Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Something fishy is going on here: Manorama Six Feet Under

This is not a review. Just a record of my appreciation for the fish that appear in the film, the only creatures who have an ample supply of water in an arid land:

to the important one named Shakuntala - at one point I remembered the ring that a fish ate in the original story and made up lurid scenarios where Shakuntala, in a meta-mythic twist, houses important evidence;

and the tankful of fish that Satyaveer (Abhay Deol) feeds every evening, that accomodate the suspiciously large Shakuntala, and that are found dead;

to the ugly, predatory ones in Rathore's office. This tank also contains one orange chinese dragon that throws its head back and lets out bubbles. Pay close attention to it in the penultimate scene;

and finally, the plug-in lamp in Brij Mohan's (Satyaveer's brother-in-law) house that has electric fish moving from side to side. If someone in the film had a computer, I have no doubt the screensaver would be the fish one everyone seems to be so fond of.

As we left the theatre, this abundance of marine life in a small town in Rajasthan did not go unnoticed; at least three people were discussing it with various degrees of earnestness on the way out. They - and you - should read Shakuntala Six Thousand Feet Above, at Passion For Cinema.

(The film is very good, by the way. Though comparisons with Chinatown are inevitable, it takes the template and makes something good of it - while paying homage to it in the film. I can't understand why the film hasn't done well so far. So much for adventurous, mature multiplex audiences.)

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