This movie is a hoot. It's got such a gleeful mix of everything I hardly knew what to expect next - except, of course, that the family would be reunited, since it was clear from the get-go that there was heavy moral order going on here. You don't dump your kids off at the feet of Gandhi on Indian Independence Day if you're going to be noncommittal about how things wind up.
Since there's no possible way that I have anything to say about this movie that hasn't already been said, I'll just say that it's really fun and everyone in it is great and then share a few of my favorite things:
Vinod Khanna is so cool he can snap on the interrogation lights.
This has got to be my favorite Amitabh fight scene ever.
And this might just be my favorite Amitabh scene of any kind ever because he's so very, very funny.
On second thought, wait. I do have something else to say - or, rather, ask. For reasons that are still not entirely clear, even after a solid 24 hours of thinking about them ("24 7 I think of you, 24 7 I think of you..."), there's an idea rattling around in my head that the people who made this movie had something serious, or at least important, to say, but I'm not sure what it is. There was something about the religious/cultural assignment of the three leads that didn't seem to be just for kicks - and I'm wondering if they're each supposed to represent some different facet of Indian culture, or the Indian experience, or maybe three distinct values. We have the oldest boy being Hindu, yet I don't think we ever see him do anything particularly religious (unless I missed it, which is entirely possible - he doesn't go to any temple, does he, or say a prayer, or make an offering...?). The Muslim and Christian sons, though, are more conspicuously religiously identified. (Speaking of which, what is that place Akbar is singing at when his mother comes upon him and, stumbling towards the statue, has her sight restored? Is it a mosque or a temple - or some kind of interdenominational communal house of worship? The statue seems to be treated like a Hindu deity of some kind, with garlands and coconuts, but didn't I see a star and crescent in that building too - plus, of course, Akbar singing? My dvd had no subtitles in songs, so I have no idea what he was actually singing.) (One aspect of the religious lens, or whatever you want to call it, that I found particularly interesting was the death of Anthony's "father" - who, celibate, has a "son" - who, for his flock's protection, gives his life. Kinda heavy-handed, but point taken.) Then we've got the whole nationalism thread, with the kids being left with Gandhi on 15 August and a blind but all-sacrificing, all-loving, all-welcoming mother named Bharati. This movie was made 30 years after independence; are the filmmakers saying that India was stumbling and blind and only through the identification and embracing of its constituent parts can it regain vision?
Anyway. My usual consultant on such matters is really busy right now, so I went on a research binge, as my librarian heart is wont to do. I haven't hit the academic databases yet - yet - but even I may not need to look any further, thanks to this great article on philip'sfil-ums. So think about the movie, then pop over to philip's and read what he has to say. Then get back to me, okay? I'm really curious about what everybody thinks.