Water cooler discussions often rich sources of keen insights one can gain into the workings of this mad mad world. It was a motley group of Mallus who gathered one such instance and the topics generally discussed revolved around the pained expressions perfected by Prem Nazir, the impeccable English spoken by Jayan and the societal divide very subtlely captured between Sheela and Jayan.
That done, we veered towards the more intriguing aspects of Indian cinema. The collaborative discussion helped shed light on some very interesting nuances that were usually laughed upon by the so called ‘thinking’ public, but which in fact, had very deep connotations into the state of cinema as a face of society.
One intriguing question we attempted to solve was the issue of the vile henchman. We know [from Animal Farm and other sources] that all men are created equal. But why is it that the life of a henchman is depicted lesser valued as compared to that of the protagonist or the antagonist? How many times have we seen the protagonist laying to waste all the henchmen of the antagonist but not being deemed a criminal in the eyes of the law? The question has foxed me over the years and i had almost begun to believe the smart critics when they said that the movies are plain stupid.
However, deep analysis into the lives of the protagonist and the antagonist explained the situation to us with utmost clarity. As movies mirror the utopian society, we are led to believe that both the antagonist and the protagonist are elements of the repressed society and the choices exercised by them led each of them down the path of crime and justice respectively. The key point to remember here is that the antagonist is a product of the repressed society; he has been forced to choose the path of evil by fate. While the vile henchman, alas. He is true evil. The henchman chooses a path of evil inspite of the society. He chooses to join the antagonist even when the protagonist shows that living a just life is possible. The extreme lack of apathy exhibited by the henchman shows that he is, in fact, the most evil natured among the plot elements and thus, deserves death at the hands of the just protagonist. The law understands the nature of the justice thus dished out and hence chooses to forgive the protagonist.
The realization of this film making fact drew nirvana upon me. i have now decided to play closer attention to the henchmen; look at their pained expressions while they are beaten to pulp by the protagonist and continue to cheer the beating up till the evil henchman meets his end.
Another keen insight: why does the protagonist in Ghajini develop such an immense muscular structure after he develops anterograde amnesia? Since his memory lasts in quanta of 15 minutes, he does not recollect when was the last time he worked out; he also forgets the pain associated with each workout. Thus, he works out every waking minute and hence, builds up his biological structure. i tell you, these subtle nuances are so abstract.