A Stroll Through Life
By Arun Varma
During the Mumbai Film Festival a couple of years ago, a filmmaker friend of mine once walked out of a film. He told me he could no longer bear watching films traveling less than ten kilometer per hour. I remember being very amused by the way he put it… traveling less then ten km per hour.
The Namesake by Mira Nair does just that. It is a stroll through the walk of life where the filmmaker sometimes makes you sit on the pavement and watch the world as it goes by. By the end of the stroll you realize that you have gone through a lifetime. Nothing happens in the film. Only life. Just life.
The most striking quality of the film is it’s serenity—almost like an Ozu. This serenity assumes various shades. Of joy, nostalgia, loneliness, unbelonging and grief. Like a calm river with surging undercurrents. Even the slightest ripple on this calm surface makes an impression—the image of Ashima collapsing outside her house on a lonely Newyork street at night after hearing of her husband’s death. Or the image of Gogol with a shaved head walking in to meet his mother after his father’s demise.
I would like to tell that friend of mine to watch this film. Who knows.. he might just end up liking it. .