We had heard in several quarters that Tamil film director Gautam Menon’s upcoming movie Vaaranam Aayiram (Surya) is inspired by the Tom Hanks movie Forrest Gump.
So we got the Forrest Gump DVD from Netflix and watched it last night.
If (a big if) Forrest Gump is indeed the source for Vaaranam Ayiram, it’d be a herculean task for both Gautam Menon and Surya to match the appeal of the Hollywood movie.
Forrest Gump is an awesome movie, the kind that comes but rarely even in Hollywood.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Forrest Gump deserved all of the 13 Oscar nominations and the six Oscars it ultimately won.
What makes Forrest Gump a stunningly beautiful movie is that it’s an extraordinarily well rendered microcosm of American life itself – love, war, peace, drugs, a handicapped child, race, tragedy, comedy, death, college football, politics, social commentary, moments of happiness and sadness are finely woven together into a 142-minute moving tapestry that provides sheer joy for viewers.
If we close our eyes, we can see Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks) sitting on that bench at the bus stop narrating his life story to a changing set of people. Oh, what a lovely way to tell a story.
Tom Hanks in and as Forrest Gump is the stuff of legend.
Just as we still rave over old classics like Casablanca, On the Waterfront and Citizen Kane, movie fans in the decades to come will speak in glowing terms of Forrest Gump.
Playing the role of a handicapped person with an IQ of just 75 (bordering on idiocy), Tom Hanks throws in an exceptional performance whether as a young man in the small town of Greenbow (Alabama), the soldier fighting in Vietnam, the angry man beating other men (twice) for treating his best friend Jenny (Robin Wright) badly, the college football player, the all American ping-pong player, shrimp boat operator, the runner across America or when he learns that young Forrest is his son.
Believe us, there was a not a single frame or scene in which Tom Hank appears that we did not find him dazzling.
Whether it’s the slow cadence of his speech, the peerless expressions on his face as he rides the roller-coaster of life or the way he runs like a Hanuman with his tail on fire, Tom Hanks is a revelation as an actor.
How distressing that we have to use the same word ‘actor’ to describe both Tom Hanks and our desi buffoons like Ajith, Abhishek Bachchan and Vijay. Is there no justice in the world at all? Surely, the lexicographers need to spell out a new word to describe the simian antics of our Bollywood and Kollywood stars on the screen because it ain’t acting. No sir, it sure ain’t acting.
Forrest Gump’s story follows the course of its eponymous hero from childhood till middle age leaving behind an indelible memory of Hanks’ sui generis performance and a screenplay that’s brilliant in execution.
Tis true that Tom Hanks is the centerpiece of Forrest Gump but Forrest Gump is also so much more than just Tom Hanks.
Sally Field as Forrest’s mother Mrs. Gump, Gary Sinise as Forrest’s army boss Lieutenant Dan Taylor, Robin Wright Penn as the love of Forrest’s life Jenny Curran, and Mykelti Williamson as Forrest’s black army buddy Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue shine and how so.
In a movie full of nice moments, how do you pick the nice moments?
As Forrest leaves the grave of Jenny who is buried under their favorite tree (toward the end of the movie), he says poignantly: If there’s anything you need, I won’t be far away.
There are other great lines/moments too in Forrest Gump.
* Like when a skimpily-dressed Jenny asks Forrest if he’s ever been with a girl, he answers innocently: I sit next to them in the home economics class.
* When Lieutenant Dan violently rails against Forrest for saving his life in a fierce battle in Vietnam that cost him his legs: I had my destiny.
* When Lieutenant Dan asks Forrest whether he’s found Jesus yet, he replies: I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir.
* When Forrest asks his mother what vacation means (remember, his father is on vacation), his mama replies: Vacation is when you go somewhere and you don’t ever come back.
Great actors like Tom Hanks are the real Ultimate Stars not jabbering monkeys like Ajith (actually in one of the scenes in Forrest Gump Hanks describes himself jabbering on like a monkey in a tree).
For those of you who love the moving images on the screen in a dark room as much as we do, it’s hard to recommend a finer movie than Forrest Gump.