Reflections: The Darjeeling Limited by Wes Anderson

The Darjeeling Limited (Image source: IMDB)
The only reason why I watched this one was that the title had Darjeeling in it; the movie on the contrary had none of it. This is a story of three brothers uniting in India for a spiritual journey after they have lost their dad and their mother has started behaving like an ascetic - away from the world in the hills of the Himalayas. Francis (Owen Wilson) is the eldest and takes the lead in uniting them and has planned out an itinerary with the help of his assistant who suffers from a disease which has made him bald.

The trip starts with an old man alighting from a taxi and running to catch his train while Peter (Andrien Brody) is also trying to do the same; Peter succeeds; the old man not so much. Peter joins his two brothers in Darjeeling Limited as they set off for a re-invigoration. Jack (Jason Schwartzman) falls for the stewardess Rita (Amara Karan), and has sex with her in the bath of the train. A series of Indian follies happen ultimately leading to them being thrown off the train and as they continue their journey they happen to save two drowning kids while couldn't save the third one. The father of the third child (Irfan Khan - I refuse to put that extra 'r') performs the last rites and the brothers finally attend a funeral which takes them back to their father's funeral experience. Their mother hadn't attended his funeral. All of the brothers are disappointed that none of their plans are working out but more so Francis. They finally do meet their mother and head to the airport to board a flight back into their lives but something still haunts them and they tear off their boarding passes at the stairs of the flight and embark on their unfinished spiritual pilgrimage to rediscover themselves.

The concept was interesting and could have been woven into a much better story than it was - honestly it was a disappointment. However, however, it wasn't a complete letdown either. Lot of the scenes are breathtaking - a particular sequence which shows the panning out from the village where the brothers are during the funeral to Rita in the train to Jack's girlfriend to Peter's wife and finally to a tiger who was said to be killing people in areas nearby to their mother's place of stay. But above all, the charm of the movie was its music (even though lot of it was borrowed). By music I mean the Indian one; the western one didn't even register. In the order of the most mesmerizing one: "Arrival in Benares" from The Guru (music by Ustad Vilayat Khan), "Title Music" from Satyajit Ray's Teen Kanya, "Charu's Theme" from Satyajit Ray's film Charulata and "Title Music" from the film Bombay Talkie (music by Shankar Jaikishan). When the aforementioned titles are heard in a never ending loop the state of trance can't be far away.

Most of the film was shot in Rajasthan as evident from the locales and from the iconic blue colored homes in Jodhpur. By the way, there isn't any train by the name of Darjeeling Limited in India.


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