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Parvez Kabir’s e-mail on ‘Inception’

Parvez Kabir, Parvez-da to many of us, had told me in one of those brief discussions we had in Ratanpally over cups of coffee with an assembly of friends and stories, how uncompromising the audience should be in judging a film or a director. He believed that the filmmaker should be accountable for his or her choices and that we should not bring down the bar of expectation.

Therefore when in July, 2011, I received a short review of Christopher Nolan’s Inception from him, I abandoned permanently my plans of watching it. However, recently, searching for something else in my hard-drive, I chanced upon Inception, which was hitherto lost in the inconspicuous ‘New Folder(9)’.

I watched it. And went back to the e-mail Parvez-da had sent me 3 years back.


I saw ‘Inception’. Finally. Its dull.

Just cannot believe the same guy who made ‘The Dark Knight’ would go out of his way to make such a movie spending 160 million dollars and a comparable energy in the process. Firstly, it has one of the simplest plots of all time, with neat demarcations between reality and the worlds of dream. The layers, the levels or the stages of this dreamworld are plain and clear, in fact, clearer than the ‘Matrix’. I cannot believe the audience found it’s plot altogether ‘complex’, ‘brain-boggling’, ‘mind-fuck’, blah blah blah. Looks like people are going dumber all around.

This is a movie that is feverishly trying to churn your mind, and in the process, equally feverishly trying to tell you how it is churning it!! No ambiguity, no chance factor, no deeper philosophy, nothing…just a bloody video-game plot and a totally detached, uninspiring motive to uncork it. Just how noble, how great a cause is, for which you have to do all that that they were doing?! The main plot is idiotically crude; someone wants to end a business company’s hegemony, and therefore an idea of share shall be planted inside the company owner’s head. Thats all. Much ado about nothing!! And then the director spends millions to take us into the dream-layers of coaxing, each one less interesting than the former, and finally the mission gets accomplished. And just like a dull video-game, you have a virus, DiCaprio’s dead wife, popping up in each layers and trying to distract him from his mission. Oh god, oh god, i wish in the place of the obstacle, there was something less bland, something which is slightly more intrinsically related to the story, than this wax faced expressionless lady. The love between the two remained inconsequential to the main plot throughout, there was nothing deep, nothing philosophical that got them connected. The plot remained where it was, offering not even one deep, original human statement that would reach its audience.

Of course, there were some breathtaking moments. The restaurant scene, with the world around bursting into colours, the Escher scenes, the train scene, were great. But all that doesn’t matter when the film lacks bone and flesh, and doesn’t engage the viewer with its motif altogether. ‘Inception’ is a movie which could have been avoided. It is a joke without a punchline, followed by an explanation which is not asked for.


[Parvez Kabir was an Assistant Professor of Art History at Kala Bhavana and “one of the finest young art historians of contemporary India”. On 27th of September, 2013, he died an untimely death of cardiac arrest following a short but severe viral attack.]

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