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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble

or, Ode to the Macbeth Witches!

Foreword: This post is dedicated to Macbeth's witches, who have ensnared imaginations over the ages

For the Holi weekend, I came down to Chennai from Hyderabad on a Kesineni Travels semi-sleeper Volvo. The most annoying thing about taking the bus is usually the movie you must endure before you can drop off to a jerky, cramped repose. However, this time, the movie that was playing really enthralled me:

In medieval Andhra Pradesh (Telengana??), a ruler reigns over a prosperous kingdom, and has a beautiful, young daughter, Arundhati, the heir to his throne, and accomplished danseuse. Arundhati has a wicked stepbrother [don't hold me to this -- my Telugu is limited], Pasupathi, who revels in tyrannical debauchery, and indulges himself in all manners of sin. Matters come to a head when the ruler dies -- Pasupathi unleashes his rapacious appetites, and murders Arundathi's dance teacher in a drunken fit. An outraged Arundhati has him bound and stoned, and dragged for miles behind a horse, and dumped into a ravine for dead.

Pasupathi, however, is not dead -- and drags himself to a cave, where he is found by a tribe of pagan, devil -worshipping savages. These savages revive him, and instruct him in the darkest arts, and he perfects his talents in service of the devil, and attains supernatural powers.

His mind consumed with revenge, Pasupathi returns to confront a grown Arundhati on her wedding day and attempts to outrage her modesty with his supernatural talents. To counter him, Arundhati performs a hypnotic dance, and while Pasupathi is distracted, she brings a 40 - ton chandelier down upon his body, and some of the glass sticks in his mouth, so he can't utter spells any more.

Oh wait, let me back up a bit. He is now immortal as well, and so this chandelier only locks him in place, doesn't kill him.

Arundhati orders his body, trapped under the chandelier, walled off and places protective shields and divine artifacts over the tomb, to counteract the influence of the demon within. But all's not well that ends well. Although Pasupathi is trapped, the very presence of such an evil spirit plagues the countryside, and converts a once prosperous kingdom into a parched, plague-ridden desert.

Arundhati cannot bear her kingdom's decline, and sets off to do penance. After many long years, she stumbles into the same tribe that helped Pasupathi, who say that the only way to kill him would be with a weapon forged from her bones after she gives her life to the end of destroying Pasupathi.

Wait a minute. What? The same tribe. What a bunch of troublemakers!

If you want to know how the story unfolds into the inevitable happy ending, that's not going to happen here. See the movie. Or we can have a chat later. But as the movie ended, I was struck by the similarity to Macbeth's witches. They were also enablers of ambition and revenge, and the people seeking their advice met quite a sorry end. Quite the coincidence.

So what's my point? Why, nothing at all. Can't I write without any point?

That's all!


  1. You got the story wrong... :)
    And yes, its a good drama, but that's it! Btw, I enjoyed watching it! :D

  2. Ah, but I think it's so much more fun watchng it without knowing Telugu ;)