Movie Watching: A Few Bovine Observations!

Based on my lifelong experience as a rather discerning and somewhat fastidious movie buff I beg to offer here a few of my rather bovine (no necessarily offending anyone) observations about movie watching. You may or may not agree with these which is quite natural, movie watching being kinda of subjective entertainment. You can also choose the near-absent option of putting your views too here in a way to enrich or annihilate my observations. My observations here dwell on characteristics that adversely affect the viewing pleasure which are more important, because the absence of those acts on the positive side.

Ø  In quite a few movies I fervently expect something to happen at some point of the narration, and if that takes too long a time or doesn’t happen at all I get impatient and immediately try confirming again the genre of the film. Most often, I find Suspense as the one. Well, heady kind of suspense that! This phenomenon mostly happens in Hollywood productions where the filmmaker can easily indulge in such experiments, having the world market at his/her command. However, in Bollywood movies this is almost unheard of, because such indulgences normally lead to a poor show in the crucial box office. In any case, such experiments obstruct my viewing pleasure.


Ø  The beginning of any movie is always very crucial, and therefore, all movies try to begin with a very evocatively or violently created scene that may structure my expectations. However, just after the beginning things like ‘Two weeks later’ or ‘Two years later’ or even ’20 years later’ appear on screen disappointing me thoroughly. More saddening part is when the super declare ‘Two weeks earlier’ or like that which kinda wearies me out without the would-be wear and tear, if any. In any case, such interventions obstruct my viewing pleasure.


Ø  As a corollary to the above I must mention here that the custom of ‘flashback’ is as ancient as the art of filmmaking. To make a time transition the creators need, compulsorily at times, to bring in a flashback, particularly when adapting very voluminous novels for the screen. As long as the flashback is done smoothly, like in most Hollywood productions where these are done with the help of a montage or recurring terrible moments of the past, my viewing pleasure is kept intact. But unfortunately, in Bollywood films flashbacks always start with a song or a huge song-dance sequence which normally kills all the expectations built up so far. In any case, such experiments obstruct my viewing pleasure.


Ø  In Bollywood a serious no-nonsense movie means the absence of songs or dance sequences; however, in such movies too, the background songs suddenly intrude at many crucial points of the story, adversely affecting the latter’s flow as well as my viewing pleasure. This is a common factor in some intense Hollywood or other foreign-language movies also, particularly in movies where I have to rely, to a varying extent of dependence, on the subtitles. Now, in such a delicate scenario, the somewhat crusading subtitle writers don’t even spare the intruding background song lyrics and there follows such a maze of subtitles, of the song and of the dialogues of the characters, that I get lost completely in a flood of words, whereas I’m watching a creation of the visual media. To make it worse, the writers take pains to create subtitles like ‘phone chimes’, ‘music strings’, ‘wind blows’, ‘footsteps sound’ or of the sort that I can hear and watch all the time. In any case, such intrusions obstruct my viewing pleasure.


Ø  There is also the rather universal problem of modern cinema where the rampant use of technology always, deliberately or as a kickoff, suppresses the dialogue track and blows the background effects/music track out of proportion. This makes me crane my ears all the time to catch the nuances of the dialogues and to jerk back violently when my vulnerable ears get nearly blasted away with the sudden thundering of the background sound track. Unfortunately, the Bollywood movies nowadays also try to imitate this unfriendly techno surge. This is more important in light of the pandemic-induced non-theater movie watching; because, amid the unavoidable play of the hush and the thunder, I just cannot avoid getting the warnings from the streaming platform about the used audio volume threatening to damage my eardrums. In any case, such experiments always obstruct my viewing pleasure.


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