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The fear of the known

Sitting through 'Life', the latest crime drama offering from NBC, I was intrigued by the overall premise of the series rather than the crime handled in the pilot episode. 'Life' revolves around a cop who is released after twelve years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. His ordeals at the hands of the inmates during those twelve years are told in passing - the many days he spent in the prison hospital and the complete shutdown of his regular life in those twelve years. Upon release he is given back his job and a hefty compensation amount. What the twelve years has really given him is a quirky zen-like approach to solving crimes. Interesting premise - hopefully the premise will continue to hold my attention in the coming weeks.

The fear of prison itself loomed large in the pilot episode. It made me recall the absorbing Spike Lee flick, "25th hour". This film too had the fear of prison as its heartbeat. The main character here is in fact guilty as charged. Yet, you tend to sympathize with him in the last 24 hours of his life before he goes to prison for a few years. Fear grips his soul as he contemplates different what-if scenarios. He know that his regular life faces a complete shutdown and there is a very high chance that he will not survive prison.

At the other end of the prison spectrum is the classic - "Shawshank Redemption". Patience is apparently not only a virtue but a life saver in prisons. How many times have I see this movie? A few hundred times too less. One of the best movie adaptations of a book. Shawshank suggests that prison might be a complete shutdown to your daily existence but not necessarily a shutdown of your soul.

Bits and pieces of all these sentiments can be found in Kalapani aka Siraichaalai - in my opinion the only prison movie to have come out India.

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