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Some Ramblings - Gamyam
By Srinivas Kanchibhotla

What is the purpose of a movie? No, this is not about what a movie generally aims for - a couple of hours of entertainment, where people can forget their lives, their problems and even themselves for a short while and just have a good time. The question is not about what movies mean to the outside world, but to what purpose does a movie go on for a couple of hours. What is the end result of a movie? Is anything learnt? Are the characters wised up with their cinematic journey? What would happen to the lives of those fictional characters after the movie ends? In "Siva", a path breaking movie, at the end Siva kills Bhavani and presumably the police arrest him for it. But his character started off as one who rebels against the existing goonda culture and in the process becomes a ruffian himself, even if it is in the Robin Hood mold. After Siva's arrest what could have happened to the empire he built? Would another guy rise up to Siva's brutalities, just like how he did against Bhavani, to usurp Siva's throne? If Siva had to become a slightly lesser evil than Bhavani, to counter Bhavani's atrocities, what has he achieved at the end, than just settling a personal score and exacting vendetta against a street thug. "bhavaani laanTi vaaLLanu antam cheyyaali anTae, alaanTi vaaDini puTTinchae aa vyavashtanu maarchaali" - Lofty ideal, but his execution was less than ideal. It is not often that movies, particularly the mainstream ones, have a defined purpose, apart from the biographical movies of inspirational persons, which have the personal realization and subsequent transformation neatly built into its theme. Not many in the fictional kind come with a defined purpose - taking an individual with one viewpoint/mindset and changing him for better at the end, so that he could continue in his fictional world, even after the movie is over, and be a productive contributing member of the society he inhabits and interacts. The purpose of the movie in that case, is the enlightenment of the character, something that is rarely found now a days.

There is something that is deeply humbling and profoundly influencing about journeying/traveling. Not only is the constant exposure to the diverse elements - natural and man made - enriches the mind in its own way, but also a person tends to grow a lot more empathetic and responsive to his surroundings. And it is not just for the convenience of the story of having different characters interact with the hero and change him for better. That would in fact lessen the impact, such kind of simplicity. To delve into the true nature of the effect of travel on the mind of man, it is really important to look at the lives of historical figures, who built their lives around traveling from place to place, amassing inordinate amounts of wealth, in human experience, human understanding and human suffering. It is only after Prince Gautama stepped out of his comfort zone and confronted the frailties of life for the first time, did he set upon to ultimate realization. Swami Vivekananda's self-awakening was centered around his journey through the length and breadth of the country. His journey wasn't just about moving from one place to another. His journey was his discovery of profundity of culture that pervaded and seeped into the everyday lives of the common men, who went about their ways. Only at the end of his journey did he realize the true meaning of the term, ethos. Another shining example that greatly benefited through long bouts of travel is Mahatma Gandhi. 'India lived in its villages', he proclaimed once. He said that, not in his plush office, sitting behind his comfortable desk. He traveled, he saw, he understood, he realized and thereby, he became. 'I think, therefore I am', the famous philosophical statement of Descartes might be for olden times. 'I travel, therefore I am' is more relevant for these times, for, the act of traveling is a meta-physical exercise, impacting the mind more than the body.

'Gamyam' in what is probably a very long time, is a very meaningful movie that tried to tackle the ever so important purpose theme, by marrying the concept of self-discovery to the process of traveling. Everything about 'Gamyam' is very well defined. Aim: Purpose; Apparatus: Travel; Procedure: Journeying; Conclusion: Self-realization. Road movies are very episodic in nature. Here, except the main characters, the rest of the lot do not repeat and consequently, since the aim is to project the personal growth of a human being, each episode serves a specific purpose in the ultimate scheme of things, so that at the end of it all, each of these individual pieces add up, to ultimately matter in the eventual mindset. If man is the product of his environment, it is only natural that he be exposed to different kinds, to develop a comprehensive understanding of the society around him. The preconceived notions, prejudices, aversions and hatreds are mainly the manifestations of ignorance - ignorance of culture, ignorance of habits and plain ignorance, of people. In here, the hero's motivation of finally getting the girl is secondary to the main setup. Though named 'Gamyam', the movie is not about (in fact, never about) the end result, the goal. It is about what happens on the road to the goal, the path of self-discovery, that makes the result as much savory and as much gratifying. Venturing out of the halls of safety and walls of comfort, the movie moves along with the protagonist viewing the world in all its glorious contradictions, stark contrasts and unsettling truths, making an apt point at the end, that the beauty of life lies not in its 'Gamyam', but in its 'mahaa prasthaanam'.

More Ramblings on films
Jodha Akbar
There will be blood
Chrlie Wilson's War
No Country for Old Men
Om Shanti Om
Lions for Lambs
American Gangster
Michael Clayton
Happy Days
Chak De India!
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Simpsons Movie
The Grindhouse
Casino Royale
The Departed
Lage Raho Munnabhai
Superman Returns
The Da Vinci Code
Sri Ramadasu
Rang De Basanti (Hindi)
Jai Chiranjeeva!
Munich (English)
Sarkar (Hindi)
Mangal Padey (Hindi)
Kaadhal (Tamil)
Anukokunda Oka Roju
Batman Begins (English)
Radha Gopalam
Mughal E Azam
Virumandi (Tamil)
Lakshya (Hindi)
Yuva (Hindi)
Kakha Kakha (Tamil)
Mr & Mrs Iyer
Nuvve Nuvve

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This article is written by Srinivas Kanchibhotla
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