A few notes on Bicycle theives
I watched this Italian movie, made in 1949 with English subtitles recently. I wanted to watch this movie because (if I am not wrong) this is THE movie which made Satyajit Ray. Ray had a habit of watching almost every movie when he was in London, but it was this movie which changed his vision about movies.
I had read innumerable occounts about this movie, and how it has inspired thousands of film makers across the world.
After watching the movie, I can see ‘bicycle thieves’ in Bimal roy’s movies, Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movies and also in Rajkapoor’s movies.
For me, the story is on ‘Kannada navodaya’ time scale. The story is simple, personal, non-melodramatic, and without any symbolism. Every shot, every character, every scene is done with dedication and devotion. The movie is non-political without any isms. As a critic, one can call this working class film stuck in poverty, but that is not what the film is about.
The film is about human dignity, and fate of losing it. The film is about a small family who is making every effort to make a decent living in a honest way. The film is about a bicycle which is very much essential for making such a life to happen.
The shot where the close-up of son’s hand holding his father’s hand is, I think, one of the ultimate original shots in film history. This shot makes us cry and smile at the same time; cry for the helpless fallen face of the really good father, and smile for the unconditional love given by the son.
It might sound cliche; but undoubtedly, this movie will be one of my favorites.