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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Thank You For Smoking

Owing to my legal background people have often decided to vent out their anger and apathy towards the legal system of our country either in my presence or worse, at me. The hackneyed question which I was asked, till quite recently,  was about the trial and punishment of Kasab. I'm usually asked that what kind of a system is this where a man as ostensibly guilty as Kasab is also given the same space and facilities of defending himself in a Court as any other criminal. I reply that in a democracy every one should get a chance at a fair defense. It may not be quite pleasing at times, but trust me, the alternatives to this system are far worse.

It's basically on this premise that the film "Thank You For Smoking" hinges. Every man, organization or company, no matter how apparently bad they might be perceived to be, deserve a chance to put forth their points and arguments, which, they think, is why they do their job. Its war time between tobacco companies and the section of society comprising anti smoking crusaders. With popular sentiments against them the tobacco companies need the services of a genius who would spin words in a way that not only these companies will save themselves from hatred but also increase their customer base. The movie has a few notable actors like Aaron Eckhart, who plays the lead role of Nick Naylor, Robert Duvall who plays his boss and Katie Holmes who plays an opportunist journalist who beds Nick for eliciting secrets of his work. The film, however, entirely rests on the able shoulders of Eckhart. He flawlessly delivers his performance of a lobbyist -cum- spokesperson of the so called Academy for Tobacco Studies, run by tobacco conglomerates in order to establish that there is no relation between smoking and cancer. The interesting part about this movie is that the protagonist of this film is apparently an agent of the devil, but he's so intelligently portrayed that you'll come about to like him.  He has to say these words that are crazy, and yet do it with a smile on his face and have the audience like him. Now obviously in real life somebody doing such a thing would be the dump-yard of hatred but in this film his character is lovable, intelligent and witty.

The opening scene of the film will itself hook you to the movie. This is where Aaron is on a TV talk show accompanied by a mother who fights against a teenage smoking or something like that, an agent of a Senator who is lobbying hard to get deadly pictures of skulls and crossed bones on cigarette packets, a cancer diagnosed teenager who is receiving his chemo and an audience who is booing and hissing at him for the man that he is. It's really enjoyable the way he turns around the sentiments of that audience and gets them to approve of his job and even befriends the cancerous child. All with his smart talk. People get paid to do all kinds of things. Our protagonist is cajoled by a tobacco company with hefty salary and perks for the way he talks. He works to talk. In a democracy where dialogue, discussion and debates about issues are how matters are moved forward, talking well can be a priceless asset. The protagonist of Thank You For Smoking proves this fact.

 All he needs is a chance to talk and he can turn things around. Just like the Senate hearing in the end of the movie. The film is full of witty dialogues and some realistic performances. Our hero says that everyone is free to make their own choices. Its not like he's putting cigarettes into anyone's mouth. The choice is ultimately the person's. I know the responses that are popping up inside your head against this theory. Watch the film for near suitable answers.

26 comments:

  1. Hi Anupam

    I have heard of the movie but have not yet seen it. Talking is an art and Smart Talking is a gift cum art. Half of the world survives purely by knowing when to talk and what to talk and the other half suffers due to lack of knowledge of the same. What do you say? :)

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  2. whatever i still enjoy smoking !!

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  3. i think i would enjoy watching this movie....has it hit the screens?thanks for the review

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    1. Yeah Alka it has in 2005. Go ahead and watch it on DVD

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  4. I have seen this film, made me a fan of Aaron Eckhart. Liked the movie too :) Nice write up Anupam.

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    1. Yup. Me too.

      Thanks for the compliment Ava.

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  5. I think i have to watch this movie...movie on smoking.
    Plz have a look on my post on smoking.Hope you will enjoy it.
    http://readitnoworanytime.blogspot.in/2012/06/cigarettes-c-grade-or-see-grade-before.html

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    1. Read it. Loved it. Have commented on your blog.

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  6. If am not wrong, this is the same movie in which he goes to his son's class(who is around 8 years of age) and explains his job, all in front of the highly embarrassed and equally scared class teacher???
    BTW, its a really well - written review.... Tells the theme without telling the plot....

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    1. Absolutely right. Thanks for your kind words dear.

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  7. Dude, a good review and yes being a smoker myself i dig you.

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  8. Haven't seen the film, but just remembered "Runaway Jury", by John Grisham after reading this. Nicely narrated, Anupam. -rgs [and thanks for all your likes for "RGSrinivasan" in Indiblogger. Yes! Its me!].

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  9. Hi.. Its my first visit to your blog... Sounds good!A good review...

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    1. Thanks for dropping by and reading, Ayesha

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  10. Have read about this movie earlier too, but couldn't watch it till now...would soon be watching...and thanks for an excellent review, will share my views... :)

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    1. Go ahead Punit. Thanks for reading, mate.

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  11. Hi Anupam... Have seen this movie around 3-4 years ago... and therefore I can say that this is one that leaves a long term impression...

    I think a specific notable thing in this movie is how facts can be easily twisted, and situations can be turned around.. Isn't that happen all the time in India?

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  12. Cool movie. Although I got the sense that the tobacco companies were basically portrayed as villains.

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  13. This is really unique thing you shared here.
    Buy from HBGL Vaporizers

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