I finally found the time to go and catch "300" - the flick based on the "graphic novel" by Frank Miller (which is itself inspired by the 1962 film). I loved the comic book so I was determined to see the adaptation and its allegedly unbelievable special effects. The visuals were brilliant and the acting was intense. While some contend that this kind of film-making will destroy cinema as we know it, the actors themselves confess that it brings them closer to real theatre. Having nothing but a chroma in the background is apparently a liberating experience for a true Thespian.
It was clearly the least politically correct day of the year to watch the film - yesterday was the Parsi New Year and the film is pretty hard on the ancient Persians. However, if it's any consolation to my Parsi friends, I wasn't seeing the film for its take on history - poor Xerxes is made to look like a drag queen! It was purely to enjoy a mindless action flick made using stylized digital techniques. Blood and gore never looked so beautiful!
I was surprised that Iranians are protesting against the film. After all, wasn't it the supposed tyranny of the Zoroastrian kings that the early Islamic conquerors highlighted to get the masses on their side, before driving Xerxes' descendants out? If anyone should be protesting, it should be those original Parsis, a majority of whom wound up in India. Fortunately, they've proven to be far too intelligent a community to take these things seriously and are even apologetic for the few among them who have cried foul!
All I can say to our friendly neighbourhood 'Bawas' is: "Guys - nothing remains of Ancient Greece except touristy ruins! You're still worshipping your God and have made your adopted country proud. The (approx) 300 of your ancestors who braved the Arabian Sea and landed on the shores of Gujarat, centuries ago to start from scratch, are heroes in their own right. Happy Navroz!"