Oscar fever subsides: Wrong choices?

Mumbai, Feb 25 (IANS) So in spite of some scathing pre-Oscar reviews criticising it for turning a real political episode into a populist drama, actor-turned-director Ben Afflect's "Argo" won the golden statuette for the best picture.

And they couldn't have chosen better. From the over-studied historicity of Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln", and the flamboyant feyness of David O'Russell's "The Silver Linings Playbook" to the cold calculated terror chronicle in Katheryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark 30" and the lumbering lyricism of Ang Lee's "Life Of Pi" -- this was the year when the Oscars went to the most undeserving.

Or so it seemed when lobbies bellowed fire and ire against "Argo" for distorting facts pertaining to a 1980 hostage situation in Iran. As though a heightened watchability level of a film automatically eliminates it from the hall of excellence!

By that reckoning, "Lincoln" and "Life Of Pi" were the the most deserving Oscar contenders of the year. Laboured "Lincoln" and "Life Of Pi" in their effort to put the written word into visual terms scored high marks. But both films suffered from an overdose of italicised ideation and an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

"Lincoln" chose to put forward Abraham Lincoln's fight for American Civil Rights with such slavish civility that we were left watching a good two-and-a-half hours of a tale that seemed sponsored by the American Dream.

As for the much-vaunted "Life Of Pi", Ang Lee left one feeling ang-ry. Very angry. The film is a luminously lit, but literal, interpretation of the book, and that monologue where, when interrogated by Japanese officials, Pi (Suraj Sharma) launches into various hypothetical situations that could have arisen in his journey from shipwreck on the high seas to existential marooning on an island of the mind, I felt I was being read out chapters from the book in a voice that didn't quite convey the power to render words into powerful visuals.

What made "Life Of Pi" so loved? Was it the idea of a boy alone on a boat with a Royal Bengal tiger? Or was it just the fascination of watching an adventure tale unfold in painfully detailed welters and waves with the cinematography pelting paeans of poetry into a film that obstinately opts for a prose rendering?

I don't know why... "Life Of Pi" left me profoundly underwhelmed.

Katheryn Bigelow's tale of Osama's capture was so full of muted sound and unbridled fury, I felt as tortured as some of the bad guys who are graphically tortured by CIA heroes in the film. Bigelow's rendering of 'Pakistan' was far from satisfactory. That could be because she shot the film in Punjab pretending it was Osama-garh. We knew it.

While Bigelow is big on creating the turmoil of terror, I felt the film was trying much too hard to be a scrupulous take on the events that led to Osama's capture and death. It was like watching a political drama from the other end of "Argo", the dry, staccato, sterile and deliberately wry and sardonic end.

"Zero Dark 30" is a powerful film. But it is not a great film. It got its political point across correctly. But it missed that transcendental converging point where "High Art meets Great Cinema".

Luckily for us, Anupam Kher was more than a token Indian presence in "Silver Linings Playbook". But this was again a film that was much too verbose.

Why did we have so many Oscar nominated films this year where the characters spoke too much and too quickly? Is cinema now as afraid of silences as we are?

--

Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Latest News

  • Coffee spill behind Serbian president's airplane scare

    Blamed initially on 'engine failure', it emerged on Tuesday that a government jet carrying Serbia's president to Italy last week was forced to turn back when the co-pilot spilled coffee on the instrument board. Advisers to President Tomislav Nikolic described being "thrown around the cabin" when the plane -- a 34-year-old French-built Falcon 50 -- began tumbling through the air on Friday. The plane landed safely back in Belgrade, but Nikolic was forced to cancel his official visit to meet …

  • Ravi Kishan To Play A Unique Role In Bombairiya
    Ravi Kishan To Play A Unique Role In Bombairiya

    After announcing big names like Radhika Apte, Siddhanth Kapoor, Akshay Oberoi and Shilpa Shukla now Indo British producer Michael Ward has signed Ravi Kishan for his next film Bombairiya. Ravi Kishan will be seen playing the role of Karan Kapoor, who is a superstar in the films and whose popularity is fading day by day. “Ravi Kishan plays a very important role in the role, Its a small yet powerful role. He has a great degree of professionalism and that was more then enough for us to sign him …

  • Vijay's encouragement gave me confidence: Charandeep

    Chennai, April 21 (IANS) Actor Charandeep, who has teamed up with Tamil superstar Vijay for the second time in the upcoming film "Puli", says the latter's encouragement on the sets gave him confidence to perform well. "Vijay sir has no need to take the effort to help, but he did while working in 'Puli'. He explained patiently how differently and effectively I can mouth my dialogues," Charandeep, who had previously worked in last year's Tamil blockbuster "Jilla" with Vijay, told IANS. In the …

  • 'Kai Raja Kai' a different film from Maruthi Talkies: Director

    Chennai, April 21 (IANS) Debutant director Siva Ganesh says forthcoming Telugu crime-comedy "Kai Raja Kai" will be a different film from Maruthi Talkies banner, mostly known for making romantic and adult comedies. "The fact that Maruthi Talkies hasn't produced a film in this genre makes 'Kai Raja Kai' different and special. Producer Maruthi also felt that since I have a grip on this genre, he wanted me to give a different film," Ganesh told IANS. He was really interested in the idea and …

  • Check Out: Shahid Kapoor’s Fiancee Mira Rajput’s Farewell Picture
    Check Out: Shahid Kapoor’s Fiancee Mira Rajput’s Farewell Picture

    We all know chocolate boy Shahid Kapoor is all set to marry his dream girl Mira Rajput this year. As soon as the news about Mira Rajput and Shahid Kapoor‘s marriage plans were out, pictures of Mira Rajput started taking rounds on the social networking sites. While Shahid Kapoor himself cleared all the doubts during an awards show in Mumbai that he will be getting married this year surely. Mira Rajput is quite simple girl Delhi based third year English (Hons) student at Lady Sri Ram College …

  • Time for musical lessons for Sarah Jane

    Mumbai, April 21 (IANS) Taking her passion for music a step forward, actress-singer Sarah Jane Dias is learning the acoustic guitar to hone her musical skills. She is taking vocal lessons from Samantha Edward and instrument from a Parsi musician. "I'm very happy to have found someone who has learnt the art of acoustic guitar from the golden era of guitar. …

  • Box Office: Emraan Hashmi’s Mr X Going Invisible
    Box Office: Emraan Hashmi’s Mr X Going Invisible

    Emraan Hashmi‘s first film of the year Mr X opened to poor collection at the Box Office on Friday. The film only managed to pull around Rs. 4 Crore (40 millions) on its first day and couldn’t create any magic the following weekend as well. Emraan Hashmi‘s Mr X, which is a story of an invisible man, is going invisible at the Box Office, it seems. Directed by Vikram Bhatt, the film only managed to mint around Rs. 12 Crore Nett (120 millions) in its first weekend at the Box Office. …

  • Assamese musician wants to popularise stories from his land

    New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) Digboi-born musician Joi Barua, who has lent his voice to Bollywood films like "Udaan" and "Dev.D", says he takes a "lot of pain and effort to ensure that our local stories are heard". "In terms of music, I made 'Looking out of the Window' (Assamese album) after working in Mumbai. I could've easily used my time to work on something else like an album in English or Hindi," Joi, who moved to Mumbai 10 years back, told IANS in a telephonic interaction from the city of …

Loading...