Monday, June 29, 2015

#InsideOut (Or-who’s-at-your-console-right-now?)

Tell me you’re not governed by your emotions and I’ll tell you two things
1. I’m a direct descendent of Cleopatra the Queen
2.I live in Alaska. (So.. ha!)

I managed to catch this movie over the weekend. It’s one of those clever Pixar productions that let you enjoy the film when you are watching it but set you thinking on your way home and don’t allow you to stop pondering on it for a long time.

Let’s get one thing straight though. It is a 3D Animation film, but the child-rating ends there.  This is for adults too. It’s about how we behave (as adults) all the time – no matter how old we are. (In fact it’s how even dogs and cats behave! What a brilliant touch that… at the end! But I’m jumping the gun here)

So the little girl is Riley and all’s well in her world – or so we think. Because her world is fine but the world inside her head is just about to go absolutely haywire. Bring in just five emotions at the console in her head – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust and a change of place -from Minnesota to San Francisco- and there ensues mayhem.

I won’t go into details of what happens, but how things happen is a fascinating journey of the emotions in the mind and the mind of the emotions.

The film gives you a deeper insight into memories – core memories, long-term, short-term and how in an intricate labyrinth inside the head the functioning of the various islands is managed brilliantly by the different emotions. Joy takes centre-stage here. With her buoyant personality, her brilliantly cropped blue hair and her bare feet, she’s always positive about turning things around. This is, of course, versus Sadness whose blueness (literally and otherwise) can dampen or sadden even a happy memory.  And not very surprisingly that blueness does not change back to its original golden yellow. Well… we’ve heard of song sung blue, everybody knows one!

I do know there are several posts doing the rounds of how correct or incorrect the references to memory and emotions are. But I’d park that aside. Isn’t it brilliant how the five emotions sit at the console and fight their way through the day and get busier at night when Riley goes to sleep? What’s even more amazing is the way long-term memory is looked into and those two characters that, while in charge of long-term memory, suddenly revive one and send it back into the consciousness. Very much like the stupid songs in your head that you remember suddenly and they refuse to leave!

I don’t know about you but the film sparked my imagination and I now am certain I have a larger, more complicated console. There’s of course Sarcasm in a brilliant orange definitely sporting a Lancome Rouge in Love (170N –just in case you’re in Duty-free!) and there’s Envy in a greener green than Disgust, getting more lurid every time I see a fabulous pair of shoes. Then I have Despair, who is Midnight Blue and gives my Sadness a run for her blue money. Despair’s Midnight Blue strikes especially hard when I meet some moronic characters who I think have no hope. Fortunately Sarcasm steps in with her flaming hair to save the day. I do have (oh my) Goodness but she lurks in a dull grey in a corner and is not allowed to come much to the fore thanks to Sarcasm and Anger. Now Anger is another one coming on to the console in full glory. When I drive, Anger is at the console, and believe me, it helps.

What’s not really right in the #InsideOut business inside my head is the Memory Dump. My tiny two characters who are in charge are a tad bit inefficient and seem to send the wrong bits to the dump – things that don’t go to short-term or long-term memory – but land up in that endless black hole – the dump. Fortunately, for me, I don’t give it much thought  (largely because I cannot remember) and also because my Joy is a nice sunshine yellow – and steps in at the least provocation (not barefeet – but wearing new shoes) and makes everything nice and yellow and happy.

But coming back to Riley and the film, it’s really touching that in the end you do need a bit of Sadness and that light blue tinge to make everything right! You really have to watch this film – the animation is spectacular. And the imagination - really commendable. Mind blowing, would be a better word I guess.

It’s a brilliant lesson in Psychology and especially if you want to figure what’s happening at your console, you need to see it. I am going again – so that this does not go into my Memory Dump. (Oh! I can already see Joy doing a little jig there!)


shiraj kavathar said...

Very Well written :) Loved the review. Looking forward to watch it this weekend.

Ypsilon said...

@shiraj... Please do go see it! It's an absolute must!

Anonymous said...

A superb and insightful comment by Bela Shah

Fantastic review Vaishakhi! I am all the more mesmerized to realize how such movies actually underscore what is already propounded in our rich spiritual heritage.

You might be aware of this - our religious scriptures (shastras) talk about something called “leshyas”; the idea behind which is to associate our transient emotions (called kashay) with varied colours that depict the nature (goodness or evilness), intensity (strength or weakness) and duration (long lived or short lived) of the emotions. We experience infinite types of emotions but broadly classified into 6 (negative – krishna, neel & kapot; positive – tejo, padma & shukla).

While these manifest themselves (what you describe as coming on the console) in the presence of external stimuli, they are actually governed by our very own present state of mind. So, for example, the same mischief committed by your child may bring out Anger or Affection to your mind’s console depending on your ability to react at that point in time (something we loosely call it mood/whim).

And, to take a step forward, despite all these transient emotions and colours, our little girl Riley stays very much untouched and sustains her existence unharmed!!

Thank you for sharing this Ma’am; I am definitely going to watch the movie now 

Suvarna Naik said...

I would like to watch the movie to figure how I can get the orange's the green's and the blue's thrown in to the black hole away from my console for the longest time.
Draw happiness from the most insignificant of situations and smile. As insignificant as my child beating me to something I am champion at, sticking to 800 calories no matter what the temptation is......
Looking forward to watchin the movie and trying to keep the sunshine yellow for 24hrs on my console.......

Ypsilon said...

I can see the sunshine yellow at your console! And hope it remains that way!!! But don't throw away the others... they are the ones that make the yellow shine brigter!

Nishant said...

wow, heavy insight by Bela!