“Are you ready to go back to Titanic,” was the question treasure hunter Brock Lovett asked a 100-year-old Rose, over 15 years ago, when the film first hit the screens.
Were she alive today, Rose would have recalled, “It's been a 100 years... I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in...”
The real Titanic sank exactly a 100 years ago, on April 15, 1912.
Such is the magic of cinema. It almost makes us believe that Jack and Rose really lived, loved and made every moment count on board the Titanic.
And we can say the same thing Rose says about James Cameron's film today: “How extraordinary. It looks the same as the last time I saw it. The reflection has changed a bit.” Because, it's in 3D this time.
Cameron fought hard to bring his painstakingly-detailed passion project alive on the big screen fighting all kinds of pressure — mounting budgets, studio's reservation about the length and the mind-boggling logistical nature of the mammoth production. He not only told the studio he would forfeit his remuneration, he even refused to give in to pressure to cut one full hour from its 194 minutes run-time. “If you have to cut my film, you have to fire me. And to fire me, you'll have to kill me.”
Everyone had written it off and Cameron found himself in the shoes of Jack at the poker game at the beginning of the film. “When you got nothin', you got nothin' to lose.”
Cameron wasn't hoping for luck. He believed in it, like its villain Cal Hockley said: “I make my own luck.”
His Titanic turned out to be the ship of dreams that didn't sink. It went on to break all kinds of records and continues to be the film that has sold more tickets than any other film in the history of cinema. And still sells, given the house-full shows it opened to on Friday.
It was like being on sail once again, inside the doomed ship. Nostalgic, special, inexplicably beautiful and magical.
Like Rose described Picasso: “It's like being inside a dream or something. There's truth but no logic.”
Titanic is full of lines you will never forget. They weren't the best written lines and Cameron himself wished he had written it better. But the truth is that no other film of our times packs as many memorable quotes as Titanic does.
“I'm the king of the world,” probably being the most popular of them all, associated with Cameron's acceptance speech at the Oscars. Titanic went on to win 11 out of the 14 Oscar nominations, a whopping harvest.
So what is it about Titanic that everybody loves?
Spectacularly beautiful and epic in scale, the film just used all that was great about its production as a mere backdrop for the love story that gave the film its heart. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet shared a terrific chemistry and the erotically charged frames made it impossible for us to not appreciate the sheer beauty of this forbidden romance between the engaged rich girl and the poor artist boy.
Jack stood for free spirit: “I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up in the morning not knowing what's gonna happen or, who I'm gonna meet, where I'm gonna wind up.” And Rose loved that freedom.
It's a dynamic with timeless appeal. The more modern, materialistic and busy we get making a living, we have the Jacks remind us about the basics of living a life. “Make every moment count.”
How can you not love a love story that celebrates the selflessness of love. “You jump, I jump, remember?”
It's a finale that chokes us every time we see it. The proof that love can keep us afloat even when there are people dying all around us. We must survive so that we can make the most of our lives. I was far away from any movie theatre showing Titanic when it released and remember watching it at a video parlour in Manipal. I have caught it many times since on TV. But nothing, I repeat nothing, matches the impact it leaves when you watch the epic unfold on the big screen. If you still haven't got yourself a ticket, do it.
Plus, you don't have to worry about crying your eyes out in public at the beautifully tragic sight of the Titanic drowning theatres anymore.