Now and Then.

Who the...?

Harendra Kapur.
Kyra Mathews.
Tejas Menon.

Ello All,

Due to some miscommunication between us, I ended up watching This is it before him, and so, quite humbly, I'll go through with the review for it.
The film, as most of you will know, is a filmed record of what was happening behind the scenes of "One last curtain call" as Michael put it himself.
Unfortunately, as you will also know, a few days before the final dress rehearsals, The King of Pop, passed away- thus making the whole shabang only what would have been the greatest concert he ever put together. And compared to some of the things he's put on stage, that's one hell of a show we're talking about.
The film starts with some testimonials from the supporting dance troupe, about how honoured they are to be dancing alongside their hero. The testimonials continue throughout the film and we see, essentially how awesome his crew, his band and his dancers all thought he was, or at the time, 'is.'
Essentially it's a collection of videos showing the rehearsals and creative process of Jackson and Ortega (The director, and his choreographer). I won't describe or point out what stood out as stunning to me, in too much detail. I will say, however, the preparation, the planning and the way all the performances come together is thrilling. The music, the dancing, the stage set up, the background videos, all merge to form one hugely inspiring, moving and simply stunning performance after the other.
What struck me most though, and I think will strike you most as well, is not only how Michael treats the whole thing, but how everyone treats Michael.
There are many times when the band continues on cue, or the dancers continue as choreographed, and MJ stops them to make them do it the way he thinks it ought to be. What's incredible about this, is not his eye and ear for detail, but the way he feels so instinctively, when to let things 'simmer' and when to let things 'pop'. I've always felt, that one of his greatest stage moves was his mastery of the stance. Of holding, pausing or abruptly halting the whole thing to grip you with expectation. To let the audience cheer and scream and hope for the imminent powerful BURST back into groove.
The powerful dancing, the 'oomph' choreography, the music would all mean nothing, if it weren't given to us viewers with the expert timing and precision that MJ commands. It's like the right full stop in the middle. Of a sentence.
A command, further elucidated by the fact that MJ asks for what he does, not in technical terms, but ALWAYS in metaphor. "Play with love." "No. Do it like you're dragging yourself out of bed." (A fact Ishaan, my roommate and a bassist in several bands, found very very irritating, saying that it was very childish and very annoying when people expect other people to technically respond to emotive commands. He did agree though, after seeing MJ do his thing in a rehearsal of Billie Jean, that it was the smallest price to pay to be a part of something that awesome happening.)
And that's the amazing thing. How very much like a child MJ seems throughout. Not in being exuberant, but in being reserved to the point of seeming shy. His polite requests always come off, more as encouraging someone to do better, rather than discouraging them from doing worse- if that makes sense at all.
Even the stage technicians and choreographers- always polite, always patient, as if they were dealing with a 4 year old. Careful not to push him too much, at the same time making sure they don't misunderstand him and incite a tantrum. A tantrum, which incredibly, never seemed to come, as one would perhaps expect from a 'genius' like Jackson.
What we end up getting with this film, is a real sense of HOW he functioned and what motivated him to do what he does. At times it feels a bit corny but his innate fragility makes you wonder why you'd ever doubt it at all.
When I came out of this movie, I felt the need to MOVE! To groove and to express like I'd die doing it. To PANG and BOOM, the way most of the performances do. To stand tall, chest out and yell as loud and clear as I freaking can.
The thing about Michael Jackson is not that he could dance well and sing nice notes. It's not that he wrote beautiful songs and made excellent concerts- it's that above all else, he FELT it, man. He felt every time he pumped his crotch, he FELT every time he clenched his fist and sang out loud, he FELT every time he looked at the audience and said 'I love you and God Bless you.'
To love what you're doing, to feel in your gut, everything that you convey, if there is one thing I have learnt from Michael Jackson- This is it.
Rest in peace, dear Michael. For never growing up, for never losing heart and for ALWAYS loving, rest in peace.

3 responses to "Michael Jackson's This Is It: A Review"

  1. oh how i wish to see you move you rhythm-less twat


  2. Spot on with so much of that! :)
    He was like a kid who seemed to know exactly what he wanted and the nicest way to get it! :) I thought it was brilliant how his own team(dancers, producers,et al.) were drawn in every time he took the stage! Even at rehearsals!


  3. Hey hey hey! I got me some moves bro!
    Incidentally, we COULD do with a guest piece sometime soon...

    And, thanks Lara. I know what you mean, and I can't help but think if I worked on that show in some way I'd be standing there gawking as well.


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