"Thus open the gates of paradise."

In this issue


06 Apr 2002

Have you ever had this conversation?

YOU: I saw "Earth" this weekend.
PAL: What's that?
YOU: A movie about the partitioning of India, the birth of Pakistan and the way it affected the people in India.
PAL: Oh.
[Pause for a few beats, then] I saw the new Bond film!

I'm always having this.In part it's my inability to sell a film. Were I to sell "Earth," I'd say it was about a family whose life is turned inside out when India is partitioned by the British in 1947. How it takes the madness of that time and shows it to you through the eyes of a young girl and the family serving girl. How it's based on the autobiographical novel Breaking India by Bapsi Sidwa.

Have you ever had this conversation?

YOU: I read Bapsi Sidwa's latest novel this weekend.
PAL: Oh.
[Pause for a few beats, then] I saw the new Bond film!

While very pretty, and competently made, the film left me cold. To me, it seemed a bit forced. On the one hand, it showed the effect on a family of the racial tensions between Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims by giving each of the groups a face or two. But the interaction between them has to be shown in some sort of political context, and I think the film is only mildly successful on that point. Part of the problem is that it's not a simple issue, and to do it justice would take all night. All weekend. How much time do you have?

My friend, The Insider, read the script for this film a couple of years ago, and liked the way it handled the character of LennyBaby, the little girl. I think I agree. See, I'm not actually against the film -- I'm just very very neutral.

Related Links

Official site (Contains historical background on the partition of India)
"Earth" on IMDB