We don’t have a cable connection at home, which means no television programmes for us. Not that we never watched television before. We used to. But, for the past one year or so, we’ve disconnected cable. We still have a television set (and a DVD player) which we use to watch movies. A lot of movies. And, all sorts of movies. Hindi, English, Regional, World movies, Documentary movies.
With movies, we feel, we have more control over what we’re consuming. Cable TV is relentless in its pursuit of bombarding with messages that are designed to enslave the minds and hearts – fair skin is beautiful, housewives aren’t smart enough, girls are supposed to look pretty, body hair means unhygienic, tough guys don’t cry, children won’t eat vegetables so coat the veggies with chocolate. Ah, and that perfect family picture – husband, wife and two children – have to be a girl and a boy! Phew – those imagery used to make my mind numb and my skin cringe. The way television programmes (well, most movies too) label people, communities, regions is like making a mockery of humanity. Stereotyping is the way to go. Conform, create clones. Diversity goes into the dustbin.
Like I said, with movies, we’ve got more control. We can choose the movies, we can choose the parts of the movie that we like most or don’t like – so we can watch a scene again and again or fast forward it.
The best part about watching movies together is that we’re not merely ‘consuming’ but also ‘creating’. How can we be creating while we’re watching movies? The creation comes in in the form of all the discussions that happen in the middle of watching, after watching and for days together. When Pari needs some explanation through a scene, we pause right there to discuss that part, she asks questions or shares an observation and then we move ahead. We pause as often as required. This makes the viewing rich and meaningful.
Over the last one month, we’ve watched dozens of movies – old Hindi and English movies, nature documentaries, animation.
Here are some we enjoyed that you might like too.
- Angoor (Hindi comedy – the best Bollywood comedy I’ve ever watched. Sanjeev Kumar – my favourite Bollywood actor in a double role.)
- Golmaal (Hindi comedy again. I might rank this second to Angoor. Mesmerizing songs.)
- Baton Baton Main (light-hearted take on the average Indian family living in a metropolitan)
- Khatta Meetha (the flavours of life, living and ageing – portraying two Parsi families)
- Bears (by Disney Nature. Beautiful, thrilling portrayal of a Mamma bear’s struggle to keep her cubs alive in the first year of their birth, which is an almost impossible feat)
- The Epic (Animation. There’s a microscopic community of leafmen in the woods that strives to save the forest from rotting. Interesting.)
- Born Free (a real-life couple who raised Elsa the Lionness, an orphaned lion cub, to adulthood, and released her into the wilderness of Kenya. Your heart will melt.)
We need more movie recommendations to watch as a family. What movies have you enjoyed?