19-May-2009

It is always a pleasure to take in a good movie and a halfway decent play in one weekend.

Edge of heaven

Screened as a part of NDTV Lumiere’s Cannes Festival selection at PVR, the hall contained a handful of people. Luckily the quorum was sufficient for the movie to be screened (unlike the last time I went to Sterling with a friend and was told that Turtles Can Fly wont be screened since we were the only two people who had booked tickets)

The movie itself is a nicely wrapped slice of the lives of its six lead characters. The story switches between Turkey and Germany and traces the blip of passion, love, lust and beliefs that registers in each of these characters before the world settles back into rhythm.

The story telling tight, the crossing of paths of the characters, unknownest to themselves is nicely done and the symbolic beginnings and ends don’t feel too clich├ęd. The movie also encompasses in the periphery a larger vision of lives of Turks in both Turkey and Germany.

An interesting view of a different world.


Don’t Look Now

It is difficult to pull off spooky movies. It is even more so with spooky plays. But ‘Don’t Look Now’ manages fairly successfully with a well-written script, believable cast and wonderful settings. Aparna and Sanjay are a typical upper middle class urban couple who lose their daughter Nitya at the beginning of the play. Trying to find peace, they visit Shanti Niketan – a conscious effort to dwell on better times as the couple had met there. The duo bump into two sisters dressed in black and looking quite witch-like. One of the sisters is psychic and warns them to leave Shanti Niketan. Aparna is wont to believe them but Sanjay finds the whole set up ridiculously fraudulent and superstitious. Things begin to get weirder and weirder for Sanjay who battles between his veneer of logic and his instinct and gradually realizes that some forces are beyond normal reasoning.

The play handles the mystical elements well. The central point is the big banyan tree, imaginatively designed to give a great atmosphere. The lighting works beautifully, especially when Sanjay has nightmares. Add to that the excellent mannerisms of each individual character (except perhaps for the witch sisters who appear a bit one-dimensional) and the villagers entering and exiting the scene adding a naturalness seldom found in the sparsely populated plays one sees at NCPA. On the whole, the play is definitely worth a watch.

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