Monday, December 19, 2005

7 years in tibet

This weekend was not exactly the usual montonous one after all, my brother organised a virtual 'film festival' for me by saving 4 movies on our home pc, 2 hindi and 2 english. Its the first movie which left a mark on me...'7 years in Tibet'.

I think it was released in 1997 , and won Brad Pitt the oscar for the best actor...and did he do some acting!!...The movie is based on the book '7 years in Tibet' by Heinrich Harrer.

Brad Pitt plays Heinrich's role, he leaves his homeland Austria on an expedition to climb the highest mountain ranges, 'The Himalayas', very much against his young wife's wishes who is soon expecting their first child.The year is 1939. His team gets arrested on the Himalayas, by the British army and they are send to a P.O.W camp at Dehra Dun...It was the time when the second world war had just begun...and Austria and Britain were on opposite sides....He receives a letter from his wife , Ingrid from Austria which reads as follows: "Dear Heinrich , Please sign the divorce papers and send them to my lawyer.Horst and I intend to be married as soon as the divorce is finalized.As for your letter,yes,Rolf Harrer was born while you were climbing the mountain.He is now two years old and calls Horst papa.When he is old enough, i will tell him his real father was lost in the Himalayas.It seems the kindest thing to say as you never wanted the child anyway.Needless to say I have to intentions resolving our differences as you suggested.They were resolved the moment you left Austria.I'm sorry you have been imprisoned in India and hope this dreadful war would soon be over for everyone's sake." A frustrated Heinrich tries to escape from the prison camps, he makes so many futile attempts and gets caught by the british guards everytime....still his spirits remain unshaken as ever...Finally he manages to escape with a few of his fellow prisoners...but only he and his friend Peter Aufschnaiter manage to remain uncaptured....

Then follows a long period of battle against hunger,starvation and the biting cold in one of the coldest places on earth...Heinrich and Peter , finally manage to escape into Tibet, so that they are away from British India, as long as the war lasts.....

Tibet and its people especially at that being closed to the outside world,has been depicted with all glory.Their unique customs and religious beliefs,all pertaining to the core of Buddhism are a spectacle to behold. Peter falls in love with a beautiful Tibetan girl and marries her.And Heinrich feels as lonely as ever.The 14th Dalai lama was then only 14 years old, but he was already a well learned scholar in Buddhist scriptures.He is attracted to Heinrich and they become intimate friends , curtailing all the Tibetan customs of treating the Lama as a divine reincarnation, they have intimate chats in the Lama's chamber.Heinrich helps him to build a movie house as per his wishes.

Then follows the Chinese attack on the peaceloving Tibetans and how the clan who couldnt hurt a worm,had to take up arms to defend the callousness of the Communist China.The way they respect their enemies!!....we wouldnt think of honouring our close friends so much so...

Some excerpts from the movie:

Dalai Lama: We have a saying in Tibet: If a problem can be solved there is no use worrying about it. If it can't be solved, worrying will do no good.

[On the Himalayas]
Heinrich Harrer: A place rich with all the strange beauty of your nighttime dreams.

Construction worker: In a past life this worm could have been your mother.

Dalai Lama: Do you think someday people will get Tibet on their movie screens and wonder what happened to us?

Jigme is the Tibetan minister who betrayed his people to the Chinese, by destroying all the ammunition they had and surrendering to the Chinese.Heinrich returns the jacket which he had given him as a gift, to express his contempt for the man.
Ngawang Jigme: After all these years you still don't understand our Tibetan ways. To return a gift is unforgivable.
Heinrich Harrer: A man who betrays his culture shouldn't preach about its customs. There was a time I would have wished you dead but your shame will be your torture and your torture will be your life. I wish it to be long.

Dalai Lama: ...You can not ask a devout people to disregard a precious teaching.
Heinrich Harrer: Yes but Your Holiness, with due respect, erm, we can't possibly
Heinrich Harrer: I'm sorry, but we can't possibly save all the worms! Not if you want a theater in this lifetime.
Dalai Lama: You have a clever mind. Think of a solution. And in the meantime you can explain to me, what is an elevator.

Heinrich Harrer: It's strange to me that something so harmless as a jacket could symbolize such a great lie.

Heinrich Harrer: There was a time that I would have wished you dead but your shame shall be your torture and your torture will be your life! I wish it to be long.

Peter Aufschnaiter: Oh, by the way, I heard the Japanese have retreated all the way back to Shanghai. So even if you make it to the Chinese border you may have difficulties catching up with them.
Heinrich Harrer: I don't care if they've retreated all the way back to Tokyo.
Peter Aufschnaiter: You should if you want to get back to Austria.
Heinrich Harrer: But I don't.
Peter Aufschnaiter You don't what?
Heinrich Harrer: Plan to go back.
Peter Aufschnaiter: Why not?
Heinrich Harrer: No particular reason. But when you get there tell my wife that two years in prison camp is roughly equal ant to four years of marriage and I'm glad to be free of them both.

Heinrich Harrer: In this place where time stands still it seems like everything is moving. Including me. I can't say I know where I'm going nor if my bad deeds can be purified. There are so many things I have done that I regret. But when I come to a full stop I hope you understand that the distance between us is not as great as it seems.

Heinrich Harrer: That's the Olympic gold medal. Not important.
Pema Lhaki(Peter's Tibetan wife): This is another great difference between our civilization and yours. You admire the man who pushes his way to the top in any walk of life, while we admire the man who abandons his ego.

Dalai Lama: Do you listen to news from your country?
Heinrich Harrer: From Austria? No, not really. Give me some light, Kundun.
Dalai Lama: Why? It's your home.
Heinrich Harrer: Not anymore it isn't.
Dalai Lama: But don't you have friends and family there?
Heinrich Harrer: A few friends, no family. Keep the light steady, your Holiness.
Dalai Lama: Why? Is everyone dead?
Heinrich Harrer: Do you know there's another way a sentence can be constructed than a question? I was married but I'm divorced.
Dalai Lama: What did you do?
Heinrich Harrer: I didn't want a child so I ran away to climb a mountain.

Dalai Lama I can't sleep. I'm afraid the dream might come back.
Heinrich Harrer: A couple of insomniacs.
Dalai Lama: Tell me a story, Heinrich. Tell me a story about climbing mountains.
Heinrich Harrer: That's one way to fall asleep. Those stories bore even me.
Dalai Lama: Then tell me what you love about it.
Heinrich Harrer: The absolute simplicity. That's what I love. When you're climbing your mind is clear and free from all confusions. You have focus. And suddenly the light becomes sharper, the sounds are richer and you're filled with the deep, powerful presence of life. I've only felt that one other time.
Dalai Lama: When?
Heinrich Harrer: In your presence

Heinrich Harrer:

You have to leave. You have to leave Tibet, Kundun. Your life's at great risk. Forgive my presumption but I have made arrangements to get you out safely. We should leave directly after the enthronement, the Chinese won't expect it.
Dalai Lama: How can I help people if I run away from them? What kind of leader would I be? I have to stay here, Heinrich. Serving others is my path to deliberation.
Heinrich Harrer: Then I don't go either.
Dalai Lama: Why not?
Heinrich Harrer: Because you are my path to deliberation.
Dalai Lama: The Buddha said 'Salvation doesn't come from the sight of me. It demands strenuous effort and practise. So work hard and seek your own salvation constantly.' I am not your son. And I've never thought of you as my father. You've been much too informal to me for that. Do you ever think about him?
[Heinrich cries, nodding]
Dalai Lama: And what do you think about?
Heinrich Harrer: It's not a conscious thought really, Kundun. He is always there. When I crossed Tibet he was with me. When I came to Lhasa he was with me. When I sit beside you he is there with me. I can't even imagine how to picture the world without him in it.

Finally after the war, Heinrich returns to Austria in 1945 and meets his reluctant son of 7 years with a musical box which the Lama had given for the same with his blessings and his prayers and he gets his son back.

To conclude, its one of the best movies i ever happened to watch and will remain in my heart for ever.


neeth said...

i had also seen it...
but i found the movie so looooong...
at times i found it dragging
but when u say so, its a nice movie after all...

soorya said...

:) thanks

rocksea said...

hmm. i didnt read the whole as it is longg but i had seen the movie longg back. it was my wish to go to tibet and be there for sometime. may be some day.. It's sad to see the culture and life lots under the chinese hands :(

soorya said...

I have a wish to visit Tibet too(more so after seeing the movie:))...and you are right about the chinese invasion...