Tuesday 8 September 2015

Postcolonial Studies: Film Screening: Midnight's Children and The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Screening films related to the themes of Postcolonial studies with a task to review these films

1) Midnight's Children: 

From one of the most acclaimed novel Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, emerges this drama Midnight's Children 2013 film highlighting the lives of two individuals born at the stroke of midnight when India achieved its independence from the British. The legendary yet dramatic Midnight's Children movie features a great story that marks it as an epic saga of the decade. This movie takes us through all the ages beginning from the grandparents to the grandchildren. Switched at the time of birth by a nurse at a Bombay hospital, the lives of the two individuals are mysteriously intertwined. As fate would have it, one (Saleem) is a son of a beggar woman whereas the other child (Shiva) becomes the destined son of a wealthy couple. Over a period of time, their fate makes them face each other on the field of rivalry, politics, romance and class.
The Midnight Children film is a controversial potboiler that has tragedy, romance and comedy. A journey of two individuals through the tragic disasters, trials and triumphs gives you an incomparable experience of watching India in the early years of Independence. It offers an astute view of the divide when the rich become poor and poor rise to power. Brilliantly directed and compiled by Oscar nominated director Deepa Mehta, the movie features some unforgettable moments that make your heart bleed and then there are those that bring a smile to your face. Midnight's Children English movie has a dramatic and mysterious touch that gets you an entire picture of India's journey through all its trials. Offering some fodder for thought and complete visual delight, this Midnight's Children DVD is a story that touches your soul. (This blurb is taken from Amazon product details)

The problem is that some - in fact a good many - of the events of Midnight's Children actually happened. it is not a historical novel in the conventional sense, but what Timothy Brennan has called "patches of straight history" are woven into the extravagant, nonlinear, fictional narrative of the novel's hero, Saleem Sinai. This "baggy monster of a book", as Rushdie has described it using Henry James's phrase, contains a detailed, chronological survey of the major events in India from the Amritsar massacre of 1919 to the end of the Emergency in 1977. In fact, Rushdie himself has said on several occasions that the novel is actually 'about' history and the way in which memory recovers and recreates the past. Not many critics, however, have chosen to pursue this approach to the book.

Rather than explore the novel's relation to history, the Academy has discussed it as a 'postmodern epic', a work of magic realism (or not), and a hybrid text that crosses elements of the Indian oral tradition with a critique of earlier British writers such as E. M. Forster and Paul Scott. 
From - Katherine Frank's  'Mr. Rushdie and Mrs. Gandhi' (https://www.jstor.org/stable/23539764)


2) The Reluctant Fundamentalist: 

A young Pakistani man is chasing corporate success on Wall Street where he finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family s homeland.  It is a 2012 political thriller drama film based on the 2007 novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist byMohsin Hamid, directed by Mira Nair, starring Riz Ahmed and Kate Hudson in lead.[4] The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a post-9/11film, a movie about the impact on one man of the Al Qaida attacks and the American reaction to them. (Wikipedia)

3) The Black Prince:

The last King of Punjab, Maharajah Duleep Singh's kingdom was one of the most powerful and prosperous kingdoms of the 19th century before it was annexed by Britain. Placed on the throne at the age of five, he was robbed of his legacy by treason at the hands of trusted courtiers. He was then torn away from his mother and taken to England by the British at the age of fifteen. While in England, he was introduced to Queen Victoria, who took an immediate liking to him, calling him The Black Prince. Meeting his mother again after thirteen years, the Maharajah is awakened to the realities of his former life in Punjab. He then begins the arduous journey to regain all that was lost, and re-embrace the faith of his birth, Sikhism. As the character of Maharajah Duleep Singh evolves, is torn between two contrasting cultures - his royal ancestry from the Kingdom of Punjab as its last King, set against his upbringing in the UK as he embarks in a new journey of exile, away from his mother. Duleep Singh's lifelong journey to regain his identity, dignity, and Kingdom took him across the world but his struggle was not met with success. He never won the chance to set foot again in his own land of Punjab.(CBFC/DIL/2/62/2017-MUM)

How to Analyze a Film:

Points to remember while reviewing a film:

  • A film review should have a number of purposes:
  • To inform. The review needs to tell people who is in the film, who it is by and where or when readers can see it.
  • To describe. The review should describe the story, characters and some of the action - without spoiling the plot or giving too much away!
  • To analyse. A good review gives an opinion on whether the film is good or not and why.
  • To advise. Finally, the review should tell the reader whether or not to go and see the film.. .  Read BBC link from the below given links for further study.
  • A good movie review should entertain, persuade and inform, providing an original opinion without giving away too much of the plot. A great movie review can be a work of art in its own right. Read on to learn how to analyze a movie, come up with an interesting thesis and write a review as entertaining as your source material.
  • Method 1 of 3: Studying Your Source Material
  • 1. Gather basic facts about the movie
2. Take notes on the movie as you watch it.
3. Analyze the mechanics of the movie
Method 2 of 3: Composing Your Review

1. Create an original thesis based on your analysis.
2. Follow your thesis paragraph with a short plot summary.
3. Move into your analysis of the movie.
4. Use plenty of examples to back up your points.
5. Give it some personality.
6. Wrap up your review with a conclusion
Method 3 of 3: Polishing Your Piece
1. Edit your review.
2. Proofread your review.
3. Publish or share your review (in form of COMMENT under this blog and also on your personal blog) . . . read more on wikihow link given below.

Some examples of reviews:

  1. To do cinematic justice to Salman Rushdie’s novel “Midnight’s Children,” it would take a razzle-dazzle entertainer with Bollywood flair and a literary bent, someone equally at home with comedy and allegory, ghosts and little snot-nosed boys, Indian history and Indian myth. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/movies/midnights-children-adaptation-of-salman-rushdies-novel.html?_r=0)
  2. Though a bit literal for a film that traffics in magical realism, Deepa Mehta'sMidnight's Children is both dreamy and dramatic, a fascinating view of Indian history seen through the prism of a personal -- and occasionally twinned -- story. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marshall-fine/movie-review-imidnights-c_b_3153638.html?ir=India&adsSiteOverride=in)
  3. The film, directed by Deepa Mehta (“Water”), is stunning to watch. Between the colorful textiles and the lush landscapes, the elephants on parade and the stilt walkers, “Midnight’s Children” is a visual treat. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/midnights-children-movie-review/2013/05/01/123822fa-b1cb-11e2-9a98-4be1688d7d84_story.html)
  4. As a result, Midnight’s Children has neither the magic nor the realism of the magic realist narrative it regurgitates into soft, digestible pablum for a Western audience it clearly expects little but cooing approval from. (http://vancouverweekly.com/midnights-children-film-review/)

Some examples of reviews of 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist':

  1. Relations between east and west, and the experience of the subcontinent diaspora in Britain and North America, have been the predominant concern ofMira Nair. Her perceptive, generous, inquiring films have pursued issues that the older, more reserved, less politically engaged Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala team held back from. Based on a well-regarded novel by Mohsin Hamid, this schematic film interweaves two narratives in 2011 Lahore. (http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/may/19/reluctant-fundamentalist-review-mira-nair)
  2. In his slim 2007 novel, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” the Pakistan-born writer Mohsin Hamid takes these two words and rubs them together until they throw off intellectual sparks. Written as a monologue, it is a somewhat claustrophobic blurt of a book that, given world events, continues to feel eerily timely. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/movies/the-reluctant-fundamentalist-directed-by-mira-nair.html)
  3. The story is recounted in flashback by Changez, now an academic back in Lahore, to an American journalist (Liev Schreiber) on the trail of a kidnapped professor. How deeply is this reluctant fundamentalist implicated in anti-American insurgency? Nair, adapting from the 2007 novel by Mohsin Hamid, draws a terrific performance from Ahmed as the divided hero, mild-mannered then warier by degrees. (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/reviews/film-review-the-reluctant-fundamentalist-15-8609955.html)
  4. But Khan's challenge comes less from without and more from within. He questions his identity, while his conscience struggles with his ethical choices. He is a Third World man rising to the heights of an imperialist nation. As an American, he benefits from our foreign interventions exploiting his "own people." Further, he contributes to the problem: In arranging mergers and acquisitions, he himself drives thousands of people into unemployment. (http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-reluctant-fundamentalist-2013)

A few Reviews of The Black Prince:

  1. https://www.criticalmuslimstudies.co.uk/the-black-prince-and-coloniality/
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jun/17/how-film-and-tv-romanticises-life-in-india-after-the-raj

Reading resources on 'How to review film?'

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