Mar 25, 2008

Obits: The Final Quarantine, The Talented Mr. Minghella, The Wronged Man

Last week was full of goodbyes, starting with cricketer Bill Brown. Here are some more.

The Final Quarantine

By the end of his life, Sir Arthur C. Clarke was reportedly losing his memory, finding comfort in the distant wisps of the past. Perhaps this was the last and most personal of all his prophecies, a prescience signalled by HAL, probably the most significant fictional character he ever created, the epitome of the anthropomorphized computer. At any rate, Arthur C. Clarke himself is in no danger of being forgotten in a hurry by the world. To me, his writings always seemed to echo the seaside that was never far away from a man who had called two islands home for 90 years - unrhurried, eternal, with visible depth, and with promises beyond the immediate horizon.

I don't have a good appetite for full length science fiction, but I immensely enjoyed both Odysseys 2010 and 2061. There still are several of his fiction novels that I haven't read. His Profiles of the Future, found in a book exhibition, lies at the back of the book cupboard, unread. For, like with other sci-fi writers, I mainly preferred Clarke's short stories, which were succint and clever. My personal favourite, one that illustrates all the collective power of Clarke's neurons and fingers, is called Quarantine. It was written as a challenge, to fit a story on a postcard. From such little acorns do mighty oaks grow, as The Sentinel may testify. Someday, the oaks fall too, but seldom before a grand life.

The Talented Mr. Minghella

Dying relatively young was film director Anthony Minghella. I didn't like his most feted work "The English Patient", but I really liked the slightly underrated "The Talented Mr. Ripley".

The Wronged Man

Whenever I saw (or see) Raghuvaran on film, I always got this feeling that the man was criminally underused as an actor, and that he knew it himself. Yes, being mostly used a 'villain', he had to make outrageous roles look believable, and had to develop menacing tones and tics to keep him in business. If Amjad Khan was the gigantic baddie, Raghuvaran would be on the other side of the body mass index see-saw, who, to be evil despite his lankiness, had to have several layers of dark. Layers that would never really be peeled back.

Raghuvaran made his debut in the 'arty' Ezhavathu Manithan (incidentally, made by a relative of mine) but soon segued into professional nastiness, especially in opposition to Rajnikanth. He was usually urban, ruffled, not shying away from underhand treachery, eyes heavy (some say this was the effect of a drug habit) and dark. The odd Anjali apart, it seemed Raghuvaran, shirt out and in tall trousers, always ended up on the wrong side of things in this unjust world, not giving in without a fight, and not without making the hero look good, just about.


Abhishek said...

I'm sure you've read this. But this is for the other readers. Read the quite wonderful Nine Billions Names of God.

Unknown said...

It's been a long while since I've read, so did again. Great story.

anand said...

well said.