March 19, 2011

Yogi’s Movie Tip: Guzaarish – Best of 2010

Life is very short my friends…
But it is long enough if you live with all your heart.
So, go on, break the rules.
Forgive quickly … Kiss slowly,
Love truly … Laugh uncontrollably,
And never regret anything that made you smile.

Hands down, Guzaarish is the best movie made in 2010. The acting, set design, cinematography, script and direction express the broad lush brushstrokes of archetypal existential inquiries about death, love and life. On a local Goa radio station the protagonist Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrihik Roshan) starts his broadcasts speaking the message written above while lying paralyzed as a quadriplegic. His radio program spreads magic, hope & inspiration to avid listeners making it difficult to imagine how he has lived with a spinal injury for the last 14 years.

The plotline in Guzaarish is driven by the many wonderfully human tragic delightful emotions pushing and pulling the film’s characters in a battle over what Ethan announces as Project Ethanasia. As the organs of his body are deteriorating Ethan wants to choose his moment of death rather than suffering through the inexorable erosion of his once vital health. His nurse Sophia (Aishwarya Rai) devotes 12 years of her life to serving Ethan. In a culture where euthanasia is a rarely discussed taboo, this film opens up questions of what is compassion and who has the authority to decide how and when a human being must live and die. Since I don’t want to spoil the plot, I won’t say much more except that the story kept me riveted & emotionally engaged.

How this film & its actors were not nominated for Academy Awards is beyond me. Heck, Guzaarish didn’t even get consideration for Best Foreign Picture. Perhaps the Academy is unaware of the Indian film industry. While Slumdog Millionaire got Oscar recognition in 2008, it was listed as a British romantic drama. Not an Indian film which is odd considering Slumdog was filmed in India with an entirely Indian cast. BTW: Did I mention Hrihik Roshan & Aishwarya Rai are physically gorgeous?

Anyway, check out Guzaarish. It’s a gorgeously shot film designed to probe deep into your own notions of what it means to love through unimaginable suffering or watching someone you love suffering. Netflix features it as an Instant Play. Let me know if lands in your heart like it did mine. Here’s a beautiful version of “What a Wonderful World” sung by Hrihik Roshan.

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