That’s the Bruce Lee movie currently playing on some movie channel at my home. And the audiences are about seven men aged 50+ each. And never have I seen such an enthusiasm on the faces of men for any recent movie. They have been watching it with rapt attention, as if their every point of focus is trained on the movie. Only, this would have been impressive if it were the first time. But no. I get to see it for the fifth time in the last year and I can call this the family movie.
I can almost recite dialogs from the movie non-stop, tell you which character speaks what and under what circumstance. I have watched it twice, first scene to end credits, and of course I loved the theme of the movie. I was put off a bit with the violence in the movie but I enjoyed it nonetheless. But twice was once too much. Seriously. If it were not for the protagonist, I would have stopped with just that once. And these people would untiringly watch it even if the channel played it tomorrow night.
But the special part about the whole thing was how much they reminisced their youth, when they had gone to the theatres with each other and with their friends. They recounted, with perfect details, exactly how they felt when they first saw it with the digital effect, or whatever it is called, in the theatres. While there was a very realistic sound of breaking glass in the Home Theatre, they guffawed as if it was the funniest thing, and one uncle turned to me and said wisely, “You should have seen the effect in the theatre… It was amazing…”
It was probably the look of absolute incredulity on my face that did it. My father turned to me with a knowing smile. He knew very well that I neither have the patience nor the interest to go sit in a movie theatre unless something really interested me. I couldn’t help but wonder what he must be thinking when he said softly, “You know…. At this day and age you get everything on Home Delivery. There is no waiting period or the necessity to show an excitement. Movies’ collection are counted on a gross basis and any movie that runs for three or four weeks became a blockbuster. In our days, they had to run for 100 days, and then there was the silver jubilee. The movie Sholay ran for five years, as you know… But tell me one movie which survived one year, or at least six months in this age? The cut-throat competition quickly quells the quality and there is always some urge to do things faster, get noticed quicker and make quick money. The promotions are huge, the marketing is efficient, the faces are new, the settings and locales are grand, but the compromise is done on the quality or the content.”
I had heard that argument before. The ‘your-world-is-moving-very-fast-you-do-not-have-the-patience-to-sit-back-and-enjoy’ argument.
Though it was probably true, I was loath to accept it. I opened my mouth to argue (needless to say. I always do that) but he forestalled me with, “Of course I do not generalize all movies. There are some good gems even now, but they are rare. You have quick sources for entertainment and the songs, sometimes even the movies themselves are leaked online and people your age get to see it sooner than you wanted to, at the comfort of your house. If not, the various channels compete wildly with each other to show ‘scenes’ from the movie. From where, then, will the excitement come? From where will the eager waiting period come?”
I have heard variations of the above argument many times before. For a child of an avid movie-goer, I hardly have any interest in movies. But I could not deny the truth in his statement, that as a generation, getting everything delivered to our smart devices, be it songs, movies, travel tickets, or food, information or other shopping essentials, with the click of a few buttons has diminished our excitement of things that are novel and new.
I will never understand how a 50+ year old man will be excited about a movie he has seen five times already and still manage to reminisce about how he had seen it the first time. I hardly remember the full title of my favorite movies / books, nor do I remember the phone numbers of my friends and family without using the ‘contacts’ app while my dad has all the numbers stored in his head, and the rest in his pocket diary that he peruses alphabetically when needed.
Is it the time for some reflection?
There erupts a loud noise from the hall where the TV is, Bruce Lee has completed yet another fight successfully. Now… what was the song I was listening this evening? It had a nice name… I rather liked it.