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Travis Bickle

For past two years, I have been watching movies back to back like a maniac to escape from all the shit around me. While this has made me even more reclusive than before, I have also  watched some real movies or better to say, cinema. I have been introduced to a whole new world out there apart from standard bollywood stuff and the superhero/special effects filled hollywood movies.

One of the movies which really had an impact on me was Taxi Driver. I had heard a lot about it earlier and wanted to watch it anyhow. Released in 1976, it stars Robert de Niro (the God of method acting, infact the God of acting) and is directed by Martin Scorsese, frequent collaborators who have given us several outstanding movies like Raging Bull, Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Casino and many more.

The protagonist Travis Bickle (played by de Niro ofcourse) is a Vietnam War veteran who, fed up of being unable to sleep at night and watching porn in seedy grindhouse theatres,  takes up a job of a night time taxi driver to escape his insomnia and unemployment. He works in New York. While at the job, he watches the underbelly of the city – the mafia, the junkies, the prostitutes and other such scum. He is all alone and mentally very disturbed. This sight of the city aggravates his already worse condition. He wishes that someday someone will wash away all this scum off the face of earth and everything will start afresh.

Now, this guy is a not well educated and a loner. That means he is not a hypocrite like the rest of us. He has the guts to ask a girl out and take her to a porn theatre and remain unapologetic about it. Or maybe he does not realize what he has done. When the girl leaves him in disgust, he calls her a sham like everyone else. He is insecure, confused, deranged and full of anger against the whole system. He wants to do something to improve things around him but does not know what to do. He asks the Senatorial candidate to clear the streets though he knows as much about politics as SRK fans know about good movies.

Day by day he watches shit happening around him and his anger keeps simmering. One day he encounters a twelve year old prostitute and this affects him enormously. He tries to help her but the girl is herself a fuck-up who has run away from her home and is happy living under a cheap pimp. He sees his chance to be a do-gooder here. He buys a suitcase full of guns and practices shooting in front of a mirror talking to himself all the way. The scene is legendary in cinema history. The way he says to himself, “You talking to me?” is simply awesome. Here I see myself in him. Ofcourse I can’t buy guns. I don’t have guts for it no matter how much I want to shoot the baddies around me. And maybe he was not bogged down by expectations like me, so he was free to run his course while I am not. Anyways I got a chance to see my fantasy come alive on screen. So, he gets rid of the bad guys in a bloody shootout which people like me savour, becomes a hero and everyone is happy.

This character is my favourite, simply because I can identify with him and he does what I want to do. His mental condition, his insecurities, his wayward social behaviour and his cluelessness about the hypocrite society are all mine. Heck, he even plots to kill the politician. This turned me into a big fan of de Niro and Scorsese and I have seen most of their movies by now. And I can swear to all the good movies, their is nothing better in this world for me besides watching their movies or other movies in the same genre. Adios.


2 Responses

  1. Viva la Critica`…. 😉

  2. so u r inspired with him……i cn see it in u… 😛

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