Thursday, October 1, 2009

Coming soon to a theatre near you

People who think of Dr. Strangelove as a satirical masterpiece on human folly will soon have another treat in store for them, something that will give Dr Strangelove's pre-eminence a run for its money.

The story goes something like this. In a country far far away, the Supreme Chairman, much loved by his people, decides to mount a celebration of his reign in all the pomp and grandeur that the country is capable of. A massive parade, a show of might is organised in the main square. However, the Supreme Chairman, keeping in mind the welfare of his beloved people decrees that people living on the route of the march should not come out into their balconies and verandahs for 24 hours before the march. They are 'advised' not to use binoculars and cameras during the march. (For good measure, and of course keeping in mind the welfare of his citizens, some houses along the route have been evacuated altogether). Then how will the people participate in this great show, which is meant, after all to symbolise the Republic of the People? Well, on television, of course! Students in large numbers, who love their Supreme Chairman deeply, will take part in the march (after being vetted carefully) but are asked not to post pictures of rehearsals, and not to use text messaging. Naturally, and in national interest, pigeons along the route have been exterminated (perhaps they could be used to carry subversive messages?), sale of knives banned, and beggars and the homeless (not that there are such people in this perfect society) have been, uh, 'cleared'.

The march itself, in its discipline and perfection, will put all other countries to shame. Distance between soldiers' noses have been carefully measured and fixed, and needles (yes, needles) fixed to participants' collars so that if a soldier's chin drops by even as much as half an inch, the jab sends it straight back up again. Nothing much be allowed to come in the way of discipline.

Even nature is to be bombarded into submission. If the rain-gods have the temerity to misbehave, planes are to be used to blast the clouds to disperse them. Our Supreme Chairman has left nothing to chance. And on this day, the image of a perfect society will be enhanced by the refusal of the local governments to grant divorces -- warring couples will be asked to wait another day.

So when is this sure-shot Oscar winning movie to be released? Today, Thursday at and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing. For more details regarding show timings and other information, see here, here, even here.

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