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The Godfather

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It's funny, the way I came to writing this blog. It started when I heard that Da Vinci Code was being released as a movie, which made me think of "The Godfather" which is my favourite book and movie combination. That made me think of how people often compare Ram Gopal Verma's movie to The Godfather…and here I am 🙂

Though RGV movies do talk about the same general theme as The Godfather and I agree that they are a cut above the standard Bollywood fare(which actually is not so standard nowadays), there are many reasons that they do not evoke the same respect as does the 1972 Coppola classic.

Firstly, story and characters. There is a stark difference between the characters one observes in the two competitors. RGV movies invariably focus on the gun toting subordinate, who comes from a back ground of poverty and where he has not been given much reason to believe in morality. He joins the mafia, and through his intellectual brilliance (which unfortunately is stressed minimally) and lots of shooting people in the head, he achieves the invincibility and thus proclaims his triumph. He finally becomes to influential that it appears that he is accountable to no one and can then live happily ever after raiding his enemies homes and blowing their heads apart. It is generally a show of force and the brainy part is given little screen time.

In The Godfather, the spotlight is on the brains of the mafia outfit. There is enough bullet pumping in the movie, but it is not the "in-your-face" kind but more of the veiled variety. Both the book and the movie make repeated references to how the politicians and cops have to be bribed and "kept happy" which illustrates that the mafia is not unaccountable. Their business decisions are also based on this necessity to be on good terms  with the politicians, as was illustrated when the Don refuses to step into narcotics for fear of losing political contacts. Intelligence and strategy are shown to win over brute force, most notably when Michael defends his father from an assassination attempt in the hospital while he was unarmed and had a baker's boy who had probably never seen a gun in his life for a companion. When the mafia had to "hit" the police chief, an elaborate cover up attempt had to be made and the book talks about a bad phase in business for the family.

The most endearing feature of The Godfather is the level of sophistication among its characters. They are dressed in impeccable suits rather than grimy clothes. Their language is fluent and classy. It is filled with metaphors that hold veiled threats/praises/requests. The immortal "I will make him an offer he cannot refuse" is yet to equalled anywhere else, so is the extremely stylish way in which Michael Corleone gets his first wife and his address to the girl's father is indicative of his huge power, but still retains humility. It remains my favourite passage in the book and most definitely my favourite scene in the movie. 🙂

All said and done, I do like Ram Gopal Verma's films and I will be among the ones who will flock to watch the next one that comes out. What I am truly waiting for however, is the one which will be an equal of the Godfather.


Written by clueso

May 23, 2006 at 11:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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