Readers Write In #35: Ageing With Films

Posted on March 5, 2018

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My father, who is the chief reason behind my ardent love for films, has stopped going to the theatres. My problem doesn’t end there. Once a passionate collector of movie DVDs, it is clearly evident that he has lost the interest in spending an evening at home watching his favourite film.

It pains me when I realise he is the same man who earnestly spoke about Nayakan and made sure I watch it after I expressed my interest in the gangster genre. Needless to say, he was my knowledge centre during my early days of film-watching. In an emotional episode, he skipped work due to distress when popular Kannada actor Vishnuvardhan passed away. He watched the funeral and tributes paid by different television channels to one of his all-time favourite actors.

It took a while for me to get the answer for this drastic transformation. I eventually realised, it is the age that’s done him in. Now a retired individual, films aren’t there on his priority list nor were it alluring to him during his late 50s. The quintessential parental responsibilities like constructing an own house, worrying about his children’s future with respect to job and marriage coupled with personal health issues slowly sucked away his enormous love for films.

I strongly believe that ageing well with films, at least for the die-hard fans of the art, is important and something that’s also neglected. I take the blame for the situation. I spent my early childhood in Cochin and we had a great time watching popular Malayalam entertainers made by Siddique Lal and Fazil in single screen theatres. The shift to Bengaluru in 2000 didn’t kill our film-watching culture.

In fact, the new DVD player at home helped me be more serious about films as I watched a lot of Indian classics from the 80s. Moserbaer’s decision to launch DVDs for just 28 Rs in 2006 came like a dream offer. Watching a film with the family at home was special! Being thrilled together at the mass moments of Padayappa and feeling touched by an inspiring performance from Rajkumar in the Kannada classic Kasturi Nivasa are some of my dearest memories!

The downslide began when I entered college. My first film with a gang of boys was Rang De Basanti and the experience was liberating. There I was, planning movie dates with friends or girlfriend even as my family watched me grow passionate about the art. The arrival of a laptop made my film-watching culture completely personal. Discussions about the latest path-breaking films with my father became scant as I derived more pleasure in analysing them with friends or posting my observations on social media. Talk about age-related issues!

Like a late bloomer, I am trying to set things right now but films have entered a new age. After I booked tickets for O Kadhal Kanmani and Piku in a multiplex, my parents came out disturbed by the loud surround sound and the sky-high price! I have embraced the challenge and the journey appears interesting. With opinionated pieces on films being a norm today, I make sure I share their links with my father who is excited to have a new Android phone.

Still a supporter of old-school yet quality film-making, he is apprehensive about the new-generation films. But the results, despite taking its time, are encouraging. He had a smile on his face throughout while watching Soodhu Kavvum and appreciates some of the works of Fahad Faasil and Dulquer Salmaan. I haven’t ticked one box yet and that is dragging him back to the big screen. The name Mani Ratnam still creates a flutter in him and like many of the hard-core Rajinikanth fans, he is waiting for that one ‘satisfying’ film of the Superstar. So there is still hope! At work, my colleague told me about holding a binge-watching session of classic Kannada films of Anant Nag at home with family and friends. Now that’s an interesting idea to keep age as a number and watch films till we die.

Vivek MV

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