So it is a movie set largely in Germany-occupied France during the times of World War 2. Twenty intense minutes into the movie, the projector went kaput. Amid vociferous groans from the crowd, the cited reason (projected after a suspiciously short delay of barely a second) was ‘Technical Difficulties’. But with some ruckus-creating burly men standing in the aisle, putting together the real reason was no rocket science. We were evidently in the divine presence of a ‘dignitary’ who considered punctuality beneath his / her holy stature. (There was also the possibility of it being a dignitary-offspring / wife / husband / sibling / relative / relative’s relative… but we chose to suppress that very depressing thought).
And we were made to revise the 20 minutes all over. More than the obvious waste of time and the break in the flow, we were irritated by the fact that our time and entertainment were much less important than our VIP’s. As some people took off to take a 20 minute walk, we felt an overpowering sense of indignation bubbling up. As we toyed with the idea of vandalizing the cinema hall seats, we suddenly realized that the National Anthem that precedes every show was not replayed.
Apparently, VIPs do not waste their time on paltry matters such as symbols of national pride.
That tomfoolery is reserved for the emotion-blinded common man, too thick in the head to tell a technical difficulty from a shameless display of aristocratic omnipotence.
In a gripping (not to mention utterly wishful) climax, Jewish rebels and American soldiers assassin Hitler (during a movie screening, ironically) and bring World War 2 to an end. Dictatorship, the movie seems to tacitly imply, can only live as long as the dictator. Sometimes, though, I can’t help but wonder, what with the dignitaries we elect, if democracy, too, has run its course in India.