Friday, May 25, 2012

To Kill a Mockingbird

Being an Indian and being a movie buff, I have already seen a lot of movies that have been adapted from many other works of art. Mostly they have been (without any reference) taken from a foreign film and hence the use of the word stolen instead of adapted won't be much wrong. However, having said that, there have been quite too many indian movies that have taken a prior work of art as their bases and with due respect and reference too. Movies like Guide (from R.K. Narayan's novel of same name), Devdas and Parineeta (both from Sharat Chandra Chatterjee's novels of same name), Bees Saal Baad (from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound Of Baskervilles) and a whole lot of other well known hindi movies are amongst them.
Having said all this about the hindi movies, there have been a whole lot of movies in the foreign language that are based on some literary works. With me not having a habit of reading much, most of these movies (as well as the hindi ones) were seen by me before having read the novel or the story. Contrary to the normal course of action that most people follow, I have always drawn parallels in a novel from the film that is based on that novel. Comparing the novel with the film already seen, observing the differences that the scriptwriter has made in his adaptation, and then quantifying and then balancing the impact left by the novel as well as the movie is what I usually did. The difference from most of the people being the fact that they do this with the novel as their baseline whereas I used to do this as the movie as the baseline. After doing too much of this 'reverse' thing, I finally got to watch a movie that was based on a novel that I already had read. 'To kill a mockingbird.'
The Harper Lee's novel is about the neighbourhood experiences of a young girl from an imaginary city of Maycomb in Alabama. The story deals with the issues like racism and rape and the reaction of the small neighbourhood to these happenings. Despite having such bold issues as the backdrop, the story, having written from the point of view of a young girl, never leaves its tone that for the most time of it is calm.
The girl's father, Atticus Finch, a lawyer, is defending a black man, Tom Robinson, from the allegations of rape of a white lady. The white people of the society are opposing Atticus' this action but he stands firm with his principles and presents to the court of law a case where clearly the alleged is not the convict. The jury, all consisting of white members, still, pronounces Tom as guilty. Surprisingly, no one is surprised. The whites laugh at Atticus for taking a case he knew he was to lose and the balcks applaud Atticus for atleast trying. They all knew the result of the case, the whites, the blacks as well as Atticus Finch except for the young girl and her older brother. They could not understand the jury's decision. They stand by the side of their father all through this and believe in him and hence are shattered when he loses the case and thats how they start to see the ugliness of the society they live in. Despite all this, Atticus, a wonderful father that he is, manages to keep the innocence of the children. He talks to them, tells them the truth about everything, passes on to them his own principles and really lives like friends to them.
The character of Atticus Finch has been one of the most influential characters that has left some impact on its reader. A model for the lawyers for his principles, he has been a model father that every child would like to have and on the other hand, every father would like to become to his children. The novel was first published in 1960 and went on to become the international bestseller and also won the Pulitzer Prize. The movie adaptation was released in 1962 directed by Robert Mulligan having Gregory Peck in the role of Atticus Finch. The movie is an able match to the beauty of the novel and there must be only a few examples where both the novel and the movie adaptation are as wonderful and acclaimed as this one.
Being one of the very first novels that I completed reading, I was much happy with it. And then having got the opportunity to watch the movie so soon after added an extra curve to my smile. And also reading the novel before watching the movie, being a new experience to me, was too wonderful to explain. Surely, this is a practice that I definitely want to acquire in me and hope that I continue reading and then also watching the movies.

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