Of cine smiles and tears…

Cinema is entertainment like no other.

It makes us live out our dreams, and in some cases, helps us see reality.

Today was a day of cinema.

It started on a bad note, with the unexpected and untimely death of Puneet Rajkumar, the son of the Dr. Rajkumar, and a superstar in the Kannada film industry. Initial reports suggest that he died of a cardiac arrest shortly after an intense workout. He was only 46. Om Shanti…may his name live on through his body of work…

The second was a film, that shook us to the core. Sardar Udham – a brilliant movie with a career-defining performance by Vicky Kaushal. So much depth in a film about a person whom history books relegated to a single line. What also stood out is the portrayal of the British, as humans, as persons who for once, could act well, and who also didn’t scrowl indefinitely just to demonstrate that they were the bad guys.

A clash of ideologies – one colonial, one communist – and the struggles of of both. Next year’s National Award may have just been reserved already.

The third was another film, this one from France. About seven families in an apartment building, during the initial days of COVID. Hilarious, relatable, with a tear and a smile at the end of it. It’s called “Stuck Together” and is on Netflix. I recommend that you watch it.

I guess this is the power of OTT platforms like Netflix and Prime. They expand the reach of great cinema beyond the languages that you understand, and open up a vast new world of exceptional movies that are not the usual Bollywood tripe that we have got used to being served.

A wonderful collection of Malayalam (leading the pack by a mile), Telugu, Tamil, Korean and European fare that one can enjoy. Lovely stories woven around well-developed characters who don’t fly through the air except when they are on an aircraft. No silly item numbers calling women chicken and tandoori kebab, and no over-the-top CGI-laced Avengers action.

Stories. About people. Like you and me.

For so is life. Imperfect yet beautiful. Unpredictable. Of laughter and tears, and a whole load in between. Today was a day that represented life – a day of cinema that gave us an outpouring of grief, yet managed to help end the day with a smile and with hope.

Thank you Puneet, for the love that you shared through what you did best. Thank you Vicky and Shoojit – for bringing Udham Singh to life. And thank you Danny Boon – for making Stuck Together.

May your tribe increase!