Inception – wake up to a world of dreams

Inception is a mind bender. At the same time, when followed intently from beginning to end, the expedition of dreams that the movie is, kindles the mind and encourages it to explore the topic. Which is what it has set off in my case.

The movie is based on the concept of complex dreams with deep interpretations, blended with stunning set pieces, visuals, locales and racy action. A great package that ensures your focus doesn’t stray – it is an experience that draws you in.

A team headed by Leo Di Caprio sets out to plant an idea in the subject’s (son of a wealthy millionaire) mind. They find that he’s going on a 10 hour flight. They get onto that flight (the man who hires him buys that flight – but now let me not drift into the main story – I want to talk about all the dreaming) and sedate him by slipping a sedative into his drinking water. Now I will not talk about the idea – I want to focus on the process.

The team connects the subject and themselves to a device, go into sleep and have a shared dream. The dream is complex – it has three whole layers – and while planting their idea, they have to convince the subject that it has not come from an outside source, but has been generated by himself – and in the third stage he is convinced of that and the idea is finally planted.

There is a dream architect (played by Ellen Page – Juno fame) who constructs the subject’s dreams while sharing the dream. Thanks to this fascinating fictitious (is it or is it not? I sooo want to believe it!) concept, the director gets the chance to include some brilliant set pieces and have them crumble in mind blowing sequences symbolizing the end of a shared dream.

There are some rules to inception of an idea – one must not build dreams or dream architecture on past memories – but Di Caprio’s past memories keep slipping in – his wife keeps appearing in his dreams and messing up things by shooting characters (the reasons I shall not elaborate on – I want to get to the ideas I derived). Also if one dies during a dream he/she may move into limbo – a permanent dream state.

During the second level of the dream, the millionaire’s son is shot by the wife and is very close to death. The team tries to save the mission by reviving him through defibrillation –risking going further into his dream and making things more complex - but succeeds. He proceeds to the next level. And all ends well.

The director, Christopher Nolan has beautifully expressed the concept of a dream within a dream and the end of each dream, layer by layer and how the conditions of the surroundings in the first dream affect the second dream – fascinating ideas and mind blowing interpretations.

Inception inspired me to read about shared dreaming and other concepts. Shared dreaming exists and there are a lot to learn about dreams. There is a treatment called hypnotherapy – which cures people of depression and other such problems by putting them into a hypnotic state, helping them discover their past life – and apparently the events in the past life are linked to those in the present.

Apparently you can have control over your dreams – if you are aware that you are dreaming – I think it happened to me too. I have slept, dreamt, been woken up for a few seconds, then gone back to the dream and this time, what I thought for a second was what continued in that dream – at least that was the way it began – and I want it to happen again.

I want to give the profession of dream architecture a shot (wink). I want to try and be the architect of my mind – in the sense that I want to organise my mind, create space to stow away memories and retrieve them – am I getting too carried away? I don’t know. I am also being inspired by the famous character Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs), who, according to Thomas Harris’ book ‘Hannibal Rising’ has a ‘memory palace’ which he was taught to create, by his tutor – where he stores away memories in innumerable chambers and retrieves them when he wants. Well, is it possible for me to create something like that? Or a percentage of something as complex as that? I sure want to explore.

Inception is a near-masterpiece that sets off deep thoughts, the thirst to explore them. We’re discovering the power of dreams more and more & this is a fantastic theme that has emerged at the right time. Inception has been the start to my deeper journey into dreams and I hope to discover a lot more. I also hope to catch every movie as brilliant as Inception in its genre.

Azhagu Amy fell in love with Azhukku Arya… and Titanic happened

Madrasapattinam is a very nice movie, but I didn’t think I would be able to write a review, till I got those adjectives for Arya and Amy Jackson – yeah, Arya rolls around in mud, wrestling and looks real dirty (but cute, underneath that dirt). I felt those adjectives deserved a review beneath them (self-praise).

It is a love story in the background of the independence movement. It has also strongly drawn from Titanic – rather, bits have been copied (shamelessly – though I don’t like to use that harsh word on a director who has delivered an immensely watchable movie). And the rain song seems to be the director's (again shamelessly copied) tribute to Lagaan.

The director has made the love story predominant; resisting the urge to go on too much about the freedom struggle (it has been given more importance only where it really blends with the love story).

Even though Arya gets harsh treatment at the hands of Amy’s fiancé in the beginning, the seriousness isn’t dragged on. After he’s released, he drinks “kallu” with his buddies to forget his woes, then he learns that Amy managed to save him from worse punishment; he and his friends then decide to go thank her, not worrying about whether they’ll get caught or beaten up, they don’t think twice about entering the governor’s (Amy’s father’s) house, simply trying to stay unnoticed by wearing British clothes or dancing with ladies (there’s a tear-inducing comic scene in which Arya edges out an Englishman and dances with his girl, who has been resting her head, eyes closed, on the man’s chest and doesn’t realize it’s someone else. And a super-hilarious scene before that, in which they learn the words “thank you” and keep mugging it. On the way, their cycles hit a bump on the road, and for a second their mugging is interrupted – they forget the words; then they start mugging “Ning you. Ning you.” Even small touches such as the laundry guy who’s always dressed in British clothes, and forever dozing, tickle you.) The first half has great humorous touches. But some scenes later on are unintentionally funny, like the one in which Arya and Amy are hiding in the clock tower and Amy is inspired to sing a romantic verse.

VMC Haneefa, as Amy’s translator, has been given adequate scope for performance and has turned out to be a real treat for the audience. He is especially funny in the way he eagerly poses for photos and is teased by Amy, who moves the camera this way and that, because he too, keeps turning in the direction of the camera. It’s unfortunate that the talented artiste has passed away, and this is his last film.

Moving on to the other aspects of the movie – Arya and Amy make an adorable pair. Arya, as we know, is one hot creature with mesmerizing eyes and a hot bod – even though he gets all dirty in the mud in this movie, you just want to clean him up and continue sighing (I’ll forever remember the character “Kutty” he played in a Arindhum Ariyaamalum – the first impact he made on me still lasts). And he is simply adorable when he attempts to speak English. Amy Jackson is likable and slips into the role with ease. But the fact that she’s a foreigner limits her opportunities in K-town.

There is some truly edge-of-the-seat action… Arya taking on Amy’s fiancé in a gusthi fight over the dhobis’ land that the Englishman threatens to take away – the fight really had me sitting upright, at the edge of my seat, heart in my mouth. And another fight scene in the Central station clock tower was good too, with the fiancé crashing out of the clock face and flying down. Truly well executed fights – dishum dishum with verve – unlike the superhuman Vijay fights with flying people and him sending electric pulses up villains’ arms (in films like Ghilli).

The ending is a bit predictable (there are other cinematic touches as well - but pardonable); and it is pretty disappointing to discover that Arya has passed away (due to old age) as you imagined and is not there when Amy visits Duraiamma Trust (after building hope in me, who likes to expect the unexpected, even if takes away some pathos, that’ll fit better, according to K-town rules); but later it is revealed, predictably, that he is dead, and yeah, as expected, Amy dies at his grave – yawn.

To sum it up - the director has dished out a clever combination of a love story, humour, a bit of great action; giving higher emphasis to the freedom struggle only where it fits in, and otherwise restricting it in the background. Clearly he conceptualized Madrasapattinam as a love story and has done justice. It is one of the better Tamil films this year, and worth the price of your ticket.