom Cruise and AL Pacino are quite short by standard height benchmark. Even in Bollywood, take the reigning Khans; Salman, Amir and Shahrukh are below 6’ but their box office records are anything but ‘short’.

Male brigade is facing tough times in the era of stilettos. Poor, Nicolas Sarcozy always has to match up to his tall wife ‘Carla Bruni’. Similarly, Tom Cruise is always subject to humiliation while accompanied by his wife Katie Holmes who loves to wear stilettos. Sometimes, the female partner tries to make her man look taller by wearing flats. Yes, Katrina Kaif is one such benevolent partner.

The seeds of this height obsession lie in image associated with height. It symbolises power and even studies suggest the same. According to one study, short men are less likely to be promoted, hired or paid as well as their taller counterparts. Women also prefer to have taller companions. That explains why many short men are suffering from Napoleon complex or Short Man Syndrome.

The general perception also adds to this existing problem. Men are generally perceived to be tall, dark and handsome and who could provide protection to females. Vanity, eh?! Interestingly, short men also appear to be more aggressive which is nothing but a defence mechanism method to (over)compensate for the lack of height.

One direct beneficiary of this dilemma is fashion industry that has added few more zeroes to its bottom line by offering products like ‘Elevator shoes’. It is common to see numerous fashion articles emphasising value of ‘dressing tall’ and suggesting dresses that can add few more inches to one’s height. I wonder, should men be really this much troubled with the entire hullabaloo surrounding height factor?

Though, I am opining about height issue, perhaps I should take the initiative to contribute my bit. I am of around 5’10” and yet once in a while I keep blabbering about how 2 inches more would have been just perfect! Yes, good things do come in small packages. And if nothing else works out we can always initiate a campaign on lines of ‘Yes We Can’ and appoint someone like Sachin Tendulkar or Brian Lara to champion causes of short men ;).

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