Star Trekked

14 Jun

Growing up in Calcutta in the ’70s, climbing up to the rickety roof of our ancient home was a regular feature. The fragile aluminum antenna connected to the Televista TV set was prone to swinging in the wind much like a weather-cock and needed tying down periodically. Over time, with help from my surprisingly-sure-footed mother, I’d perfected the art of pointing the antenna in a direction that would enable it to catch not just Doordarhan’s signal but the stronger Dacca TV station. In those days, we spelt the two cities this way and not with the harsher K’s as they do today.

Even though the TV set was a black & white one, American serials like Dallas, Dynasty and Star Trek kept my brother and I enthralled: it was also our only other glimpse to the ‘promised’ land – apart from the Westerns and war films we saw at Globe or New Empire or Lighthouse (none of which exist as movie halls today). Dallas and Dynasty precluded Ekta Kapoor’s soaps (I have to endure at least one episode of her prolific productions someday) but it was Star Trek that came closest to giving me a high. Much like walking out of The Guns of Navarone, ready to take on the world, Star Trek would open up the teenage mind with the possibilities of “going where no man has gone before” and conquering both space and time. I fantasised in vivid detail about inventing ankle-strapped rockets that would allow me to fly and steely-eyed stares that would help enter the minds of evil villains and defeat them without lifting a finger. That’s the great thing about willingly suspending disbelief for a couple of hours and sitting in a dark hall to escape life. My fragile body didn’t mean I didn’t have an active imagination in which I would single-handedly defeat every crook as I flew through the air wearing my underpants over my tights (that, after all, is the signature of all superheroes).

So, this evening, I decided to relive those moments and made my way to a movie hall here in Gurgaon to watch JJ Abram’s version of Star Trek in solitary splendour. Like an excited kid, eager to catch every ad and trailer, I sat through the preview of the forthcoming Harry Potter fantasy and settled down as the Paramount mountain and stars formed on screen… I was back in Calcutta in the ’70s again! Geo-chronological barriers had been crossed.

Only, this time, I was disappointed. If they make Star Trek and it doesn’t leave you exhilarated in the clichéd victory of Good over Evil, it ain’t Star Trek. It doesn’t even come close to Star Wars. Sure, it has more grandeur and special effects but it left me cold. Perhaps Morgan Freeman as Admiral Pike would’ve helped? Or Bruce Willis as Kirk? Leonard Nimoy’s fine as Spock, though except for one teeny-weeny problem: he doesn’t say “Beam me up Scottie”. Nor does anyone else.

Let down, I was. Unlike how I’ve felt watching any of the Star Wars sequels or Die Hard or Armaggedon…

One hundred and twenty-seven minutes later, munching a Galaxy chocolate (appropriate huh?) I trekked back home over the crumbling pavements of unlit Gurgaon streets, wondering whether I’d be mugged by drunken louts emerging from the many ‘Government-approved drinking places’ this city has. There were no stars to be seen because a dust-storm came without warning, making me wish I could enter a time warp and transport myself away.

As Spock Sr says in the film, I’d like to have the best of both worlds. Only mine wouldn’t be those of logic and emotion. But of fiction and science.

For now though, I’ll settle for some red wine followed by yellow daal.

Cheers!

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6 Responses to “Star Trekked”

  1. shubho June 14, 2009 at 11:18 pm #

    loved the calcutta part.
    the movie i won’t see anyway…

  2. Anonymous June 15, 2009 at 2:48 am #

    i’d still like to see it, but now, maybe i’d download it instead of spending precious chf on it

  3. mohitoz June 15, 2009 at 7:08 am #

    To download Star Trek, does one have to say “Beaming you down Scottie?”

  4. chumki June 15, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    Sometimes, things which fascinate you when you are young, doesn’t always have the same impact once you have reached a certain age. I had read that in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Jokhon Choto Chilam’. Didn’t believe that till I went back to the school reunion after 10 years of passing out. I haven’t watched the movie yet..but maybe you should ask someone of this generation (err..below 15), to get a better perspective of the movie. In the meanwhile…a time machine is always welcome…

  5. Anonymous June 19, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    Beam me up, Scotty – The complete phrase was eventually said by William Shatner in the audio adaptation of his novel Star Trek: The Ashes of Eden – it became a catch phrase but what used to be said in the Star Trek was just – Beam me up!

  6. Star Trek Gifts July 3, 2009 at 3:08 am #

    You may not have enjoyed the new Star Trek film but you’ve managed to create a veery visual narritive of your experience. I enjoyed reading it.

    I’ve been a Star Trek fan since I saw my first episode (also in the ’70’s), but I have to say I loved seeing it back on the big screen with a new cast and bigger than ever special effects. Let’s hope they bring in William Shatner if they make a sequal, he was definitely missed this time out!

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