Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Capt Phillips: one among many untold stories..

Till now I was convinced that merchant mariners of cargo ships are invisible people.In a world where movies cover professions from media to Intelligence, time travellers to space travellers, writers to painters, engineers to doctors, ninja warriors to modern soldiers, stock traders to serial killers, add man to mad man, ghosts to wizards, perhaps all possible streams of life, one wing that remained nonexistent was of merchant mariners in cargo ships. These people cover the largest part of sea going trade and vessels,  and are largest part of seafarers in a group which also includes warships, fishermen, support vessels, and luxury liners. Somehow the majority is out of picture. They are perhaps the common man of high seas. 

Though we have a Titanic,which focused more on a love story onboard an ill fated passenger liner, and a Perfect Storm with a George Clooney catching storm instead of fishes; this one is perhaps the first to capture a cargo ship in action. Somehow seafarers are absent as a character in routine movies too. Perhaps due their on and off presence, it's hard for writers to digest them as part of any story.
( she can't love him,he is gone again!! )




Anyways,  we managed to stay invisible to all till this season, when finally Tom Hanks joined shipping lanes and we have a Capt Phillips. Tan tanaaaaan !
There is no denial that Capt Phillips is over heroic on screen, and his crew as well as his chief engineer has been undersized when it comes to their actions in that event, yet the story stays very close to actual happenings of the piracy attack on Mearsk Albama in 2009.

The movie is extraordinary, and so is the actual history. We, as a professionals, are trained to avoid pirates and when inevitable, to surrender. But in this instance mariners put a brave fight, and the end result justified the means. I am sure the activation of water jets, at the crucial boarding moment must have sent a shiver and a sense of anger in souls of every mariner. 

(You will fire with bullets, I will make you wet!!)


It's a good flick in depicting Somalian piracy as well, with the hints to its origin and scale, though a further effort is required on part of interested people to do a cursory reading of available material, and see what made them the way they are and how drastic impact they have on present commercial shipping.Needless to say, their courage is sure to impress, especially when you know what it is to be on those small boats. Yes they are a threat, but it's better to know your enemies, and respect too.Most importantly, this movie is a great chance for people to get over with costumed pirates of Carrebian with their wine bottles, captaincy contests, and magical compasses. Things are real here, with automatic weapons and fully functional, two eyed and two legged pirates to fire them.

you ain't dressed properly!!


The great show of American strength is sure to create an awe, and immense respect for their effort in saving one American life, leaving many nationalities jealous perhaps.No words can perhaps pay the sufficient respect to those three simultaneous, high precision sniper shots fired by Navy Seal Six team. ( though controversy surrounds that there were more than 15 shots against the popular reporting)
With all the actual American war  fleet in place, including the use of a sister ship to original Albama who was on a commercial chartering agreement for the shooting purpose, the movie creates as much reality as is perhaps possible.
Tom Hanks has made Capt Phillips larger than life by his ever beautiful yet natural acting. Reel life Capt. Phillips is going to stay as a character, all mariners can take inspiration from. 

Sea is full of extraordinary tales of leadership, bravery, emotions, love, ghosts, accidents, traumas, fun and sacrifices of merchant mariners and of those who are part of their lives. These stories may not have come in main stream, but have always kept our smoke rooms alive. For sure, the blame of this weak social presence rests on us, mariners, for not telling a lot of what happens in life of a mariner out at sea, as well as on land.Perhaps more such stories will come in future, including happy and funny ones, but for long this movie shall stay as a porthole for those who would like to take a look in this part of the world. 
This is not a movie review, as this can never be simply a movie to us. Like the tip of iceberg, this movie has detected only a small part of a huge movement which is happening far away from here, shaping almost every walk of life and making a wake that keeps all the tales safe, for a wishful listener.

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