Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The ridiculous and the sublime?

There is this phrase that goes, referring to certain situations,- the ridiculous and the sublime ; hinting at what’s mundane in any bourgeois life and what actually passes by as another moment in an ocean of momentous actions . However , it is only in retrospect, that we generally frame and glorify , mystify and demystify the moment or event. In retrospect, everything plays with a delay, of lets say for expression sake,  5 seconds. Every act plays out like a scene and those who can see well , amuse themselves of the frivolity that passes them by. Like many wise men say, one has to laugh it all away. Like Chaplin did with his stark satire, like the quadriplegic Ramon in the movie ‘The sea inside’ has learnt to cry by smiling. Even the gravest moment can, in fact, be turned upside down to seem like the most absurd and ironical comical situation. That is the wonderful machine the human mind has made itself to be. The mix and match of the ridiculous and the sublime create a delicious mocktail for us to savour.

For instance , the movie ‘Little miss sunshine’ and ‘Jerry Maguire’ are full of such satires of bourgeois life. Little miss sunshine evolves around a mediocre middle class Albuquerque based American family with an apparently assertive father who always counsels about winners and leaders. Then there comes the moment when the little one of the house is short listed for a beauty pageant , he makes the painful decision of agreeing to it against his personal disinclination. Their journey takes its bizarre turns and twists of idiosyncrasies and black humour; what with a drug abusive grandfather, a gay suicidal uncle , a teenage rebel who has stopped talking for good, and the father with an obsessive compulsive winner’s disorder along with their defunct lime coloured van which needs to be pushed around all the way.

Whether it is the girl dedicating her stripper ‘s dance number on stage to her granddad who is in the trunk of their car (dead);or whether it is the moment when the son walks out in the middle of their journey and only comes back after a little hug from his sister, the movie has brilliant moments of sublimity suspended unseemingly into the middle class routine.

Jerry Maguire with its popular hero, Tom Cruise plays on a more Hollywoodish note , with a corporate set up but nevertheless weighs down with similar ridiculities not to ignore the faithful golden fish flipper who remains faithful till the end.

While , in this case, the situations play out on a guilt-free platter for the ordinary viewer to sit back , watch and laugh, in the former case the viewer feels a tad guilty beforehe can laugh at any of the situations because he knows very well, how the situation may feel in all its actualities.

There is a scene in the recent Bollywood flick ‘Fashion’ , where a cocaine addict super-model Shonali (played by Kangana Ranaut ) is hit in the face by her abusive boyfriend. All that she retaliates with, in that moment of frustration , is that, she has a show the next day! So simplified has today’s urban working logic become that such ridiculous moments also have gained a certain credibility to an extent that the ordinary spectator can be easily gullible to them.

In a way ,  I believe , it is a good exercise, now and then , to look at the world upside down, and know what colour and what brand of ‘andar’ wear does the world wear.


But then of course, who would want to risk their social image? So we keep sublimating the ridiculous and ridiculing the sublime and the show goes on.


Vicarious said...

zindagi ki tamaasha !! its alwaya seems sublime and then ridiculous when matter takes of a tangent !! i jus remebered one incident reading this .. when i was going to get my tooth extracted, someone seriously asked .. is it going to bleed ?! .. appreciating the concern.. i replied ..' maybe little, not to worry' .. imagine my shock , when i realised .. the question was asked , only to say " take the same hand kerchief u took last time,cause it already has unremovable blood stains on it" ;-)

Evacuating Soul said...

Hi... are u the daughter of Jayant?? if u r, I am Pawan, i guess u had come for my play right? Lot seems to have happened today.. I saw u at the book release, and later a while ago one of my NCJ friend told me abt ur PU scores.. which apparently is talked about (even now) ... :) he gave me this link! SO how do u live with urself being so BRILLIANT :P Will read thr the blog sometime to see if 'gene' theory holds good!

(ps: if u r not who i am assuming u r.. plz ignore and sorry abt the bhashan!)