LUCA AND THE PIXAR PHENOMENON

It’s a magnificent tale of friendship, a quest to jump off insularity, prejudices against outsiders, filial love, temerity& joys of exploration

Objectivity is an antithetical term for humans in general, not for judges; they are allowed to be biased towards the dissemination of justice and the pursuit of truth. Thus to make sense of our biases, there are things we feel strongly either in terms of hate or love or abject ambivalence. I yearn for good food, Murakami’s books, soothing indie music, morning newspapers and the list goes on. But lately I added Pixar movies into this anything but exhaustive list of mine. I was introduced to Disney- Pixar movies in my childhood even before we had cable TV.  Having cable TV those days was reflective of the prosperity and surplus money people had at their disposal. And we got cable TV, “connection” it was called in common parlance, when I was in 6th standard, at the age of 11. Before that we like other middle – lower middle class households, were  more than contented with our formidable national broadcaster Doordarshan. And it was Doordarshan , on which every Saturday kids’ shows would come. I even faked headache, stomach pain, nausea so many times to avoid going to school on Saturdays to acknowledge the thought Doordarshan put up for children. These ecstatic Saturdays showed, apart from shows where ventriloquists made puppets alive through masterly legerdemain to Hindi dubbed Disney movies. The experience of watching animals in those movies speak like us, share same quandaries, joys, rage and friendship was so fascinating. I was so moved that I started appreciating my grandmother’s ways of communicating with her cows. Once I remember being envious of Simba , Timon and myriad others, who lived in a much better world of no homeworks, without worrying about cracking JEE and absence of a humiliating comparison with your neighbour’s wards. But as hormones unsettle you in your teenage with a sense of suspicion towards preconceived norms, you want to indentify less with your childhood. As the enlightenment brought by teenage seems to be the only paraphernalia to escape the Gyan everybody gives you. Though my teenage wouldn’t amount to venturing into a new territory. It was just an extended branch of my childhood with self declared rationality. And I continued watching Pixar, when my peers were smitten with Twilight and John Greens’ books. I loved them too, in bits and pieces though. However during the previous year, this odious pandemic rampaged and when it battered lives and livelihoods, I watched almost all Pixar movies again. I began with then fresher “soul” and it rejuvenated me. The recent movie is ‘Luca”. As I started this peace with misconstrued notions of objectivity, let me state that now I am fully biased towards Disney-Pixar. I just yearn for these movies now. I believe they are potential antidote to self doubt, anxiety and depression. With unparalleled subtlety, these movies depict characters battling the omnipresent, ubiquitous human traits. Yes humans are often at loggerheads with their own characteristics. The realisations at the end of the movie seem to cater to our loneliness, dysfunctional lives, our ensconced cheerfulness and our untapped love for life. These movies show a process, through which the protagonist comes to know about the wonders of life so sidelined as; the self reliance of walking on our foot, seeing the glaring blue sky, feeling the warmth of the sun, wearing clothes, relishing the togetherness of being with your family & friends, the flamboyancy of  imagination, the zing infused by adventures, the exhilarating flow of aspirations through your veins, the burning desire to accomplish something, the urgency to shift goals with newer influences, also the blunders of abdicating your sense of gratefulness towards those who always stood by you and believed in you even when you yourself didn’t, then realizing where you erred, making amends, trying to regain the affection and trust of disenchanted loved ones and finally embarking on a journey uncertain. That’s how a pattern of events can be drawn with varying intensity and frequency. Though Luca is much more than these plain words. It makes two very interesting points. One, when our aspirations/dreams/desires take off and we succeed a little, there come times when we neglect or deliberately overrule the concerns raised by our protective family-friends. To us, their care reduces to a cage, their emphasizing on family and shared responsibility feels asphyxiating, and their cautiousness turns into selfishness. It’s so unfortunate that we get swayed by our passion for a better future with such ferocity; we acquire a propensity towards making a calamitous great leap forward, blurring the lines of the present, even relegating our past as some dilapidated site where no memories reside. The other striking point is how we deal with identities. How we end up creating a masquerade to immerse ourselves into. To become someone who can be accommodated easily vis-à-vis rules set by others. But we make the space more vibrant when we bring our identities unsullied, so different people can amalgamate. There were hardly any decent restaurants in New York back in the 70-80’s, now this has changed. This happened because Indians embraced western culture yet let their tastes stay true to themselves, by freely exercising the choice they earned thus bringing something new. In small towns, since the advent of Jio, the democratization of entertainment has taken place. When friends had come in the 90’s, only the elites would have had the access to it. Now even in villages of Himachal Pradesh, kids are watching it. They now even make friends over the shared love for “friends” and get dismayed when some more enlightened individuals ask them about more recent shows such as Brooklyn 99 or Fleabag. Ed Sheeran and Coldplay are new sensations among this concerted small town audience. A fall out of this has been for those, who try to fake it but can’t for long. A recent study in the journal of evolutionary psychology says that people, who can smartly lie about knowing something, serve themselves better and are smarter. But these people, who shower praises on imagine dragons and 21 pilots, just to please others, can’t profess their love openly for a Punjabi song or Arijit’s melancholic mellifluousness. The fear of being judged and losing the self assumed intellectual prowess is just insurmountable. This is all from personal experience from the people I have closely watched over years. There also came a time, when social media suddenly kicked in. So another anxiety of writing good captions under uploaded images erupted. Those who indeed went to English medium schools -which were just more expensive version of Hindi medium schools, were not really able to write simple sentences or think about the need to do so. Yet to impress others and sound poetic or philosophical, they would Google for appropriate captions. Such is life these days. What if they could simply repudiate this apocryphal rush over maligning everything indigenous! What if the other party could convince them that it’s not brave or pusillanimous to speak out your preferences fearlessly, it is alright and it has to be this way. I deviated a little on this front. So back to Pixar. Luca is a little sea monster as the humans call his ilk. His family insists on staying below the surface. These sea animals consider the fishing boats as monstrous. Luca however one day gets to the surface and gets transformed into a little human boy. The organs which make aquatic environment conducive for him disappear altogether. He does this with another sea boy of his age named Alberto. But the moment water is spilled over them, they resume their former selves. Alberto teaches him how to stand on his legs, walk, wear clothes, watch sky, feel the sun etc. Above all, he gives a powerful exhortation “Silence your brow”, which is to fend off worrying. Alberto wants to buy a vespa, a scooter, so does Luca after he gets to know of this harbinger of mobility. They go to the nearby town to fulfill their dream and the story unfolds with music floating every now and then. Watch, irrespective of your age, it gives a timely reminder to not to take life for granted

Published by Shiwangi Sharma

I think of being creative & Think again and something like that. A heavy dreamer, A dreamer who's battling to become a doer, someday I hope! Silent observer, ramble in my head, tennis 🎾aficionado but not a crazy fan either, Reading & a little less often writing are my things! More funny than I sound, if that makes any sense? Clear skies & sunsets, love stars but not moon, it's overrated.

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