Reflections on the epic in film – The Godfather trilogy
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Last weekend, I watched The Godfather I and II and here are some stray thoughts that came to me :
- What is Sherlock Holmes adventures for anyone having slightest inclination in the Art of Deduction and applying this for crime detection, so is the The Godfather Trilogy for anyone having an iota of interest in watching good films and making a good film.
- In 1972, Godfather I was released and the sequel – II came after few years. Critics and viewers are not sure, after 40 years as which one is better. Finally they decided that I and II are like spaghetti and marinara sauce. Indian equivalent of samosa and aloo or like Joy and Veeru (Sholay)
- Sholay from Bollywood came in the mid seventies and is a classic and its sequel, made by Mr. Ram Gopal Verma vindicated me and Al-Beruni (who somehow stole my idea having the unfair advantage of being born some eight centuries back). What is the matter ? The matter is simply this : Mr. Ram Gopal Verma was a fresh and ferocious air over the Augean stable of normal Bollywood offers of now and before. His Satya was a cinematic masterpiece and a kind of a bleaching powder spread area in the midst of general Bollywood offal. But Mr. Verma hobnobbed too much with the entrenched gang and the result : His Sholay. The Aag (fire) from that Sholay emitted a stench of such intensity that it became a tangible force and we visualized a box where the maker is keeping, with equal care a piece of gold bar and a piece of human excrete !
- If hobnobbing or association with shady people can merit a 2 year prison term for a stellar career-holder like Rajat Gupta, I think juridical and artistic minds should convene a meeting as what made a man like Mr. Verma with Satya like gem in the bag to make something like shit his Sholay ? Ram, Ram ! Why Ramu ? Why ? If Viku Mathre were alive, he would have ‘whacked’ Mr. Verma the day his Sholay got released., Alas, like Viku, Mr. Verma’s cinematic soul died. The classic case of association.
- I ask every time while I watch the trilogy as why this timeless pull… There are dusts of poetry in the work. Without poetic dust, such protection against time and taste is not possible.
- Poetic dust, a word I made up and which means something having all the desirable and least of undesirable components of art, science and commerce.
- I watched a less known movie called Gotti which is a life-story of the last don of New-York’s leading families and in the film (as in real life), Mr. Gotti got life without parole. One of the major evidence against him was wiretapping of conversations and there is an Italian FBI officer who meets Gotti in the film, just prior to his arrest and is instrumental in his conviction. In the film, there are references of banks robbing money without a whimper and Gotti at the end of the film ruminates on this and says that they will regret this some day. In a great directorial anticipation, these were kept low profile and little hidden for the discerning viewers to find out and spin their own stories inside their head. A film spawning thousands and millions of films….
- Hollywood could produce The Untouchables, The Godfellas and Scarface in last 40 years in the same genre and all of these are eminently watchable films with at least two in the bracket of greatness. The same cannot be said about Bollywood in the same genre. The ‘gang’ cannibalizes any successful product and produces only despicable copies and tasteless imitation.
- In a great foretelling, Rajat Gupta, the Indian origin banker was convicted using wiretaps and an Indian was the head of the prosecution for this ‘bankster’ case.
- Do we have a Coppola in India and in the United States now who can make a film about this recent saga of Insider father ?
The wait starts now. Meanwhile, I am planning today to see Godfather II once again.