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Friday, February 14, 2014

The Two Things that Saved My Media Soul

Last semester I burnt out. My love of film was simply spent. I know, that doesn’t bode well for someone thinking about getting a PhD in film, but it happened. I had a serious crisis on my hands. I got home for the break before my final semester and never wanted to watch a movie again. I watched movies out of habit. They weren’t awful, but I wasn’t enjoying them the same way I used to. Now, this could seem rather trivial from an outside perspective, but imagine if one of the most important things in your life suddenly had no meaning anymore. Suddenly your livelihood is something that feels completely without value and you can’t stand it anymore. I loved movies for the way they helped me experience different lives and understand other people and myself better. But after watching so many and being told over and over what was good and what was bad and being forced to watch things I had no interest in (which has its good side too – I learned a lot), I just plain got sick of it. It was a chore. In many ways, I’m still at that point. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. I know there’s a light because two things starting my journey out of the hole I’m in: Sherlock and Bollywood.

Sherlock came at just the right moment. I need something to wake me up to what I loved about movies and TV – I needed a story awakening. So many of the stories I was seeing were tired, or perhaps I was tired of hearing them. And then Sherlock made me care again. By the end of the first episode of the third season I felt alive in a way that I hadn’t in months. I cared. By the end of the season I had hope that perhaps I could love what I was studying again.

And then blessed, blessed Bollywood came back into my life. Writing my thesis about Bollywood has been the best professional decision I’ve made so far. I watched a couple of films to start my analysis and I was swept away into a world that I didn’t know I was missing so much. I fell in love with Shahrukh Khan all over again (in a strictly professional way, of course). I fell in love with the music, the stories, the culture, the camera work – everything – and I remembered why I was studying what I was studying. I look at the way I feel about Bollywood now and I remember that I used to feel that way about every movie to some degree. I am hopeful that Bollywood is just the start, and that my love for movies will return after enough of a breather. In the mean time, I’ve watched every episode of Sherlock at least twice and have spent probably 50% of my time in Bollywoodland. And I am 100% okay with that.

I mean, how could you NOT love this? :)

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