Saturday, December 18, 2010

Movie Review of the Pool (2007)

Movie Score = A

Recommended age = 10 and up (too difficult for younger)

“May our heart’s garden of awakening bloom with hundreds of flowers.” Thich Nhat Hanh.

In this movie the major characters are known by their actual first names. The story centers around two boys, Venkatesh Chavan plays an 18 year old who is working in the city or Panjim, Goa, India, to try to provide money for his family back in the small village. Jhangir Badshar portrays his best friend, an 18 year old orphan surviving on his own. Although the two began as entrepreneurial rivals, they have learned the power of teamwork. The future does not look bright for either boy.

Nana Patekar portrays the owner of a luxurious summer home with a pool that no one swims in. Venkatesh has been gazing longingly at this pool for quite some time before Nana arrives with his angry, withdrawn daughter Ayesha Mohan. Venkatesh befriends the father and daughter in an effort to gain access to the pool. Nana and Venkatesh exchange stories as they work together revitalizing the neglected garden. The garden symbolizes the family which has disintegrated since Nana’s son drowned in the pool as a child. When Ayesha asks, “Who leaves a seven year old to take care of a four year old?” we realize her brother probably drowned in her care and she hates her father for putting her in that position. The karma of Nana’s carelessness has cost him everything, dead son, divorced wife, and distant daughter.

Venkatesh becomes Nana’s substitute son. He relates wisdom stories and observations to Venkatesh who tells him an odd story of being possessed by a dead girl’s ghost, a parallel to the dead boy who possesses Nana’s family. Venkatesh was exorcised by a village wise man; Nana must exorcise himself.

Nana offers to take Venkatesh home with him and enrol the young man in school when the monsoons come. At first Venkatesh accepts but after witnessing Jhangir’s desperate anger and fear of being deserted, he decides to put his friend first. He passes on the compassion shown to him by Nana.

As each character reaches out and empathizes with another, opportunities appear. Interdependence is illustrated with each twist in the plot. By isolating themselves, the characters have suffered more. It is only by joining together that they are able to ease some of the suffering.

Karma, interdependence, wisdom, and compassion are explored beautifully in this story.

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