Growing up in Indonesia on a steady diet of K Balachander and Mani Ratnam movies, filmmaker Madhumitha’s watchlist for this week will resonate with every cinephile out there
Children of Heaven
I was exposed to a lot of world cinema during my college days in Singapore. The course was more theoretical than hands-on filmmaking; we were to analyse subtexts and write reviews. Children of Heaven was the film that made me want to pursue a career in films. The movie did something to me and I decided that I wanted to tell stories. Which is why it will always be on the top of my list.
1992 was the year when we moved to Indonesia and my parents were particular that we don’t lose our roots. Because of that, we started watching a lot of Mani sir and KB sir’s movies. It was during that time when I saw Free Willy, which I think was the first English movie I saw. It had a big impact on me, simply because of the relationship the boy shares with the whale. Even today, it is one movie I keep going back to.
It is one of my most favourite works of Mani sir. I was so enamoured by the film’s theme on adoption. Ours is a culture where adoption is perceived as a last resort when you can’t have a baby, right? But here, the film dealt with the subject with utmost sensitivity. When I was doing my Master’s in Los Angeles, I made a short film on adoption which went to a couple of film festivals. The inspiration came for me from Kannathil Muthamittal.
It is my favourite film of Quentin Tarantino just because of the stark difference in its style and presentation, with a female protagonist and lots of action sequences. I enjoy films that are relatable and have emotional connect. That happened with Kill Bill, and QT is an inspiring filmmaker. I met him at a film festival when someone told him that his Reservoir Dogs was remade in Hindi as Kaante. Filmmakers usually get offended when you say that, but he said he actually enjoyed Kaante and it was a different take on his film. That confidence is something I learnt from him.
In real life too, I believe there is more than one truth. Let us say there is an argument between a husband and wife. It is not a question of who is right, but a question of one’s perspective versus the other’s. In fact, my life policy came from Rashomon: that you can tell stories in so many different ways and everybody will have their own version.
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