Monday, September 05, 2005

Schizophrenia and Movies, Are there holes in our umberllas.

Originality is a prized commodity because there is so little of it in Kollywood these days, but, when filmmakers do experiment with unfamiliar elements, their efforts should be acknowledged. “Kudaikkul Mazhai” scores on originality, well… on execution, I am sorry.

“Kudaikkul Mazhai” tells the story of ‘Venkat’, an auto driver who is being made a "bakra" by the female protagonist 'Madumitha'. Cut, we are greeted by the schizophrenic world of Venkat. Well thereon the movie focuses on all the aspects of schizophrenia, a beginner’s guide to personality disorders would name delusion, emotional expression, hallucination, disordered thinking, distorted perceptions of reality as part of the schizophrenic disorder. Every one of these qualities is being used by Paartheepan in his screenplay. But I personally feel a movie should put the movie first and preaching next. That’s where the movie loses its focus. ‘Aaalavandhaan’ was a better attempt compared to this, it focused more on the movie, taking schizophrenia for support, and they failed because of poor screenplay.

There have been some good movies involving schizophrenia, ‘A Beautiful Mind’ is one which comes to my mind immediately. But it is brilliantly crafted to keep the focus on the protagonist than on the disorder. This is one perfect movie where they don’t accurately depict the schizophrenic experiences of the hero. They use their "artistic license" quite liberally. In this movie, the hero develops visual hallucinations, and that’s the biggest thing they show about schizophrenia in the movie. But the script differs from the book over many things.

Fight club is another good film; you don't learn that the hero has schizophrenia until quite late in the film, since you see the world through his eyes. But then at the end you're not sure what is real and what isn't. His visual hallucinations convey the experience of schizophrenia, through his experience of them. Your delusions are very concrete in the sense that you have no doubt they are real.

Revolution #9 is one movie that realistically documents a young man's descent into schizophrenia. The movie starts with everything being fine, and then suddenly you see the hero suspecting the lady lead's nephew for some sinister messages over the internet. Next, he becomes convinced a television commercial for a perfume called Revolution#9 is part of a systematic sensory attack by corporate media. He gets diagnosed as a schizophrenic by his doctor, refuses to take medication and rejects everyone around him, believing they are all part of a conspiracy against him. If you're looking for a realistic depiction of schizophrenia, Revolution #9 is perhaps a more accurate and representative movie than "A Beautiful Mind".

Well all said and done, people are making efforts to be different (aka original) in their scripts, but am I wrong in thinking that originality counts but not above the execution. Shouldn't they put cinema first and subjective technicality next. Let’s wait and watch as to whether anyone comes with a better effort.

No comments: