After being subjected to a hype exceeding that of anything I have seen in the past 5-6 years, I decided to see for myself what the fuss was all about. INCEPTION it was. The Monday of the first week of its release. But the problem was that I was in Indore. And in Indore, you speak in Hindi, you think in Hindi, you listen only to Hindi, and as I had found out a few days earlier, you get to watch movies only IN Hindi or dubbed in Hindi. And thus Inception became CHAKRAVYUHA. (Knight and Day was called Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena. I thought there was already a Fardeen Khan Hindi movie by that name.) So I had sufficient reason to believe that I would have to wait till my return to Bangalore to watch the original English version. But thanks to the advent of Capitalism in the form of PVR Cinemas in some <Insert Stereotypical Mall Name> Mall, there was ONE show per day being screened and since it was NOT Bangalore, it was priced at a lowly Rs. 50. So I found myself purchasing tickets at 1130 AM for the 1155 show and I got myself a seat right at the centre of the top row.
After loitering around aimlessly in the mall (is there any OTHER way of spending time there?) for the remaining 25 mins, I found myself sitting in the top row of the cinema hall. It was not long before some random Amit came to me and told me ,”Boss, can you please sift to the next seat?” I didn’t see any reason not to so I just moved myself one seat while some Jewelery ad was being shown on the screen. Soon the guy who was supposed to sit in the seat I “sifted” to showed up and demanded that I go back to my designated seat. The other dude then told ME to remain where I was. It took me a good 2 mins to make both of them realize that they needed to be talking to EACH OTHER rather than to me if they wanted the seating arrangement sorted out. In the end, I found myself 5 seats away from a designated seat, sitting between another guy who had come alone and a girl who had come with her boyfriend.
Fast Forward to movie. The lights dim. The screen goes dark. Warner Bros logo appears on the screen. You can sense the anticipation in the theater fully thronged with college goers. And then, the title appears on the screen. But wait! WTF is that? The screen shows CHAKRAVYUHA as the name of the film! It takes about .5 ms for the entire crowd to start screaming that they had come there to watch the show in English and not in Hindi. (Of course the irony was that they were swearing at the projectionist in authentic Hindi slang such as Madar/Behen-C**d) And in the meantime, I had embarked on a thought process that would begin with me walking out of the theater and end with wasting my money trying to sue PVR. But not to worry as the movie turned out to be in English itself and the angry crowd who had been given a reason to get angry suddenly seemed to feel cheated off their anger and eventually stopped playing their parts in the herd mentality.
You see Inception is a movie that NEEDS you to THINK in order to understand it. And remember that there is a girl next to me. Ok. Did you make the connection? No? Sure? Isnt it obvious? Just suffice it to say that the girl found the urge to “inquire” from her boyfriend what level of dream was going on every 5 mins among other things. But perhaps the thing that was really ticking me off was not WHAT she was asking but the way in which she went about showcasing her (in the words of BORAT)’ retardation. ‘
And somewhere half way into the first half, the dude who had made me change my seats decided he was not in the acoustic sweet spot and so embarked on the process of convincing half a dozen of his ‘neighbours’ including Yours Truly to ‘sift’ two more seats to the left. The frown on everyone’s faces at that very moment got me thinking. What if anger in a group was accumulative in nature as opposed to being normalized to the most angry person in it? That would have surely cost the dude some teeth and a lot of money. But alas, group mentality doesn’t work that way and so the dude watched the movie from the place where he wanted to.
The Interval was totally uneventful as I simply did not move from my seat. And when the movie resumed, so did the girl’s badgering of her boyfriend for ‘answers’. Considering the fact that the guy then began to give her B.S explanations as to what was happening, two things are possible:
1. The guy’s retardation was also significant.
2. Or the guy might be super intelligent to realize that he could tell anything to the girl and get away with it! Hell! He could say that DiCaprio was doing quadruple acting with a different person in each level and that they were brothers seperated at birth or some shit like that and she appeared to be someone who would still go “OMG!! That is so complicated!”
And so the movie got over and I was feeling overwhelmed, until that time when I joined the crowd leaving the theater. You see, unlike me, most of them had come in big groups to watch the movie. And in every single group, you always had 2 dudes who were discussing and passionately disputing each other’s interpretation of the movie, as if Nolan had flicked the script from either of them. Here, sample one such conversation I heard:
Amit1: Arey yaar! That was so awesome! I had never known ki yeh itni amazing hogi! You understood the plot properly no?
Amit2: Of course man! The entire thing was a dream! That ending was just too good! Did you get that?
Amit1: Han Han! Woh tho I understood. It was like the main story line was in Level Zero!
Amit2: Nahi Yaar! The main story line was in Level -1!
Amit1: How can it be -1 man?
Amit2: You see………
And it is at this exact point that I decided not to dive into ‘retardation’ and so just moved away from the conversation. Within 2 mins, I had walked out of the mall and was in a rick headed back home.
And that was how i watched Inception.
And as far as the movie goes, there is no question it is a good movie. Is it a great movie? I am not too sure. It has a mind numbing script and structure agreed. But it is not a movie that I will end up watching over and over again. You see it doesnt have a bunch of sequences which are truly memorable- like Pulp Fiction or As Good As It Gets or Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans or that Tipping Discussion in Reservoir Dogs or even John Malkovic’s scenes in Con Air. Inception doesnt have anything like that and so it does not make it into my Great Movie list. Feel free to express total disgust and shock at that revelation of mine. This is public domain after all…..