My idea was to write a review of Namesake but frankly it’s too late. So many people have already praised it so highly or dismissed it so badly that the reviews have gotten me thinking more than the film itself.
Principal objection to the film is that it’s not as good as the book. Well, I’m not very sure how to compare a book and a film? Agreed, the film definitely derives it’s storyline from the book but my point is what stops the filmmaker from reinterpreting it?
I think once a film is made on a book, it’s very natural that book would have come first and many of us would have read it already. We would know twists and turns that the story will take, but is cinema only about narrating a story? Does a great plot guaranty a grand film? Had it been so, all the bestsellers would have been blockbusters at the box office.
I wonder how people find Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay’s book after having seen Apu Trilogy! Frankly I would have missed the great cinematic potential the book held had I been in place of Ray.
My point is, it’s not as simple as the book versus the film. Well cinema and book are two great media and they take you to two different planes. The point of convergence is the story however it’s not the story that makes a book or a film great but the storytelling.
A couple of friends also tell me that cinema can never match a book as you can see so much as you read a book. I totally agree. But is it each and every book that stimulates your imagination? Only a good book right? So if cinema is yet to stimulate your imagination maybe its time that you head towards the movie theatre. Don’t form an opinion based on the films you’ve seen.
Cinema limiting your imagination doesn’t hold true with me. One recent example is Cache? I still wonder who was taking pictures. It’s not about resolving the plot but going beyond it in order to make a larger point.
I understand if a film is based on a book, it does generate certain expectations. And these expectation could turn out to be spoilers. Perhaps my friends who find the book better got caught up drawing the comparison and forgot to enjoy the film.