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Friday, September 09, 2011

Hachiko




Just watched this 2009 movie starring (not really) Richard Gere. It’s about the oldest bonding in human history, something that long pre-dates civilization. I hope it endures if civilization vanishes for a while.

I must confess at the outset that I am an inveterate animal lover – well, all large intelligent animals anyway – and given another chance in life I might well have made a career of living with them, the way Jim Corbett, James Herriot, Gerald Durrell and Konrad Lorenz did. Dolphins, elephants, chimps, horses would have all been fine, but dogs especially so: I am slightly crazy about dogs, I think. That might go some way to explain why I found this movie so heart-warming.

I had known about a lot of real and legendary faithful dogs, but somehow not about Hachiko (look up this wikipedia article: that will save me a lot of labour). Although the story has been transplanted to the US – and I found no good explanation for how the puppy turned up there from halfway across the world – it has been educational for me, too, therefore. Many thanks to young River Ghosh for bringing it to me. You can look up this link to find out a little more about the movie, and the comments at this webpage, I think, can only tell you how widely different human beings are.

As I said, the dog is both the real star and show-stealer. I wonder what directors have to do to make children and animals act like that…

I found it good to see that the audience reaction was on the whole very positive, and to learn that in Japan the memory of the (real) dog is still revered, three generations after it died. And it made me ashamed once more to be an Indian, thinking about how animals are treated in this country as a rule.

If you watch the movie, tell me how you liked it.

11 comments:

Krishanu Sadhu said...

Sir,
I had watched Hachiko sometime back , and was moved a lot by its simple storytelling and the unspoken longing of the dog for its master. Felt real sorry for Hachi towards the ending of the movie.

Two other films on human-dog relationship I would like to mention here are "Eight Below" and "Because of Winn-Dixie". They are set in very different contexts , but portray the friendship between a human being and his canine friend very beautifully. Personally Eight below is my most favourite.

Regards,
Krishanu

Anand Tiwari said...

Dear Suvro da,

As an animal lover and the proud dad of a golden retriever, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post. I find that people in general are scared of animals and view them with suspicion. My advice to such people is that if you need to be scared of anything on this planet, it is the homo sapien species. The preceeding statement may sound weird but i can assure you it is true.

Best Wishes
Anand

Rajdeep said...

There are many sweet dog stories in Japan. Many Japanese people love dogs as pets. The Hachiko story is the most famous one of course and touched me when I read the original years ago. A couple of Japanese movies have also been made. Will definitely try and see this one too if I can find it. Thanks for introducing Hachiko.

Rajdeep said...

Some links to news on Hachiko:

1. Four-legged companions offer hope amid despair

http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201104150159.html

2. Hachiko square due for a makeover as new shopping center is scheduled to come up by 2026

http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201102200185.html

3. Chuken Hachiko dies at age 13

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100321ec.html

4. Richard Gere cried...

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ff20090814s1.html

5. The year of the dog

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20051231cz.html

6. Hollywood the latest to fall for tale of Hachiko

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20090625f1.html

7. Spoof!

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/april_fool_a.html

8. 2011 Scientists settle long debated issue: Worms, not skewer, did in Hachiko

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110304a5.html

Suvro Chatterjee said...

hmm... evidently this is another of my many interests which most of my readers don't share!

Debarshi said...

Respected Sir,

Warm regards. This movie remains a firm favourite of mine, ever since I first had the chance to watch it.The young puppy was an absolute delight to watch...and all throughout the film...I caught myself thinking..

"How can dogs love so faithfully and so truly? They deserve to teach us lessons, if only they could speak.But perhaps,it is better that they do not speak...they look at you with those wonderfully expressive,soulful,heart-melting brown eyes...and teach you the power of love."

With lots of love and respect,
Debarshi.

ginger candy said...

Dear Sir,

I am yet to watch this movie. I saw another related one, "Marley & Me", which I quite liked. Please watch it if you haven't already.

Thanks,
Joydeep

JD said...

The movie justifies the statement, "...loyal as a dog!"
Loyalty is a virtue rarely seen amongst us, other than an allegiance to a sporting team etc.
We can be loyal to our family, friends, relatives by doing small things which touches one's heart; makes one happy & feel special.
The film depicts how an animal felt so and reciprocated the same.
Sir, I was also going to suggest the movie, "Marley & Me", if you haven't seen it already!

Regards.
Joydeep Mukherjee
2002 Batch

Shilpi said...

Suvro da,

The dog was fantastic. I wanted to bring him home, and I would have if I had a huge garden and a proper house, and if he'd come along. I'd take him to the station every eve' too.

I keep seeing him peering through the cracks in the shed (I kept wishing he hadn't been living in the shed), and sitting sedately just looking. I couldn't help thinking later that he got to spend just 2 years with his master and just waited around for 9 years or was it 10, sleeping on those railway tracks, and then waiting and waiting. He does remind me faintly of some human/s actually, in a way. Nice way to die - dreaming blissfully.

Got absolutely nothing to say about people who cannot like this movie. Maybe there really are alien species living among us simply passing off as humans. That would explain a lot of things....

Neither one of my cats would ever swat a puppy. One would try to play with it and the other one would try to groom it. And I knew a cat who was very ill, and yet he shared his porch with a very ill and half-dying raccoon. That's in defense of the feline species.

I have wondered too how directors get animals and children to act the way they do.

Why/how was the movie 'educational' for you?

I am a little gaga about puppies while I'm not so sure about dogs.

This post is a curiously interesting one, and I wish it were longer. Hmm. Better end my comment here.

Arijit said...

Dogs are really faithful. A funny thing that I would like to share is as follows : You would often notice a board hanging in front of doors with the words beware of dog.Someone once told me that you shouldn't be really afraid of the dog,instead be a little beware of the owner.

Vaishnavi said...

Dear Sir,

I absolutely loved this movie although it broke my heart. I am a dog lover myself and have a Boxer and a Terrier at home, both seven years old. The highlight of their day (apart from dog chow) is when they see any one of the family; I would have walked past a few minutes earlier only to walk past again to an encore of scampering and tail wagging. The kind of love that a dog is capable of is the most amazing thing in the world, it's a fuzzy, eye-drenching love.

Regards,
Vaishnavi