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Kungfu Rambling

For the past two weeks, it is kung-fu mela from our local cable operator and we (my dad and I) decided to breeze through one yesterday. I had a few problems following the plot. But, I'm not alone. Looks like the director and the actors also had problems with the storyline, for they all looked bewildered with some of the dialogues. This is what I think is the story:

These two guys, in their early twenties, are friends. They're in a kung-fu academy. Learning involves a lot of brick-breaking with head and punishments range from one-handed finger push-ups to 500 rounds around the school. One day, one of the guys gets into a fight with the master, the students join the master, the friend joins the friend and these two brilliant fighters take the whole academy and a fight is on for 10 minutes until the old man with a pony-tail beard dodderingly walks in, throws away the two students with his bare hands out of the academy (well, like a tennis ball), says that he's seen enough fights, and walks back and sleeps on a rope tied between two poles.

Now we see this kid, 7 or 8 standing on one leg and practising kung-fu movements with his eyes closed. Back to the friends. They're now in a city restaurant, and eyeing a beautiful girl. Roudis walk-in and start teasing her. The tables and chairs in the restaurant are so arranged that we know we'll witness a flying fight and at the end of the fight anything wooden would've been broken into pieces and lined up on the ground. The girl fights with astonishing grace (what, for another 10 minutes) and at the end of the fight, when we think she is going to lose, one of our heroes steps in and saves her. zzzzzz.... my dad's asleep.

Back to the kid. His father goes fishing, ofcourse, without any nets. Gets knee-deep into the pond, waits for the fish, simply picks it up, kills it and puts it in bowl. The kid is now standing one-legged on top of a 10 metre pole, and I guess he's meditating. Friends again. The girl is with the guys. I think they're in search of a treasure. They have directions and are busy on their course. A fight again, and I honestly don't know why they're fighting now. This time, let's say 7.234 minutes. We also see the drunk old man, a beggar sleeping with his head down and legs up and the master talking about revenge, a romantic sub-plot and a rift in the friendship. Then the bizarre location of the treasure, or treasure-like.

My dad's awake, and asks me "so, is the kid's father alive?", and I say "go back to sleep". I think the story is going towards the treasure place and when all the party gets there, they fight and move on somewhere. Now, whereever I think the story is going, when we get there, there is no there for the story becuase the story is going nowhere. Another fight in the end, 10 minutes, and with a melancholic Chinese music, credits roll.

As much as I didn't understand the story, I didn't even care to understand for what I saw was visually spectacular. I was hooked on to the gracious movements of the artistes, that I forgave the throw-away dialogues. I forgot logic as everyone transcended space and gravity and performed gracious feats in mid-air. I knew the kind of fights and the sort of climax from the first scene, but with all that I was able to enjoy.

Moral of the blog: When I see a movie, I would like to be either entertained, educated or challenged. Indian movies rarely address these three dimensions. The formulas of martial art movies are strictly followed as Indian movies follow their own romantic formulas. But where we fail, they succeed in tremendously entertaining.

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