November 3, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Cinema, Literature, Musings, Poetry, Soliloquy)

Takahata hasn’t met his son from many years now. The disturbed relationship of the father and the son has let an entire ocean flow between them. Now when Takahata realizes that his son has only a few drops of life left in him which can leak from the crack in the pitcher any moment, he wants to cross the ocean and meet his son. But while landing on the other coast, knowing his son’s love for Chinese folk opera, he wants to take a filmed folk opera with him, to touch his son and thus pull that chord of his heart which remains untouched.

Thus begins the journey of Takahata in the film Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles. Takahata, in order to film the Chinese opera goes to the jail where the opera singer cum dancer Li has been jailed. Li is made to wear the costume of the film opera and when he is about to begin his performance for Takahata to film, Li breaks down saying “I can’t perform because the agony of not having seen my son from a long time hurts me”. Understanding the pain of Li, Takahat decides to arrange for a tryst between Li and his son Yang-Yang and goes to the village where Yang-Yang resides.

In the village Takahata convinces the villagers to send Yang-Yang with him to the jail to meet his father Li. Yang-Yang is not asked if he wants to meet his father or not. Takahata and Yang-Yang on their way back to the city lose their way and thus get lost in a no man’s land. In this lost state they find a friend in each other and they strike a bonding which transcends age and language. There is no common language known to both except for the language of love for each other. In this lost journey Takahata photographs Yang-Yang immensly. The entire night Yang-Yang spends in the arms of Takahata, for whom its a moment of fulfillment.

In the morning the villagers find out Takahata and Yang-Yang who had lost their way and  make arrangements for them to go to the city safely. When they are about to start for the city Takahata asks Yang-Yang whether he is willing to meet his father or not and Yang-Yang cries saying “He’s not my father. I don’t want to meet him” and Takahata decides to go back to Li just with the images of his son Yang-Yang.

When the vehicle starts moving, Yang-Yang runs behind it waving his hand for a long time and Takahata is waving his hand constantly looking back at Yang-yang. An emotion, a feeling, a bonding which words fail to capture had tied them together by then.

When Takahata is half way through his journey the news of his sons death reaches him. Now in spite of knowing the fact that fimling the folk opera is of no use, Takahata decides to visit Li and show him the photographs of his son Yang-Yang and thus enable Li to meet his son in an emotional world.

Neither Takahata nor Li could find their sons back in their world nor could Yang-Yang or Takahata’s son find their fathers. But the bonding that flowered between Takahata and Yang-Yang communicates a very important thing. Takahata was not searching for his son but for A son who would fulfill his being as a father and though Yang-Yang did not want to meet his father he wanted A father in his life, for who’s touch he craves. Is it the longing for his this touch and moment of fulfillment which strikes a bonding between Takahata and Yang-Yang?


“Gandhi was a great leader. He would have been even greater is he wasn’t impartial”
– Madanlal Pawa.

Madanlal was one among the conspirators against Gandhi. He attempted to kill Gandhi few days before Gandhi was assassinated by Ghodse.

Madanlal lost his mother at a young age. His father got re-married and Madanlal’s step-mother was quite nasty. There was a constant conflict between Madanlal and his step-mother and whenever there was a conflict between his father supported his step-mother. Speaking of this incident in Heggodu on 8th oct 2007, Asish Nandy said “When Madanlal felt Gandhi was favoring Muslims he saw it in parallel with his father supporting his step-mother” and the conclusion drawn by Nandy was that- Madanlal saw Gandhi as his father.

Madanlal like Yang-Yang was constantly in search of a father figure who would fill the vacuum of his own father and give the touch which that relationship should have given. He was looking for A father and he found that father in Gandhi like Yang-Yang found in Takahata.

May be every individual who has had disturbed relationship with immediate relatives or blood-ties, are constantly searching for someone who could fill the vacuum created by the disturbed relationship. The search can also be when the person has lost the immediate relative. Its not the absence of the person which triggers the search but the absence of that ‘touch’ which makes the individual feel cared, secured and loved.

There is a search for A father, A mother, A sister, A brother, A son and A daughter in all those who have either lost them or have had a disturbing relationship with them. In any way, its the absence of the ‘touch’ of a father, mother, sister, brother, son or a daughter which makes one search for not THE father/mother/sister/brother/son/daughter but for A father/mother/sister/brother/son/daughter.


Apni Mehbuba Mein Apni Ma Dekhe,
Bin Ma Ke Beto Ki Fitrat Hoti Hai.

(Its the nature of the mother-less son
to search for a mother in his lady-love)
– Javed Akthar.

26 October 2008

1 Comment

  1. B.Suresha said,

    ಈ ಸಿನಿಮಾದ ಕತೆಯೇ inspiring ಆಗಿದೆ. ನೀವು ನೀಡಿರುವ ಅಂತ್ಯ ಮತ್ತು ಜಾವೇದ್ ಅಖ್ತರ್ ಅವರ ಪದ್ಯ ಕೂಡ ಇಷ್ಟವಾಯಿತು.
    ಸಿನಿಮಾ ನೋಡಿ ಪ್ರತಿಕ್ರಿಯಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ.

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