The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

July 9, 2012 § Leave a comment


We sat down to watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel last night. Family junior was in bed at 8, tucked in with a hula hoop around her tummy, by her choice of course, all happy and snug, Fruit was nodding away in my lap; we had a very tiring weekend overall so it felt blissful to put our feet up and switch off for a couple of hours. The rain drops kept hitting my thoughts before hitting my heart – we are in July now and the rain continues. This is effectively the life I have chosen, the ceaseless rain, the perpetual hitting of my heart. And I have never felt more at peace to be stabbed like this.

The movie, let us get back to it, did not disappoint even though it was not as awe-inspiring as I hoped it to be. The dialogues were flat and seemed disjoined, as if they did not belong to the people speaking the truths and the fears. The characters, well, I would love to learn more about because the space to grow they were each given was not enough. The stories are too colourful to be painted in 15 minutes.  I wanted to know more about their mistakes and peculiarities, their odd habits and their Britishness, all of which was lost somewhere between the ‘wanted’ and the ‘needed’ when it comes to taking the novel to the big screen.

I can see the ‘want’ to display said things in the backdrop of Indian colours and smells and the wisdom that comes alongside any extraordinary journey like the one displayed, and the missing ‘need’ to not simply collage the stories in a two dimensional way, but let the stories speak through those colours and sounds dragging the viewer in without stating the obvious. Most of the scenes between two or more characters appeared staged as if they came from some z quality film. It was not hard to see a number of linking stories missing, sacrifices to the altar of the film genre, stories that probably made the novel a success (if it was? I might have to look it up). Chopping it up like that for the film did not do it too much good.

The actors anchored the film, however, packing it with beauty and character, radiating talent in their every move. Moments of brilliance from Dame Judy Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Dame Maggie Smith and others but I feel their skills and talent were cheapened by lukewarm voices of the characters and trivial subject matters (the were a few exceptions of course leaving us laughing in tears).

Yet it was not the actors, and not the beauty of India that touched me most. I dream of a day I will go and see India with my own eyes, hoping to have enough time and money on my hands to stay there for a month or two. What touched me most, was what this film tried to spell out for the viewers on a number of ocassions – that life does not end at a point we lose faith, it  is re-born at that exact moment in time. Life can still be amazing at 70, can be anything you allow it to be if you simply accept the beauty spitting in your eyes. I think that will ring true to all of us stuck in boring blue-carpet offices. It’s a scary thought though as it suggests we are letting this life pass next us and not through us. The promise of this life is what helps me nurture my little hope that it will eventually all make sense.

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