Okay, first off. Placebo is still better than A LOT of films made in India. And I was re-considering writing this post because I don’t want to pull down independent film makers who’ve had the balls to make their films. BUT, I am not writing this post to criticize the movie, more so to understand why everyone else seems to love it. Because it’s likely that I might have missed out on understanding the film. So here goes my unbiased opinion.
I saw Placebo at a screening in Bombay about a month back. I had high hopes from the film because a lot of trusted film colleagues who’d seen it told me that it’s really good. Now, I saw the entire film and when it ended the crowd was very impressed and I felt a little stupid because I thought that I may not have understood it but then I started looking back at what the film was all about. So basically, for the uninitiated, the documentary is shot by this guy who lived in India’s top Medical school for two years after his brother, who attended the same college, punched a glass window out of frustration (during a brawl) at said college’s annual festival. So the whole film is basically interviews of a couple of guys living at the college hostel.
To be very honest, my main problem with the film is that I don’t think that the interviews were real. Now I know this is a slippery slope and a pointless argument because obviously the film makers would deny it and I have no way to prove otherwise but, most (not all) of the conversations seemed way too pretentious and scripted. Another problem I had with the film was the sheer point of it. I got a sense that the film was trying to put forth the thought that after ragging was banned, there was no interaction between seniors and juniors which led to people committing suicide (WUT?!). I’m not saying that Indian college administration is good, it’s pretty fuck all, but again, that’s a pretty stupid idea to be posed as a cause for suicide. And, I mean, if the seniors had such a problem with all of it, why not just go next door and say ‘hello’?
I genuinely want to like this film and I’m really hoping that I did not understand it because of my own stupidity. So if you’ve watched the film and liked it enough to defend it, please, I request you, make me like it.
P.S – Couple of cool things about the film, the animation was pretty good for an independent film on a low budget, the people behind the film worked on it for a long time which took a whole lot of commitment. And more than anything, I’m just happy that crowdfunded Indian Indie films are managing to gain popularity. So, I’m not dogging the film or anything, I just didn’t like it. You should still check it out though.