Millennium Post

When ghosts make us who we are

When ghosts make us who we are
Spoiler alert at the outset! Seldom have I spent hours studying a subject before watching a film that it is based on. I remember reading about the Holocaust before watching Schindler’s List in my second year of college. Nothing before, nothing after.

Till Christopher Nolan decided to gobsmack us with Interstellar. In fact, I’m reading about the film even as I’m typing this column. It’d only be fair to say it speaks volumes, and more, about Nolan’s intelligence.

I’m somebody who is well aware of her strengths and weaknesses. Math and Science have never been my forte. But, I’m a quick learner and interpret data rather well. I knew Interstellar dealt with a subject I didn’t know much about. So, it was important that I read up before watching it.

I first read the Wikipedia synopsis, most of which didn’t register. But, I picked up a few pointers- wormhole, singularity, time dilation, spatial dimension. The respective wiki pages about these subjects had such a lot of information that I, literally, had a headache!

I was late for the movie, and missed the first couple of minutes. I, thankfully, knew I hadn’t missed anything too important. I thought I was well prepared. And, I’d never been more wrong!

Reading a 2-dimensional synopsis is HUGELY different from a 3-dimensional experience talking about life in 5 dimensions! I didn’t know what had hit me.

I continued sitting inside the theatre, long after the credit roll had played out- dazed and confused. My friends had to yank me off the seat, and push me out of the theatre. I couldn’t sleep that night. My mind was blank- no visuals, no music. Things only started falling into place the next morning. Bits and pieces started coming back to me. I can now make a really long list of things that affected me very deeply during the movie. But, two things have stayed with me since, and will forever. Two things that I wasn’t prepared for at all!

Those familiar with Nolan’s work will also be familiar with Zimmer’s. Famous for his heavy, opulent, grand scores, Zimmer has reinvented himself with Interstellar. And, his biggest weapon has been silence.

I can’t recall any film in the recent past, which has used silence as well as Zimmer has in this film. This is, by far, his most epic score till date.

Hypnotic, soaring, and occasionally even more powerful than the corresponding dialogue, Zimmer has juxtaposed long stretches of silence with organ-heavy crescendos to give Interstellar a sort of backbone that nothing else could have!

And then, there’s the part where one figures out who Murph’s ghost really was. It’s the part where Cooper starts feeding the black hole’s singularity data into the watch using Morse Code. NOTHING can prepare you for that scene. I can tell you that, because I gasped with equal shock-awe-disbelief when I saw the film a second time as I had during the first time.

It’s the sort of knowledge that makes you question life, truth, reality. What if we, too, are being helped by ‘ghosts’ from the future who’re guiding us to the place we’re destined to reach? And, this is, perhaps, only the basic question. There could be hundreds more!

This is what Interstellar does. It makes you question. It makes you think. No, not about quantum physics and gravity. That isn’t the core of the film. Interstellar is about truth, destiny, love, a journey, reality, and beliefs. It’s about you and me, as much as it is about a scientist working at a space research centre. The first watch gave me a sleepless night. The second watch had me in tears.

I remember running out of the theater and calling somebody very dear to me, just to check if he’s for real. Or, a ‘ghost’. After all, as Amelia says in the movie, love is the one thing that transcends time and space!

Malini Banerjee is a snotty single child, mountain junkie, playback singer, Austen addict, hopes to soon finish writing her debut novel, and dreams of singing alongside Buddy Guy
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