[racchabanda] Memorial Day movie Marathon 2019


This memorial day,  lots of T.V. channels seem to be into movie marathons. There are some delightful light comedies and romances.  Some Old favorites and I am watching them on and off.


Last night, suddenly on the movie guide, on TCM -I saw two Indian movie names scrolling, 1. Pather panchali 2. Devi.

I never got into Satyajit's Ray's movies, may be because mostly the copies are so bad. I could not see or hear anything clearly, except for some snatches here and there.  I gave up on them.


Maybe TCM had access to better prints and this movie 'Devi' from 1960s is pretty visible. It has Sharmila Tagore in it. I got interested. I watched it. I did not expect such a content. The movie scared me. Really scared me.


The hero's father in the movie is a worshipper of Goddess Durga/Kali, he prostrates himself in front of statues, in his puja mandir, lights incense. etc. Most of Indian households has a puja room. Thus far, nothing unusual for me, an Indian born.


But this man - Hero's father in this movie suddenly had a dream, and after the dream he starts thinking, his young daughter in law (played by Sharmila Tagore) is the Goddess Durga herself and starts calling her Maa. Maa. Maa.  (Why does this story line - dream and Goddess mother - sound vaguely familiar to me? Did I possibly read such writings in Telugu language right here recently? No!  Did I? No! Did I?) in the movie, the father in law starts touching the daughter in law's feet, and starts praying to her. He presents her to the villagers as Durga maata. The movie gets really eerie after that.


I thought the movie 'The Shining' from 1970s with Jack Nicholson in it, is the scariest movie that I saw so far. But that is just one individual going raving mad. This Indian movie Devi is a big part of a village going mad. And staying mad. God! This movie is so scary in a different way.

The host who introduced the movie Devi on TCM, said the movie almost did not get released in 1960s, for the fear it may offend the sensibility of vast majority of Indians. It seems Jawaharlal Nehru intervened, and supported its release. He said -let people watch and decide themselves. Something like that.


Well, I decided. There will be no second time watching. Once is more than enough. I will go back to Hallmark movies. They are pleasant and current, featuring simple happinesses life offers to simple humans. Like me.  



Posted by: lylayfl@aol.com
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