Friday, May 26, 2006

Take the promos with a pinch of salt. Preferably large.

One of my stupidest blunders in either the first or the second year of my college career was to almost forcibly take my father and mother to the Regal Cinema in Colaba to see The Robe. It was a dull and listless movie, as I now recall, with a wooden Richard Burton performance that was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar nevertheless. Victor Mature as his slave, Demetrius, was far better and even got rewarded for it with a starring role in a sequel, Demetrius and the Gladiators. (That too was a bomb. End of digression.) The reason I did what I did was because The Robe was the first film photographed in CinemaScope – badly, I admit (the newly developed lens was still full of flaws like an MS beta) – and I thought I was taking them to watch a major technological innovation in movie-making. (The ads said: “The first motion picture in CinemaScope – the modern miracle you see without glasses!” I used to be rather na├»ve and trusting about Hollywood in those days. I thought all that came from the West was best. One thing I distinctly remember, though, and am thankful for. Neither my father nor my mother enjoyed the ‘experience’ (as the promos put it) – my father, I suspect, loathed going to movies – and yet they accompanied me meekly and didn’t protest my impertinence even after returning home. What reminded me of this incidence is probably all the fuss that’s going on about Fanna. These days, my attitude is, cease and desist. It’s only a movie, for Pete’s sake. Even if Kunal Kohli whom we all love made it.

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