Monday, April 2, 2012

The Black Swan - some thoughts

I caught The Black Swan more than a year after its Oscar win. It was one of those TV premieres.
Movies about dreams and ambitions are always captivating. Black Swan is no different. That said, it is also the kind of movie only those who understand the deep, overpowering emotions that ambition creates, can appreciate. Creative ambition, as the movie portrays, is something that can drive anyone to almost persecutionist perfection.

If you have ever had a burning desire, a desire so powerful that you would either have it or let yourself be condemned by its absence, then this is the movie for you. And Natalie Portman depicts it with all the vulnerability that comes with such passion.

In the beginnning of the movie, you see her innocent attempts at just securing a position for herself in the ruthless world of ballet. She is not trying to topple anyone, she just wants to be one among the many stars. But is she taking over from the reigning and aging queen? When she finally does, you see how deep a cut, the desire to win can make.

Most of us start out like Natalie's character. We strive through the initial parts of our life just trying to be a new person, just us. Then we see someone who we feel is better at being us than we are or someone who we feel is where we would like to see ourselves. Its then that the downfall begins. You first strive to be something more, anything more. You have to shed inhibitions and any thoughts of who you thought you were, its like a painful deflowering. To be more, some emulate, some counter strike, some vitiate and some, they believe. The ones who believe, they are the rare ones. Most of us end up emulating, some to good effect, others to disastrous.

Now don't take me wrong, emulating in itself is many a times a good thing. No hard feelings there. But where is Portman's character? She is done emulating the moment she has achieved some amount of recognition. Now what she wants is to be better than anyone ever has been. This is ambition, its almost like greed. It never ends. You want more and more and you are ready to punish yourself to any length, just to be able to look in the mirror and smile the day you succeed. The film however dwells on the dark aspect of this ambition. How soul destroying it could be to want something so bad that you would do anything to get it. How when your life is all about just having that one thing, nothing else matters.

It is an exalted feeling, this deep, passionate ambition. And yet it is the most disturbing, because anything that has the power to make you deeply happy in life has the power to make you equally distraught when its absent. It can tease you, it can be that forever dangling carrot called 'If only'. You could take the plunge and catch hold of the rope or you could stand at the precipice forever gazing wistfully, or you could take the plunge and fall down forever. Something about that movie is so haunting and relatable. Worth a watch again sometime.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Top songs to pep you up

There are some songs that can just lift your mood, however black it may be.

1. Take this one from Woh Lamhe. In an otherwise dark and disturbing movie, this song adds the pep value. K K, generally known for a perfect rendition of defeatist songs, is high on happiness here.

Check it out.

2. I am not a fan of Vivek Oberoi though I can tolerate Dia Mirza. And to be honest, I would have liked this song from Dum to be picturised on someone else. But the rain soaked song brings with it all the monsoon freshness.

Here's to Jeena.

3. Maana aaj ki raat hai lambi, maana din tha bhaari... what best to soothe your heart after a long tiring day than Rafi's lullaby and the memory of Shammi Kapoor's ever smiling face.

Main gaoon tum so jao

4. If you talk lighthearted, can you do without vintage Dev Anand? There could be many contenders to the pep value song in Dev Saab's repertoire. Zindagi ka saath, Achha ji main haari, Ye dil na hota bechara. But for our list here's a song that shows him as always charming his lady love, so what if she never called out to him. With the ever so fun, Kishore da.

5. And since we mentioned Kishore da, out of all the crazy songs, our list will include a not so crazy, but very optimistic song. As they say, sometimes little (or subtle) is enough.