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Art of war and being

Her's a review of The Departed and Ayurveda: The Art of Being for your home theatre viewing this week, by Glad Eye.

movie reviews Updated: Feb 22, 2010 13:52 IST

The Departed
Director: Martin Scorsese
BIG Home Video/Warner, Rs 499
I f blood-splattering violence can be seen as a cinematic art, then Quentin Tarantino is its RK Laxman, John Woo its MF Husain — and Martin Scorsese is indubitably its Michelangelo. If you make a category out of foulmouthed American gangland films, Scorsese would be its god.

LeonardoDiCaprio and Matt Damon enter the Boston state police the same day. The difference is that Damon has been raised to don the uniform by Jack Nicholson, the ruthless mafia boss, whereas DiCaprio’s is an aspirant charred by a shadowy, violent childhood.

Damon starts ratting on the blue-shirts, and DiCaprio goes undercover among Nicholson’s mafiosi. As each inches closer to the other’s identity and the tension gets unbearable, music director Howard Shore pipes up the blue notes, leaving a soft, surreal — and Scorsesian — touch to the gorefest.

The 2006 film finally got Scorsese the Best Director Oscar. But if it was really about his unique craft, he should have got it 22 years ago, for Once Upon A Time In America.

Ayurveda: The Art of Being
Director: Pan Nalin
Shemaroo, Rs 299
The camera walks into the booklined chamber of Dr Swami, a respected ayurvedic practitioner in Chennai. Swami brings out a blob of mercury and proceeds to make small pellets out of it. Then, rather than popping them himself, Swami asks his wife to swallow, adding: “People will think I have had an antidote, but she had none.”

A 100-minute documentary with a dozen such prejudice-benders leaves you numb. And you wonder whether filmmaker Pan Nalin wants to nominate ‘leap of faith’ as an Olympic sport. By going through some seminal texts and talking to various cool-headed practitioners of the ancient healing system, Nalin does succeed in raising some basic health questions.

By consulting people around the world, he also keeps the ‘Incredible India’ pitch to a mini- mum. But what he fails to do is to leave a stamp of conviction on it all. What do you do with a documentary that rarely reveals the names of the people in front of the camera? You watch it and go: “Really?!”