Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The DaVinci Code : the Book, the Film, or Both ?


           If you are not the Pope, GWB, or just plain illiterate (not necessarily in any particular order) then I can safely assume that you have already read the book, the DaVinci Code. That being said, I accept there are a lot of otherwise normal people, who have not yet heard of the book, or even worse, heard of it, but couldnt read it.
          No matter which ever category you fall into ( and that includes the two individuals I mentioned earlier), right now you would be thinking whether to book tickets for the movie," The DaVinci Code ." The marketing has been slick, and with Tom Hanks playing Langdon, it doesnt matter whether you have read the book or not, you just want to watch the movie.
          Wait a minute, did I say it doesn't matter? Hmm.. I think it does. To a great deal. Ofcourse you are going to enjoy the movie nonetheless. But to really appreciate my point of view, let me ask you one thing - how do you read a book? Especially if it is a work of fiction, and the author is particualarly endowed with a gift of describing in detail each and every scene, vividly. As is the case with Dan Brown, and an even more deserving example, Dr Arthur Conan Doyle. I can devote a whole blog to Doyle's writings, but maybe later. The fact is that gifted writers can, and do conjure up magic with their words. They can literally paint the scene inside ur head; they can make you see the glint in the hero's eye as he sets forth on his quest; they can make you feel the pain of a girl as she weeps for her lost ones; they can even make you feel the smell of the soft grass on the mountain slopes as the children are playing.
          Every one of us who have read Sherlock Holmes, or even the DaVinci Code, or say Harry Potter and made up our own visions of the characters, the places, the sounds , the smells, the numerous little nuances that make up the plot. And most important of all, each of our versions will be different. A book forces ( that is too harsh a word ), or rather allows us to use our imagination to visualise the events referenced in the book, and sometimes even those aren't.
          I have read all of Sherlock Holmes, I am still to see a film on him. I have seen the Harry Potter film, am yet to read the books. And I know the difference. Holmes is still pure in my mind; his long nose and smoking pipe exactly the way i want it to be, not like the way some director wanted me to believe. Harry Potter?? No matter whatever I do now, the mere mention of the name brings forth the last seen movie poster featuring the three kids, who were selected to play the protagonists of the films. All the plots, events, charcters, sights, even emotions are etched out in great detail for all of us to gobble up. Instant gratification.
          Reading a book after watching its movie adaptation is more like trying to rotate your right arm clockwise while you were rotating your right leg anticlockwise. No matter how hard you try, your leg will follow your hand. Dont believe me? Try it out. With each turn of the page you wont be asking yourself what happens next for sure; more dishearteningly, you wont be making any effort from your side to visualise the scene yourself. The scene from the movie will in all probability come barging in, lights, props and all. And the scene will be played out again in your head as the director had wanted, not the author. I am almost certain that after you have read a particular para in the book, you 'll exclaim " Aah! Intermission!!"
          Admit it. Books are meant to be read. Not to be watched. If a million people read a book, there should be a million versions of it in their minds. We all know how Jack slowly descended into the ocean in that touching scene in Titanic. We all do. How Rose told the last words, how she took off his hand and released him... infact only too well. magine if all of us had only read a book "Titanic", and never seen the movie? I rest my case.


PS: It is not my intention to dissuade anybody from watching the movie "The DaVinci Code", nor is the Vatican paying me for trying to sound like that. It is solely my personal opinion in this matter. I would prefer that you watch the film adaptation only after reading the book in question. That way you can enjoy the experience of reading it atleast for once. Do let me know what you think.

1 comment:

Karunakaran Prasad said...

Hm, food for thought.