You ask me how many-th time I am watching this movie? 'How many-th' is a puzzle from schooldays which I am yet to solve. The puzzle is - How do you ask the question for this answer? ' Indira Gandhi is the 3rd Prime Minister of India'. Now, how do you pose a question for that? In Malayalam we would ask- 'Indira Gandhi India-yude ethramatthe Pradhana Manthriyannu?' How you do translate that into English? No idea; do you ?
But I am digressing. The movie that I have watched the most number of times, the one single movie that I would point out if you asked me which is the one single movie I wouldn't mind watching a hundred times - ONE SINGLE, ONE AND ONLY ONE - my unhesitating answer would be - 'While You were Sleeping'. And thats when I fell in love with Sandra Bullock - or Sandra Bullock as Lucy, the insignificant clerk in a Chicago Tube station.
I don't know how many of you have seen it, but my frustration for a long time was that I could not get a VCD of that movie ( I never could download one - until K showed me the Torrent-Pirate Bay route. Even then I felt unclean, watching a pirated, free download).
Sometimes I don't watch it from beginning to the end; I just go to the scenes I love most, esp., the last scenes at the wedding where Lucy says ' I was in love with you - with all of you' to the family. I am not ashamed to say that even after so many times, that brings a lump to my throat, my eyes well up; the couple of times K was around, he teased me like hell for the tears.
I wanted to know why I love this Lucy so much. Of course, Sandra is a beautiful woman, though I don't care much for her jawline and nose. Not really my type; I go for the Audrey Hepburn Mia Farrow Meg Ryan kind - the un-arty, waif-ish, tomboy-ish types, who look so vulnerable and helpless, fine boned with small breasts and thin legs - the kind you see in Mills & Boon, the kind I would like to protect, say that everything is okay, your Big Balan is here to take care of you blah blah blah.
Mulling over my love for Lucy - rather , trying to understand why I love this movie so much - I realize that I connect with Lucy in her loneliness. Lucy is an orphan - all she has is the memory of a father who died in a nursing home. Lucy works in a Tube station in Chicago and goes home- to a cat. By sheer coincidence, she gets this chance to be with a family - and such a jolly good family it is and that brightens up her days - and life; and falls in love with Bill Pullman. Lucy, like most of us, is yearning for love. Lucky Lucy, she finds it, whereas most of us still pines for the unfulfilled love.
For film pundits, 'While you were sleeping' might be a movie to shrug off, a light romantic comedy, but to me it is an insight to the lonely lives of the modern world and how the warmth of love could bring sunshine into those lives. Life in 'While you were sleeping' is not very complicated; it has a few fumbles and stumbles, but OK, because the characters in the movie are - decent human beings.
In fact, my friends, life is simple - but we make a mountain out of a molehill. We can make our lives simple and easy; but if it is not complex, we feel there is something wrong with us.
All we need is love, the capacity to love others and you get it back. I am reminded of the movie, 'Scenes from a Marriage', by Ingmar Bergman. The characters are so like most of us, looking for love all the time, getting into affairs one after the other, but blind to the fact that unless you love yourself, you cannot love anyone else. To love oneself, one has to know oneself. To know oneself, one has to look within. Whatever maybe your warts, love yourself. With love, comes acceptance of the Is, the acceptance of self. So long as we are dissatisfied with ourselves, we will be dissatisfied with rest of the world. But then, we are always looking for love from outside and contort our minds, trying to squeeze into other people.
Perhaps the reason I identify with Lucy/Sandra Bullock is that more than the common loneliness, we share the trait of finding pleasure in simple things. For Lucy, the ultimate dream is a ' stamp on my passport which says Italy' - for me it is that says 'Tierra del Fuego' or Chile or Argentina or Scotland. A friend of mine says that I am simple person, though the friend knows me only through my writing. Am I? Is that the real me in my writings? Or is that the me that I want to, as B said, 'to showcase'? Which is the real me? Let me tell you - I am all that I write. I am all that I am, that I wish to be.
But then - I know who I am; therein lies the secret of my happiness; to top up, you can add a couple of pegs of 'Director's Special Black' Whisky, which is my standard drink when I cannot afford Signature or Single Malts or Irish or Jack Daniels!!
P S: I am having a little celebration all by myself, celebrating K's admission to Psychology Hons. ;-)
************* Balachandran V, Alappuzha, 24.02.2012