|They don't play it like us|
There's the competition? Amelie is a sweet, feel-good fairy tale about ordinary people grappling with the ordinary business of life. Sadly, an overdose of sweetness has almost soured the Oscars over the years.
Only last year, we tasted Chocolat, didn't we? Elling is an attempt to accolade the achievements of a pair of dysfunctional friends who combat the pressures of a normal world in their own abnormal ways. Normal is boring: now hasn't Uncle Oscar already echoed the Fido Dido credo nearly nineteen times till date. Oscar history throws up a never-ending love bond between the mentally or physically challenged wonderboy who transforms the all-faculties-intact guy into a midget.
Remember Tom Hank's Forrest Gump, Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man, Daniel Day Lewis' My Left Foot and Al Pacino's Scent of a W oman. No Man's Land shifts the Academy's by and large blinkered vision to virgin territory. Nevertheless, the Bosnian war drama remains an oft-voiced cry for peace.
Lagaan is all this and so much more. It is about love, peace, patriotism, ordinary heroism, underdog grandeur, sportsmanship, comradeship, anti-casteism, anti-imperialism, secularism... But that's only about content. And only about the competition in the foreign film category. Lagaan stands heads and shoulders above its competitors merely on the strength of its story, the style of its craft and the scale of its canvas.
Time to go ten
steps further and pose the million dollar query to Hollywood itself:
Where's the competition, big brother? Take the best of Indian cinema
and pitch it against
If Bollywood (read
Lagaan) feels threatened today, it is not so much an external threat.
|TIMES OF INDIA
By Nikhat Kazmi, dated Monday March 25, 2002.