Bombay Talkie, 1970

Directed by: James Ivory

So many people told me not to watch this. I had so many warnings and I ignored them all. Even after seeing half of it and being disgusted I still watched it.

This should not have been my first Jennifer Kendal film. She might be ruined for me. It’s my own fault for trying to over-analyze everything about her and hunting for subtle clues that she was actually in-real-life love with Shashi, and he with her.

Neither should it have been my first Merchant Ivory film, which is a little pocket I’ve been trying to get into for a while.

Clearly I went about this in all the wrong ways, but for all of its “I-just-want-to-claw-my-eyes-out-and-smash-my-TV” qualities, I didn’t exactly hate Bombay Talkie; a fact that makes me upset with myself.

The only thought I can process about this film is simply “Why”? What in the world made these people decide that anyone would be interested in the lives of the characters in this film? It’s awful. They’re all co-dependent, selfish, childish, self-destructive and mental.

I’m gaping open-mouthed like a fish trying to articulate my thoughts on this film. It’s not working.

What I can’t understand is why one of the trio that was causing all of the havoc couldn’t just walk away and say “No more” and mean it. Granted, Vikram (Shashi) tried, but by that time it was too late; Lucia (Jennifer Kendal) tried, but she found her self so lacking in attention that she almost combusted; Hari (Zia Mohyeddin) tried but was so desperate for Lucia’s attention that he let her crawl back time and time again. The only person who was able to walk away, and earn my respect was Vikram’s wife, Mala (Aparna Sen).

The object of my hatred, and I really dislike saying hatred, is 100% directed at Lucia. She knows exactly what she is doing and exactly how to get Hari and Vikram to play into her “woe is me” game. She’s the wannabe Scarlett O’Hara of India, and she does it all wrong.  I don’t know if you’ve not been informed, but desperation is not flattering or pretty, so stop it. Don’t sit on a couch with your legs perched just-so and complain about how you were tragic as a chorus girl because you’re legs were knobby. Don’t recline on the bed and weep and whine about how you’re getting older, how you’re ugly, how no one loves you, how you can’t get anyone to respect you… wah wah wah. You’re pathetic and you’re damaged, but you don’t care enough about yourself to stand up and do something about it. You’d rather be petted and indulged and protected from growing up. I don’t care if you were forced to “grow up quickly”, you obviously didn’t. And what is with you moping about all of your ex husbands while you’re still wearing the wedding rings (all four of them) on your fingers. Fine, it’s supposed to be a message that you’ve had your share of disappointments but what, if anything, has gone right in your life? Nothing, since you refuse to see the good in anything or anybody; you’d rather go around destroying other people’s lives and leaving nothing but cold-hearted nonchalance in your wake.

I hate you Lucia Lane.

Hari made me just sick too, he was totally used by Lucia but he didn’t care. As long as she kept coming back to him, his own heartache didn’t matter. Every time he got her, Vikram showed up and off she flew into his arms.

What is wrong with these people?

What was so great about Lucia that she had such a magnetism?

Obviously I can’t get over LL, so I’m going to stop while I’m ahead, sleep on it, and maybe come back to this film in a week or so. It’s much healthier, and it won’t be such an “I want to destroy Lucia Lane” vehicle.

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