FILM WORM – Martin Scorsese’s rise and fall

It’s inexplicable. How a filmmaker, a master, like Martin Scorsese can be responsible for films like The Aviator, Gangs of New York, like, The Departed. It’s beyond doubt that these are great films, but not classics. It’s true. Scorsese hasn’t made a classic in a long time.

Think Casino, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence (my favourite). In The Age of Innocence, the camera work was pure, breathtaking poetry — flying high, swooping, hiding, confronting, commenting, graceful; graceful like a swan, fluid. And rich, rich colours, with the camera voyeuristic enough to quietly capture the slightest hints of expression.


And then look at The Departed – such a simplistic story, ripped off from Internal Affairs too, elevated essentially by the performances, and regular camerawork (interestingly and strangely, the director of photography for both the films is Micheal Ballhouse). It’s too Hollywood in its pace, too fast; while the Scorsese we know likes to mull over scenes, even the most violent ones, especially the most violent ones. There’s too much zip `n zap and fast cutting, and the story’s cheesy enough to fill an entire pizza. This was nowhere near a classic; it was a slick flick, one that’ll earn enough money to keep the studio happy.


When I voiced my concern to my confused mother, who doesn’t know much about Martin Scorsese, and couldn’t be bothered to pronounce his last name, she said see what happened to Dev Anand. What happened to him, I snapped a trifle irritated at the strange and audacious comparison.


The only similarity between them, which I knew of, was that they were both involved in films called Taxi Driver. But here’s the thing – Dev Anand was a brilliant director – of films like Hare Raama Hare Krishna, Des Pardes and Heera Panna!


And I shuddered. For two things – will we see Scorsese make a Mr Prime Minister down the years; and did Dev Anand actually direct classics? With all due respect and more, this generation knows Dev Anand as the young-at-heart octogenarian who indulges himself by making bizarre films and asks pretty young actresses for a peck at awards shows.


What happens? Does creativity, zest, zeal, drive, run out as time passes? Can a creative person run out of ideas? Does creativity come with a time limit? Do you lose your touch after a while?


Dear Martin Scorsese, is that the road you are going down on? Please make a classic, just like old times, and assure us otherwise. Leave films like The Departed to the Spielbergs and Sodenbergs of the world. You can make Goodfellas and The Age of Innocence; they can’t.




Vivah’s collections are rocking, even as it enters its third week, proving that we Indians have an affinity for a repeat viewing of the shaadi video. The reviews have torn the film to shreds, and one has called it a “sadistically put-together marathon of soap operas” and “unforgivably regressive.” But the money’s in.


Of course the timing has helped; with little, if any, competition from other releases in the week (Apna Sapna Money Money and Deadline – 24 Ghante). It’s only now, that Dhoom: 2 has released adding some action at the box office.  


Sad, because this will only encourage them on the trail. Rajshri’s women have always been irritatingly demure. I loved Maine Pyar Kiya when I was in school, but now the character of Suman and dialogues like `mattar cheelegi’ seem incongruous. Out of tune completely. I adored Hum Apke Hain Kaun when it released, but now, the thought of a woman sacrificing her love to marry her brother-in-law seems weird and far fetched, incestuous and even a little funny. Ditto Vivah. It takes us back ten years, but the collections make us believe that that’s where people want to stay!


Interestingly, while Rajshri is making leaps technically with a spanking new entity to look into digital entertainment, there have been no leaps in their sensibilities. The Rajshri heroine is where she always was, just that now you can watch her on the Internet.


Sonia Chopra

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