The American Dream Machine

Forget the provocation of cinéma vérité, this is veritable cinematic drama, as only Hollywood would have it.

Baz, I should have been born in Bollywood, Luhrmann’s much-anticipated little flick, the deja view film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, seems to have me agasp.

Truth be told, I was dreading this remake. Some things are sacred to me. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s characters are not to be toyed with – especially in celluloid. They have become members of my literary, if not literal, family since I first picked up the novel in my teen years.

My Copy of The Great Gatsby on Photo by Jyotika Malhotra.
My copy of the book, which I've had since I was 14. It's a study in texture, in various forms.

Then, I heard about the cast. Robert Redford played the main man in the original 1974 adaptation of the literary masterpiece, its screenplay written by Mr. Coppola.  Luhrmann co-wrote the current screenplay, with his constant collaborator, Craig Pearce. But who could follow Redford? Thankfully, it wasn’t Redford-wannabe, Brad.

I’ve grown to adore Leo DiCaprio’s acting, but was he really worthy of Jay Gatsby? Especially when Mr. Bachchan was to have a cameo part as Meyer Wolsheim? Was little Leo bigger than Big B?

And Spider-Man – as Nick?

Then, I read that Carey Mulligan would be playing Daisy. I mean, really.

Was I expected to start reading books on electronic devices, next? What has the world come to?

Seeing the just-released trailer, however, has swayed me somewhat.


Leo has managed to get me on his Gatsby side. Tobey looks aptly lost as Nick – to his and his hairstylist’s credit. Baz was smart to include Big B in several cuts of the trailer – his star power is inimitable.

Amitabh Bachchan with Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby on
Amitabh Bachchan with Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby, 2012.

But Carey Mulligan as Daisy? I mean, really.

And don’t even get me started on the Kanye/Jay-Z thing. To quote Fitz, “this is a valley of ashes…”

I will watch it for the shirts and the Chanel, but am not expecting to be flapper-gasted. Then again, Catherine Martin is doing the costumes, production design and is also listed as one of the film’s producers (think William Norwich will recognize her now?). Model Gemma Ward also has an appearance in the flick, for us fashion watchers.

There you have it, a first look at the American Dream, through the eyes of Oz’s Baz. Wonder what the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg would see, if they could see us now…

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