There are two essays in a row that I need to finish before heading back to India. I've finished with the first one that is on ‘widescreen cinema and close to reality ambience.’ It was so exciting to read about the systems like Cinerama, CinemaScope, VistaVision, Tod-AOO, Cinimiracle, Technirama etc that fascinated audience in 50s and 60s with screens much bigger than today’s. I really do miss watching a 3D film in Cinerama; probably the ultimate experience of living in visual space. In future, I'm keen on seeing a film in OMNIMAX too. My second essay is on ‘Spaghetti Western films of Sergio Leone’ concentrating on the ‘Dollor Triology’. Thanks to my professor, Russ Hunter, who introduced me to the genres of films other than the ones of belong to the great Neorealism movement in Italy. To be honest until this module by Mr.Russ, I never thought that there is a genuine need of studying the commercial genres of cinema too. Now I agree that I was wrong.
Well in this post I want to write about something else- my concept of woman icon in cinema and may be in my reality too. I have already written about it in another post previously. But today after seeing the same film again, I must admit that I fell in her charm more intensely. She is 'Yesterday'. Since the day I saw her, I'm in love with her. Can any woman be so simple as a dove and at the same time as bold as a rock? Yesterday is the name of an young African mother played by South African actress Leleti Khumalo in the film by the same name ‘Yesterday’ directed by Darrel Roodt . I would rather call her a goddess of simplicity and a symbol of will-power for humanity. There is a scene in which the doctor wonders at her health and says, ‘Yesterday, your body is so strong’. As reply she points at her head and say in a simple smile "It’s all here. I’m not ready until my daughter ‘Beauty’ goes to school”. On another occasion a local schoolteacher calls her a ‘strong woman’ and she tells her “Sorry, I’m not. But that is the way things have to happen.” There is so much of simplicity in her nature and an ambition to live for, which is unique. Fighting with life and survival was a small part of the routine of her day... She never longed for anyone's help or believed in miracles. Her way was to deal with it, as she did with all other situations. The film was much appreciated with awards in many festivals around the glode, including Pune Film Festival.
I am ready to die after seeing at least one such woman in Indian screen or in real life who is not an escapist, whom people don't whistle at - consider as a subject of visual pleasure - or sympathise. It is difficult to see that combination of simplicity and boldness, at a time. There must be a lot of simple woman in Indian screen as nurturing mothers, ideal wives and dedicated daughters. But very few of them are shown equally bold to face reality; rather they are all shown in a way 'dependent or desperate'. There were attempts to portray bold woman too on Indian cinema. But most of them remain bold to the core as if they lost all soft feelings because of the society and people; that make them still the same – desperate and dependant. Hence to both the kind of woman, audience has only one feeling – sympathy, which is ridiculous. Very recently I saw a Malayalam film called Kadha Thudarunnu, in which actress Mamtha’s character was quite appealing as ‘bold and simple’. I enjoyed watching both the beginning and the end of the film, where the creator kept her with that identity. More than generating sympathy, she remained an icon. At the same time I hated the portions where she was shown dependent too.
The lady ‘Yesterday’ in 'Yesterday' is an icon. She never took any sympathy from audience. They rather treated her with dignity. She thus inspires spectators of both the sex on equal levels; she makes them feel that life is so simple and nice. Life has more meanings to it.I am sure nobody sympathised at her neither worshiped her as rebel to the crimes on humanity. They all would prefer to walk with her talking to her holding her hands, sharing moments of daily life. Well, that is what I felt I would do if I happen to see her in real life. Sympathy is probably the only feeling I would prefer not having for anyone. It is disgusting; I can hate someone instead. Recently I was telling a friend that I'm trying to revisit the good things I admired even in my worst enemy, only not to have any sense of anger or sympathy to them, because I know that that I'm capable enough to make my life and their life a disaster with such feelings. Instead of calling someone a ‘bastard’ or ‘bitch’, isn’t it great to say ‘be good’, understanding people (that includes myself) as victims of situation who ironically justifies 'own' actions as well as 'own' decisions on those situations with 'own' logics; leaving the ultimate truth being selfishness. Those who have balls survive reality, others don’t. Escapists die with an identity crisis, that remained nature's will that no one survived yet.
I never liked to leave a theatre space sympathizing at the characters of film; in reality too. Rather, I always enjoyed to be inspired by them. I like to shed a tear of happiness and not sorrow. Till date, no other woman inspired me as much as ‘Yesterday’; both in films and in real life. It's the truth.
I guess I need to get back to my essay now. Catch you soon. Hugs.