KOCHI: With the fusion of punch dialogue, ultra violence, dark comedy, non-linear plots, pop culture references etc came a new style of film making. It has been two decades since the release of the self-made film director Quentin Tarantino’s postmodern flick Pulp Fiction. It was nominated for seven Oscars and Tarantino won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay along with Roger Avary who co-wrote the script. Ever since the success of Pulp Fiction, Tarantino and his films have become an integral part of pop culture and various film making industries across the world.
As of today, Tarantino, who experimented in different genres, is the most researched and imitated film directors of all time. Let’s take a look at Tarantino’s influence in pop culture. Many film directors have made use of Tarantino’s style of film making, popularly known as ‘Tarantinoesque’. Amores Perros, the 2000 Mexican film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, is commonly referred to as the ‘Mexican Pulp Fiction’ because of its use of non-linear narrative structure, violence and Mexican pop culture references.
Tarantino is no stranger to the Indian film industries as many of the Indian film directors have made use of the elements of his trademark style. Bollywood film directors like Sanjay Gupta and Vishal Bharadwaj have adopted Tarantino’s style in couple of their films. Sanjay Gupta’s 2004 film Musafir and 2006 film Zinda include profanity, violence, action and punch dialogues which are features of every Tarantino film. The multiplot narrative style, Kaminey, the 2009 Vishal Bhardwaj film, is compared to ‘Pulp Fiction’ in many aspects by several critics. The 2007 crime flick Ek Chalis Ki Last Local directed by Sanjay Khanduri is heavily influenced in style and plot by Pulp Fiction.
“Everyone thinks that Tarantino makes violent movies but there is a lot of politics behind it. The Malayalam film industry has adopted only the technical side of Tarantino films and not his political views,” says Joy Mathew, actor/director.
Sanjay Gupta’s 2002 film Kaante is actually a rip off of Tarantino’s directorial debut Reservoir Dogs. Anurag Kashyap’s films such as Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) and DevD (2009) pays homage to Tarantino films. Both these films fused pop music, punch dialogues and action. The celebration of gunfights and violence in most of the films by Sanjay Gupta and Anurag Kashyap is a style inspired by Tarantino flicks. A liberal use of profanity and sociopaths with a dark sense of humour, again a trademark of a Tarantino flick, can also be seen in these Bollywood films.“Tarantino’s preoccupations with the traditional American subjects and images make him a true traditional American director. But his enthusiastic fascination with the film technologies of the present time makes him an expressive post-modern director. Tarantino’s films are intriguing and unpredictable, but his followers are predictable, banal, less experimental and ordinary,” says film academician Rajesh James, Sacred Heart College, Thevara.
Mollywood film directors like Amal Neerad and Aashiq Abu are also influenced by Tarantino. Every Amal Neerad film incorporates slow motion, gunfights, violence, punch dialogues and the blending of pop music. Aashiq Abu mentions that he got inspiration from Tarantino’s highly stylised revenge flicks Kill Bill Vol 1 and Kill Bill Vol 2 released in the years 2003 and 2004 respectively while making his 2012 film 22 Female Kottayam. Aashiq Abu’s latest experimental film Gangster contains animated back story shots similar to that of Kill Bill Vol 1. Since Pulp Fiction many film directors’ approach to gangster films has become “Tarantinoesque”.
“Though many directors have tried to imitate his style none are able to recreate the true spirit of a Tarantino film. His style also depends on the set and locations of his films,” says film critic C S Venkateswaran.
The ‘famous’ Idea Cellular advertisement, YOU’RE MY PUMPKIN PUMPKIN, HELLO HONEY BUNNY, pays homage to Pulp Fiction. Pumpkin and Honey Bunny are the names of two characters in the film, played by Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer respectively.
The narrative structure of the 2011 Malayalam film Traffic, directed by Rajesh Pillai, and the 2012 film Shutter directed by Joy Mathew, shows resemblance to that of Tarantino’s 1994 masterpiece.
The two-time Oscar winning director will start filming his new film The Hateful Eight in the month of November. Tarantino still remains a highly influential figure in the world of cinema. Though Tarantino made many other films after Pulp Fiction, it still remains as one of the most influential pieces of cinema which is of historical, cultural and aesthetic importance.