Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Motorcycle Diaries

I’m not the kind who readily subjects himself to two hours of visual and auditory torture in a dark room. In fact, given a choice, I’d avoid setting foot in the theater as much as I can. Devdas, which brought tears to the eyes of a few I know, brought tears to my eyes as well – only they were tears of boredom. Ocean’s Eleven – I fell asleep halfway through the first thirty minutes. I wished to crack James Bond’s skull with a blackjack (though my name isn’t Warrierovsky). But there are a few movies I’ve enjoyed watching greatly – movies that have left their indelible marks on my self.

One such movie is The Motorcycle Diaries. Though the movie was released in 2004, I never got down to seeing it till yesterday – blame it on my monumental laziness. Directed by Walter Sallers, this movie is nothing less than a masterpiece.

The New York Times (curse the dad-blasted, soul-less Yankees) had the gall and the immortal rind to describe the movie as the Best Road Movie Ever. ‘Road Movie?’, well these Yankees are just plain stupid! Considering the CIA thought Che was ‘fairly intellectual for a Latino’, it isn’t surprising at all.

The movie was a lot more than that. It showed the transformation of a young privileged upper middle class boy traveling – a boy who reminded me of myself and so many others I know – into a man the whole world knew and respected.

The trip starts off on a lark, with the proposed objective being to fuck in every country in Latin America (preferably every town). But as their old bike fails and they hit the road, one begins to witness glimmers of the transformation that lead to the death of Ernesto Guevara, and the emergence from his ashes of ‘Che’ Guevara.

As the movie wound to an end, I began to contemplate upon life, and the sheer meaninglessness of mine.

I realized that I was blind.

The poverty and the injustice perpetrated by the capitalists which affected young Ernesto such a lot are visible in much greater numbers in my country. But I am inured to it.

We may be called an economic miracle by Western trained economists who marvel at our rate of growth, but can we forget the millions we have displaced or rendered jobless in the name of development? But no, I’m too busy munching on my Cadbury’s to notice.

Western Multinationals like Pepsi, brought into the country to bring about jobs and employment, have polluted ground water supplies in Kerala. They have deprived entire villages of a drop to drink. Oh, excuse me, that Mirinda tastes oh-so-succulent.

This is one movie which, as the trailer says, will alter the way you look at the world. One movie you just shouldn’t miss taking a dekko at, though it’s completely in Spanish (with English sub-titles).

By the way, anyone have a copy of Che’s biography or better still, The Motorcycle Diaries, lying around somewhere?

"Shoot, coward, you're only going to kill a man" – Che Guevara, 1967.

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