Monday, 16 February 2009

Seeing the big picture at the pictures...Ayten Giyasova on "Slumdog Millionaire"...

Every time I visit London I make sure I go to the movies. Back at home, we still have only one up to date cinema with London-priced tickets and Russian-dubbed movies. Lately I don’t even mind going to see a movie alone, something that would have seemed weird to me before, due to the prejudices of youth, but not any more.
All I need is a movie and maybe a coke. Of course, whenever possible I prefer going to the cinema with my spouse, especially when seeing romantic movies. He prefers fantasy films and doesn’t like “girlie” movies at all, but he doesn’t want me to go to the cinema alone so he is prepared to suffer through the whole movie. Something to do with the Azeri mentality that I don’t mind in this case.On my previous trip to the cinema I had watched Changeling, a film that left me paranoid and depressed for quite a while. So this time it had to be something positive: I knew that I wanted to see Slumdog Millionaire.
Those who know me and have seen the movie can guess that I wept throughout. It made me laugh too, but mostly it made me think again about human cruelty, arrogance, ignorance and love, love, love.
I have a dilemma: How do I bring up a child, teaching him to trust and love people, while at the same time teaching him not to believe everything he meets, sees and hears. Slumdog Millionaire is about real horrors that we know exist but don’t want to face, think about or notice. Perhaps one of the reasons that we can’t really change many things in life is that we prefer to be isolated in our own comfort zone.
Older generations in Azerbaijan – as anywhere else in the former USSR – grew up watching Indian movies. I wonder if this played some role in their maturing into such kind and loving people! Indian movies always have a good ending, or at least they used to. Evil never wins and happiness and love are constant winners.
Another thing that makes Indian movies such comfortable viewing is that they do not have intimate scenes. This makes the life of an Azeri family easier, as men and women from different generations are able to watch the films together without having to switch channels to avoid awkward sequences or without the women suddenly having to go to prepare tea.
It was also great to see that the makers of Slumdog Millionaire did not compromise on the Indian tradition of including dance sequences in movies, even when the story was over.
The film brought the big picture back to me, distancing me from life’s annoying little nuisances and reminding me to be grateful, positive and loving no matter what I see or what I hear.