Sunday, 2 February 2014

Titanic, The Movie

Image taken from here

I wrote this on April 5, 1998 after I came back after watching Titanic for the second time. It was rare then, and it is rare now, for me to watch a movie twice on theater. Actually I can think of only one other film which would fit this criteria for me. And I watched that movie twice because some relatives insisted that we join them when they were going. It was DDLJ.
As for Titanic, I would have been more than happy to have watched it again and again... So here's what I wrote back then -
Saw 'Titanic' for the second time today. And maybe because it was the second time I could look beyond how indescribably good Leonardo DiCaprio (Jack) was looking, the flawless beauty of Kate Winslet (Rose), the elegance of the first class passengers, the comparison between the 1st class and 3rd class passengers, the beautiful sets and costumes, the brilliance of the director in showing even the engines and the workers there - all in all, the whole grandeur. I was not preoccupied with the story of Jack and Rose... I knew that already.
The first time I watched the movie, I had felt shattered when Jack had died. My sister had said thoughtfully, "1500 people died in reality and Jack is who matters." 

The fact remained that it would have been a happy, hopeful and romantic ending had they both lived... and lived happily ever after.

Today was the second time. The first impression, as I usually feel it always is, was shallow and ephemeral. (Is the first impression ever the last impression? I have never ever experienced it to be.)

After the second watch, the significance struck home - Jack died, Rose lived... Life for Rose went on. Many people aboard Titanic died, many lived... For the ones who lived, life went on. One may stop and look back from time to time... Rose must have... But one can't die for the dead.

The beauty of it is that Rose didn't just survive, she lived a good, happy life.
Even 101 year old Rose didn't let go. Towards the end of the film, when she climbed is on the deck of the ship, my thought was that she would commit suicide for Jack... but she doesn't. Today I realised she wouldn't. That would have been out of character for the strong, happy Rose, who loved life.
That isn't how life works. Life works on dreams and fantasies, on hopes and wishes, on memories (Rose had Jack’s) and promises (she made one to him, ‘never to let go’). Above all, life goes on, because you have that strength and courage to face it and live it... and because you have it in you not to let the sorrows drown you, but let the memories of it keep you afloat, as you live each moment, making more beautiful memories... but never forgetting the old ones.
'It had been 84 years’. Loved it, when she says, ‘He saved me in every possible way a person can be saved’.

The courage to let go (Book Review: JD Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye)

Title: The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J.D. Salinger
Genre: Literary Realism / Coming-of-age story

Just finished reading JD Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, a nd I am penning down the impressions of the book. It is not exactly a review.

The only thing I knew about The Catcher in the Rye was that it's a famous book, written by a reclusive author. Read an article in a newspaper about it. This book has been on my 'books to read' list for a very long time. It's even been on my bookshelf for a couple of years now.

I found it difficult to get started - the first few pages took quite a while. It may have had something to do with the small font of the edition I have. Of course, once the story took off, the font ceased to matter that much - although it does affect the speed of reading.

The Catcher in the Rye reads like a journal. It uses the informal, spoken language, instead of the 'right' correct one that would be expected. I guess it is part of the charm of the book.

This book was written years before my mother was born, in a country foreign to me. Many words didn't make sense - it was the context that explained them to me. But I think that has more to do with the time, than the place. But the thoughts and feelings seem to belong to this day.

I had a smile on my face at the very beginning, where the protagonist refused to write about his childhood, etc. But with 'innocent' words, here and there, conveyed quite a lot.

My son has recently joined boarding school. I think this made me relate more to many things. Though I can't imagine a sixteen-year-old doing all that, without his parents' knowledge at all - am I living in the wrong century?

As the story proceeds, I want to see Holden doing well in his life - the very first page conveys, he probably has not. All his elders are telling him in different ways to do things 'right'. He is at crossroads through this book.

Is there a hidden meaning, when Holden keeps wondering and asking where the ducks of the central park go in the winters.

Who has not hated school? Is it practicality that keeps us going? Or are we just too scared to do something different? Through life, we keep trying to fit into the set molds. Holden doesn't.

Is it cynicism? Or is he actually smarter than the rest?

I see people around me making conversation, laughing as if having fun when in fact they couldn't care less. But that's how we live and interact and keep going.

Holden calls the 'phonies'. Still, he keeps feeling sorry or sad for stupid, 'phony' and even selfish people. He sees their shortcomings but doesn't hate them. Instead, he's always asking to himself, "I am a madman". Is he in an asylum or rehab of some sort now, when he writes this account?

Not just people, movies and books and plays are phonies too. I can just imagine Holden thinking every single movie I like is a phony.

Then there is Jane Gallagher. The one character in the book, who seems to matter the most to Holden, besides his siblings. And somehow he's never able to talk to her.

Through the book, I was continuously psycho-analyzing what makes Holden the way he is. The brother who's no more? Holden's siblings are obviously smart. And so is Holden. What is making him discontent, is something insides him. Did the death of a younger sibling do that to him?

But are the answers to complicated human nature ever so simple?

The Catcher in the Rye is a cult and I can understand why. 

I didn't relate to it all that much but then given the subject I couldn't have.
There are many things I didn't understand.
Maybe one day I will read it again, and understand where the ducks of the central park go in the winters.

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