You know these Hindu characters have a strange custom (just one among their million weird practices).
After an inauspicious ceremony, like returning home from the funeral ground, the first thing they do is take a purificatory shower.
Well, we did attend a funeral of sorts last night – we watched Vikram’s Kanthaswamy.
So as a nod to our Indian heritage we made the appropriate purificatory gestures today – we went and watched Quentin Tarantino’s new film Inglourious Basterds.
Folks, now that is a movie.
A real one, not the sham flashing images brought to you by our Bollywood kamineys and Kollywood schmucks.
Now, all ye Tarantino acolytes, pay heed.
The best thing about Inglourious Basterds is not Tarantino as it usually is with the director’s other movies.
For us, the marvellous revelation and discovery with Inglourious Basterds is above all Christoph Waltz.
An Austrian actor, Waltz is drop-dead brilliant (any less a word would be an insult, folks) in his portrayal of the Nazi officer and “Jew Hunter” Col. Hans Landa.
By turns endearingly smiling, casually witty, unfailingly polite and menacingly violent, Waltz as Col Landa turns in one of the finest performances we’ve seen on the big screen in a long time.
In one of the memorable scenes, with a smile that you know portends grave danger to come anon, Col. Landa tells the French dairy farmer LaPadite:
I love rumors. Facts could be misleading. Rumor, true or false, could be revealing.
Or as he makes the distinction between himself and other German soldiers:
I can think like a Jew. They can think only like a German or more precisely like a German soldier.
Any surprise then that Waltz walked off with the Best Actor award at the Cannes festival in May.
Those familiar with Tarantino (remember Pulp Fiction?) shouldn’t be surprised by the frequent bursts of violence in a furious orgy, the strong, insensitive language (the Nigger of Pulp Fiction makes way for the Jewish Rats in Inglourious Basterds), the crisp non pareil dialogs, multiple plots, unpredictability of events and the arrestingly compelling visual imagery.
In Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino takes us back to the early 1940s.
To Nazi occupied France where Col Landa and his men are on a mission to hunt down the last of the remaining Jews in the area.
Also arriving in France in search of Nazi scalps are the basterds, a bunch of cruel Jewish American soldiers led by Brad Pitt, who quickly strike terror in the Nazi soldiers and visceral anger in the Nazi high command including the Fuehrer himself.
Good as Brad Pitt is, he’s no match for Christoph Waltz. Not unlike the Joker eclipsing Batman in Dark Knight or Pasupati eating Kamal Haasan’s lunch in the Tamil film Virumandi).
Then there’s the sub-plot of Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent), her small movie theatre in Paris and her plot to avenge the killing of her family a few years earlier by the Nazis.
Punctuated by episodic bursts of violence, the film marches on toward the denouement – the premiere of Joseph Goebbel’s German propaganda film A Nation’s Pride at Shoshanna’s theatre.
And what a denouement it turns out to be for all – the Nazi high command, Shosanna and her Black lover, the Basterds and Col Landa.
Sure, as you may have already heard, there are some loose ends in the story – you never know what happens to the dairy farmer and his family or how Shosanna escapes when Col. Landa could have easily captured her.
But those failings are misdemeanors, folks. Not high crimes.
Fellas, the high crime would be for y’all not to watch this fine film.