Columns

This film we live in

Even as the Oscars roll out, we remain engrossed in only one story. Whether a fan of apocalypse movies or not, we’re living in what seems like one. Yet no bare-chested muscled star emerges, every gelled hair in place, to super-power the virus to another planet, nor any wild-haired genius to lock it into a time machine to another dimension to become someone else’s problem.

The film we’re speeding through is more reality TV, without the glamour of fake tears dripping off fake eyelashes. There is neither script (despite the rollicking conspiracy theories) nor idea who will be called on next.

Someday, (and we will get to this day), we will look back — and applaud those who starred in this film.

The unlikely cast won’t grace a red carpet, or even be allowed near it. A man in a sweat-stained shirt who keeps nodding off. A woman with cracked soles and nervous eyes. A girl who sleeps with her shoes on. A child who screams when his screen is turned off. A woman who smiles from a wall.

The exhausted hero is the autorickshaw driver who ferries passengers free in any emergency to the nearest hospital. He’s stayed awake and on the road for a week or longer, and has saved a dozen lives at least, not that he counted.

The female lead is the domestic help who walks five miles daily to plead to work all day in an apartment that keeps accusing her of carrying the virus in from her slum. She still lands up because keeping her family alive has more to do with putting food on the table than any microscopic threat.

The supporting actor is a nurse who does back-to-back shifts and sleeps in her uniform and shoes in case she gets called back to an emergency.

The child is every child who stays glued to his screen through a year of online classes, so he can ‘study hard and not worry Mummy-Papa even more’. And the woman on the wall took care of the sick in her family. They made it. Which is why her picture smiles.

The darkest movie stars the most shimmering people. These, and those who cook and drive and stand in queues for hospital beds for their friends. Who feed starving dogs on the street. Who step up to help their domestic help. The virus can’t kill this spirit.

Where Jane De Suza, author of Flyaway Boy, pokes her nose into our perfect lives.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 9:12:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/oscars-2021-this-film-we-live-in/article34450450.ece

Next Story