Bitty Ruminations #21

Posted on June 22, 2010


JUN 22 – It is a truth universally acknowledged that a rant, like a long-building fart, needs to be released if balance is to be restored in the universe. And in that spirit, allow me to vent about a particular kind of reaction to my review of Raavan (or indeed, my reviewing methods in general).

The verb that’s thrown in my face so often it’s a small miracle it hasn’t adhered to my cheek and congealed into a birthmark is “overanalyse.” “I overanalyse films.” “I overreach for meaning.” “The director did not intend all this.” “I am imagining things.”

The polite response, of course, would be to quip, “Just because you fuckers don’t want to use your brains while watching a movie and want everything explicated through dialogue, I’m not going to stop engaging with the film on a visual/subtextual level.” But I suppose that would exclude me from quite a few cocktail conversations. So I have to grin and bear it, seeking refuge in the imaginative interiors of the mind where I bring down the nearby bottle of wine on my accuser’s drum-tight skull. (Even better if the bottle is weighted with uranium, with a smiling Ingrid Bergman applauding my efforts. Hey, as long as we’re dreaming…)

But even that I can abide. What I have grown tired of explaining is that I am not a character in a Charlie Kaufman screenplay capable of burrowing into filmmakers’ heads, so I DO NOT KNOW (yes, that’s my silent e-scream) that the director planted these nuggets deliberately.

Maybe they just happened. Maybe it just happened that the death of Beera’s sister and the abduction of Ragini were both orchestrated in water. Maybe it just happened that Dev held out the photographs in that order so that the depth of field in front of the camera captured Beera as being in the middle of Dev and Ragini on a literal level.

I don’t deny this at all.

But I do deny that that the film contains no plausible grounds for these extrapolations. One can make a case for these interpretations of mine because, whether Mani Ratnam intended these meanings or not, the film (through its visuals and through its text) supports these claims. And that’s the only thing that interests me. (Refer simplified explanation of deconstruction here. “In deconstruction, the critic claims there is no meaning to be found in the actual text, but only in the various, often mutually irreconcilable, ”virtual texts” constructed by readers in their search for meaning.”)

And so when I point out the water-situated parallels in the arcs of the two women characters, I am attempting to reconcile the two visuals in the two opposing halves of the film that, to my mind, exist in beautiful balance. But because it’s in my mind (and not necessarily in the director’s), it doesn’t mean I’m imagining all (or any) of this.

End of rant. All is well. That distant burst of music is the angels singing in the heavens again, preferably in shockingly (but also pleasingly) diaphanous robes.

PS: Yes, a lot of you have heard a lot of this before, but hey…

PPS: And here, a shameless plug for K2K, from DC.