Monday, 23 June 2014

Love, Food and Movies - Few of my favourite things

This weekend I watched a couple of Indian movies that were both about older (than the norm in Indian movies anyway, which seem to think love is the monopoly of young'uns) people falling in love. Not just that, they were also both about food. Food as the means of connecting these couples who fall in love without even seeing each other. I didn't plan to make a theme out of my weekend movie watching, but realised there had been one after the fact.

The first movie was the malayalam movie Salt and Pepper. It was mostly a light-hearted, feel-good sort of movie. Nothing earth shattering, but a nicely done romcom, which just happened to have at its center a lonely man in his 40s and an equally lonely woman in her 30s. They come together through their shared love of food, are kept apart by their insecurities (and complications arising therefrom), and finally overcome all to, if not live happily ever after, at least make a promising step in that direction.

The second one can be summed up in a strikingly similar manner, but for the ending. Although, that would really be selling it very, very short indeed. It was The Lunchbox. I have been meaning to watch this for a long time now, ever since I found it on pretty much every critic's (ones whose taste I respected anyway) end of the year list, usually at the very top. And it did not disappoint. I remember in an interview with Anupama Chopra, the director and actors talked about how they wanted to make the movie sweet but also sad. Or maybe it was happy but also sad. So they kept trying to find the sweet spot between the two - not wanting to make the characters out to be tragic or comic, but a bit of both. I think they nailed it. I found myself smiling throughout the movie but also feeling that tug at my heart. It's so easy to go overboard, but they managed it beautifully. I felt for these characters, with them, and most importantly, I fell for them.

When Saajan reads one particular note from Ila, and you can see in his face that he is falling for this woman, the thought that went through my head was "How I miss being in love!". But nay, that's not what I really miss. What I truly miss is falling in love. That sweet euphoria tempered with just the slightest bit of uncertainty. You are at your most vulnerable then and yet somehow feel on top of the world. Oh, to feel that way again!

That phase invariably leads to insecurity - in my case anyway. And so it is with Saajan. He is, however, more timid than I am, and almost lets his one chance at love slip away. The movie ends on a cliffhanger, leaving it up to the viewer to complete the tale. Having said so much, I think there can be hardly any question which ending I would want for these two people, whose loneliness I can relate to only all too well. However, much as I want it, can I believe such an ending to actually be possible? Life is rarely that kind. But, that's what movies and dreams are for. And I refuse to stop dreaming. Not yet, anyway.

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