By Deepak Venkatesha. Posted on December 04, 2015
Choosing an alternative or flipping from the comforts of a regular job into a new world is a harrowing and personal journey. There is no drama in it but the sheer act of surviving every day. It's usually hailed by people with comfortable jobs as a great move. I have countless people on my timeline and in my friends circle who have done it and I also know only part of their struggles. Many including my wife, sister only know part of my struggles. They also don’t know the real truth behind breaking out. Breaking out to do something your heart wants is a INDIVIDUALISTIC experience and it's the most selfish act a person can think of. It's not fun, it's not games, it's not easy. Two films in the recent past have shown it brilliantly and I just wanted to talk about them. They are the Coen Brothers “Inside Llewyn Davis” & Selvaraghavan’s “Mayakkam Enna”
Both are films on the central protagonist trying to break into his world of passion. For Llewyn it's music and for Karthik it's photography. They never ever throughout the movie ever break off from that deeply selfish goal. Both the films show the harrowing sadness that every day brings. There is fear of every kind - The self doubt in a person who wants to do something different is straddling manic depression at one end and orgasmic delight at the other. The Orgasmic delight happens once every decade while the manic depression happens every single day. No frigging movie ever ever talks about it.
Still from the film - Inside Llewyn Davis
Breaking out is shown in montages in every Hindi breakout film. Its shown as a soft aspect of life. It's NOT. It's drudgery that cannot be shown as the Hindi film viewing audience never want to see reality. Hence generation after generation now think filmmaking, photography are easy options and choose it. They have no frigging clue the reality in doing this “Selfish act”. A fellow “traveler” said it really well a couple of days back. Every break out film in Hindi is headed by a star child (Thanks Gunjan for this. Valid point). It defeats the whole purpose of what really breaking out is all about
In Mayakkam Enna Karthik is singularly selfish. He is obsessed with his goal. There is a scene where he has just got married to the love of his life. He is in the happiest place a man can be. He gets up reads the morning paper and sees a difficult photo he has take credited to a senior photographer who has stolen credit. Karthik does what a breakout person could only think of. He attempts suicide as that path he has chosen is all encompassing and that is all that matters.
In Inside Llewyn Davis, Llewyn lives in multiple apartments living on the munificent mood of the owner of the apartment. He does not tell how much money he really has. He never talks about his audition. Fear, Paranoia, Self Doubt - that is all there is to this passion for “breaking out".
Many of the people I meet daily have had big jobs in the past with significant money. They did not come into the struggle from penury. They are doing this mashochistic act of self injury to reach this “intangible goal” only because they want to do it. Again notice the “personal struggle” that is wiped out in montages in “super successful breaking out films”. Many fall on the sidewalks exhausted and only a few survive. This is what really happens in this selfish act of “breaking out”
Love is used as a strong metaphor for struggle and it is talked about as the spine, a support for the soul. It's partly true. PARTLY. In Mayakkam Enna the heroine Yamini loves Karthik and he reciprocates but he is evil, selfish, deeply obsessed about his goal and she has to work her life around him.
Dhanush in a still from Mayakkam Enna
This is how the real breaking out happens. There is no WE in it. The struggle is all “I”. I have a few friends where both the couples are on the path to break out and follow their “dream”. I really feel for them. Who is the bigger dreamer? What happens to the sadistic acts one does for self development. Will it be over the other’s struggle?
Films never talk about this as 'struggle' is only shown at the surface level and we are all supposed to stand up and applaud for the heroic efforts of the protagonist wanting to break out. Breaking out is not easy. It's not a bloody walk in the park. It takes your life, fucks it, spits it out and you get up bleeding like a mess and try to stand up again. It's that fight where Jake La Motta wants to get beaten up because he did bad, except here you know life will beat you up but you have no other option. On top of this all, you need to fucking have a 'Game Face', a face that tells the world that you are solid and there is nothing queasy or scary in you.
So please some understanding of the people who break out. It's an incredibly fuck-all journey and one that alters every other aspect of your life and screws you up completely. It's sadistic, fear-inducing, gut-wrenching, self-obsessed journey that no one actually wants to do. It's a fight club of the worst order. You are fighting against a machine that can keep throwing punches and it never tires…
I feel a lot of people may have issues reading this but I had to speak. My decade of fight, my comrades who are fighting or fallen on the side cannot all be made into a singular statistic of winning. It's infantile and puerile. I end it with one note - If it's so bad, why does one still do it? I think initially it starts off as a challenging high point, then it becomes a game you want to win and finally it takes over your whole life and the struggle becomes your life. It's a struggle with a light at the end of the tunnel but the light is small and few get access.
Slacker, Writer, Nerd, Ranter that breathes & eats movies. A man trying to tell his stories and living 1 day at a time. Deepak aka Thermoman is a Mumbai based writer who writes for Hindi and Regional cinema. When not on social networking or quaffing coffees he can be seen working as a lackey for his daughter and somewhere in-between all this, he attempts to write.