“Crossing Bridges” to “Killa”: Nature as a character in films
“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more…”
“Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” by Lord Byron
Long ago, I got to watch the film “Aranyer Din Ratri” (Days and Nights in the Forest) by Satyajit Ray. There was one scene where Shekhar (Rabi Ghosh), one of the four friends who had gone on a holiday to a secluded forest bungalow, brings out a newspaper from his bag, burns it, and says, “Sobhyotar sange sob somporko sesh” (“Here we sever all ties with civilization”). That’s from where their escapades begin amidst the cusp of nature.
Nature has always been an integral part of cinema, as in our lives, providing a whole new perspective of what we are. In recent times, I had the opportunity to watch quite a few films which literally forced me to un-think myself and think again about the use of Nature as a parallel language/character in films. “Crossing Bridges” (2013) and “Killa” (2015), two very recent films, are poignant tales of dilemma, solitude, and finally belongingness in a person’s life. The common thread that binds the lead characters in both films is nothing but “Nature” around them, be it the vast mountainous terrain for Tashi in “Crossing Bridges” or be it the deep blue sea and the fort nearby for Chinmay in “Killa”.
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Nature with all its vastness has always been a great teacher for us, understanding us, sympathizing with us, motivating us, and imbibing that sense of belongingness within us, just as a very close friend does. On similar notes, the life of Chinmay and Tashi plays out, as they find solace in the vastness of nature around them, amidst their internal turmoil. Tashi felt like a stranger being in his own place and Chinmay struggled to cope with a new setup away from home, a strange irony of course.
As they start exploring their places, they slowly begin to feel its presence around them, that truth of touch beholds them and their romantics with nature run parallel with their “humane” life as if it was very integral to their lives. Friendship and bonding change course in their own lives and Nature comes in as a great pacifier and a leveler. Chinmay and Tashi were lucky enough to hold onto the right note and play in sync.
“Nature”, the word, comes from the Latin word, “natura”, meaning birth or character. For years, Nature has been broadly accepted as a mother, teacher, and nurturer and we as a race have always been environmentally sensitive. We have been taught to live in harmony with Nature and recognize all its divine elements. Traditionally, humans were looked upon as part of nature, somewhere having a deep psychological and spiritual connection to the “nature” around them. There have been many films that have successfully explored the Human-Nature camaraderie.
Films like “Killa” and “Crossing Bridges” are some of those rare “experiences” which take us on that “self-realization” trail helping us find our own identity and also interpret the role “Nature” plays in our lives. Akira Kurosawa, the renowned Japanese filmmaker, had famously said, “People today have forgotten they’re really just a part of nature. Yet, they destroy the nature on which our lives depend. They may be smart, but most don’t understand the heart of nature.”. The onus solely lies on us that how we embrace nature as a part of our own lives and ward off the cacophony by hitting the right chord, just as Tashi “crossed the bridge” leading to his home and Chinmay carried the warmth of the “Killa” in his heart, to home.
“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by”
“Sea Fever” by John Masefield